In the autumn of 1942 Dr. Victor Frankl of Vienna, Austria, his wife, and his parents were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. His father died there in 1943. Later they were transported to Auschwitz, where his mother died, and then to the Tuerkheim, a concentration camp not far from Dachau. Meanwhile, his wife had been transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died.
On April 27, 1945, Frankl was liberated. Among his immediate relatives, the only survivor was his sister, who had escaped the Nazi carnage by emigrating to Australia.
psychology class. The book was written by Victor Frankl and is titled, 'Man's Search for Meaning.'
"Frankl chronicled the lessons of the Nazi concentration camp where he was imprisoned. He had every reason to hate and to give up. His wife, his parents and his brother were killed by the Nazis. Dr. Frankl observed that the men and women who seemed to retain their sanity and even their dignity in the face of torture, disease, starvation, gas chambers and death were people focused upon helping those around them. Forgoing meager or starvation rations by giving their food to those in greater need, caring for the sick and dying of Auschwitz, attempting double portions of labor to cover for those unable to work, facing the rage of a world gone mad -- Frankl, an atheist at the time, observed the power of faith, yes and the power of living beyond self that separated these extraordinary people of the Holocaust from the withering souls around them who were living without hope, who were living without meaning. Frankl was awestruck by the revelation. In fact, Jewish physician and psychologist Victor Frankl found God at Auschwitz."
We might be tempted to think that God was not at Auschwitz. How could he be there and let the horror go on unabated? I don't have the definitive answer to that penetrating question. Someday I'll ask him. Until then, I hold to the belief that even in the midst of the worst humankind can do to itself, God is waiting to give hope and meaning to life.
Dr. Alexander is adjunct professor of communication and comparative religions at North Central Michigan College, and pastors Bliss Church in northern Emmet County.