The other day at the college my daughter attends, there was a strange object in the parking lot that immediately drew my attention. See if you recognize what it was.
If you said it was a rail car,you would be correct. So what is an old rail car doing on a college campus?
Well, this isn’t your common ordinary rail car. This is an actual Holocaust rail car that was used to transport prisoners, those who the German Reich had deemed to be unworthy to live, to one of the various extermination camps.
How this rail car ended up in Florida I do not know, however there is a Holocaust museum somewhere in S.W. Florida and the car was loaned to the college as part of an awareness program the students have to participate in.
I must tell you that I sat transfixed for several minutes as I gazed intently at this rail car. I am very familiar with what went on inside one of these cars, having read several first hand accounts of the few who survived this journey of death.
As I sat staring at this rail car, I was reminded of a first hand account written by Dr. Milosz Nyiszli, who in 1960 wrote “Auschwitz: A Doctors Eyewitness Account”. In this heart rendering account of extreme human suffering at the hands of the German war machine, Dr. Nyiszli explains in graphic detail how that ninety people were crammed into each of these cars.
With no heat, nothing for a toilet except a bucket, no water, the only food available being that which the “passengers” had brought themselves,these trains traveled for days and days until their destination was finally reached.
Here is a glance inside of this car where ninety humans were packed in like sardines. I am standing a short distance from the end of the car, looking out. The window at the far end of the car would have been secured shut in order to prevent the occupants from eventually discovering their destination,thus preventing full scale panic from setting in.
Certainly, none of us can fathom such cruelty. Nor can we truly understand the human suffering that millions of people endured. To make this even more incomprehensible, these hapless millions were afflicted and ultimately killed because they were somehow designated as “different”.
Think about that statement, the madman of Bavaria, Adolph Hitler, decreed that millions of innocent lives be exterminated because they didn’t look like the so called “master race”. Rather than risk tainting the blood of this “master race”, a solution was devised to ensure this could not happen.
They even gave this solution a name: “The Final Solution”.
Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Homosexuals, and a whole litany of other people groups were all designated to be destroyed.
Today, it is imperative that we never forget this and other,more recent atrocities aimed at exterminating those deemed inferior by the “powers that be”. It is especially important that our young people learn of this and work hard to prevent it from ever happening again.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today”. Abraham Lincoln
And least you think something like this could never happen again, that 21st century man has evolved far beyond the evil perpetrated in the previous century, I urge you to look and listen to the sounds emanating against those who are “different” than you or I. The drums are even now pounding out warnings to those deemed “unworthy”.
There is only one thing that will prevent a recurrence of the atrocities of the past.
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, turn our hearts towards you. Create in us a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within us. If history has taught us anything, it is that when we have chosen to walk far from you, our hearts turn to stone. Help us to love, to care, to show mercy and compassion to those who so desperately need it this day. Amen
Have a blessed Sunday,