Eva Fleischner, "The Christian and the Holocaust," Journal of Ecumenical Studies 7 (Spring 1970) 331-333

Abstract by Jerry Darring


Fleischner writes to take issue with Elwyn Smith's 1969 editorial on "The Christian Meaning of the Holocaust." Her "different approach" includes the following thoughts:
--- The magnitude of the questions raised by the Holocaust should cause us to approach them with caution. "The Holocaust raises unanswerable theological questions," so that it is not "possible to attempt a theology of the Holocaust." If one tries to find meaning in such abysmal evil, the result could be disastrous, for "to see the Holocaust, the Nazi murderers, somehow as instruments of the omnipotent Lord of History is to make a mockery of God" (331).
--- The Holocaust certainly cannot be understood as punishment for the Jews.
--- As one of the three major catastrophes undergone by the Jewish people--Babylonian Exile, destruction of the Second Temple, Holocaust--the latter reveals certain aspects of the power of survival of the Jewish people. Indeed, the State of Israel "literally appears like the resurrection from the dead, the vision of Ezechiel come true" (332).
--- The Holocaust also reveals something about human nature. It provides a frightful glimpse at our ability to be inhuman toward each other, showing "man at his worst, his most devilish, most inhuman" (333).
--- Death, destruction and despair are not the final word, for "we know today, and must proclaim to the world, that Israel continues to live" (333).