Dear Visitor to Dachau,
If you ever visit a diamond mine, you will think it looks like any other mine. Huge mechanical shovels moving huge mounds of dirt into just as huge trucks, stacking it into big piles. Big conveyor belts moving it into more big machines where it is crushed and processed.
But that doesn't really impressed the visitors. What they want to see are not so big. They don't want to see the dirt, but the diamonds.
Dachau stands not just a testament a hideous atrocity, Nazi violence against people who were lead like sheep to the slaughter, but something more.
It also represents people who through their own deliberate choice, chose to go against and evil regime and paid for it with their lives.
Diamonds are made in the depths of the earth under incredible heat and pressure. They are then mined together with the dirt, the dirt is crushed. The diamonds survive the crushing and are then cut and polished against other hard materials like themselves, and they shine bright and pure; a stark contrast with the black background from whence they came. These heroes of Germany the same.
Once such a demonic monster gets underway, only phenomenal acts of heroism are going to be able to turn it around. It usually needs an equal size regime from outside to be able to do this. But there are some people who attempt to do this from inside. These are the diamonds amongst the dirt.
Though they did not all land up in Dachau, these are some of the diamonds:
Count von Stauffenberg who tried to assassinate Hitler. Not just he, but 500 others were killed in reprisal and murdered in the most brutal of methods. Some were executed by being hung from meat hooks with piano wire. Lt. Col. Caesar von Hofacker also stood with him also lost his life. Fabian von Schlabrendorff, Wilhelm Canaris, Hans Oster, Johannes Popitz, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler, Erwin von Witzleben, Johann Georg Elser, even the famous Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was poisoned. In all there were 9 attempts on Hilter's life.
Students Sophie and Hans Scholl were guillotined and the couple of hundred others who were rounded up and executed following their arrest.
Count Clemens August von Galen, Roman Catholic bishop of Münster, who openly criticised the Nazi euthanasia programme, and nearly got hanged for it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer who left the security of America to be with the German people and counter the Nazis when he could have easily stayed where he was.
These are just a few. There were many others "who did not bow the knee to Baal" stood against Hitler and were thrown into prison and sentenced to death.
Then there is Oskar Schindler who didn't die, but took great personal risks to save 1200 Jews.
These are the Diamonds.
Consider now America 25th June 1962. The Supreme Court motivated by a godless world view (which Germany has ridden itself of) turned against the American Constitution and twisted it, making it illegal to pray in schools. Like the communists, they set about the task of eradicating all evidence of God from public life.
Overnight thousands of Christians and their supporters of speech flocked into the schools and held constant 24 hour prayer vigils. The people were dragged of to court and thrown into prison simply because they "chose to obey God rather than man". Finally the Supreme Court gave into the pressure, the ruling was repealed an America stayed a free nation.
No. This never happened!
In this case, comfort not conviction was king.
Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (who himself spent 10 years in prison, 3 in solitary confinement, in communist Romania) asked:
"Why did the Christians chose to comply? Why did the Americans comply and blindly do what they were told, even though it went against the foundations of their faith?"
No one stood up against this ruling. No one was shot, hanged, gassed, guillotined, poisoned or was hanged by piano wire on meat hooks as happened in those days in Germany.
No diamonds here.
Or just more recently, an internet company, just to stay in the huge Chinese market betrayed some customers to the corrupt communist Chinese government. The poor, already suffering Chinese were given 8 to 10 years of hard jail.
No diamonds here either - apart from the Chinese in prison.
These just happen to be American companies, but similar examples could be taken from other lands.
Diamonds are not made on the sunny beach volleyball court or where the sea moves it back and forth as it will, but in the heat of the volcanoes, under the most harsh of conditions.
If you surf the web, you will find blog about Dachau, Germany and the Germans, some of it quite vitriolic.
But Dachau is not just an icon to totalitarianism, it is a icon to self denial and sacrifice. Tread with veneration not just disdain.
So before you write your blog about this town dear Visitor, please yourself the question:
"What would I have done?"
Please also pray for Dachau and Germany that the deaths of these pillars of righteousness would not have been in vain, but that out of it will come something that will bless the world and not curse it.
Diamonds and not Dirt!
The Diamonds and the Dirt
Political Opposition in Germany 1933-1945
The National Socialists and their helpers
- killed more that 130,000 Germans
- incarcerated many hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, punishment cells and prisons
- sent more that one million people to be interrogated by the Gestapo
In 1933 in Germany there were 66 million inhabitants...
"In Germany there is an opposition which belongs to the finest and the greatest ever to appear in the politcal history of all people. These people fought without help from within or without - just driven by the unrest in their conciences. As long as they lived they were invisible to us because they had to remain hidden. But upon their deaths their opposition has become visible. These deaths do not hope to justify everything which happened in Germany. But their deeds and sacrifices are the indestructable foundation of the new reconstruction."
Winston Churchill, 1946