14 August 2017

Everyone is Adolph Hitler These Days

We seemed to have lost our sense of history. Or perhaps, it is better to say that we have lost our senses. Everyone is Adolph Hitler these days. It is a comparison that is thrown around so easily that it denies the true evil that was Adolph Hitler. The latest comparison to Hitler is, of course, President Donald Trump.

Let me tell you a story.

There once was a Catholic priest who loved God and his neighbor. He was born in Poland on January 8, 1894 to a German father and Polish mother. His life was spent spreading devotion to Our Blessed Mother. He was good and kind.

When Poland was invaded by Germany in 1939, this Franciscan priest was arrested. A few months later, he was released. Yet, he remained in Poland,where he and his monks continued their ministry and provided shelter to refugees under Nazi persecution. On February 17, 1941, he was arrested by the Gestapo, and in May of 1941, he was sent to Auschwitz.

While in the death camp, this Catholic priest ministered to his fellow prisoners, and suffered harassment and beatings by the camp guards.

Then in July of 1941, three prisoners escaped from the camp. As a punishment, 10 men were chosen for starvation as a deterrent to future escapes. One of the chosen, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out for mercy. This Catholic priest volunteered to take his place. The commander laughed and then agreed to the request.

During their confinement, in an underground bunker, this priest led his fellow prisoners in prayer. After two weeks without food or water, he was the only survivor. Too impatient for him to die, the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid.

Saint Maximilian Kolbe was murdered on August 14, 1941. Today the Catholic Church celebrates his Memorial.


It is strange that 76 years after the death of Maximilian Kolbe, the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis are taken so lightly. Now, anyone who disagrees or has a different outlook is called a Nazi or Adolph Hitler.

In light of the death and destruction perpetrated this weekend by clashes between Antifa and the Alt Right, it is fitting to remember a Catholic martyr and saint who preached love, compassion, and faith. He gave his life for another. Love overcomes hate in the end. Those who embrace hate will ultimately be consumed by it. 

Millions of people were systematically murdered by the Nazis. Estimates rage from 13 to 20 million people. Do we really need to throw around the Adolph Hitler label? We have lost our sense of history, and perhaps we have become numb to human suffering. 

I will leave you with a quote from St. Maximlian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr. "No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depths of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves defeated in our innermost personal selves?"

St. Maximilian, pray for us. 

2 comments:

  1. We compare our enemies to Hitler in order to shut off debate. "He's Hitler!" stops all rational discourse and moves the conversation to Hitler.

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