Showbiz Holocaust

23 02 2008

In the world of popular culture, it really does appear that nothing is sacred anymore. According to the BBC News website, a new musical has been released in Spain, which depicts the life and diary of Anne Frank. This is the Holocaust, showbiz style. The show consists of set pieces which provide caricatures of Frank’s plight, and the Nazis behind the suffering inflicted on the Jewish community in Europe. There are strobe lights and lame metaphors galore, as one of the greatest evils of the 20th Century is ‘played out’ night by night.

Frank’s only surviving relative has (rightly and understandably) snubbed the show, stating that, ‘Anne and millions of Jews died during the Holocaust – her story wasn’t made for a lovely evening at the theatre’.

Reading this story touched a nerve for me this morning, particularly in the light of what I have been reading in Laurence Rees’ book ‘Auschwitz’. It is reflective of Western culture’s preoccupation with entertainment, and the trivialisation of all that is significant, profound or powerful.

It also gives me food for thought about how this culture can penetrate our worship and approach to God. In a world where literally everything is entertainment based, it falls to us as Christians to resist any attempts to make God as small as everything else around us. In our private walk with Him, as well as in our public worship, we must not fear transcendence, wonder and awe, nor must we mindlessly trade them for entertainment, accessability and cultural sensitivity.

There are certain things which ought to be left alone – left to stand in powerful and bold relief against a background of triviality and banality. The enormity of human suffering inflicted by the Holocaust is one of them – and surely our worship of the living God ought to be another.




2 responses

24 02 2008
Singing Bear

Absolutely right.

26 02 2008

Having visited Auschwitz on 3 occasions over the past 15 years I agree with all you say. With cheap flights now to Krakow (direct from Belfast and other cities) I would encourage everyone to visit at least once, the horrors of both Auschwitz and Birkenau Camps. If you were to do that you would never trivialize the events of WWII. Sadly however, on my last visit some years ago, as we were leaving we listened to World Service on the radio for news only to hear that in Bosnia they had just found the mass graves of 3,000 men who had disappeared through ethnic cleansing.The world is slow to learn.What a challenge for workers of the Gospel!Brian McFarlandSlavic Gospel Association

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