Elie Wiesel was once asked do you believe in God, he replied “I don’t know, but I pray to him three times a day.”
Considering what he had experienced, I think he was still a person of faith. But that is just me. With less than one ten-thousandth of the troubles he had, my own faith wavers from time to time. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t. (perhaps I move in a bad crowd.) At least, nobody is trying to exterminate me because I have blue eyes.
His book, Night, is his memoir of the Concentration Camps.
He has spoken out about life – and the demands of righteousness — ever since.
Nobody wants to see pictures of the obscene horror of the Camps these days.
Nobody wants to see photos of what the ISIS gangsters are up to either.
Nobody wants to hear testimony about what happened all the time in the Jim Crow Southron States. (But it also happened in Yankeeland.)
As Christians, how can we not at least find out about these things? How can we want not to think of them?
When Elie Wiesel was forced to watch a hanging in the camps, a regular occurrence, and usually for no reason other than the sadism of the Nazis, he learned to insulate himself from it. But there was one incident, two men and a small boy were hung.
“One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all around us; machine guns trained: the traditional ceremony. Three victims in chains—and one of them, the little servant, the sad-eyed angel. The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him. This time the Lagercapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him. The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses. “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults. But the child was silent.
“Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. “Bare your heads!” yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. “Cover your heads!” Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue-tinged. but the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed. Behind me, I heard the same man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows.” That night the soup tasted like corpses. “
We should always remember, because that is where Christ is always, hanging from the gallows. For us. For his siblings. With us.