April 25, 2011

What does a history teacher say? An interview with Mr. Mike Zwolanek

Another interview already? Believe it or not, we've struck a gold mine today! It is my privilege to post another interview, this time with a faculty member at the college I attend. Mr. Mike Zwolanek has been an assistant professor in the Humanities Department and Department of Business since 1995. I recently had an opportunity to interview him about the Holocaust.

The following questions and answers are from our interview.

As a history teacher, what is something you wish more people knew about the Holocaust? Or  what is one fact/principle/person you have gleaned in your studies that more people should know about?

I think it might be the widespread support for Hitler’s plans. I think there’s a view that it was only Hitler’s plan and perhaps a few of his most loyal henchmen who used force to make it happen. Sadly, there were many in Germany, and outside of Germany, in Poland, Russia, other places who willingly turned Jews over to the Nazis for self-preservation, often (somewhat understandable), but, also, often because of widespread Antisemitism across Europe.

From a Biblical perspective, do you have any input on the Holocaust? 

We can be encouraged that despite one of mankind’s most concerted efforts to eradicate the Jews, God’s promise was kept—to preserve His chosen people.

More specifically, we know that the Holocaust was a horrific event. Often people question God's reasoning for allowing such an event to happen: how would you respond to that, and can you think of any historic examples of the same principle?

It’s always tough to explain why horrible things happen in our world, of course. Perhaps a part of it is to show that above it all, He still reigns—it goes on, but He stops it, and can work with, through its results. One of the reasons, I think, is to show very clearly that we are NOT basically good, but we are, as humans, capable of horrific, horrible things—not just the Hitlers of the world, but also the thousands who cooperated with his efforts. After the war, Sociology/Psychology tried to examine if these things were just “German” in nature, and many of their experiments showed that, sadly, they were universal in nature.