When the entire Mozes family arrived in Auschwitz, the twins, Eva and Miriam, were separated from their parents. Dr. Mengele, the sadistic Nazi camp doctor, had a fascination with twins, and so, despite the screams of their parents, they were led away by the soldiers. They had no choice. After all, this was a death camp! Sadly, Eva and Miriam’s parents, grandparents, their sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins would not survive the atrocities of the camp.
The first time the twins went to the latrine at the rear of the children’s quarters, they were shocked by the bodies of children that they found strewn all over the ground, and that picture remained with them for life.
Even worse, Dr. Mengele was doing human experiments. He committed heinous crimes against mankind in that camp, including injecting chemicals into the eyes of children in the hope of changing eye colors, sex change surgeries, and the removal of organs and limbs, all without anesthesia.
Both sisters experienced the horror of his experiments and his heartless surgeries. The first experiment on Eva was to give five injections. That same evening she developed a very high fever. She was trembling and her arms and legs were swollen. The next morning Dr. Mengele laughed as he said: “Too bad, she is so young. She has only two weeks to live!”
That same day Gypsy twins were brought to Dr. Mengele’s lab after they had been stitched back to back. His goals was to create Siamese twins by attaching blood vessels and organs. These poor children screamed continually. Mercifully, gangrene soon set in, and their misery was brought to an end.
Eva and Miriam miraculously survived the experiments and were still alive when Auschwitz was finally liberated. As adults, both women suffered grave health problems. Eva suffered from tuberculosis and miscarriages. Her son ended up with cancer. Miriam’s kidneys never fully developed and she eventually died in 1993 of a rare kind of cancer.
Both these sisters could have easily become bitter, but they never did. Eva takes the time every year to revisit Auschwitz. Every year she encourages tourists to forgive each other as she forgave the sadistic soldiers and Dr. Mengele. Love truly lives in her heart. She had witnessed atrocities and she, too, had suffered so much through these senseless experiments. Her whole family was slaughtered, and still her message is not of vengeance, but of hope: forgive with all of your heart. If she can do so, we certainly can as well!
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Is that going to get us anywhere? ” (Matt 5:38-39a, MSG)
In all reality, this kind of mindset would lead nowhere. One after another of us would take vengeance in retaliation. Where would it lead? Humanity could end up as an endangered species. Where would love be if all we could think of is vengeance?
“Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” (Matt 5:39b-42, MSG)
Imagine if we all followed Jesus’ advice. Would vengeance still be occurring? “God is love-so you can’t know him if you don’t love.” (1John 4:8b, MSG) Where love reigns, vengeance is non-existent (See 1 Peter 4:8).
Who cares about our best coat? But it is mine! So what? What’s better: Me first or love? “Love never fails!” (1 Cor 13:8a, MSG)
If someone takes unfair advantage of us, lets take the opportunity to practice what love should look like. No more tit-for-that stuff! Live generously, just as Eva and Miriam did. These adversities give us the opportunity to show who we truly are in Christ.
Forgiveness brings us freedom, and only then will love bloom exponentially!
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)