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Holocaust has become my pain/ A viewpoint of a Christian and a citizen

Never again!

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write: I know your works, and where you live, even where Satan's seat is…  …

Revelation 2:12-13

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him sitting on it was Death, and Hell followed with him. And authority was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with hunger and with death…

Revelation 6:8

According to historians, the number of victims of the Holocaust in Ukraine constitutes about 10 mln. people. In winter and spring of 1933, there died tens of thousands of peasants in Ukraine, among which were children. To save the latter, their parents put them on the trains in attempt to send them to the city. However, due to the full capacity of the orphanages, most of these children were deemed to die of hunger in the street.

Along with this, in 1932 Ukraine exported 1,72 mln. tons of wheat, and in 1933 – 1, 68 mln. tons. Such amount of wheat could fully have saved the starving people. However, this definitely was not the plan of the Bolshevist leadership back then.

Having first confiscated all products from peasants, the regime totally isolated both the settlements and Ukraine as a whole, to prevent the people from traveling in search of food, leaving them to die of hunger.

The tragic event of the Holocaust is becoming the topic of wider public discussion. Its historical and political causes are discussed, together with social and demographic measurements and consequences; in some places its juridical aspect becomes the subject of discussion, but the least attention, in our opinion, is laid on the not less important issue of this tragedy, mainly its spiritual and moral measurement.

How could such atrocities happen on the territories that ever since the 10th century were proven to be Christian? What kind of spiritual and moral consequences did it have for our people? Are these consequences important for us, Ukrainians of the 21st century?

Ignoring spiritual reasons of the Holocaust (to say nothing of the ignoring of the very fact of the Holocaust), its spiritual measurement, gives no opportunity to rightly prove and overcome its consequences in moral and spiritual spheres.

The Holocaust became a natural effect of godless ideology. Ideology that not only denies the existence of God but also struggles with Him, cannot have respectful attitude to life or man’s dignity as God’s creation. On the other hand, any attempt to justify the Soviet system of measures which caused the Holocaust with its multi-million victims will prove impossible without the negation of the existence of God first of all. It is for this negation that Communist leaders were acting , having the opportunity of neglecting the lives of millions in the name of phantom-like “bright future,” which in essence was their system, for, as Dostoevsky wrote, “If there is no God, all is permitted,” permitted because this denial of God leads them to losing moral values and directions. Or as Lenin wrote: “Revolutionary power… is a power which is conquered and kept by violence…, a power not restricted by any laws.” Along with that, taking the path of war with God, communist regime was naturally to start war with those who denied this negation and, notwithstanding the Communist slogans, kept believing in the Creator and Savior.

Having institutionally destroyed the Church in 1920s, thus liquidating the possibility of its resistance, in 1930s the Soviet power started universal destruction of Christians themselves. The murder started in 1932-1933 from peasantry, which was more religious in comparison to city dwellers, and ended up with killing believers in cities during Stalin’s total repressions in 1937-1938. This is why there are all grounds to consider the Holocaust not only in the context of struggle of the communist regime with Ukrainians or Ukrainian peasantry, but also in the context of the struggle with Christ’s Church, which traditionally was stringer in Ukraine, with her faithful, most of whom in the beginning of the 20th century were peasants.

In its anti-church direction, the Holocaust stands in one row with destruction of the Church, ruining of the church building, persecutions, practical ban on the freedom of conscience and word in the Soviet Union.

Traditionally Christian nation was injected by materialism, the thought of food priority before spiritual values was deeply rooted. It is from here, contrary to any exaggeration, some have nostalgia for former regim, because, as they say, sausage used to cost 2.20. The traditional for a Ukrainian farmer psychology of the owner able to provide for his family on his own, was forcibly replaced by another paradigm: no need to strive for anything, one needs but having loyalty to the system – and you will get a bowl of food.

Events of the Holocaust and further repressions led to fear in people’s souls, impossibility of any inner resistance to the system for the sake of maintaining one’s existence. Human dignity was destroyed, having been replaced by slavish humility to the regime and its representatives for fear of death of starvation. According to Gomilyov, people’s “passionarity” was destroyed.

The consequences of this remain far from been removed even till today. Though, no doubt, the events of Maidan of 2004 became a certain breakthrough, overcoming of this all-grasping fear. Not in connection to certain personalities, but in the sense of readiness and ability of defending one’s ideals. In the sense of one’s realization of oneself as not a cattle which wants but fed-up stability, but owners on their land. And although certain personalities did not meet the expectations, which were laid on them, the ideals, for the sake of which, in particular personal freedom and dignity, hundreds of thousands of people were ready to stand in the frost, did not lose its value.

Who can estimate the measure of spiritual and moral brokenness in the souls of people, Christians, brought to the condition of eating their likes, and witnesses of this insanity?! And those who buried the deemed but still alive?!

Who can estimate the measure of spiritual and moral perversions in the souls of those who took from peasants the last things they have (and far from all of them were any sort of newcomers from city or another nationality – they belonged here or were neighbors), whether fulfilling the party’s command, or thinking likewise to save themselves and their own families. And they did save, and survived, at least then. And left the posterity…

And today we by large constitute that posterity. Isn’t it the reason why for many today the meanings of morals, conscience, fear of God significantly concede to concepts of welfare, success, career? And isn’t it from this posterity that most of today’s power in independent Ukraine comes from? For both they and their children are victims of the Holocaust, despite the fact they survived – moral victims. For what is worse: physical or spiritual death?

“Man has  lowered up to the condition of cattle, which looks up at him with thankful eyes who feeds her better” – doesn’t it remind of something? And turning the elections into a competition of those who will give more buckwheat or at least promises – aren’t they of the same kind? Several generations after the Holocaust are  captives of their stomach, their physiology, which directly influences their political views.

And how many children survived as a result of the Holocaust, but were fatherless and thus did not receive normal family upbringing, including Christian, but instead got the atheistic injection in Soviet educational establishments? The children that did not inherit Christian values from their parents and thus unable to pass them on to their own children. Isn’t this the reason why, despite the 17 years of freedom from communist regime, despite thousands of rebuilt churches, we are still talking about the necessity of spiritual awakening of Ukraine. Because it was much easier to rebuild the temples, along with having learnt to cross themselves on holidays, than to revive the genuine spirituality in our hearts.

The consequences of the Holocaust are important for our present in general and each one of us in particular. Without being set free from the negative spiritual heritage – without repentance as way to cleansing – the development of the personality is impossible, and hence impossible for the state to move along. And the cleansed souls are open to knowing Christ, Who said : “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” Those who knew God, to whom goodness, love, truth and justice became the highest values, are really free from pressing fear, dependence and crush which plants materialism in them. And thus they are able to act righteously.

The truth about the Holocaust is terrible, but it is necessary for us that live today as a reminder of what the stepping away from God leads to. The ignorance of spreading the godliness in modern world brings the danger of new tragedies.

The lesson of the Holocaust is a warning about those political forces which are either recipients of godless ideology or deny Christ’s commandments by their practical actions, those to whom the goal justifies the means and the personal slogans are dearer than freedom, dignity and lives of citizens. “By their fruits you will know them,” says the Lord. This is especially important today, when we have opportunity to select.

What do we choose? This cannot repeat.

Never again!

Translated by Anna Sedova

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