Last week, on International Holocaust Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Canadian-Israeli Rabbi, and tour guide David Abrahamovitz joined Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale, New York and his rabbinic colleagues as they protested the presence of a church in the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
In 1982, the church and its towering crosses were built, converted from an old SS administrative building overlooking the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, and now serving the local Christian population. According to Abrahamovitz, its presence represents a gross disservice to the 1 million Jews who were brutally murdered in the camp.
Though Jews represented 95 percent of the camp’s victims, Abrahamovitz told Breaking Israel News, “there is no star of David hanging high, just the massive cross, and there is a placard in the church that references the oppression that was afflicted upon Christians and Jews, with Christians being mentioned before Jews.”
“You would have to read the fine print of signs throughout the camp to even see the word ‘Jew’ — you could easily spend half a day there without knowing of any Jewish affiliation with Birkenau,” he added.
This is so problematic, maintained Abrahamovitz, because “it changes the narrative of the genocide, piggybacking on the site of our genocide in order to spread their message,” doing a disservice not only to his seven Jewish great grand-parents murdered there but in addition, to any Polish claims of innocence during World War II.
Abrahmovitz has made sure to speak of this injustice as he has guided Christians through Poland over the last five years. Having the opportunity to tour Poland, he said, “allows them to witness with their own eyes the travesties afflicted upon the Jewish people, to understand the need for the phraseology of ‘never again,’ and to continue as ambassadors of the Jewish people when they return home, testifying that anti-Semitism is an evil without bounds.”
This May, Abrahamovitz will guide Christians through Poland as a part of Israel365’s exclusive Beauty for Ashes tour, co-hosted by Pastor David and Miriam Swaggerty of Charisma Life Ministries. The group will begin with an optional pre-tour to Poland, where they will encounter firsthand the atrocities of the Holocaust. After learning about and witnessing in-person the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust and its perpetual aftermath, the group will travel to Israel, the land of spirituality and faith miraculously birthed just three years later.
In Israel, the group will explore the Hebraic roots of Christianity — physically and spiritually — through the various Biblical landscapes and sites, and stand together with the Jewish people in celebration of 72 years of prophecy fulfilled.
According to Abrahamovitz, celebrating the miracle of Israel being reborn incredibly just three short years after the Holocaust becomes that much more special. “Throughout our tour of Poland, we hear of tremendous tragedy, but we also speak of supernatural miracles. I share with my participants that the greatest miracle that they’ll witness on my tour is not in Poland but rather, it’s when their airplane hovers over the land of Israel, which has blossomed and speedily became inhabited over the last seven decades.”
“Witnessing first hand what triggered the birth of the state of Israel, is an experience which is life-changing as one sees God’s hand in prophecies materializing,” said Abrahamovitz.
However, the people Abrahamovitz guides are not the only ones returning inspired. “I have continuously been inspired by my groups’ altruistic love for Israel and the Jewish people. They strengthen my belief in God in that they are quick to realize that the destruction of the Jewish nation and subsequent establishment of the State of Israel is a clear example of prophecy coming to fruition,” he said.
Many Christians who he has guided have shared with Abrahamovitz that the tour is meaningful not only as a way to build a relationship with and bless Israel, but to repent for the sin of standing idly by when fellow human’s blood was spilt.
Learning about and acknowledging this in Poland and Israel, added Abrahamovitz, could also prevent such atrocities in the future.
Written in partnership with Yeshiva for the Nations and Jerusalem Tours.