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Four Jewish heroes escaped Auschwitz to tell the world what the Nazis were doing. Do you know their names & their extraordinary stories? You should. Here’s why. #HolocaustRemembranceDay

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — On January 27, 1945, the Nazi death camp in southern Poland known as “Auschwitz-Birkenau” was finally liberated.

It happened just months before Adolf Hitler committed suicide and the U.S., British, Soviets, and all of our allies heroically liberated Germany and all of Europe.

We must never forget the one million souls who were exterminated at Auschwitz, members of the six million Jews murdered as part of the Nazi’s so-called “Final Solution.”

But I believe there are four specific names we should also remember. They are the names of four Jewish men — truly extraordinary men. They did not die at Auschwitz, and that’s why their names should be remembered and their stories should be told.

Almost a year before it was liberated, these four men actually escaped from Auschwitz — not simply to save their own lives but to tell the world the truth about what was really happening behind those high walls and barbed wire.

Truly the greatest escape in all of human history. 

Several years go, I wrote a book called The Auschwitz Escape to help people rediscover what these men did and why. I also wrote this column for the same purpose. On this #HolocaustRemembranceDay, I hope you and your family will take some time to read their stories, learn their names and honor their heroism.

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REMEMBERING FOUR HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST

By Joel C. Rosenberg

To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.

In 1933, the world was blindsided by the rise of Adolf Hitler. 

In 1939, it was stunned by the German invasion of Poland and the Nazi leader’s bloodthirsty quest for global domination. Perhaps most tragically, most of the world did not understand Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews until it was almost too late.

Today, we face dangerous new threats from Iran, North Korea, and a rising czar in Russia, not from Germany. Yet curiously, in recent weeks [various world leaders] have each warned that as we confront current challenges we must be careful to learn the lessons of history regarding how the world failed to understand the threat posed by Hitler and the Nazis and deal with it decisively, before events spun out of control.

I agree, and as an example, I would point the extraordinary events that occurred in the spring of 1944. 

Four men pulled off the greatest escapes in all of human history, from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland. They did not simply escape to save their own lives. Nor did they escape merely to tell the world about a terrible crime against humanity that had been – and was being – committed. What set these true heroes apart is that they planned and executed their escapes in the hope of stopping a horrific crime before it was committed – the extermination of the Jews of Hungary.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of these escapes, and to draw attention to the significance these unknown – or unremembered – events, and the lessons they have to teach us, I recently wrote a work of historical fiction, The Auschwitz Escape. I changed the names of key figures involved so as not to put words in their mouths that cannot be verified to be their own. But it is my deepest hope that the book will cause many to dig into the real history of these remarkable heroes.

Their real names were Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler — they were Slovak Jews. They escaped from Auschwitz on April 7, 1944.

Arnost Rosin was also a Slovak Jew. Czeslaw Mordowicz was a Polish Jew. These are more real names. Together these men escaped from Auschwitz on May 27, 1944.

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Upon making it safely to Czechoslovakia, Vrba, only 19 years old, and Wetzler, 25, linked up with the Jewish underground. They explained Auschwitz was not simply a labor camp, as most thought, but rather a death camp. The Nazis were systematically murdering prisoners, mostly Jews, using poison gas called “Zyklon B,” then burning their bodies in enormous ovens.

The men explained the Nazis were dramatically enlarging an expansion camp a few miles from Auschwitz called “Birkenau,” building new train tracks, enormous new gas chambers, and massive new crematoria. They had also completed ramps leading all those arriving in the cattle cars directly into the gas chambers.

Vrba and Wetzler said they had heard SS guards talking about Hungarian “salami” that would soon be arriving. They knew from their jobs as clerks in the camp that none of Hungary’s nearly 450,000 Jews had yet arrived, even though Jews from most of Europe had come already. 

They urged the Czech Jewish leaders to warn Hungarian Jews immediately so they would revolt and not get on the trains. They also urged that the Allied leaders be notified so they would mount an operation to liberate Auschwitz.

Both men were asked to separately draft detailed eyewitness reports. Their reports were then cross-checked, compiled into a single report, and then simultaneously translated into multiple languages.

Eventually, Mordowicz, 23, and Rosin, 30, escaped as well. When they got to Czechoslovakia, they wrote up reports of their own, which were added to the existing document. But all this took precious time the Hungarian Jews did not have.

The report, known as “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was sent to Jewish and Allied leaders in early June 1944. Excerpts were leaked to the press, creating an international uproar. But the Germans had begun deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in massive numbers on May 15th. And “The Auschwitz Protocol” landed in the hands of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their top aides just as the Allies were executing the D-Day invasion of Normandy and trying to liberate France.

On July 2nd, the U.S. began bombing Budapest. Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Nazi-backed Regent of Hungary, feared the air raid was in reprisal for the Jewish deportations. He ordered the trains halted. Thus, while, more than 300,000 Hungarian Jews had already been sent to Auschwitz and gassed, 120,000 more Hungarian Jews were saved from deportation and certain death.

Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, would later note, “The Auschwitz Protocol” was responsible for “the largest single greatest rescue of Jews in the Second World War.”

That said, neither the U.S. nor the British military took direct action to liberate Auschwitz during the war. Nor did they bomb the train lines to the death camps, or bomb the camps themselves, as Jewish leaders had implored. 

When the Soviets finally entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, only 7,000 prisoners remained alive. More than 1.1 million had already been exterminated.

Why didn’t Washington and London take decisive action upon receiving detailed, inside intelligence? Couldn’t they have at least tried to stop the Holocaust, or at least disrupt it, knowing the hellish nightmare people in the camps were experiencing?

Historians have been debating this for years. Yet the issues are not academic. Today, our leaders also face urgent questions. 

Let’s consider just one. Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” It has threatened to create world without the “Great Satan” (aka, the U.S.), as well. The mullahs are actively developing the ability to build nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. 

Do we currently have inside sources giving us accurate intelligence on the state of Iran’s nuclear program? If diplomacy and sanctions fail, should the West take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the mullahs can set into motion a Second Holocaust? 

Rather than attack ourselves, should the U.S. support an Israeli preemptive strike? What are the risks of launching such a strike? What are the risks of delay? 

Would history forgive us if we wait too long and Iran strikes first?

The moral courage that Rudolf Vrba, Alfred Wetzler, Arnost Rosin, and Czeslaw Mordowicz demonstrated seventy years ago was extraordinary. They understood the nature and threat of evil, and they risked their lives to tell the world the truth. 

They deserve to be remembered and heralded by Jews and Christians and all who care about freedom and human dignity. 

We must never forget what they did, and why they did it. But we must also be ready to act wisely, bravely and decisively if a mortal threat rises again. For if we learn nothing else from the history of the Holocaust, we had better learn this: Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.

(Note: this article was originally published by FoxNews.com on March 18, 2014)

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Christians are experiencing an historic new season of hope, security and freedom in the Mideast. The media are largely ignoring it, but I explain in detail in this new column in The Jerusalem Post.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — The media are largely missing a fascinating and historic trend in the Epicenter, but it’s worth taking a closer look.

Here’s my new column in The Jerusalem Post.

Encouraging new season for Christians in Mideast

Something hopeful is happening in the Middle East. As 2019 begins, Christians in the region are experiencing the most encouraging season of personal security, religious freedom and peaceful coexistence with Muslims in living memory. The media are largely missing this historic development, but it’s worth taking a closer look.

Just a few years ago, the so-called Islamic State was waging genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria and threatening to destabilize Jordan – a country with a historic Christian population – and “slaughter” King Abdullah II, whom they denounced as a “tyrant.”

In a 2016 cover story in Dabiq – their English-language propaganda magazine – ISIS leaders vowed to “Break the Cross” by annihilating Christianity in the region.

“Do you claim that… Christians follow the right religion and that they will enter the kingdom of heaven?” they asked. “There is no proof for this…. If you continue to disbelieve, then know that you shall be defeated and then dragged altogether into Hell as your eternal, wicked abode…. Allah has made our mission to wage war against disbelief until it ceases to exist, as he has ordered us to kill all pagans wherever they are found.”

In the resulting bloodbath, the number of Christians in Iraq plunged from about 1.5 million to between 200,000 and 300,000 today. Many were killed. Most fled the country. In Syria, the number of Christians has plummeted from 1.25 million to about 500,000 today.

But the genocide has been stopped. The US put together a stunningly successful coalition of nearly 80 countries to counter ISIS. True heroes have included the Kurds and the leaders of numerous Sunni Arab countries – among them Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – all of which committed military forces not only to rescue Muslims and Yazidis but Christians, too.

The caliphate was destroyed. ISIS is not yet defeated, but it’s on the run. Most followers of Jesus in the region no longer face the threat of annihilation. And while Syria remains a mess, Iraq is calmer and Christians there are rebuilding their churches and their lives.

No Arab leader has done more to protect Christians than Jordan’s monarch, himself a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He sent Jordanian forces into battle against ISIS, welcomed Christian and Muslim refugees fleeing from Syria and Iraq, and provided them with housing, food, medical care and schools.

Abdullah vigorously protects the right of Jordan’s 145,000 Christians to build and operate churches, teach the Scriptures, run tours of important Christian holy sites and operate an Evangelical seminary.

Soon after 9/11, the king established a national park on the east bank of the Jordan River to protect the archaeological remains of “Bethany beyond the Jordan,” the site where John the Baptist based his ministry, including baptizing Jesus. The king even granted permission for 13 Christian denominations to build their own churches there, conduct baptisms and teach the rich biblical history of the country.

For all this – and his extensive work encouraging interfaith dialogue and peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews – the king was awarded the prestigious 2018 Templeton Prize.

I have had the joy of getting to know His Majesty personally through a series of extensive meetings over the last several years, including bringing a delegation of American Evangelical leaders to meet with him in November 2017. I have witnessed the deep respect and affection Jordanian Christians have for him, and I can’t think of an Arab leader more deserving of this honor.

That said….

[To read the rest of the column — including updates on what’s happening in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia — please click here]

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“Dude, how can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?” Here’s my answer.

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“Dude, how can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?

It was November of 2002. I had just released my first novel, The Last Jihad. I was doing a telephone interview on a hard rock radio station in Rochester, New York, the city closest to where I grew up in Upstate New York. And the radio host, a guy who called himself “Brother Weese,” asked me this very question.

Here’s my answer.

The story of my spiritual journey — how I was raised by a Jewish father and Gentile mother and came to believe that Jesus is, in fact, the Jewish Messiah — was just released online by a ministry called, “One For Israel.” 

Click here to watch the 9-minute video.

Click here to see my father, Len Rosenberg share his spiritual journey.

I hope you’ll watch them both and share them with family and friends.

“Egypt: Many challenges, much progress.” Here are 10 articles & news stories by Members of our Evangelical Delegation describing what we saw, heard & learned in this Biblical country.

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Please pray for Egypt — yes, the Christians there and all Egyptians face many, many challenges, and yet they have made so much progress in just the last few years.

I have just returned to Jerusalem from eight historic days in Egypt. It was a joy and honor to lead a Delegation of sixteen American Evangelical leaders in that beautiful, Biblical country that has gone through two revolutions and nearly a civil war in the last decade. We learned so much and were deeply blessed by our time. We are still trying to process it all, but if we could sum up in one word what we saw happening there it would be: “progress.”

  • We met with more than three dozen Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Protestant Christian leaders, including a 90 minute meeting with Pope Tawadros II — all of them were honest about the challenges they face, yet to a person they expressed how encouraged they are by the progress they are seeing in terms of religious freedom, honor and recognition by the government, the unprecedented freedom they now have to build and renovate churches, and more. (My colleague Johnnie Moore and I write about this more in our columns posted below.)  
  • We attended the openings of the new mosque and massive new cathedral, the largest in the Mideast, both located in the new administrative capital, about 30 miles east of Cairo.
  • I was asked to briefly address the Protestant Christmas service at the “Kasr El Doubara Evangelical Church” in Cairo. The full service, including my brief remarks, were broadcast live on Egyptian TV to the entire country.
  • Our Delegation also met with Members of the Egyptian Parliament, Muslim clerics, NGO leaders and other members of civil and religious society — it was so interesting to be able to have deep and detailed conversations about both the problems and the progress Egypt is making from their unique perspectives.
  • Last Thursday, I was invited to attend a major policy address delivered by my friend, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the campus of American University in Cairo, and then go with him and his team to visit the new mosque and cathedral.
  • By God’s grace, I was also able to arrange for Secretary Pompeo to do an exclusive interview with CBN News correspondent Chris Mitchell. (I highly recommend you watch the excellent CBN coverage — see below)

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What follows are 10 articles, columns, and interviews that my colleagues and I have written and/or produced, each describing what we saw and heard during our time in Egypt from our individual angles.

I hope that you’ll take the time to read and watch them; share them with your family, friends, churches, seminaries and other spheres of influence; and use the information to pray in a more educated and effective way for Egypt’s national leaders, Muslims and Christians.

  1. Egypt’s leader deserves US support — Pompeo’s visit was a welcome move — op-ed by Joel C. Rosenberg and Johnnie Moore (published by Fox News)
  2. Opinion: Egypt’s El-Sisi Is A Friend To Christians — op-ed by Joel C. Rosenberg and Johnnie Moore (published by The Daily Caller)
  3. Egypt’s El Sisi Builds Middle East’s Largest Church, A “Game Changer” In The Region (CBN News story, both print and video)
  4. “Jerusalem Dateline” devotes nearly entire 28 minute program to coverage of historic events in Egypt, including the visit of an Evangelical Delegation (CBN News story, both print and video)
  5. Exclusive: Pompeo vows US to stand with persecuted believers: “Christians Central To Middle East” (CBN News story, both print and video)
  6. FRC’s Tony Perkins joins Egypt’s President, Coptic believers for opening of cathedral near Cairo (FRC press release)
  7. A Cairo Christmas — op-ed by Tony Perkins (published by The Patriot Post)
  8. Egypt is rebuilding its churches, making slow but significant steps toward reform — op-ed by Dr. Darrell Bock, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary (published by the Dallas Morning News)
  9. Wise Men Still Bring Gifts: Our Extraordinary Christmas In Egypt — column by Rick Segal, Vice President of Bethlehem College & Seminary (published on the Desiring God website)
  10. Coexistence: Mark’s reflections from Cairo — by Mark Rodgers, founder of The Clapham Group (published on The Clapham Group website)

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Game-changing moment: Egyptian President Sisi makes history building largest church in the Mideast. Our Evangelical Delegation was honored to be here for the opening. A few thoughts.

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(Cairo, Egypt) — It’s impossible to overstate how historic this is: a pious Sunni Muslim Arab President builds the largest church in the Middle East and gives it as a Christmas present to the Christians of his country.

Can you remember the last time this happened? Neither can I.

Yet this is precisely what happened last night — the eve of Eastern Christmas — as the “Nativity of the Christ Cathedral” was formally opened and inaugurated on live national television by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II in the country’s new administrative capital city, located about 28 miles east of Cairo.

I had the joy of witnessing this game-changing moment first-hand, alongside the Delegation of fifteen-other American Evangelical leaders that President Sisi asked us to bring, and it moved me to my core. At numerous points I found myself quite emotional at seeing this event unfold and reflecting upon how much progress Egypt has made in just a few years.

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• The economy is now growing at over 5% annually.

• The country is vastly safer than it was during the so-called Arab Spring.

• Tourism is rebounding.

• Inflation and unemployment are dropping.

• And overall Muslims and Christians are living peacefully together, despite two revolutions that almost tipped into full-blown civil war, and a wave of terrorist attacks against Christians and their church buildings here.

Do enormous religious, social and economic challenges in Egypt remain? Absolutely. But every single one of the dozens of senior Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Protestant leaders we met with told us they feel so encouraged by the progress and forward momentum they’re seeing and experiencing.

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To our astonishment, the Delegation and I were also invited by President Sisi to attend the inauguration of the massive new mosque — one of the largest in the world — located just a few miles away from the cathedral. We didn’t know until the night before that we would be invited, and were deeply encouraged that Pope Tawadros attended as a VIP guest (at Sisi’s side), as did Dr. Andrea Zaki, head of Egypt’s two million Protestant Evangelicals.

Joining in all the festivities were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and many senior Muslim clerics and leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere in the region.

All of it was broadcast live on Egyptian TV. All evening, Egyptians watched Christians and Muslims singing together, walking together, laughing and conversing together, and visiting each other’s holy places. It was a beautiful picture of what people here want the “New Egypt” to be.

Soon, I will share more on our Delegation’s work and what we’ve been learning. For now, I just wanted to share with you the remarkable story of the opening of this enormous new church in the heart of the world’s largest Arab Muslim country. And the powerfully positive message of religious freedom and tolerance that it sent not only to 100 million Egyptians but to people and leaders throughout the Muslim world.

For us and our Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters, it has been a very Merry Christmas, indeed!

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What to watch in 2019: Russia building dangerous military alliance with Iran, Turkey, Libya and other enemies of Israel as U.S. withdraws from Syria.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — As 2019 begins, I will be writing a series of columns on leaders, countries and global trend lines to keep a close eye upon.

Chief among them: Russian President Vladmir Putin’s diplomatic and military activity in recent months. Putin is steadily building strategic alliances with Israel’s worst enemies, from the leaders of Iran who long to create a nuclear-armed Persian empire to President Recep Erdogan of Turkey who sees himself as a modern day sultan longing to create a new Ottoman empire.

Note:

  • On November 24, 2017, Putin, Iranian President Rouhani and Erdogan held a summit together in Sochi, Russia.
  • On April 4, 2018, the three met for a summit in Ankara, Turkey.
  • On September 7, 2018, the three met for a summit in Tehran, Iran.
  • On December 28, 2018, it was reported that the Russian, Iranian and Turkish leaders would hold their next summit in Moscow in early 2019.

This would be cause for concern enough if the U.S. superpower was playing a robust and proactive role in the Epicenter. But it is all the more concerning with President Trump’s recent decision to remove all U.S. forces from Syria in recent months and his statement yesterday that Iran “can do what they want there (in Syria), frankly,”

It’s still more concerning when you look at the other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that the Kremlin is selling arms to and building alliances with.

I will provide more analysis on this soon. For now, take a look at these recent headlines and you’ll get a sense of what Putin is up to.

For some, this may sound like a political thriller of mine — The Ezekiel Option or The Kremlin Conspiracy. But what makes it chilling is that these headlines are all too real. Stay tuned.

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