In this deeply moving verse from Isaiah 40:1, the God of Israel exhorts us as non-Jewish believers to comfort his people, which has gone through so much suffering. On Jan. 27, 1945, the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where more than one million Jews were systematically and brutally killed within only 3 years, was liberated. Auschwitz came to symbolize the Holocaust, during which 6 Million of the 13 Million Jews living in Europe at that time perished between 1940 and 1945 – exactly 70 years ago. In 2005-2006 the European Union as well as the United Nations established January 27th as the official Holocaust memorial day.
Hatred of the Jews within the Christian Church in Europe (both Catholic and Protestant) was a major factor preparing the way for the Holocaust. Starting with the early church fathers and carried on by the great reformer, Martin Luther, replacement theology, whose premise is that God had rejected the Jews because they rejected Jesus, had permeated the European Church. Not only the church, but also most European nations were united in their dislike, mistrust, even hatred of the Jewish people. Most others were simply indifferent to their plight. These attitudes were particularly strong in Germany and helped usher Hitler into power and pave the way for his “final solution” – the Holocaust.