I recently wrote on a series I have been reading called “The Zion Covenant Series”. The series largely centers around the plight of Jews in Europe during the pre-WWII era, though not entirely. There are many other subplots and characters within. Indeed, this book almost exclusively followed the lives of people in Jerusalem and Warsaw, and they are who I will be discussing. I enjoyed much of this book, though I found some portrayals a little concerning. But it was a good piece of historical fiction, and I learned much.
This book was largely heartbreaking. I would call it the saddest of the series so far, though it ended with some hope. By viewing the players behind the events happening in both of these places, you see that hindsight really is 20/20. It is easy to look at the current situation in front of you and make an immediate judgment. But to do so, you might make the wrong judgment. People might look at what is in front of them and say, “This must surely be caused by this group of people or that thing.” But in reality, there was a whole plot, a hidden context, behind the visible actors and directing their movements. In the case of pre-WWII Europe, and especially this story, that hidden context was Hitler, who drove many Jews into Poland. Hitler, who spread the propaganda about them. Hitler, who funded and orchestrated the riots and unrest in Israel. Hitler, who made sure all the blame rested squarely on the shoulders of innocents.
This would have been a terrible time to live in, and I am glad that I did not live then and do live now. In this story, the Jews in Warsaw were treated like criminals though they were relegated to ghettos and subjected to pogroms, all while they mostly just wanted to be left to themselves and treated like the Polish citizens that they were. All the while in Jerusalem, Jews with nowhere left to go are attacked both within and without, and those they love are separated by malice and fear. People are accused of crimes they did not commit and are restricted from living the lives they are called to. There is no freedom here, only tyranny and mob rule. No one listens; no one seeks understanding; no one desires mercy. While our world is not perfect, and America still has some work to do, I am glad to live in this country now than in any country then.
But we must learn from these times. How can we seek to understand before we act or speak? How can we learn first about context and then make a decision? What can we take from history to apply to our present situations? We must first seek God’s will and follow the truth. We must listen and learn and understand. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. And we must not make knee jerk reactions when presented with complex situations. The decisions we make in such environments are nearly never right, and that is what I saw in this book. It is what led to the death of innocents. It is what led to the pogroms and ghettos. It is what led to assassinations and riots. It is what led to mistrust and fear. It is what led to so much of the death in the 20th century, and I fear still plagues our world today.
But it does not have to be this way. If there is anything I have learned from reading these books, it is that we can learn from history to make better choices with the issues facing us today. Let us not let fear take hold of us, but let us seek peace and understanding so that love and trust may reign among us. I learned much and look forward to continuing the series. If you decide to read, I hope it will be enlightening for you as well.
Blessings to you and yours,
~Madelyn Rose Craig