Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's the end that matters

(Slightly updated since I posted it recently).
Several months back, my wife, my stepson, and I went to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas. The contrast between the Nazis and their victims inspired these thoughts, which I am only now putting into print. I write this as a metaphor in part: I don't mean to imply that this is a complete picture of both sides, but I hope it helps to show the disparity between good and evil.

He looks so attractive, this Hitler youth. Blond hair, shiny and rich; rosy Eastern European features. Well- fitting clothes cover a body toned by many hours of exercise. The Nazi leadership has put a lot of work into grooming this young man as part of what they intend to become a super race. They make sure he marries the epitome of Aryan female beauty, so their offspring will continue the line. He is joining with them as their hope of Germany's future--the world's future. He will help them in their quest to attain ever more land, power, riches. After all, he's been told through various media that they deserve it, and so he does whatever's necessary to help them take it from those people they consider to be less than human. Along the way he is highly honored by his peers for helping find hiding places of Jews, and in the process punching, kicking, and even shooting them before turning them over to be taken to camps for work, for oppression, for death. Later, he'll work in one of those camps, choosing who is productive or non-productive, and the latter of the still surviving are sent to die. Those remaining are permitted to live as long as they are able to help the Nazi cause. He joins in the drunken reverie as the pro-Nazis band together toward the goal of "freeing" the world of these "animals." In the end, the dynasty-to-be falls, and he is held in perpetual shame by people of honor.

She looks so decrepit. Her hair (if it hasn't fallen out due to illness or malnutrition) is infested with lice. Sores and dirt, sunken cheeks & sallow skin mask her once attractive & happy Polish face. She wears a moth-eaten, foul-smelling outfit (if one can call it that), which hangs loosely from skin-covered bones. The Nazis have put a lot of work into destroying her people. After all, in Hitler's estimation she has been partly responsible for taking away from Germany's destiny. But despite the oppression, she can't give enough of herself to help her beloved fellow Jews. If she can put another family into her already crowded home (which might only be a single room), she does it. If she can spare a piece of bread or comfort the sick, she gives whatever she can to lighten the load. She risks her life helping transport Jews and others under Hitler's thumb to safety. She loves and values each person, regardless of their race or religion. Her courageous actions, taken so that others might be saved, bring her honor by her peers and by God. She would never betray one of her brethren. She weeps bitterly as the Nazis split her family apart, creating heartbreak that parallels even the worst of tortures. Many of them she'll never see again. In the end, the Jewish race lives on, bruised and battered but highly honored by those who admire their selflessness and their love.

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