A few days ago I met a man who saw Hitler. He told a small group, including me, that he was four years old, in Czechoslovakia, and he remembers shiny black cars and a man in the distance. He says the memory is still clear.
If you follow news on the Internet, there are several photo albums and collections of pictures that show the ordinary life of Hitler. For some reason, this information seems to be in the news now. I don’t know why some of these pictures were kept hidden, and have emerged this year.
One example of a photo collection is a recent article with a free discussion by the readers: 50 rare photos of Adolf Hitler.
There are several other sources of these pictures of the “human” Hitler:
- Unseen photographs reveal the private life of Adolf Hitler
- Never before seen photos Adolf Hitler found in an album in mistress Eva’s bedroom
These pictures of an ordinary man, doing ordinary things, have generated angry debate. In the discussions, some people openly speak out as supporters of Hitler and the Nazis “Hitler did nothing wrong he was a good guy.” And “If only you fools would know anything about the Fuhrer you would know that he was a decent man with only the concern of making Germany a prosperous nation after the horrendous Versailles Treaty.”
This is not a new concept, it’s called holocaust denial, and I believe it will increase as World War 2, and the Nazis, and Hitler fade in our living memory. Very few people in the world are like my friend, eye witnesses to Hitler. Did you know he came to power in January of 1933, almost a century ago?
The other side is also represented in the debate: “Let us not humanize this man.” and “I just looked at the photos of Anne Frank, looking at these right afterwards was jarring to say the least!” But it is so easy to humanize a man who looks like someone’s uncle at a family reunion; and it will become common to deny that he did evil things in history, as living memories fade.
This growing debate is interesting, and it has a lesson for us all. Ordinary people can do very evil things, and it’s easy. And ‘ordinary people’ includes you and me. Christians are warned “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” (2 Peter 3:17) If you are a church- going Christian, note that this “fall” could happen to you or me.
Imagine the risk to people who don’t include God in their lives. The pictures of Hitler, the jolly German uncle show the story of Jesus, and the reason Christians exist in the world: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
That pleasant little man was born as an innocent baby, and he did not grow horns after that. He simply made choices and history gave him opportunities. The world suffered, and millions died because of his decisions, including six million innocent Jews, about half the Jewish people in the world. Their number have only rebounded to the levels before Hitler, in the last few years.
I believe denial and the humanization of Hitler will grow, and possibly win the argument some day. The problem is not Hitler, it’s us. People don’t want to admit that a pleasant little man acted like an evil monster. The old pictures show that he is us, and that is not a popular truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9)