Over the past 10+ years, our weekly Red Alert videos highlight issues surrounding the anti-Judaism, antisemitism, and antizionism that pervades our culture and society, worldwide.
I discuss the historical underpinnings of the overarching Jew hatred, whose beginnings are documented in the Hebrew Bible and its history recorded through two millennia in Europe. Often anti-Judaism was at the hands of flawed leaders in the Catholic, Orthodox, and later Lutheran Christian Churches. The faulty and persuasive “replacement theology” was then coupled with the onset of materialism including Marxism, communism, and eugenics. The enemy used all these facets to ripen a population to turn a blind on friends, neighbors, and community members who all contributed to life, culture, and innovation. The result was allowing authoritarian regimes to reign in terror and slaughter innocents. How can we say “never again” without fully examining what led to the unspeakable and learn to stand with faith and resolve against it when the warning signs reemerge?
Our Red Alerts often examine the manifestation of antisemitism (including antizionism) in k-12 school curriculums, university faculty and student bodies, social media, pop culture, and even the news. Together, we will dive deeper into these topics and include additional insights just now being uncovered and rediscovered in Poland—a central location of Holocaust atrocities, outcomes, and scars.
Thanks to the Polish Embassy in Washington DC, I was blessed to be included in a study tour of Poland and examine, though quickly, the 1000 years of history of the nation of Poland and the significance of its Jewish population on its culture, innovations, and contributions to the world. The goal of this study tour was to continue engaging and improving Polish-Jewish relations by way of education and reconciliation. What our team discovered is that the current examination of antisemitism and Holocaust education and studies is incomplete without a good look at the location of where half the world’s Jewish population resided as of 1939 (and the target put on Poland’s back because of it). Squeezed by the anti-Judaic drumbeat of the Nazis to their west and the communists to their east, Poland’s people, both Jew and Gentile, were doomed as targets.
We had 6 consecutive days, full days, of appointments and activities to absorb as much as we can about the perspective of modern-day Poles—non-Jewish and Jewish—and how those sentiments were shaped by history, government policies, occupations, and more. Poland is a nation with 1000 years of history, but only 33 years old as a free democratic nation.
My itinerary included meetings with government officials, institutes of research, archivists, and preservationists, museums, and community organizations as well as synagogues reclaiming its heritage and people in Poland.
We traveled through Warsaw whose complete devastation was not just physical, but also spiritual. Wroclaw, whose Jewish presence contributed to a city whose education and innovation were nearly unparalleled prior to 1939 and Kristallnacht.
Oswiecim, where the Nazis commandeered a Polish military site as their central and largest death camp (Auschwitz), was a quiet town where, as of 1939, 60% of the community’s population was Jewish. By 1941, there were 0 Jewish residents.
Krakow, whose history dates back 1000 years, saw its Jewish citizenry discriminated against as well as revered, depending on the decade. Expulsions and protections by leadership also included long periods of Jews and Gentiles living side by side in relative peace.
Over the next several months I will be including in our Red Alerts the findings and insights I found in Poland as I met with archivists, museum directors, authors, official government ministries, and remnants of the Polish population who are rediscovering their hidden Jewish roots and reviving the disseminated Jewish roots of Poland. These discoveries and new connections will also be incorporated into our educational outreaches and content for use in schools, churches, and community engagements.
What we hope to discover is how and why we, as Christian Zionists, must be aware of the entirety of the Story of the Jewish People so we can approach our solidarity with love, understanding, and true friendship.
Genesis 12:3 — I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Shavua tov, have a great week.