A Jew in the Basement

movieposterThe Book Thief, is both a beautiful, yet terribly heartbreaking movie. I saw it for the first time tonight and was moved by it. And the book which it was based on is now on my list of ‘must read.’ One of only a few hundred which I would like to.

The film, gave an amazing perspective which I have not seen before, a peak into the lives of the Germans during World War II. I’m not talking so much about the soldiers or the Nazis, which do play a small role within the movie, but the common folk. The poor who were suffering just as much as the rest of Europe from poverty, disease, and fear. And seeing the harrowing brainwashing, creating nationality loyalty to Deutschland, the Nazi Party, and the Führer, especially from the children, who are so easily moldable. It was . . . a different kind of movie.

World War II, in my opinion, is perhaps the most tragic event in modern history. A black mark in the history of man of violence and bloodshed, of mindless killing, and mindless suffering. A war which led to the deaths of so, so many. Especially to the Jewish nation. Hitler and his Nazis using them as an escape goat to win the love of his people and fuel his world-conquering company.

One of the major conflicts within The Book Thief, is the danger the Hubermanns are in for hiding Max Vandenburg. Risking their lives to harbor a Jew in their basement. Sacrificing their safety and what little food they have so that a man may be spared by their country’s wrath. Presenting a powerful portrait of courage despite living a life of fear. More beautiful than seeing this poor, stray, cute kitten scarf down a chicken wing which I gave him, while typing this blog at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’ve tried to catch him to find him a home, with no success. Yet, it was beautiful seeing him devour his chicken wing and mozzarella stick. He even lied on the asphalt for a little bit with a satisfied, full tummy before a car scared him off. . . . Haven’t seen him since. Normally, he would come back, but I guess he’s good for the night. And I pray to the good Lord that he’ll be protected and find a good home.

We each have a part to play. No, I couldn’t catch the kitten, but I could have decided to do nothing instead of giving him something to eat. Now, I know you’re not supposed to paint yourself as a hero when providing an example, but it was a beautiful moment which I didn’t want to go unnoticed. Not me giving a kitten food, but the satisfying laying coming from a stray after filling his stomach. And the Hubermanns, they could have played life safe, they didn’t have to risk their lives for a Jew, yet they chose so, making a sacrifice far greater than giving a cat a nugget of breaded poultry. Yet, they did not solely save Max from the Nazis, just as I did not solely meet all the needs of the kitten. But that does not diminish the part which they played in his life. Big or small, what part will you play? What acts of kindness will you choose to perform for the greater good?

. . . While watching this film, I couldn’t help but think, “What if, this happens in the United States one day?” Not the persecution of Jews, but of Christians. I know, I know many have been tooting this horn for a while . . . but what if one day, they’re right? I mean it could be a hundred years from now, or fifty, or twenty, or even tomorrow, for history does have a funny way of repeating itself. Now, I’m not one of these crazy nuts who claim to know the future, waiving a sign that ‘the end is near’ . . . but what if, what if it happens in our lifetime? Would you be prepared?

Would you have the courage to stand up? To claim your faith or hide those who do? To risk everything, your reputation, your family, even your own life for another? What if one day, the sins of World War II are repeated within the United States, would you be prepared?

Like I said, I don’t claim to know the future. This may be an outcome which will never happen . . . but it is a possibility we must/should ask ourselves, “Would I be prepared, to die for my faith today?”

 

~Photo Obtained

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