Posts Tagged ‘Remembering the Holocaust’

Letter to the Editor: Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf Copyright Expiring in 2016

Dear Editor:

kampfDuring 1924-1926, Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. The 70-year copyright of this work expires at the end of 2015. It is now being re-published, with many annotations in January 2016 after three years of work on the 2000 page book(s).

Here’s what Adolf Hitler wrote, inter alia:

“THE BEST WAY to take control over a people and control them utterly, is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.  In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed – until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

History repeating itself innocuously?  It reminds me of the frog in the cool water.  It remains there and adjusts to the ever-so-slight increases in temperature of the water – until it’s boiling and the end ….

A & R

Holocaust Survivor Booted from Public Schools

By Lee Hohmann
WND News

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Anita Dittman has been speaking about the Holocaust for more than three decades, telling everyone who will listen of her survival and how Jesus Christ helped her escape the trap that was ‘Hitler’s hell.”

She has reached thousands through her book, “Trapped in Hitler’s Hell,” co-authored with fellow Minnesotan Jan Markell.

And visions of that hell would come back to haunt her at night.

“For years, those dreams would not go away,” she said.

At 87, she still speaks to audiences large and small, sometimes several times a month, recounting the story of a happy, 5-year-old Jewish girl when Hitler came to power in 1933 and how life changed over the next 12-and-a-half years living under Nazi rule. She would emerge on the other side of the concentration camps as a young woman of devout Christian faith, severely scarred but full of powerful stories.

For years, she kept those stories bottled up inside. It wasn’t until she reached her early 50s that they started coming out.

“The response I get today is as enthusiastic as ever,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Minnesota.

This week’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews met their death, gave her cause to reflect once again on life under the Nazis.

Her message is different now, she says, much different than when she first went public in 1978 with her experience as a Holocaust survivor. Click here to continue reading.

Excerpts of Trapped in Hitler’s Hell by Anita Dittman/Jan Markell:

Table of Contents and Chapter One

Chapter 8

HOPE IN THE MIDST OF HOLOCAUST (from chapter 9 & 10)

Freedom … To Die

 

 

An Audio Presentation: “Corrie Ten Boom” in The Hiding Place During the Nazi Occupation of Holland

For those who love the story of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (a Lighthouse Trails author), the following 6 minute audio clip will be a memorable experience. You will think you are sitting in a cozy living room with Corrie herself. This is a dramatic presentation by Susie Sandager who portrays Corrie from the book, The Hiding Place.


Corrie ten Boom around the time of the Nazi occupation in Holland

Corrie ten Boom around the time of the Nazi occupation in Holland

Description: At one time Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that there would ever be a story to tell. For the first fifty years of her life, nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. She was an unmarried watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed.

Corrie ten Boom and her family became heavily involved in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially-built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, all but Corrie found death in a concentration camp.

You may purchase this entire audio set of The Hiding Place, a “listening adventure,” at Lighthouse Trails.

Preparing For Perilous Times and Finding God’s Peace in the Midst of Them

iStock_000010250967MediumBy David Dombrowski
Editor at Lighthouse Trails

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

Over the last several years since Lighthouse Trails began, we have been contacted by many who love the Lord and were struggling with great challenges: Some were ostracized by their churches, which had gone Purpose Driven, contemplative, or emerging; some had division in their families; some had financial concerns; and others were worried about health issues – whether their own or that of loved ones. Beyond all of this, many have expressed a sense of uncertainty or foreboding of what the future will bring.

The Bible indicates that in the last days perilous times shall come. And for those of you who have read our review article of The Harbinger, you may remember that our conclusion is that by all indications America is racing toward judgment. Researching for and writing that article quickened to me the realization that something serious or catastrophic could easily come to our country, and we are unprepared. Whether it be nuclear attack, economic collapse, or natural disasters, America appears to be getting only closer to that day.

I know that for the average American (including the American Christian) the idea that mighty America could stumble and fall simply does not register. After all, how could a loving God bring calamity on a nation that has stood so tall for so long? But in considering this, we can see that it is not God who has rejected us but our nation that has continually rejected Him. A case in point is a pastor in a small Oregon town who shared with me how occasionally his church would be permitted to hold an assembly at the local public high school, but one day the mayor approached him and said, “If you even mention God at the assembly, I will have you out of here so fast . . .” But what is a pastor supposed to talk about if he cannot talk about God? Yet, what is even more grievous than our lost freedom is that so many churches have become apostate as they welcome immorality, mystical practices, and false doctrines while often viewing the atonement as outdated and dogmatic.

When judgment comes upon America, it will not be because of a hateful God entertaining Himself with calamity but rather because we, as a nation, have brought judgment upon ourselves. While this nation has a heritage of many who, through great personal sacrifice and a love for God, invited God into the affairs of our nation (and our nation has known prosperity and peace on all our borders) we forget that these blessings all came from God. Now that we have pushed God aside and booted Him out of the country, we have also booted out the blessings and protection we have long known.

None of us really knows what our nation will become if judgment befalls us, but frankly, I feel much more ominous about how corrupt and lawless it will become if God does not judge us. While the call to repentance has been going out for decades now, things have clearly only gotten worse. And while churches are beginning to muster up for national “repentance” and “revival,” God has already moved on to the next step. It is a true saying that those who have sown to the wind will only reap the whirlwind.

Unfortunately, there is much apathy when it comes to warnings of judgment or cataclysmic events. While many prosperity prophets tickle the ears of those who want a soft feel-good gospel, others, in contrast, give warnings of such horrendous proportions (even offering specific dates) of events that could annihilate vast portions of the planet; the net result is that many are being conditioned into indifference.

When perilous events will come, be it judgment or persecution, will we as Christians be ready for it? Such changes can come very rapidly and seemingly overnight; ask Anita Dittman or Diet Eman (Lighthouse Trails’ two Holocaust-survivor authors) if this is not true. They know; they saw it firsthand. Jesus said that men’s hearts would fail from fear of seeing the events happening around them (Luke 21:26). In Luke 21 and Matthew 24, Jesus gives a basic outline of the peril that will precede His return; He did not give specific calendar dates of what will happen, but He did teach us (as do the apostles and prophets) how we can be ready to face the future.

I’m sure we have all seen the ill effects that fear and worry can have on a person’s life, both spiritually and physically. Fear and worry, over an extended period of time, stagnates one spiritually, cripples one emotionally, and breaks one down physically. The enemy (Satan) uses fear whenever possible to thwart the progress of Christians and to promote his agenda. Whole societies have been controlled through fear. When we consider what happened in Nazi Germany, it’s true that great numbers were mesmerized by a charismatic leader with a demonic anointing, but overall he was able to rule the country through fear. Today, we already see the reemergence of fear and intimidation both in our politics and in many churches where fundamental Christianity is marginalized, if not villainized, while immorality and corruption is given special sanctions and promotion.

How can a Christian believer stand under this kind of pressure we see today? Fear is already at work eroding the values we have long held sacred. In many churches, just the pressure to remain popular or contemporary is enough to introduce Yoga and mind-altering meditation (formerly called an occultic practice but today repackaged as “contemplative prayer”) into our churches.

Will the Christians who are still holding back from this landslide of compromised Christianity eventually cower and be absorbed into the system? Will we, like Judas, proceed to give Jesus a kiss while undermining everything He taught? Or, will we like Peter deny that we even know Him? The fact is Jesus is being betrayed and denied on a massive scale today by proclaiming Christians through their embracing of contemplative spirituality and the emerging church, which has an underlying message of rejecting the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. It’s the worst kind of betrayal.

Fear is not something you can merely put the brakes on – like pressing a pedal in your car. Peter, who so adamantly insisted to Jesus that he would never deny Him even unto death did so three times in the course of one night. How then does one stem the tide of fear (and worry) in his own life?

Over a period of three years, Jesus taught His disciples how to live without being overcome by fear and worry. On one occasion, He told them:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)

Jesus said all of this after having just said, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment. . . . Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matthew 6:25, 27).

Now let me explain what I believe Jesus meant and did not mean by these passages. First of all, in saying what He did about taking no thought for our lives, I do not think Jesus was advocating for personal neglect or for unpreparedness. On a personal note, Deborah and I have always been advocates for preparedness. Let me give an example. Back in 1999, we helped organize the Y2K task force in our hometown. During that year, we helped many families in our community learn how to be prepared for disaster (not just Y2K). Then, when nothing significant happened on New Year’s Day, some mocked what we had done. I heard one well-known Christian leader say, after the fact, on his radio program that he had known all along that nothing was going to happen, and that those who had prepared were a bunch of idiots. As I listened to him speak, I wondered why during the year prior, when technical experts and those considered computer savvy were giving out warnings about computer crashes, that this leader with a public forum had not raised a voice to counter the efforts at preparedness. Be it as it may, our involvement with Y2K was not really about a catastrophe happening on a specific calendar date, but for us it was a wake-up call in realizing that our society has become so dependent on the local supermarket and our power grid that most would have scarcely enough food, water, and fuel to last only a few days even in a small-scale crisis. A case in point happened about a year ago in the town I was in when some teenagers were seen playing around the city-water site. The authorities then became concerned that the water could have been tampered with and instructed the townspeople not to drink, cook, or bathe in that water until it was tested. Needless to say, the bottled water in the grocery stores disappeared from the shelves by that afternoon. And this was not even a big scare, and the water proved to be safe.

Jesus’ words about the lilies of the field were a much-needed exhortation to trust God in all aspects of our lives. At the same time, however, Jesus was talking to an agrarian people who knew and practiced preparedness as they utilized their skills in growing and properly storing food for the winter. If this were not true, Solomon would not have praised the ordinary ant in saying, “consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). Personally, I think it is an embarrassment to our federal government that they would go so far as to vilify people who harvest and store their food for the winter as “hoarders” when this has been common practice in the world practically from the beginning of man until now.

If you have followed our ministry for any length of time then you know that we have never yet talked about preparedness. Yet in by-gone days, it used to be a very normal task for people to cut firewood, tend the livestock, and plant or harvest the fields; so while it is not my intention to get into a lengthy discussion on the practical matters of life, let me say in passing that it would not hurt to consider the situations in which we live. While many of us may be locked into situations or locations that make change nearly impossible, it doesn’t hurt, if you have the opportunity, to consider what would be best for you and your family in the future. Especially if you live in a highly populated city, it does not take much imagination to think of the crime and looting that could ensue after a serious power failure or disaster.

Now, having said all this, let’s return to the words of Jesus when He said that we should take no thought for our lives. The fact is, we are only as safe as the Lord enables us to be. Hence, regardless of our situation in life, our only real option for safety is to place our lives and our futures in the hands of the Lord. While it would be wise to make whatever practical measures we can for the future, none of us are immune from disaster, loss, or theft. To be truly prepared to face the future means above all to be spiritually prepared – and that means having a right relationship with the Lord.

Now is the time for Christians to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). In other words, like the athlete set out to run a race, we need to strip off any excess baggage that would hinder us from giving the Lord our very best. God’s overwhelming desire for us is that we walk with Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30).

I would like to finish with some thoughts about what it means to walk in God’s peace.

First of all, let me say that just as the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16), it is also the avenue to peace with God: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

All of us who have entered into union with God through believing the Gospel – namely that Jesus purchased our salvation fully through His death on the Cross – have God’s peace available to us. Today, it seems that many proclaiming Christians do not really have a sense of God’s peace (which I believe is why so many are turning to contemplative prayer and other mystical practices), and I am fully persuaded it is because they have become removed from the simplicity of the Gospel. The modern-day church leadership has left today’s Christian with a sense of insufficiency of the Gospel and has instead presented an array of substitutes to include such things as relaxation exercises, breath prayers, lectio divina, yoga, and contemplative prayer all with an empty promise of delivering peace and God’s presence when in fact the Gospel is all sufficient for that purpose. Through the Gospel, Jesus opened the door of salvation, promising to live (abide) in us:  “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) and “hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24).

As we live by faith, we will enjoy the benefits of God’s peace. And as I mentioned earlier, when Jesus pointed out that we should take no thought for our lives, He indicated that our lives should be free of fear and worry. God wants us to strive for this goal and attain it as well. Jesus then ended His statements with the clause, “O ye of little faith” (Matthew 6:30). In other words, our freedom from fear and worry are only available to us as we allow our faith and trust in the Lord to grow. A perfect example of this is where Jesus, while walking on the water, welcomed Peter to come out and meet Him. Peter, whose life was a mixture of self-confidence and faith, was OK as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but as he turned his eyes to the wind and the waves, that confidence soon left him. It was the same self-confidence that led him to tell Jesus that he would never deny Him only to be dashed later, causing him to weep bitterly. But it was a good thing for Peter that his self-confidence was so utterly dashed because he was later able to become a great hero of the faith as he found he had abundant and sufficient grace through Christ (even to the point where he was able to go to his death for the sake of Christ) as he put his confidence in Jesus alone. In this one illustration of meeting Jesus on the water, we find the secret of faith that enabled Peter to walk in an abiding peace. Isaiah was inspired by this same kind of faith when he penned the words:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

In closing, if we can make ready for the future in practical ways, it would be good to do so. But, above all, we must not neglect spiritual preparedness. We will all need spiritual strength (that only God can give) to face the future. That means drawing strength from God by reading His Word. Then, it means applying that Word to our lives. My prayer is that the words of Scripture, like that from Isaiah 26 above, will be a reality for you and I; but this can only happen as we forsake the phony comforts of this life and trust the Lord to be our strength. Yes, walking through this life can be heartbreaking and terrifying at times, but as we keep our mind stayed on Him, trusting Him, we can walk forward in His peace.

The Bible says that those who trust the Lord shall not be disappointed (Psalm 34:22). As we watch the world falling apart, there really is no other option than to trust the Lord; thus, may our resolve be to trust Him as fully as we can, even though things will not always go the way we want or hope for; but we can be comforted and assured in knowing that for those who “love God” and are “called according to His purpose,” “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). God has His best intentions in mind for us, and He will not be prevented from accomplishing it. One thing that can give us a sense of stability and peace of mind is knowing that even though God allows evil to happen in the world, when we are “sealed” in Christ, He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5: 1-2

December 25th in a German Labor Camp during WWII

By Anita Dittman (Holocaust Survivor)

December 25th  in a German Labor Camp during WWII:

Antia today

Antia today

We prayed that God would miraculously sustain our strength; each day our food rations diminished so the German soldiers on the battlefronts could receive more food. Shortly after all of us Christians had prayed for physical strength, the neighboring farmers again rallied for us. Risking their lives, they smuggled us sausage, bread, and cheese and told us to eat the nourishing mushrooms in the forest where we cut trees. God seemed to pack a thousand calories in each tiny mushroom and bite of bread as we who trusted Jesus were given physical and spiritual sustenance.

Two horrible realities faced us women in December: winter and the traitors among us. To make life more comfortable for themselves,some women were reporting others to the guards for such things as conversations, attitudes, or anti-Nazi sentiment–anything that would make their lives more comfortable. Many of them spent the night with the guards and were given preferential treatment.

As the winter winds increased, everyone’s spirits sank. Our uniforms were terribly inadequate, and many of us were sent clothes from home. Father sent me some warm socks, gloves, and a jacket. If we worked long enough and hard enough, we could keep ourselves relatively warm on the work line. But marching to and from the work area was difficult because the wind raced through our clothing.

Again we anxiously awaited the whistle when the horse cart would bring us warm, lumpy soup. But it tasted awful, and usually it was cold by the time it reached us. The chunks in the soup were like tree bark. I watched Gunther one day as he took his bowl of soup to a mock grave. Pouring the soup in the grave, he covered it with dirt. Then he took a large stone and placed it over the grave site. On the stone he wrote: “Hier ruhet still una unvergessen, unser heutiges Mittagessen.” (“Here rests, still and unforgotten, today’s menu.”)

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailJust before Christmas I met another beautiful believer: Christian Risel. We met on the work line while cutting trees and, in our own silent way, quickly fell in love. Though I loved Rudi, Wolfgang, Gerhard, and Gunther, the love in my heart for Christian was different. A little older than I, he was strong and handsome in spite of the months of labor and deprivation. His eyes virtually sparkled, while the eyes of others in the camp were glassy and dazed. He had a smile when everyone else had a negative word, for he loved everyone in a special way. He even had Christian compassion for the Nazis. But he loved me the most. Of course no time was allowed for romance in the camp. It was too cold to stay outside much in our thin clothing, and we couldn’t go inside each other’s quarters. But we cut trees together frequently and got to know one another better. Each day that we were together, our love was reaffirmed.

“Someday, Anita, we will be gloriously free and happy once again,” Christian said as his axe cut into a thick pine tree. “We will have money to spend and food to eat, and we will have loved ones surrounding us. We’ll never have to dread another knock on our door. Do you believe that too, Anita?”

“I do. God reaffirms it every day. But I would rather be locked away and have Jesus than to be my sister, Hella, safe in the free world but denying the very One who gave her freedom.”

“Nothing happens without a purpose, doesn’t it?” Christian said. “What do you suppose is our ultimate purpose for being trapped in Nazi Germany? I think it is to glorify God in the end. Do you think that is true?”

“I do, Christian.”

“Anita, do you know what day it is today?”

“No.”

“It is Christmas Eve. I have a surprise for you and the other Christians in the camp.”

“Why have you waited so long to tell me, Christian?”

“Because it was just confirmed at lunchtime.” Christian’s eyes really sparkled with excitement now. “Mr. Anders has given me permission to take all the Christians to a Christmas Eve service in Ostlinde tonight! Of course a guard will accompany us, but he will be exposed to the gospel too.”

“Christian, you don’t mean it! A real Christmas Eve service. We must spread the news. Oh, it is another miracle of God.” To war-weary Christian prisoners who loved Jesus, this was the best news in months, perhaps years. But the camp’s unbelievers had no time for our happiness; most of them felt no special comfort each day as we believers did. Whether they were jealous or skeptical, they preferred that we keep to ourselves, which only drew us closer together.

Twenty of us trudged over the snow-covered hills and meadows that night to a little country church at the edge of Ostlinde. The snow was falling lightly, and both melted snowflakes and tears dampened my face as Christian took my hand. “This will be the most meaningful Christmas I’ve ever had,” I told him. “It shows God’s very special love for us. It tells me He cares for us and that we’ll be all right in the end.”

“The birth of Jesus must have been like this,” Christian said quietly. “He was poor and persecuted, and He was misunderstood and rejected, yet He always forgave. We have to forgive too, Anita, even the Nazis.”

That night we huddled in the little church with a hundred or more of the farmers and townspeople. We sang Christmas carols and praised the Lord until well after midnight. As we read the Christmas story, we were reassured that Jesus knew our every ache because He also had been a man and had experienced human grief. In the dim candlelight we all gathered at the altar on our knees and prayed for Germany and our separated families; the guard stood careful watch in the doorway. Then we trudged home in the moonlight, for the snow had stopped falling. No one spoke a word; we all were savoring every minute of this blessed Christmas Eve.

[A]s we headed back to the camp over the snowdrifts, in the stillness of that dark, dark night, nobody spoke. Our silent communication conveyed a oneness that superseded all verbal expression. Saturated with the restful music and with gratitude to God, I sank into a deep and restful sleep on my straw mattress. (Anita Dittman was 17 years old when this story took place. Today, she is 79 and lives in Minnesota. For more about her story, see Trapped in Hitler’s Hell)

CAIR: Helen Thomas ‘Will Be Fondly Remembered by the Muslim Community’

LTRP Note: Refer to our former article “Former senior White House correspondent renews venom [against Israel and the Jews] at Arab conference.” Also see the video and the map of the Middle East below.

(CNSNews.com) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered condolences on the death of Helen Thomas, saying she will be “fondly remembered by the American Muslim community.”

Thomas, who died on Saturday at the age of 92, was the first female member of the White House press corps. She covered the White House from 1960 until 2010, when she resigned after making anti-Semitic remarks. . . .

“She will be fondly remembered by the American Muslim community and by all those who value a free press and transparent governance,” they said.

Thomas was a fixture at the White House for decades, covering every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama.  In May 2010 a viral video cost Thomas her position when she said Israeli Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine.”

At a White House celebration for American Jewish Heritage Month, Thomas was asked by RabbiLive.com if she had any “comments on Israel.”

“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” Thomas said.  “Remember, these people are occupied, and it’s their land.”

Thomas then suggested that Jewish people “go home”  to “Poland, Germany,” “and America, and everywhere else.” Click here to continue reading.

Map: Israel is in red; Muslim countries in green.

 

Another Freedom-Honoring Story – It Happened Then, It Could Happen Now

LTRP Note: With each passing year, there remain fewer and fewer witnesses still alive who lived through the Holocaust and can testify of what happened. Lighthouse Trails is honored and privileged to be the publisher for two of these witnesses, Diet Eman and Anita Dittman, one a Christian resistance worker in Holland, and the other a Christian Jew living in Germany during the occupation. Today, both women are still alive and continue sharing their stories with others. The following account is by Diet Eman, who was 20 years old when she resisted Hitler’s “Final Solution” against the Jewish people:

header-dieteman

Diet and some of the young men she worked with in Holland during WW II to save the lives of Jews

July 1941
Last night we walked past the synagogue. Horrible: on the doors was written with large letters “Jude Suss.” On the pillars a swastika and a large V and horribly drawn Jewish faces. In the street on the boarded-up shop windows, “Jew,” “Pest Jude.” How long still, O Lord?

September 16, 1941
Yesterday the paper had a “short” summary of the places where Jews are not allowed! I can better mention where they are still allowed “in their homes and in the streets!”…

There came a day when my Jewish friend Herman, who worked with me in the bank in The Hague, began to understand that for him, as a Jew, life could not go on in the same way anymore. He thus became the first Jewish person that we helped during the Occupation.

First the Jews weren’t allowed on the trams anymore, or on the buses, in parks, or in shops. Rules like that were printed in the newspapers, and they were displayed on the trams and in shop windows. It was an enforced limitation of freedom for Jews in all kinds of ways. Next, Jews weren’t allowed to visit most places in the city anymore; they had to stick to their own Jewish areas and shops. And though Herman and his family did not live in the Jewish area of the city, they, like all Jews, were no longer allowed to visit non-Jewish people.

[from Diet’s diary] May 6, 1942 Seventy-two Dutch men have been executed. From last Saturday till Tuesday, six-thousand people have been arrested. Ex-military, pastors, all people of the first and second chamber [the Dutch parliament], etc., etc.

The worst is, I remain so stone cold. Does this war make you an “alive-dead person”? Is it not possible to remain yourself in this chaos? How long still?…

The next law the Germans made was that non-Jews could have nothing at all to do with Jews. Even after that, my mother and father wouldn’t have minded Herman’s coming over, but at that point he did not want to endanger them. Actually, the Germans might have punished my family a little bit for breaking the rules; but Herman would have gotten into major trouble. My parents loved him, but suddenly he couldn’t come anymore.

Much of what had preceded the Jewish persecution had seemed an annoyance to most of us–no display of the royal colors, prohibitions against listening to the BBC–and for the most part we simply put up with it for a while. No one liked the restrictive laws, but in many people’s eyes these relatively trifling laws were something we could tolerate. But when signs and notices suddenly appeared saying that the Jews had to leave their homes and could not live near us because, as the signs said, they were “infectious” (the Germans called them lice and rats and all kinds of names), when they were told they had to leave their homes in the Netherlands completely, then we stopped putting up with the injustices.

The Germans explained to us that the Jews were to be transported to East Germany from all the other European countries. There they would live only with each other, and that way they could harm only each other. When it started to go into effect, we knew we could simply not tolerate this horrible plan. We knew we had to do something.

According to Hitler, we were the great ones–the people with blond hair and blue eyes, the Aryan race. The “Jewish scum,” as the Germans put it, had to be quarantined, rounded up, and separated from the decent, blue-eyed people of what he thought was the super race…. And they were beginning to implement this kind of policy.

At first, the Jews would get notices at their homes that they had to report to such and such an address on a particular night, say, after curfew. They were to report to schools, for instance, where the Germans gathered all of them and took them away in trucks. Or the Jews were told they had to go to the railroad stations, and they would show up, very scared. The Germans always did it after the curfew hours so the rest of us wouldn’t see what was going on….

[A]t one point, my friend Herman’s family got their notice to report. Like everyone else, Herman was instructed to take only one suitcase, small enough to carry…. The Jews had to leave behind almost everything of sentimental value to them personally, not to mention goods of dollars-and-cents value. And they had no choice but to report; they couldn’t just throw away the summons.

July 21, 1942
A lot has happened again: the Jews are walking with their yellow stars on, are not allowed outside after 8 p.m., are not allowed to visit non-Jews, some streets are forbidden to them, etc., etc.

From Amsterdam many were sent to–??? Many are committing suicide!
O God, don’t You see that they are touching the apple of Your eye? Is it still not enough?
O let us, in the midst of all these things which drive us crazy, still remember that You are the ruler of everything and that the punishment You will give them for these things will be more just than all things we think of to punish them….

Please teach us Christians now to be true Christians and to put into practice what we confess, especially to these Jews. O Lord, make an end to all this, only You can do it. We know that You give strength according to our cross, but it is getting to be so very heavy, Lord.

 

Herman wasn’t working at the bank anymore at that time because he was not allowed to take the tram, the bus, or anything, and he was not allowed to enter that area of the city. So he asked me to come to meet him when he got his summons, because Jews were not allowed to visit non-Jews.

“If you were me, would you go?” Herman asked.

“I don’t think so,” I told him…

Herman’s parents were middle class; his father was a decent man with a good government job. His parents really believed that this whole thing would only last a year. They figured the Germans would place them somewhere in Eastern Europe for a little while, a place where they might have to live a little more simply than they were accustomed to living at home. And then, when it was over, they could come back. That’s what many people thought–Jews and non-Jews. Nobody thought they would be exterminated in gas chambers. Therefore, many of them went as meekly as sheep to their deaths.

German Jews who had lived from 1933 to 1937 or 1938 in Germany had seen how the Nazi system developed, had experienced Kristallnacht, and had fled to the Netherlands in the late 1930s. Many of those people had committed suicide during the German invasion of the Netherlands. The night Hitler invaded Holland–and in the five days of war after the invasion–there was no place left for them to run: Belgium was overrun, and Spain was pro-Nazi. There was no place for them to go but the North Sea….

jewish-family

A Jewish family in Holland being “deported.”

Herman was only a year older than I, and we thought of the possibility that what was really happening was far worse than anyone had imagined. We thought about those suicides, and we considered Hitler capable of anything.

[T]hat evening when I saw Hein, I asked him, “What do you think, should Herman go?”
“You remember what the German Jews did,” he said “They committed suicide.” So I said to Hein [Diet’s fiance’], “You say he shouldn’t report, but what can he do? If he shouldn’t go there, what else is there?”

And that moment was the real beginning of our Resistance work. Hein immediately said he knew plenty of Christian farmers around Holk–in the area of the Netherlands called The Veluwe.
“Any of those farmers I know around Nijkerk,” he said, “any of them we ask will take Herman. He can work there on the farm.”

The whole business grew so fast that within two or three weeks we had over sixty people who wanted places out in the country, in The Veluwe. Sixty Jews in two weeks, and that was just the beginning. Hein … placed many Jews on the farms around that little town. But the list of Jewish people who wanted to hide kept growing….

At first we thought that was all we had to do: simply help the Jews who wanted to be helped when they began to understand what might happen to them. But we immediately learned that if we were to move these Jewish people out to the country, we would have to get them false identification cards. It was simply too risky to put them on trains when they were carrying IDs which were all marked with that big “J” and which the Germans required, to indicate the holder was Jewish….

By 1943 the group we worked with needed over eight hundred cards every month. The men from the knokploeg did that work, and of course it was very dangerous. But they did it for good reason, not simply because it was high adventure. I went to a few of their planning meetings, and those men always got down on their knees first to ask God to protect and help them….

December 3, 1942
… Jewish people are put out of their homes and into the street–without any shelter. All of Scheveningen has to evacuate.All the beautiful buildings are being razed! The coal [used for heating] has to be left behind, and when they raze the buildings this ends up under the rubble, while thousands are sitting without heat. All the government departments have to leave.

I think that Hitler is fulfilling his prophesy that if he goes under, he will drag all of Europe along with him….

(To read more about Diet Eman’s story, visit her website at Things We Couldn’t Say.

For information on Anita Dittman, click here.


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