Dachau: Revisiting History

By Jim DeCamp

First photo: August, 1973. The
crematorium at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Taken while stationed with an Infantry unit in Germany, fewer than 30 years after WWII.

So as not to offend the host nation, I carefully avoided the subject––but for one occasion.

One winter’s night, it was my responsibility to call someone to repair the furnace in one of our barracks. Just the two of us in that subterranean, dank chamber. If there were ever a time, I thought.

In my broken German-English mix, I crawled to the subject and ventured, “How could it have happened?” A very nice gentleman about 60, he replied with a pained smile and helpless gesture, “I. Do. Not. Know.”

I felt bad for the awkwardness I had caused, and the conversation changed. But not my wonderings: How? How!


I acknowledge those who do not draw a one-for-one comparison between the Holocaust and today’s shedding of the blood of the unborn. And as a Christian who loves God’s Chosen People in the Hebrew Scriptures, who believes they will have a special place in God’s future, I want to be very deliberate in approaching this subject. There are some differences:

> THAT was the targeting for extinction of one ethnic group; THIS is the destruction of lives in all demographics.
> THAT resulted in the extermination of 6 million souls; THIS has cost the United States over 60 million image bearers since 1973.
> THAT ended in a nation’s shame and remorse; THIS is still accepted.


Nothing stays exactly the same; it gets a little better or a little worse, and ours is the opportunity to shape things for the better. I have found great perspective in that thought, yet I cannot rest there.

In truth, most Christian leaders in 1930’s and -40’s Germany avoided the subject. Those who are hailed today actually labored to save lives––at their own peril.

So “What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?”


I feel awkward, similar to that cold night in 1973. The blood of the innocent––8,000 Hoosiers babies every year––cries out. How could this be happening?

Opportunities lie before each of us: supporting your local crisis pregnancy center, praying for your pastor, offering words of hope outside an abortion facility, sitting down with elected officials, ministering to those who have abortion in their history, assisting those caught in this industry to find jobs elsewhere.

You are not alone; brothers and sisters will travel this quest for mercy with you. More importantly, Jesus said, “You will be My witnesses,” and “I will be with you.”

History offers no do-overs; only lessons. 

Let mercy reign….

Second photo: Outside the abortion facility at 1201 N. Arlington Ave., on the east side of Indianapolis (in warmer weather)