Special Report: Sgt Anton Schmid
Vol: 80 Issue: 31 Saturday, May 31, 2008
Mike Godwin is an attorney who served as first staff counsel for the Electronic Freedom Foundation. He is a pioneer in internet law and is also the author of what has come to be known as “Godwin’s Law.”
As formulated in 1990, the law states: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Although in one of its early forms Godwin’s Law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms, and more recently blog comment threads.
“Godwin’s Law” shares the same characteristic that makes ‘old sayings’ into ‘old sayings’ — that is, it proves itself through casual observation.
In virtually any discussion group, somebody is likely to make a comparison to Hitler. I ran a search of the OL’s commentary archives and got ten hits on the keywords “to Hitler.”
Nine of them were in reference to people who compared Bush to Hitler, and one in which I used Hitler in conjunction with a story on propaganda.
There were 18 hits to our OL briefing archives; in several I drew comparisons between Hitler and Ahmadinejad, the majority of the rest were stories in which somebody else compared Bush to Hitler.
There were a couple of comparisons to Hitler in our member’s forums in conjunction with speeches by Arab leaders to the UN.
So Godwin’s Law is proved true without ever leaving our own community. But Godwin’s Law wouldn’t even exist except for the historical truth that Hitler has no historical equal.
And no contemporary threat measures up — not even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear threats reach the same level of malevolent evil.
Whereas Ahmadinejad would destroy Israel in a blinding flash, Hitler’s henchmen subjected the Jews to unimaginable indignity, cruelty, deprivation and humiliation first.
It is one thing to destroy an enemy wholesale in war — evil it may be, but it doesn’t rise to the level of executing children in front of their parents, or working human beings literally to death by the tens of thousands.
Ahmadinejad’s enemy is Zionism as embodied by Israel. It is a religious and political genocidal hatred, but it is aimed at the Zionist entity, not the individual Jew.
For all his lies and bluster, Ahmadinejad is telling the truth when he boasted of Iran’s thriving 25,000-strong Jewish community.
There is a distinction drawn in Iran between ‘Jews’ and ‘Zionists’. The hatred of Israel is genocidal, but Iran’s hatred is politically and religiously motivated. Not ethnic.
Hitler didn’t seek their destruction for what they did — he sought to destroy them for who they were. It is a singular evil in which an innocent baby is no less an enemy to be destroyed than an armed combatant.
Hitler has but one real competitor, and he has not yet made his appearance. One can get a sense of why Hitler has no competition now, and some idea of what life will be like during the reign of the antichrist, from the story of Sgt. Anton Schmid.
Anton Schmid was an electrician who ran a small radio shop in Vienna, Austria. Germany annexed Austria in 1938, and Schmid was drafted into the Wehrmacht.
By 1941, Schmid was a sergeant in charge of a troop reformation depot in Vilnius, Lithuania when the Nazis began exterminating Lithuania’s 180,000 Jews.
He witnessed Hitler’s einsatzkommando squad herding Jews into two ghettos where they were shot to death by the thousands.
In a letter to his wife, Stefi, Schmid described his horror at the sight of mass murder and of “children being beaten on the way”.
He went on, “You know how it is with my soft heart. I could not think and had to help them.”
His ‘soft heart’ led him to use his position to smuggle food into the ghettos. He was able to hide, and later obtain forged papers and transportation for 250 Jews who made it safely to the Jewish underground.
Schmid’s ‘soft heart’ was anathema to Hitler’s Germany. He was arrested by the Gestapo in January 1942 and tried for treason. On April 13, he was executed as a traitor. In his last letter to his wife, he wrote; “I merely behaved as a human being.”
His wife was subjected to harrassment and vandalism by her former friends and neighbors and she was ostracized long after the war was over.
It wasn’t until 1967 that Israel’s Yad Vashem Memorial recognized Sgt. Schmid as “Righteous Among the Gentiles” for “merely behaving as a human being” –when so many millions did not — at the cost of his ‘soft heart’ being stopped by Nazi bullets.
In 2000, Germany recognized Sgt Schmid’s heroically ‘soft heart’ by renaming a German Army base in Schmid’s honor.
The base had previously been named for a German general Gunther Rudel, who although not linked directly to Nazi atrocities, served as a judge for the Third Reich’s brutal ‘People’s Court’.
Fifty-five years after the war’s end, the former commander of the base refused to attend the ceremony in protest of its renaming.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1st John 2:18)
The story of Sgt. Anton Schmid is more than a cautionary tale from the past. It is a picture of what is to come when Hitler’s true successor assumes his appointed place.
According to the Book of the Revelation, the antichrist will also embark on a genocidal campaign against Jews and against those who come to faith in Christ during the seven year Tribulation Period.
Jesus described the Tribulation Period as “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
The ‘elect’ of whom Jesus refers in this passage are the Jews of Israel, not the Church. Back up a couple of verses and read it in context.
He begins by referencing the “abomination of desolation” — a reference to an event that can only be accomplished by desecrating the Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus is addressing “them which be in Judea” and admonishing them to pray their flight “be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath Day.”
I don’t expect to be here when the antichrist comes to power. I believe that the Bible teaches that the Church Age concludes with the Rapture of the Church before the antichrist kicks of the 70th Week of Daniel by confirming a seven year treaty between Israel and her enemies.
Not because of some “Great Escape” as a reward for faithfulness. We are living in the Laodicean Church Age, one so lukewarm that Jesus said it made Him want to vomit. (Revelation 3:16)
Rather, the Rapture is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit will continue to indwell the Church until He returns.
Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit must be withdrawn to allow the absolute evil of antichrist to rule, (2nd Thessalonians 2:7) then the vessels He indwells must be withdrawn with Him.
While I don’t expect to be here, many of those I love probably will, unless they turn to Jesus and become part of the Promise beforehand.
There are Christians who will argue that the presence of Tribulation saints mentioned in Revelation 13 proves the Church will also endure the judgments of the Tribulation.
There will be saints during the Tribulation, but these are those who came to Christ following the Rapture — and Revelation 13:15 hints that they will be few and far between — not millions or billions.
John, speaking of the False Prophet, says; [he causes] “. . . that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
For illustration, Hitler was able to exterminate just 12 million in seven years with the ovens blasting away 24/7. It’s an unthinkably high number, but not compared to the billion or so Christians who now walk the earth.
Rooting out a billion people from the population takes time. More time that the antichrist has alloted to him.
There will be a lot more ‘Nazis’ in the Tribulation than there will be Sgt. Anton Schmids.
According to Yad Vashem’s records, of the hundreds of millions who lived in Europe under the Nazis, there were found just 22,211 “Righteous Gentiles” who stood up to Hitler — and the ministry of the Holy Spirit was still active in the world during the Nazi reign of terror!
I’ve recently come into possession of some documents translated by Ines Weber from German archives dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore some of the stories of the Righteous Among the Gentiles, the Holocaust, and the role it played in the restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land and beginning of the prophetic countdown to the Return of Christ.
The Tribulation Period is something we all know about in the abstract, but it sounds so foreign and distant and unthinkable that it is virtually impossible to picture.
Thanks to Professor Weber (whom you’ll learn more about as we move along) we have a portrait of evil from its birth, and an historical image upon which to draw.
It is an ugly image, occasionally made beautiful by stories like that of Sgt. Anton Schmid. It also provides some historical parallels that suggest the world is about ready to relive it.
Bible prophecy is like a road map. In order to be useful, one must not only know where one is going, but where one has been, in order to figure out where one is now.
It is incumbent upon us to understand the order of events to ‘get’ what Jesus meant when He said, “And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.”
The first ‘thing’ was the restoration of Israel. But how it came to be is a portrait in prophecy fulfilled.
And an assurance that remaining prophecy will continue to be fulfilled with equal precision and attention to detail.
“. . .yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. ( Isaiah 46:11)