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Showing posts from July 12, 2017

Visiting German Historic Sites with Two Coptic Christians from Cairo

The Altar at the Cathedral in Worms where Martin Luther  was tried for heresy nearly 500 years ago.
When Cliff and I visited the first Concentration Camp, the Cathedral at Worms and the Jewish Cemetery, a young couple from Cairo joined us. Mariam and Sameh are Coptic Christians. Sameh is a gastric surgeon. Mariam is pursuing a Ph.D in math education. They were staying in a guest house at Canaan also. Mariam had visited Canaan several times before, but this was Sameh's first visit.
The Cathedral in Worms.
On the long drive to Worms Mariam told us about their life in Cairo, their Church community and the work they do. They love their home and their community, but the longer they talked the more thankful I was to hear that they have skills that transfer well to other cultures, up-to-date passports and no kids.  They said things that eerily reminded me of things I read about victims of the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing who could not quite believe the worst could happen to them, and tha…

The First Nazi Concentration Camp and the Oldest Jewish Cemetery in Europe

The very ordinary look of mass murder. This small industrial building in  Hesse was the very first site of slaughter in the Nazi regime, in operation the month after Hitler took power.
In the state of Hesse, I visited the first concentration camp of the new Nazi regime. It was a pair of industrial buildings near a railroad track in a small town. The state of Hesse authorized the site in anticipation of Hitler's need for prison facilities for enemies of the Reich.

Hitler took power in January and the next month Hesse provided the first Concentration Camp. Soon it was a jail for communists, journalists and other enemies of the regime, and, of course, Jews.
"One People, One Nation, One Leader" 
But the facility is an illustration of how authoritarian regimes commit greater and greater outrages--those who want to impress the leader find ways to anticipate his needs. Eight years later, the SS would industrialize the transport and murder of Jews in Auschwitz and other camps. Th…