Skip to content

Providence, Part 2 – The Holocaust

September 27, 2020

Child survivors of the Holocaust liberated at Auschwitz (1945), Source “A History of the Holocaust” by Yehuda Bauer (ISBN 0531155765), Author Alexander Voroncov (PD)

In our examination of providence, we turn now to focus on the Holocaust.

Six million Jewish men, women, and children – along with five million Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled persons, and Roma gypsies – were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis.

Where was God while this happened?  Where was God’s providence?  Surely, He could have intervened to save His people.

As mentioned earlier in this series, God’s thoughts are not our own (Isa. 55: 8-9).  We can only surmise that He had a higher purpose to permit suffering on such a scale.  What we do know is that the Holocaust led to establishment of the modern state of Israel, and that God still loves the Jewish people.

As for the impossible act of forgiveness by Holocaust survivors, Corrie Ten Boom is among the prime examples.  Corrie forgave her guard at Ravensbruck.  She used as her example Christ, who forgave us.

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him…As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

-Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Crime


  1. Coincidence? In our house church this morning we handled the second part of a 3 dimensional discussion on ‘forgiveness.’ The past two Sunday’s we dealt with the vertical dimension, i.e. Abba’s loving forgiveness of us as taught in Lk. 15 (The Parable of the Loving Father). Next week we hope to take up the horizontal dimension (Lk. 11:4) and inward dimension (forgiving ourselves). In my notes for next week I had written out the story of Corrie Ten Boom’s forgiveness of her Ravensbruck guard! The power of divine love. Thanks for the reminder, Anna.

    PS I was unaware of the 5 million (!) JW’s, homosexuals, Gypsies and disabled murdered by the Nazis. 11 million in all! How broken is our world, and how great our Father’s loving patience with humankind! ‘Make me an instrument of Thy peace…’

  2. To the timeless question of “why does God allow suffering”, the Holocaust stands alone as the ultimate example of how we are incapable of understanding the mind and motives of a loving and merciful God towards His people.

    For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”. Isaiah 55:9

    At best, all that we can do is come to the place of acceptance that indeed the Almighty allows or prevents events of this magnitude in order to bring about something good.

    On a side note, most of us immediately recognize the figure of 6 million as the number of Holocaust victims, yet as you point out Anna the actual total who perished under Hitler’s regime is nearly double that. When you look at the total number of WWII dead however, that number explodes to somewhere between 75 & 85 million, including about 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians.

    When one considers the condition of this world today, it is easy to wonder if so many millions have not died in vain.

    • I wrestle w/ that question everyday, Ron. I can no longer watch the news for more than a few minutes at a time. I find myself weeping at WWII movies. It feels as if all that sacrifice was in vain. But God was present for every moment. He took note of every heartbeat. And His ledger is the one that counts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: