Category Archives: Auschwitz

Reality Check: Does Having Judeo-Christian Values Make You a Candidate for Genocide?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The words–annihilation, extermination, carnage, and slaughter, to name a few, are synonyms for the word “Holocaust”. The word “genocide”not invented until 1941, fits right in there. But none of those words bring us to the core of what those words truly represent. They are the by-product of the malevolent, hideous, and hate filled evil that consumes and takes control of certain human beings.

During the 20th century, seven periods of genocide  took place. Beginning with the  Armenian Genocide of  1915-1918, moving  to the Holocaust of 1938 -1945, seeing the horrors of Rwanda in 1995 and jumping forward to today’s worldwide daily carnage, what has changed? Not a damn thing.

The pages of history are filled with countless numbers of people who have seen fit to perform evil, vicious acts against those of their own kind. It defies logic, common sense, and so many other traits that are part of the human condition. Supposedly “good” people, upstanding citizens, if empowered and able to hide behind a mantra of legality, turn on their own kind and subject them to the most incredulous pain and suffering they can conjure up. How many Nazi war criminals used the excuse of “just following orders” to justify their actions?

But we lose a sense of the horror when we talk about the “millions” of innocents annihilated. We somehow need to look at individual people to grasp a sense of what did  happen and is happening up and including this very day. In fact, history proves that the our humanity is tied together with our ancestors, those part of our present and those that will follow us in the future.

In early April I wrote about the only nun ever sentenced to death by a Nazi court. Her name was Sister Maria Restituta (now Blessed Maria). Blessed Maria’s “crime” was  that she refused to remove Crucifixes from hospital bedrooms. I would now like to mention the very first priest to die in a Nazi concentration camp. Just like Blessed Maria he was also born in Austria. His name was Otto Neururer.

Father Neururer was a parish priest and a young woman came to him seeking advice. She wanted to know whether or not she should marry a divorced man. The man had a shady past and Father Otto advised her against the marriage. She told this man what Father had told her and he promptly went to his friend who was a high ranking Nazi official in the area. Father Neururer was arrested for “slander to the detriment of German marriage” and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp. From Dachau he was sent to  Buchenwald which was under the command of Martin Sommer aka “The Hangman of Buchenwald”.

While at Buchenwald, Father Neururer performed a “forbidden” Baptism. He was caught, sent to the punishment block and Martin Sommer decided to have him hung upside down. Father Neururer was left that way until he died 36 hours later. He was 58 years old and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Demonstrating the connection from yesterday to today and onward to tomorrow let us jump ahead to  April 7, 2014. The place is Homs, Syria. Creatures of habit, most of us more than likely went through our usual daily routine of showering, brushing our teeth, having coffee, getting dressed and doing the things we usually do in whatever order we do them which is unique to each of us as individuals.

And then there were those that did not have an ordinary kind of day. One of them was Father Frans Van der Lugt a 75 year old Jesuit who had spent 50 years in Syria helping the poor and needy. This day would be his last.    

On Monday morning, April 7, masked assailants stormed into the monastery where Father Frans was tending to the remaining few dozen Christians left in Homs, (down from the 60,000 a few years earlier). These ISIS cowards dragged the 75 year old priest from the church, beat him mercilessly and then shot him in the head, killing him.

Father Fran’s crime was for being a Catholic priest and serving Jesus and loving his neighbor. What was Father Otto’s crime 70 years earlier? He was a Catholic priest serving Jesus and loving his neighbors. And dear Blessed Maria, she was just a Catholic nun and a nurse who loved Jesus and was beheaded for refusing to remove a Crucifix from a hospital wall.

To tie the entire century together lets not forget the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 thru 1918. Being part of the Judeo-Christian world means we must always be prepared and always be ready to stand up for God and Jesus and Goodness. Not one of those mentioned and the millions of their  murdered brethren ever thought  a day like that would come their way. Were they all ready to die for their faith? Would you or I be ready? Maybe it is time for ALL of us to think about that.

                                 ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

This Year Holy Week Sends a Perfect Storm: Embrace Its Power

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

If you are Catholic and have not been to Mass or confession in thirty years or more you might think that forgiveness is beyond your  grasp and that there is “no hope” for you. You might even think that if you walked into a church you would turn into a pillar of salt. Well, here is the deal. All of that negative, ” I’m too bad to be forgiven” or “It’s too late for me” stuff is bunk. It is what is known as a “cop-out”. But there is great news for all of us, wicked sinners included.

You see, a Perfect Storm is approaching. This might even be a once in a lifetime occurrence. During the upcoming days, Holy Week, Easter Sunday and the Holy Year of Mercy will converge into a spiritual tsunami ready to wash us all with its unrivaled, avalanche of Love., Forgiveness and Mercy.

Even if you have been the most self-centered, egotistical, s.o.b. since Caligula busied himself ravaging Rome, it does not matter. We all have an opportunity to run into this storm, open our arms wide, and embrace the deluge of unconditional love and mercy that God will be pouring down upon us. There is a catch. We have to want it and ask for it. That’s all there is to it. That seems simple enough but for so many it is so hard to do. That is because something called Pride stops us over and over.

Recently I wrote about Dutch Schultz. Dutch was one of the most feared and brutal murderers in the bootlegging business in the 1930s. He ruled the Bronx and, as he lay dying after being gunned down in Newark, N.J., asked for a priest. He had his confession heard, asked for and received Anointing of the Sick and received Holy Viaticum (last Communion). Was Dutch Schultz turned away and told he did not qualify for mercy? Answer, NO.

Let us look at another fellow who makes Dutch Schultz look like a “goody-two-shoes”. His name was Rudolf Hoess *. This man was the Kommandant at Auschwitz, the deadliest and most efficient of the German death camps. Hoess designed the extermination processes that were implemented there and was responsible for the murders of over two and a half million people.  

Every day, Rudolf Hoess kissed his wife and kids good-bye and went to work. While at work he  supervised the killings and torturing of countless men, women and children. After work he went home, kissed his wife hello, ate dinner with his family, read a book to his children and then tucked them into bed. What a guy. What a dad. What a husband. He also can lay claim to the title, Greatest Mass Murderer in History. 

Here is something not too many people are aware of.  Hoess  had ordered the execution of a group of Jesuits, including their Superior, Father Wladyslaw Lohn. The priests  were all herded out together to be killed but, ironically,  Father Lohn  was not with the others. The priest was somehow “absent” for his execution and the executioners did not know it. Was it Providence?

Rudolf Hoess was raised in a strict Catholic household but rebelled against his faith as a teenager. Right before his execution  he asked for a priest. It was Father Lohn who was sent to him. It was Father Lohn who heard his confession, anointed him and gave him his final Holy Communion. Then Hoess was sent to the gallows.

Isn’t it amazing but, no matter how evil any of us has been, as long as we have a breath left in us God will hear our cries for mercy. All we have to do is ask. Even a monster such as Rudolf Hoess was given a chance at forgiveness. He responded to grace, seized the moment and asked for God’s mercy. Was he redeemed? What do you think? (See temporal punishment )

The point is this. Love, Forgiveness and Mercy are ours for the asking. And now, as Holy Week and Easter Sunday join The Holy Year of Mercy, a Perfect Storm is about to blow across our world, a storm that you will want to be sucked up in and transported to another spiritual dimension. No matter what you have done, it is never too late. God waits with open arms for all of his children. Some will seize the opportunity, swallow their pride and ASK for forgiveness and mercy.  Others will never do it. We all have a choice. We can embrace the storm or hide from it.

Rudolf Hoess* should not be confused with Rudolf Hess, who was Deputy Fuhrer under Hitler

                                      ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

From Anti-Semitism to Anti-Christism; The 21st Century Holocaust is Upon Us

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Recently the Anti-Defamation League conducted a global survey asking questions about the Holocaust. Unbelievably, two-thirds of the respondents (mostly younger people) had NEVER heard of the Holocaust and, for those that had, many did not believe the history and suggested that it was simply exaggerated. The rejection of a history so recent and so well documented boggles the mind. 
The term, “Denial” is a stock psychological term and most everyone knows what it means when used in proper context. Denying the existence of the Holocaust transcends “Denial”.  I believe that Holocaust denial must first be fueled by a self-absorbed apathy that results in indifference to all things that do not concern the “denier”. The journey to denying Truth then becomes easier if it might cause one so absorbed to experience “pain or discomfort”.

After being so weakened with one’s own self-love, denying the Holocaust becomes easy. Let’s face it, the horrors inflicted upon millions and millions of fellow human beings by their own kind is hard to fathom. But to deny or reject the documented history of such an era is just asinine. If you are among those who might “deny” the Holocaust ever happened you are one step away from falling into the bottomless pit of idiocy.

Bundesarchiv, B 285 Bild-04413 / Stanislaw Mucha / CC-BY-SA
Entrance to Auschwitz~~Gateway to Extermination

Seventy (70) years ago Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Today, genocide is once again running rampant in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle-east, and is widening like a swarm of unstoppable locusts spreading slowly and viciously across the world. What is the difference of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis in Germany or the genocide being perpetrated by ISIS and radical Muslim Extremists in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and even Europe and bit by bit in the United States? The answer–NOTHING.

Nothing is different because the end result is the same. Extermination of those that are hated. Whatever the reason one has for committing these atrocities does not matter. Hate is hate and it comes from an ‘evil spirit’ that has captured and harnessed each and every one of those haters having them commit their atrocities with glee and pleasure. How sick and twisted this is. How sick and twisted it is to deny it is happening now as it did then. How irresponsible and derelict in their responsibilities are the  educators and historians and those who know better to NOT teach this history and, worse yet, to alter and/or taint it.

The picture above is not fake. It is not a sketch or a painting. It is of a REAL place. It is the entrance to Auschwitz/Birkenau in Poland. People like you and I—men, women, children, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins and friends—were all brought to this place against their will. Upon arrival at this annex of Hades, they were immediately either put to work as slaves or sent to the gas chambers and murdered. They had been dehumanized, declared  “sub-human” and efficiently eradicated.  Ladies and gentlemen, young and old alike, there is NO DENYING THIS.

Yes, they were real people. They had dreams and hopes and loved and sang and danced and enjoyed a nice meal. They loved Hanukkah and Christmas (there were over two thousand Catholic priests murdered in the Holocaust and many Catholic nuns). Included among those possessing “lives unworthy of life” were, gypsies, Soviets, homosexuals, disabled persons, Slavs, religious and political dissidents, and non-Jewish poles and Dutch and Austrians and French and on and on. Six million Jews and another six million non-Jews. And people DENY that the Holocaust actually happened. Are you kidding me?

It is the year 2015. When Auschwitz was liberated General Eisenhower told his people to photograph everything lest the day comes when people begin to forget. The photos and film and records of this vicious genocide is there for all the world to see. Yet people deny it and schools may teach it in a cursory manner if at all. ISIS is running rampant throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa wantonly killing Christians without repercussion.  Thousands upon thousands of innocent people, including Americans, have been killed in ISIS’s world wide “Jihad” against the “infidels”.

ISIS just published a 22 minute video of the the most heinous and barbaric execution of a captured Jordanian pilot. They burned him alive in a cage for all the world to see. Unlike the Nazis who tried to camouflage their genocide the cowardly barbarians of ISIS want the world to see what they do and hope that we cower in fear. They have publicly beheaded Americans, Japanese, French, British  and others from around the world. They plan to continue their barbarous work on our very shores. Remember Fort Hood, Boston, and Oklahoma City?

It seems to me that the United States of America, a country comprised of people rooted in all nations of the world and blessed with an abundance of technology and resources, has  a responsibility to take the lead in the fight against these maniacal terrorists who  kill, unhesitatingly, even our children. They hate us and are waging war against us and our friends around the world. It is time for our leaders to forget “political correctness”, strap on some American pride and spit bullets into the eye of this thing called ISIS.

The 20th century is gone but not forgotten for millions of us. Our children and grandchildren deserve to experience some 20th century peace and prosperity like we did. God help us all and may God always bless America.

                                                    copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

The HOLOCAUST–We All Must Remember and We Must Teach Our Children

by Larry Peterson

January 27 marked the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most prolific and deadly of all the Nazi death camps.  The day is called International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Interestingly, or might I say, unbelievably, this day was not officially “remembered” until November, 2005,  60 years after the Russian army liberated the camp.  This anniversary marks the beginning of the end of the reign of terror that had engulfed Europe and ultimately the entire world  under the demonic leadership of Adolf Hitler and his evil minions of Nazi followers.

There were over six million Jews and close to six million others who perished during this dark time.  It is hard to fathom the scope of this depravity and how it could have even happened.  But–it did.  Okay, to the point.

The word  “Holocaust” has a number of synonyms:  annihilation, extermination, carnage, genocide, and slaughter, might be a few.  But the word does not bring you to the very core of what it actually represents— the victims of human evil.  They were just  people who became victims simply because they were perceived as being “different” and therefore unacceptable to the rest of society. Who decided such a thing?  The people in power, that’s who.  They took that power to a level of unheralded arrogance deciding who should live and who should die.  We tend to think of the “millions’ who perished but we rarely think of them as individuals unless some story grabs our attention like “The Diary of Anne Frank”,  “The Devil’s Arithmetic” and, of course, “Schindler’s List”.

Each and every one of the people who had their very God given existence taken away from them were like all of us.  They had their hopes and dreams.  They had mothers and fathers and wives and husbands and children and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews and, of course, friends.  They loved, they worked, they played, they enjoyed holidays and walks in the park on a Sunday afternoon where the kids might feed the ducks or the squirrels.  They quietly embraced the dignity of their own selves, just as we all try to do. They were proud of their families and their jobs and professions.  And then they came. The other people. The ones in power. The ones who had the law on their side and the people following them willing to carry it out, no matter how heinous; even willing to commit torture and murder under the “rule of law”.

Can you imagine having your very self  stripped away with such indifferent, arrogant disdain?  Can you imagine having your own children bludgeoned to death right in front of you as you are forced to watch, helpless to do a thing about it.  This treatment of human beings by other human beings went on for over 12 years.  And through all of the Godless depravity that filled the very hearts and souls of those carrying out this abhorrent treatment of their fellow human beings there were  many stories of the love and kindness and respect for life that had been embraced by the victims themselves.  Many who offered this Godly assistance to others were tortured and murdered for it. Let me tell you about one of them.

His name was Otto Neururer. He was from Austria and was a Catholic priest. Father Neururer was the very first priest to die in a Nazi concentration camp. What was his “crime”?  Well, he was a parish priest when a young woman came to him for advice about whether or not she should marry a divorced man.  The man had a shady past and Father Neururer advised her against the marriage.  The man reported the priest to his friend, who was a party leader in the area.  Father Neururer was promptly arrested and charged with “slander to the detriment of German marriage”.  He was sent to Dachau, the first concentration camp established by the Nazis. From there he was sent to Buchenwald which was under the command of Martin Sommer aka “The Hangman of Buchenwald”.

Father Neururer performed a “forbidden” baptism while at Buchenwald and was sent to the punishment block.  Martin Sommer had the priest hanged upside down and left him that way until he died on May 30, 1940—all for performing a baptism.  He was 58-years old.  Father Otto Neururer was beatified and declared Blessed Otto Neururer by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Blessed Otto Neururer, thank you.  Please pray for us  asking God to hear our prayers and give us the resolve to teach our children  so that future generations may always be prepared to fight such evil before it rears its demonic head.

On the anniversary of his martyrdom we remember St. Maximilian Kolbe

 On this date in 1941, Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest and a prisoner of the Nazi’s incarcerated at the Auschwitz death camp, traded his life to save the life a man who had a family. They starved him for ten days and then finished him off with an injection of carbolic acid. He was 47 years old. He was canonized a saint on Oct 10, 1982 by JPII and is the patron of drug addicts and the imprisoned. The man he saved was reunited with his family after the war and was present at St. Maximilian’s canonization. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.

St. Maximilian Kolbe
                                                       Fr.Maximilian Kolbe 1939.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

   

I Love Being Catholic and It Is Easy To Do

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson

I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic and I am still a Catholic. Even with a secular college education I remained a Catholic. I am considered fairly intelligent although some of my opinions have had some of the intelligentsia consider me an idiot. I do not care. I LOVE being Catholic. That’s right, I do love being Catholic and permit me to let you in on a little secret, IT IS EASY TO DO! Just keep it simple.  How? You reach inside yourself, admit that you are not nearly as smart as you think you are and DO NOT “outhink” the fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals? The “Golden Rule” encapsulates it all. Love God. How? By Loving your neighbor. How do you do that? You treat him/her the way you would like to be treated. You do not pass judgment on them and you “forgive them their trespasses”. That’s it. That is being Catholic. Where does the strength and courage come from to help us live this way? From the Risen Christ Who is there every single day of the week for us in the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.

I am a writer. I am not famous or anything like that. I  have no idea who might even read this. But I write every day so I am a writer. In my office at home I am surrounded by  a bunch of books about a whole bunch of stuff. My task bar on my desktop has the dictionary, Wikipedia , Google translate and other links at my fingertips for immediate reference. I have all the news information a click of the mouse away. I know about the church scandals, the pedophilia  and the defrocked clerics that shamed the church so badly. It changes NOTHING as far as the fundamentals are concerned. Those people decided not to follow the Golden Rule and used their positions to disgrace themselves, hurt the innocent and scandalize the Church that trusted them. No matter what, that church has never deterred from her fundamentals. It was some of the people entrusted with her care who did that.

Tomorrow the College of Cardinals will conclave. They will go into the Sistine Chapel, the doors will be locked behind them and they will not exit until a new Pope is elected. There will be no communication with the outside world. There are over five thousand journalists on hand to cover the proceedings and the speculation about topics such as birth-control, women’s ordination, “reproductive rights”, gay marriage and other subjects will get top billing. None of the thousands are reporting about the love and forgiveness the church teaches or the charity it extends and has extended to millions over the decades. None of them has a clue as to what is going on inside the conclave. Yet they will speculate and offer rumors. It is what it is.

My Pollyana side imagines that some of these folks might report about some of the simple catholics who have lived and died their faith following the Golden Rule. Catholics like St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who gave his life at Auschwitz so a man who had children could live. He was starved to death. They could mention Blessed Frederick Ozanam, the 21 year old student from Paris who founded the St. Vincent De Paul Society in 1833 and how this society is today a worldwide charity serving countless millions each year and also was the first charity in the United States. One more is Venerable Solanus Casey, a simple priest who spent most of his life as a doorman at the monastery where he lived. They called him “Barney” and his kind words to people coming and going made him renowned. It was all because he stuck to the fundamentals.

Yessiree, I LOVE being Catholic. All you have to do is keep it simple and L-Y-N (love your neighbor)

                                                           copyright © 2013 Larry Peterson