August 18, 2015
What If You Knew the Holocaust Was Happening?
Post by Brittany Tedesco
Caption for first photo: Nicholas Winton Memorial in Prague Main Railway Station. Luděk Kovář - firstname.lastname@example.org, sculptor Flor Kent - Self-photographed
Nicholas was doing well for himself. In his late twenties, he was a broker at the London Stock Exchange. He wasn't so engrossed in his own life, however, that he ignored what was happening on the world stage. He saw the writing on the wall, and he knew that if he didn't act, lives would be lost.
The Nazis were invading Czechoslovakia, and the Jews were in grave danger. He thought about the children. . . what would happen to those children?
His conclusion was simple, matter-of-fact. He had to get them out of there.
He secured permission from the British government to transport children into the U.K., provided he could place them with families willing to take care of them.
Many families volunteered to adopt a Jewish child, and Nicholas began his rescue work, loading children onto trains and boats. Hundreds of Jewish parents made the anguishing decision to relinquish their children to strangers in England, knowing their chances of survival were slim if they remained at home. Most of those parents were later rounded up and sent to Auschwitz, where they died.
Hundreds of children were saved, but the last group of 250 children never made it out. They were scheduled to leave Prague on the same day Hitler invaded Poland. Most of them died during the war.
In all, Sir Nicholas Winton rescued 669 Jewish children. He died last month, July 2015, at the age of 106.
What would you have done if you knew the Holocaust was taking place? Would you have done anything to save the victims from certain death?
Guess what? A holocaust is taking place.
And guess what else? You have an opportunity to save some lives.
A modern-day holocaust is taking place. ISIS terrorists, along with rebel groups, continue to murder, torture, rape, and abuse Christians in cities they've overtaken in Syria.
Syria was already engaged in a violent civil war before ISIS came on the scene. Warring factions have destroyed peaceful cities, turning them into desolate battle zones.
Nearly half of the country's 22 million residents are displaced, including around 700,000 Christians.
Aleppo, Syria's largest city, has been ravaged. Christians who once lived there fled south to the city of Qaryatain—which ISIS seized on August 6, and promptly abducted more than 200 people. An estimated 60 of those are Christians. No one knows where these people are or what will become of them.
John Newton, spokesman for Aid to the Church in Need, tells the story of a priest who was kidnapped and held by ISIS for two months. They demanded his family pay $120,000 for his release. Hours after the family delivered the funds, ISIS killed the priest, cut his body into pieces, and sent the pieces to his family.
You might have heard about the city of Raqqa, one of ISIS' earliest conquests in Syria. Only 30 Christians are left there, and these pay the jizya (tax inflicted on all non-Muslims). ISIS has turned the city into an Islamic dystopia, complete with slave markets, in accordance with the traditions of Mohammed.
Christian and Yazidi (religious sect) women and girls who have been captured from ISIS-controlled cities are bussed to Raqqa where they are stripped naked to be examined and purchased by ISIS fighters in the slave markets. The most expensive "slaves" are girls, aged one to nine. The older the girl, the lower the price tag.
Child rape is not only one of ISIS' favorite pastimes, it's a religious duty. A recent New York Times article relays the story of a Yazidi girl, captured by ISIS at the age of 12 and sold to a fighter for sex. Her captor told her that, according to Islam, he is not only allowed to rape her because she is a non-Muslim, but he is actually drawing closer to Allah by doing so.
Young, non-Muslim boys are abused too, in a different way. In ISIS-controlled territories they've been taken to camps to be trained as jihadists.
Christians Targeted for Annihilation
As ISIS pushes westward inside Syria, Christians are in the crosshairs. They're running out of places to which they can safely flee. Sadad, a town that is home to around 5,000 Christian families is likely ISIS' next target. Christians there have started fleeing to the capital city of Damascus. . . but how much longer until it's overtaken?
Could be soon. ISIS now controls half of Syrian territory and is showing no signs of slowing down. They're well-equipped and wealthy, with an estimated $2 billion of oil wealth.
Christian Aid Mission's Middle East Director, Steve Van Valkenburg, believes Syrian cities will continue to be overtaken. Syria's army is nearing exhaustion. If the entire country were to fall, Van Valkenburg predicts that Syrian soldiers would flee, leaving men, women, and boys to be massacred and the young women to be sold into sex slavery.
"I was looking at photos of the families of Christian workers in Syria, some with young daughters. What will happen to them if and when Syria falls?" Van Valkenburg asked me.
Nearly a year ago, Van Valkenburg wrote a post about Syrian Christians who made the difficult decision to remain while so many others had fled. They've stayed in a war-torn country where food is scarce and expensive and people have been shot over a single piece of fruit.
Some of the native missionaries we support in the neighboring country of Lebanon have risked their lives to get food to families in Syria, traveling on rural roads at night to avoid capture. One time, they arrived at the home of a Syrian family and were shocked to discover the family was sheltering 87 people in their small house. They had nothing left to eat.
That was over a year ago. Things are much worse now. Two Syrian workers we were assisting were killed. We helped their wives escape to Lebanon.
Van Valkenburg told me about several Syrian missionaries who are willing to stay inside their country, but can't stand the thought of what might happen to their wives and children if ISIS should capture them. They're having trouble sleeping at night.
"I have had Christian workers in Syria plead with me to get their families out," he said.
So what do we do? Let them be destroyed?
Or do we take action, now, before it's too late.
For those of you who care about our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria: we've got a plan.
Let me lay it out for you.
We're in contact with indigenous ministries in countries adjacent to Syria. These have connections inside Syria and know how to get people out. We've already helped them evacuate several families.
We've set up an emergency account and need to fill it with funds, which will be used to rescue Christians out of Syria before they're massacred. These funds will be wired to ministries in neighboring countries who have the know-how to do the job.
Please, help us. One of ISIS' stated goals is the annihilation of Christians. You're living in a crucial time in history—during a modern-day holocaust. Let's partner together and save some lives.