Apparently, Tzedakah Ministries set off a moderate amount of controversy recently over the use of the preposition … “of” on the recent blog about the failures of FDR during the Holocaust period. I used the phrase “death camps of Poland” instead of “death camps in Poland” as some wished I had done. There was no intentional desire to offend over this usage of the word “of” but offend was the outcome. My apologies as a Christian for the UNINTENDED offense but I will not change my words because I do not believe in censorship of others or of myself. This non-censorship is obvious as I have allowed some obviously belligerent comments to be posted that were unnecessary and some might say “beating a dead horse.” Please note that it is not me saying the “dead horse” comment, but what others have responded to me when I told them about the controversy, especially since the theme of the post was about the FAILURES OF THE UNITED STATES AND FDR and not about the nation of Poland.
However, this led me to consider the question, especially in reading the comments in which I perceived that some who were offended were wishing to absolve Poland from any responsibility for the deaths of Jewish people who were in their country. Would any country of Europe and the United States be able to proclaim and receive a verdict of “Innocent” if they were brought before a court and jury. So … let’s consider the evidence.
Is there any country in Europe that adequately responded to the needs of the Jewish people during the period known as the Shoah? The United States did not as shown in the previous blog post. Citizens of the Ukraine, Lithuania, Hungary, and the USSR often participated with the Germans in the killing of the Jewish people. Western European countries, such as Holland, France, Belgium, often stood by and allowed their neighbors and friends to be taken away and did nothing but wait until decorum allowed them to go and scavenge the remains left behind.
Honestly, one could make the argument that in Europe that there are only two countries that could be completely absolved from guilt as it relates to the Holocaust. Denmark who has already been designated as the ONLY Righteous Gentile Nation by Yad Vashem and perhaps Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (even though there is some controversy over this sought after designation). Switzerland’s neutrality could not be considered as worthy of being absolved because neutrality in the face of evil is basically apathetic evil. So truly there are very few countries who can stand up and say, “We did enough to save the Jewish people when they most needed our help.”
Each country, including Poland, has their share of “Righteous Gentiles.” And, indeed, Poland has the greatest number of “Righteous Gentiles” of all European nations but it could be argued that it is tragic that there were only 6,394 Righteous as it is a small number when the Jewish population in pre-WW2 Poland numbered 3 million (but I am not praising Netherlands for having 5,269 Righteous per 156,000 Dutch Jews either as the numbers for all countries should have been much higher). Irena Sendler of Poland is an example of a wonderful Righteous Gentile and the fact that Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize over her is a joke of epic proportions. Corrie ten Boom and Oskar Schindler sacrificed family and wealth for their good deeds. The city of LeChambon in France and those in the UK who took in children from the Kindertransport should be praised for their actions but their nations AS A WHOLE have much to regret for what they did not do.
I remember a pivotal scene in Schindler’s List that has always stuck with me that personifies the truth that no one was innocent for the crimes of the Holocaust. We as a world community should have all done more to stop this atrocity and those seeking absolution for their nation miss the point … “We could have and should have done more.” And that we did not, we will one day have to explain why to God.