An Awful Anniversary with a Message of Hope
Seventy years ago, on March 19, in Budapest, Hungary, an atrocity was committed against people of the Jewish faith. Thousands of Jews were summarily forced into the waters of the Danube River, a body of water still all but frozen from the winter just past. The members of the German Army who committed this act had but one demand of those being forced into the water. The Jews had to remove and surrender their shoes so that the Army could have better footwear.
“That was too bad, really awful,” you may say. “But it was long ago. Things have changed. People are different.”
But are they? Really?
Not long ago vandals, who have yet to be apprehended, desecrated a Hungarian cemetery with graffiti “wisdom” that read, “Stinking Jews,” and “There was no Holocaust, but there will be.”
So is this a particular problem in Hungary, or a global sign of the kind of religious intolerance that gave rise to a history most of us would decry seeing repeated? In other words, is anti-Semitism still an issue in many places, or in just a few isolated places?
The answer is twofold. There is a particular political tug of war going on in Hungary. Elections are to be held in May. After the elections, a statue is being unveiled that will commemorate Hungary’s involvement in World War II. The first draft of the plans for the statue showed a German eagle attacking the angel Gabriel, which was to symbolize Hungary. Plans for that particular statue were scrapped as protestors claimed that it absolved Hungary for its part in the war, instead blaming everything on the German Nazi party and Adolph Hitler. The shape and message of the new statue has been kept secret. The form that the new statue takes will doubtless determine whether it will be accepted by the various party interests in Hungary.
But to suggest that anti-Semitism is purely a Hungarian issue is ludicrous. All corners of the globe include people who share the emotions, if not the tactics, of those who so recently “decorated” the cemetery. As friends and members of LoveIsrael.com, we have a particular concern when we hear of incidents such as those in Hungary. Offering the message and love of Jesus Christ to our Jewish friends is our mission. Yet, as Christians, we are often feared and resisted by those who feel threatened. People for whom we most want to offer Good News, see us as, to put it bluntly, bad news.
Therefore, we must not sit silently by as prejudice is allowed to creep in the back door. We must take a stand toward reconciliation, peace, and a greater understanding between people of differing cultures and differing belief. We must be a vessel out of which Christ’s love can be poured. Only then, will the ground be fertile for Christ’s message.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear. Matthew 13:7-9