Embrace the Pain

posted in: Every Life Matters | 2


In much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain. -Ecclesiastes 1:18 NASB

The Witch of Buchenwald

Ilse Koch was the wife of Karl Koch, commandant of the notorious Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Not content to be a quiet military wife, Ilse immersed herself in a decadent lifestyle at the camp. The Kochs lived lavishly at Buchenwald, eating and drinking and partying as prisoners around them starved. It was reported that she and her husband even hosted orgies for the SS guards.

Ilse soon became an SS Aufseherin, or overseer. She was a reputed sadist who was so cruel that she was dubbed the “Bitch of Buchenwald,” a corruption of the German Die Hexe van Buchenwald, “Witch of Buchenwald.” She enjoyed tormenting prisoners as she rode around the camp on her horse.

She had a special fascination with tattoos. She singled out prisoners whose tattoos caught her eye and ordered them killed by the SS guards. Their skins were tanned, from which she had custom lampshades, book covers, and gloves made for her. She was reportedly especially fond of a purse made of human skin. Another of her hobbies was collecting shrunken human heads.

Waste not, want not. 

It took a world war to rip the facade from a regime so brutal that it still shocks the conscience of civilized nations. When the nearby town of Weimar, Germany, was liberated by Allied forces, General Patton forced its citizens to march past the piles of corpses, the crematoria, and the grisly body organ samples from Buchenwald. A holocaust happened in their land as they looked the other way.

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.

For years I wondered how the world could not know what was happening in Nazi Germany. Now I understand. They chose not to see.

Knowledge is painful.

It tears at our hearts, our souls, and our conscience. It brings us to our knees and confers upon us the responsibility to act. And it makes us vulnerable to loss, to retribution, to the criticism of others.

It’s so much easier to live in ignorance.

The recent videos exposing the thriving business behind the abortion industry have ripped off the facade of “women’s health.” It revealed what we guessed at but didn’t want to acknowledge:

Once a person is declared non-viable, nothing is sacred.

Today, people are being harvested for their organs and tissue. It’s big business, it’s the next logical step, and it’s been done before.

Waste not, want not. 

Will we stand with the citizens of Weimar one day and be forced to look upon the injustice that swirled around us as we busied ourselves with distractions that conveniently hid the truth? Will we weep then for the lives we could have saved if only we had spoken up?

Or will we open our eyes now to seek out the wisdom of God?

Are we willing to discover what breaks His heart? Do we have the courage to embrace the pain?

If we can do this, we can become His hands and His feet and His voice on behalf of a new generation who is perishing.

2 Responses

  1. PamThorson

    Controversy will always surround the Holocaust. I am aware of questions regarding the existence of lampshades of human skin. Among other accounts, Jack Werber, a survivor of Buchenwald, described his eyewitness account of a German prisoner who was killed for his tattoo. Werber states in his book Saving Children that the skin was taken to a tannery to be made into parchment for a lampshade. I have no reason to doubt his account. There is also the existence of a picture of artifacts from Buchenwald, among them a lampshade supposedly made of human skin. The lack of existing evidence of lampshades today is not, in itself, evidence that they did not exist.

    Great care must be taken when reading Internet posts concerning the Holocaust. Many Holocaust deniers love to fixate on details of the war, in order to try to discredit eyewitness accounts of its existence.

    Denying the existence of a murder does not make it go away. This is the exact point of my post. I welcome honest debate on the subjects of abortion and euthanasia. I will not publish any comments that are inflammatory or rude.

  2. Elaine Stock

    Pam, this is a fascinating article. Thanks for sharing. For years I’ve wondered how German citizens were able to close their eyes on the horrors of the war. During recent readings I’ve learned that just as the Jews, the Germans were also stripped of their right to bear arms and to defend themselves. They were also served ration cards and forced to eat near nothing while watching Hitler’s soldiers feast in their neighborhood cafes. While many wanted to help their friends and neighbors being rounded up and shoved into boxcars and hauled out of the towns like trash, many had to choose between “obeying” these horrifying Nazi soldiers or seeing their own family members killed. This was a horrible, evil time in a not long ago past. People were tortured who should not have been. Many did look away, whether right or wrong, and they shouldn’t have in theory (if enough didn’t look away just perhaps they would have outnumbered those in power) but did. Evil ultimately lost–and I praise God. The evil perpetuated in the Nazi torture camps against anyone and everyone will be for always inexcusable on human–humane–terms. What we must all realize, as you’ve intimated, is that this same type of evil, this same type of horror-minded fueled action, in one form or another, is still happening today, both within small communities, ethnic groups, countries, gangs, terrorists, bullies in school, and sadly, within families. I urge all of us to pray, pray, and pray for God to be merciful to us all and help us to be kind and loving to each other before we too are all judged as evil as we condemn those who didn’t bat an eye as they tortured and killed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.