Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) is my (and I’m sure countless others’) favorite Polish musician of the Romantic era. Nocturne No. 20 in C# Minor is special because this was the piece that Władysław Szpilman (1911-2000), the famed Polish pianist of Jewish descent, was playing during the live broadcast of a radio station right at the moment that Warsaw was besieged by the German army (September 23, 1939). He lost all his family members in the Holocaust. Szpilman managed to live in hiding undetected for quite a while before he was finally found by the German army officer Wilm Hosenfeld. Hosenfeld, however, didn’t kill him after he learned that Szpilman was a pianist. Right before the German officer, trembling with fear of death, he played this piece, Nocturne No. 20 in C# Minor. Hosenfeld helped Szpilman hide and even provided food during the final several months of the Second World War.
The Holocaust is the systematic genocide of some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe between 1941 and 1945. About two-thirds of European Jews were destroyed. It’s a horrendous scene that will never be erased nor be forgotten from the memory of humanity. For this absolutely atrocious crime against humanity (and God, of course), however, Lloyd Gaston (and several other Radical New Perspective scholars) points his fingers, not at Hitler’s Nazi Germany (1933-1945), but at Christians. In his mind, the Holocaust happened because the church had taught contempt toward Jews for their guilt of deicide (See Gaston 1987 and 1996). What do you think? Do you think Gaston’s accusation is justifiable?
(Photo: Władysław Szpilman [1911-2000])