Social Justice, Anti-Semitism, And Anti-Zionism In Historical And Biblical Perspective -- By: Michael D. Stallard

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 024:2 (Fall 2020)
Article: Social Justice, Anti-Semitism, And Anti-Zionism In Historical And Biblical Perspective
Author: Michael D. Stallard

Social Justice, Anti-Semitism, And Anti-Zionism In Historical And Biblical Perspective

Mike Stallard1

Key Words: Social Justice, anti-Semitism, Zionism, Israel, Palestine.


Recently, my ministry took me to the country of Poland where I had the opportunity to visit the Nazi concentration and death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau for the first time. I asked the Polish guide if he knew who Tadeusz Borowski was, and he gladly shared information with me about this famous Polish poet and writer who had lived in the very buildings through which I was walking. My interest in Borowski (1922–1951) goes back to a Ph.D. seminar where I was required to read his collection of autobiographical short stories entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.2 Borowski, a Gentile, was arrested by the Nazis in Warsaw and spent 1943–1945 imprisoned at various places like Auschwitz and Dachau. His fiancé was placed in Birkenau. Due to his youthful, physical

strength as well as cunning, he was able to survive until the camps were liberated.

Borowski opened his short history This Way for the Gas with the words, “All of us walk around naked. The delousing is finally over, and our striped suits are back from the tanks of Cyclone B solution, an efficient killer of lice in clothing and of men in gas chambers.”3 The concentration camp was a bundle of contradictions. Things that were helpful–killing lice–were deadly also to humans. One of Borowski’s jobs at Auschwitz was to load and help sort through the belongings dumped on the ramp by the trains that brought mostly Jews. The Jews were told that they were going to take a shower and could come back to get their belongings. Instead, most of them–men, women, and children—were gassed and put in the ovens. The volume of belongings– clothes, shoes, hats, meat, sausages, bread, cheese, blankets, coats, briefcases, and drink–was enormous because there were hundreds or thousands on each transport that came in. Those who helped with the large piles of belongings were inmates at Auschwitz. They survived on food they were able to set aside for themselves from the ramp (from the food left behind by the Jews) and which the Nazi guards allowed them to keep. This encouraged them to work hard at their jobs. Borowski records a comment by one of the other helpers: “They can’t run out of people, or we’ll starve to death in this blasted camp. All of us live on what they bring.” Yet they all knew what was going on. In this context, Borowski records asking...

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