Time for more controversy (I must be in a mood these days).
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish Advocacy group, described the decision to place the statue in the former ghetto as “a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazi’s Jewish victims.”
A senseless provocation? One can only be provoked if one allows oneself to be provoked. You know what was really senseless? The attempted genocide of the Jews. Why do we have this culture of sugar coating every piece of information or history that we as a species would prefer to not think about? We are certainly condemned to repeat the mistakes of our past if we choose what to remember and how to remember it.
Organizers argue that the statue is intended to be thought-provoking, according to The Associated Press. The exhibition’s catalogue says art “can force us to face the evil of the world.”
I agree. Most of our world will agree that Hitler was an evil man. But in reality, Hitler was a deeply religious person and self-proclaimed Christian. This is where many Christians will say that he wasn’t a “true” Christian, mostly because he did things that they didn’t like (to make the understatement of the century). To those people, I ask what Christians don’t do that? With so many variants of the religion out there, then peoples’ diverging views upon even the common versions, we will constantly have people who claim to be Christians doing things that other Christians disapprove of. That’s the way it is and has been for ages. Sorry. As much as Christians would like to say that Hitler wasn’t a true Christian, I’d like to say that Hitler wasn’t a true human for being able to commit such atrocities. It doesn’t change the fact that he was a living, breathing human being. No True Scotsman.
Now let us think, for a moment, about what history would have thought of Hitler had he and the Nazis won. We know that history is typically written by the winners, so imagine a Nazi’s view of history here. A successful purge of the evil, dirty Jews all in God’s favor. Thankfully the Nazis did not win, and an entire culture was saved. But if they had succeeded, history would have a very different perspective. And it would have had the support of Christianity.
Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, was consulted about the installation, according to the Guardian, and said he believes it has educational value. Rather than support Hitler, Schudrich told the Guardian it shows that even evil lurks in the shape of a “sweet praying child.”
Rabbi Schudrich is a brave and enlightened man. Besides the perfectly valid idea that evil can lurk in the shape of a sweet, praying child, it’s also important to consider all of the evils committed by people in this world, including in the name of God. The fighters on each side in the Crusades thought they were fighting on God’s side. Logic would dictate that at least one of the sides was wrong.
Let’s keep this statue up and encourage the meaningful dialogue we’ve got going here. Let’s not sugarcoat the evils and terrible crimes that occur in our history. We must always be reminded of the inhumanity that man inflicts upon himself, oftentimes in the name of God.