On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide and met his Maker. If his dream of world conquest and subsequent “Thousand-Year Reich” had been achieved, there would be no Jews and no Israel today. Our world would be without Slavs, gypsies, Communists, the mentally ill, the physically disabled, homosexuals, and “dissenters” of every kind. Everyone would be driving a Volkswagen, and the government would be running everything, including health care.
Adolf Hitler demonstrated that one does not need atomic or nuclear weapons to be responsible for the murder of more than fifty million people. Adolf Hitler taught us that tyrants sign treaties not with peace in mind, but with the intention of buying time to seek military advantage.
Adolf Hitler was much more than a despicable maniac who slaughtered innocents and went back on his word. Adolf Hitler was the great emissary of evil, whose Machiavellian wielding of power personified the worst of humanity’s capability.
Adolf Hitler was living proof that contrary to popular belief, morality is not relative. Evil is real. Not only is evil real, but it thrives in our world, and it is always there, ready to do war with and overwhelm the complacent and the good.
From Hitler, we learned that when devils take on human form, they do not have horns and can therefore be difficult to recognize. Just as important, Hitler demonstrated to those willing to learn history’s lessons that devils are capable of rising to power anywhere — even in the midst of a democratic republic.
Traditionally, Christianity views evil as a corruptive force capable of inducing and coercing man to sin and wickedness. In Judaism, evil is the Yetzer Hara, the evil inclination within each of us to act immorally.
Whether evil exists internally, externally, or both within and without, if one wishes to understand the dynamics of evil, the study of Hitler and the Nazi modus operandi is a good place to start. Beyond the unspeakable horrors of work and death camps, the infringement of individual freedom, and the never-ending terror placed upon the shoulders of all who fell under the Nazi shadow, one cannot avoid facing the reality of Hitler’s state-run anti-Semitism and the systematic murder and eventual gassing of six million Jewish men, women, and children. In fact, it would be preposterous not to link Hitler, arguably the evilest man of all time, with his preoccupation to annihilate the seed of Abraham.
Hitler’s war against the Jews was a story in itself. The horror story included Mein Kampf, an array of anti-Jewish laws, Kristallnacht, the formation of Jewish ghettos, mass deportations, the Wannsee Conference, and Auschwitz.
By April 29, 1945, Hitler had already been living in his subterranean Berlin bunker for weeks. Germany was kaput, and the Russians were already inside the German capital. Adolf Hitler’s entire world was coming down upon him. As he dictated to his secretary My Political Testament, Hitler was already planning his own suicide. Despite his imminent demise, within the context of his final testament, Adolf Hitler still found it necessary to spew more hatred at the Jews and concluded with a call to “fight mercilessly against the poisoners of all the peoples of the world, international Jewry.”
Was the anti-Semitic message included in My Political Testament simply the continued mad ranting of a genocidal maniac now on the verge of his death? Alternatively, was it the solicitation of a man who had given in to his evil inclination so many times that his personality had been severed from his soul, leaving him to speak as an empty vessel on the behalf of an invisible master? If it was the latter, then what are today’s implications for the world, the Jewish people, and for Israel?
Adolf Hitler, the totalitarian tyrant of the 20th century and the murderer of millions, committed suicide on April 30, 1945. This day should be remembered as the day Hitler met his Maker and evil suffered a major setback in its quest to shackle the hearts and minds of humanity and wipe the Jews off the face of the Earth.
However, let us also take this day to remember that the war between good and evil did not end with Hitler’s suicide. Evil is alive and well. The war between good and evil goes on. God’s game of life continues, and nothing changes except the players.