Talk

Auschwitz: An Historical, Moral, and Theological Reflection

Date recorded: 23 May 2014 | Speaker: William Edgar | Event: ELF Pre-Forum Seminar
Auschwitz: An Historical, Moral, and Theological Reflection
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Description

One of the most harrowing phenomena in all of human history, the German death camps were created for the implementation of the Nazi’s “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.” There were some 300 concentration camps and 6 pure extermination camps. In these state-sponsored centers some six million Jews were murdered, representing nearly 80% of the Jews living in occupied lands during World War II. When one adds other “undesirables,” such people as ethnic Poles, Slavs, Romani, as well as disabled and homosexual people, the figures soar to well over ten million. What were the principal factors leading up to the Shoah? How could one of the most so-called advanced civilizations on earth devolve to such raw barbarism? Was it a novum or are there parallels anywhere else? How have Europeans processed and dealt with the consequences of these terrible camps, the largest and deadliest of which was Auschwitz? Most importantly, is there any meaning or theological sense possible in the face of such unspeakable evil? Is there a biblical interpretation of these events that brings any kind of sense to it, or were Christians accessories, if not complicit? 

Dr. Edgar will speak on the significance of the largest and most destructive of the death camps during World War II. After setting forth the facts and dates, we will look at the immediate context in European history, hoping to gain some understanding of the possible causes leading up to the death camps. Of special importance will be the background of Germany between the two great wars, and the rise of the extreme right, with its particular agenda against the Jews.