"Don't buy from the Jews." Sound familiar?
This week our 'Compassion to Action' mission to Europe and Israel visited the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin, where we were reminded that one of Adolf Hitler's first acts of business in 1933 was to call for a boycott of Jews and Jewish businesses. Situated on the original grounds of the former Gestapo (Nazi police), this is a riveting exhibition which documents the rise of the Nazi party and its atrocities.
From Berlin we flew into Nuremberg. This was the bastion of Nazi ideology and the birthplace of the Nuremberg racial laws which motivated the Nazi death machine and set the Holocaust in motion. Most thought provoking was our visit to the courthouse where the infamous Nuremberg trials were held in 1945-1946 in courtroom 600; 12 Nazi leaders were ultimately sentenced to hang.
A persistent question emerged as our group tried to comprehend the incomprehensible: How could so many criminals have gotten away? Did they simply melt into society? Hundreds of thousands of people were "Hitler's willing executioners." What happened to them?
Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal's dedicated his life to locating over 1000 Nazis and bringing many of them to justice through the courts. Yet the lessons the Holocaust presents for all of humanity are profound, as we watch the global re-emergence of intolerance and antisemitism in utter horror.
We are certainly looking forward the next leg of our journey: Shabbat in Jerusalem.
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