The ten Boom Holocaust Center in Haarlem, Holland, dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, has launched a prayer and letter campaign appealing to Mel Gibson to add a postscript to the movie that will be shown in anti-Semitic countries to deter anti-Semites from using the movie to incite Jew-hatred. According to Icon Productions, the movie will be made available worldwide, and will be translated into Russian, Arabic, French and a number of other languages.
The campaign is Internet-driven. Each person is asked to commit to pray for Mr. Gibson and the Jewish people. They are also encouraged to write a letter in support of the film, and to humbly appeal to him to add the following postscript:
During the Roman occupation, more than 250,000 Jews were crucified by the Romans, but only One rose from the dead.
Throughout history, anti-Semites have used the story of the Crucifixion to feed and fuel Jew-hatred. In recent years, incidents of anti-Semitism worldwide have risen to levels not seen since the days of Hitler.
The ten Boom Foundation believes the film in its present form will incite violence against Jews in the former U.S.S.R., in Muslim countries and in Europe. It could even result in Jews being killed. We don’t believe, under any circumstances, that’s what Mr. Gibson wants to happen.
Mike Atkins, spokesman for the Foundation, said their board believes this statement would counter the “blood libel myth” that millions of non-Christians believe, especially in Muslim countries where 800,000 Jews fled because of anti-Semitism; and in the former U.S.S.R., where 1 million fled in just over a decade; and in Europe where anti-Semitism has risen to an all-time high in the past three years – since Hitler’s Nazi regime.
By inserting the postscript, Mr. Gibson would be communicating the suffering of all Jews under Roman occupation. Those who desire to use the film to incite hatred toward the Jews would be deterred. This could well turn any controversy between Christians and Jews into compassionate understanding.
We humbly ask forgiveness to the Jewish people for the Jewish blood that has been shed in the name of our Savior, and want to do all we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
With this postscript, “The Passion of the Christ” would be the first Jesus film ever produced to fight anti-Semitism by telling the true story of Jewish suffering during the time of Christ. Even Hitler used the story of the Passion of Christ to exploit his evil. In 1934, Hitler said:
It is vital that the Passion play be continued at Oberammergau; for never have the menaces of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened in the time of the Romans. There one sees Pontius Pilot, a Roman, racially and intellectually so superior, that he stands out like a firm, clean rock in the middle of the whole muck and mire of Jewry.
History records that Passion movies have been a tool used by anti-Semites. We support Mr. Gibson, and “The Passion of the Christ.” However, we want him to make it difficult, if not impossible, for bigots to use this precious movie for evil purposes.
Dr. Billy Graham made the ten Boom story famous. Corrie ten Boom spoke around this nation during Dr. Graham’s crusades. World Wide Pictures (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) released the major motion picture, “The Hiding Place,” that recounts the family’s story.
During World War II, the ten Boom home became a refuge, a hiding place, for fugitives hunted by the Nazis. Casper and his daughters, Corrie and Betsie, risked their lives to protect these men, women and children. This non-violent resistance against the Nazi oppressors was the ten Booms’ way of living out their Christian faith.
Through these activities, the ten Boom family and their many friends saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews, and protected many Dutch underground workers.
In 1844, the family ten Boom started a weekly prayer meeting for the Jewish people, following a moving worship service in the Dutch Reformed Church of Rev. Witteveen. Willem ten Boom felt compelled to pray for the Jewish people, so he started the weekly prayer meeting where the family and others who stopped by specifically prayed for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). These meetings took place every week for 100 years, until Feb. 28,1944. On that day, Nazi soldiers came to the house to take the family away for helping local Jews and hiding them in a secret room. The family was together for a Bible study and prayer meeting.
Although the Gestapo systematically searched the house, they could not find what they sought most. They suspected Jews were in the house, but the Jews were safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom.
The ten Boom family was imprisoned. Casper, 84 years old, died after only 10 days in Scheveningen Prison. When Casper was asked if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, “It would be an honor to give my life for God’s ancient people.” Corrie and Betsie spent 10 months in three different prisons, the last being the infamous Ravensbruck located near Berlin, Germany. Betsie, 59, died in Ravensbruck, but Corrie survived. Corrie’s nephew, Christiaan, 24, had been sent to Bergen Belsen for his work in the underground. He did not return. Corrie’s brother, Willem, 60, was also a ringleader in the Dutch underground. While in prison for this “crime,” he contracted spinal tuberculosis and died shortly after the war.
Four ten Booms gave their lives for this family’s commitment, but Corrie came home from the death camp. She realized her life was a gift from God, and she needed to share what she and Betsy had learned in Ravensbruck: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still,” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.” At age 53, Corrie began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries in the next 32 years! She testified to God’s love and encouraged all she met with the message that “Jesus is Victor.”
Corrie received many tributes. Following the war, the Queen of Holland honored Corrie as a war hero. In 1968, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem asked Corrie to plant a tree in the Garden of Righteousness, in honor of the many Jewish lives her family saved. Corrie’s tree stands there today.