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Auschwitz: 75 Years of Remembering - and Forgetting

On January 27, 1945, the Soviets entered Auschwitz. What they found, in this, now the best known of the Nazi death camps, were the weakest of the still living, corpses, and the remains of the vast machinery of mass murder. As the Allies approached the various camps, the Germans destroyed much of the evidence of their atrocities and forced thousands of prisoners on what became known as death marches.

Last year, we sat in the home of one of those Jewish prisoners, in Givat Shmuel, Israel. As we photographed Michael for our exhibitions, he spoke of Auschwitz and his death march. Walking through thick snow, those prisoners who fell were immediately shot in the back of the head — the roads became red with Jewish blood. When he realised he could walk no longer, he and two friends “jumped to the side” and lay face down, as though dead. Michael would, less than twenty years later, serve as special assistant to the chief prosecutor in the trial of Adolf Eichmann.1 He would be tasked with scattering in international waters, the ashes of a man responsible for the murder of forty members of his own Jewish family.

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The Origin and Outcome of Replacement Theology

Replacement Theology was introduced to the Church shortly after Gentile leadership took over from Jewish leadership. The premises of this belief are that Israel (the Jewish people and the land) are replaced by the Christian Church to fulfill the purposes of God and to become the historic continuation of “Israel” to the exclusion of the former.

What is Replacement Theology?

According to Replacement Theology, post the Pentecost event of Acts chapter 2, the term “Israel,” as found in the Bible, now refers to the Church. Therefore, the Jewish people are now no longer a “chosen people.” They are no different from any other national group, such as the English, Spanish, or French.

Replacement Theology teaches that apart from repentance, the new birth, and incorporation into the Church, the Jewish people have no future, no hope, and no calling in the plan of God. The promises, covenants and blessings ascribed to Israel in the Bible have been taken away from the Jews and given to the Church, which has superseded them. However, the Jews are subject to the curses found in the Bible, as a result of their rejection of Christ.

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