Kiel, Germany, December, 1931.
Rachel Posner, the Rabbi’s wife, took this photo in her living room, across the street from the Nazi headquarters.
It was the last night of Hanukkah.
Hate, vitriol and racist lies were sweeping across Germany.
Rachel wrote upon the back of the photo:
‘Judea dies’, thus says the banner.
‘Judea will live forever’, thus respond the lights.”
Rabbi Posner recognized the dangers of the Nazis, and encouraged any Jewish people who would listen that they needed to flee. He and his family left Germany in 1933, taking the photo and the Hanukkah Menorah with them. (For more on the history behind the photo, visit: http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/menorah-defies-nazi-flag/)
In 2017, the Trump White House held a Hanukkah service — without inviting a single Jewish Democrat. The bigotry, antisemitism, racism and sexism in the White House and Congress are at levels not seen since the United States defeated the Nazis on the streets of Berlin in May, 1945.
It’s easy to dismiss comparisons of the United States to Nazi Germany.
Nazi Germany was led by educated, articulate, experienced military men with a clear focus on world domination.
The Trump administration is filled with rubes and fools.
It’s folly to compare the leadership of the two countries. Comparisons can be found among the people of 1931 and 2018.
Both countries are brimming with Anglo-Saxons proud of their country’s history, with an over-developed sense of nationalism and a profound willingness to let government representatives get away with taking the rights, property, and the lives of citizens and residents.
Political propagandists routinely manipulate citizens into making decisions against their own best interests.
Working people blame every minority for every issue, and turn a blind eye to the racism, bigotry or violence of white men and the socioeconomic, political and legal systems that protect them.
Millions ignore economic exploitation of the working poor, while simultaneously blaming them for their situation.
In less than a heartbeat, bigotry and hate can be unleashed and focused with deadly consequences on the streets of Munich or the streets of Charlottesville.
Let us not fool ourselves into believing that it can’t happen again or that it can’t happen here.
It is happening again.
It is happening here.
Americans are victimized and victimizing everyday. Minorities are being abused by the majority.
And yet again, goodhearted people turn a blind eye to the system of bigotry and economic exploitation.
God is not on the side of bigots.
God was on the side of the Israelites when a day’s worth of oil lasted for eight nights.
Scripture in the hands of bigots is not of God.
Scripture in the mouths of racists is like ashes.
Jesus is on the side of the victim, not on the side of an angry public enforcing unjust laws.
We must stand up for victims today, and we must stand in honor of the victims of the past, those who waited in vain for someone to stand up for them.
Germany failed their moral test. Now it is our turn.
The Unites States is in a pivotal point in history. How will we respond to the growing hatred? By responding as Christians or as Nazis?