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Why didn't G-d interfere when the Nazis killed my family?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein


Library » History » Holocaust | Subscribe | What is RSS?



When I was 10 years old, living in the Netherlands we went into hiding. I spent the next 5 years living with 5 different families ranging from Roman Catholic to Jehovah’s witnesses, to Dutch Reformed. I survived the war. My parents did not nor did my entire family. My father was killed on Erev Yom Kippur.

When we (the Jewish community) celebrate Pesach we celebrate the fact that G-d picked us as his "Chosen people" but when the Nazis killed my father and the entire family, as well as additional 6 million others (babies, children, women and men) G-d did not interfere. I am still and always will be Jewish but I can no longer belief in the fairy tales of the "Bible".

So today I am a non believer Jew, an atheistic Jew, but still a Jew. I am curious about your reply?


Yitgadal V'yitkadash Shmei Rabba!1

I am so sorry to hear about the pain of yet another Jew who lost his entire family in the Holocaust. At the same time I am also delighted to be part of a People who after so many hardships still have the stamina and clarity to be proud of their identity.

I don't know why G-d did not interfere, and I don't want to know. I would rather suffer with the question than be comforted with an answer. I prefer to sympathize with the pain of my brethren instead of finding excuses for my G-d.

The Nazis succeeded in killing millions of Jews, but they didn't succeed. Every day that you live as a Jew you deliver a fierce blow to the Nazis of the past and the anti-Semites of today. Every time you identify yourself as a Jew, you carry on the legacy of your family. Each Mitzvah that you do strengthens the Jewish People and brings healing to the wounds of the holocaust.

I can't blame you for being upset at G-d; I can only thank you for being a source of pride to His People.

Thank you!


  • 1. "Exalted and hallowed be His great name" - Kaddish prayer.


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Rabbi Shlomo's answer about why G-d did not intervene in Holocaust

Posted by: Anonymous, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada on Apr 20, 2009

Thank you, Rabbi Shlomo, for your answer. It is very compassionate and comforting. This is a very painful thing for many. The way I have come to see it is that the intervention is in the miracle that there are any Jews still existing today at all, when by all human standards we should have been all wiped out. This does not answer an individual person's question about why their own family was wiped out, but I for one am glad I'm alive today to carry on the legacy.


Philosophy » Pain and Suffering » Holocaust

(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
The day beforehand. For example, "Erev Pesach" means the day before Passover.
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.