Jews For Jesus use Shoah imagery in new evangelistic video

Jews For Jesus have produced a new video, called “That Jew Died For You.” It features two Jewish women being sent to do hard labour in a Polish concentration/extermination camp, and Jesus being sent to die. Aside from the anachronisms, Jesus as a healthy 30-something man would have more likely been sent to work rather than to death. Meanwhile, emotional music plays over the background.

There is definitely something in the idea that God understands the horrors of Auschwitz, because of His own death and his active and willing participation in receiving suffering.

However, JFJ’s video is clearly designed to elicit an emotional response, and whilst some may be moved by the concept of Jesus suffering in a concentration camp, it seems to distract from the main message of Yeshua being our atoning sacrifice.

There are Holocaust survivors who recognise the cross as a symbol used to persecute them, and just showing Jesus carrying a cross isn’t going to magically erase this. So I don’t think the video is particularly helpful.

If a missionary made a video of Jesus in a slave boat to try to appeal to black people that Jesus is their messiah, I’m not sure that would be great either.

It is rather insensitively named – That Jew Died For You – and it looks like JFJ are prepared for any angry responses, with a ready-made FAQ available online.

16 thoughts on “Jews For Jesus use Shoah imagery in new evangelistic video”

  1. What an awful and tasteless video. Cheap stereotypes and cheap sensationalism will only bring forth cheap and sensationalist reactions.
    This is just asking for trouble.

  2. I am sorely disappointed that Christians do not see how horribly wrong this type of material is. While many German soldiers were good Sunday go to meeting Lutherans, their neighbors the Jewish people were being gassed, sometimes by these very same “Christians.” I know from studies, that Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon, but everything from the Ghetto’s, to the Nuremberg laws have their antecedents in Church canon laws. Without Christian propaganda and anti-Judaism it is likely that the Shoah would not have happened. Using the holocaust for any missions activity, in any way, is not ok! This is particularly true given that MOST of the victims were either secular or Orthodox, and so, averse to anything Christian. This is capitalizing on suffering for PR purposes, and is disgusting, not to mention a sin. According to J4J theology, if you do not believe in Jesus, G-d is pissed with you. If this is the case, why capitalize on the suffering of people who most assuredly disagreed with you, for your own purposes? I don’t understand, short of mental illness, how anyone could see a video like this as even remotely OK. I do think Yeshua dies, again and again, every time we use his people as a prop. This is another example of Christians saying “Oh you Jews are so stubborn, so short sighted, you don’t see how G-d died for you, even whilst you were in Auschwitz.” This is abominable! I have an idea for all of you. If you know a Jew who is involved with J4J GET THEM OUT, and get them to a rabbi! If Christians can’t learn to appreciate Judaism without Jesus on its own terms, how can we ever claim that the Torah testified to Jesus? If Judaism as it is today sans Yeshua can’t be taken as a living testament of relationship with G-d, then how could it have been so when Yeshua first came? What good is a tutor that doesn’t already know the material for the exam? This is an example of the same tired replacement theme that Christians have always used. Shame, and most definitely not Jewish!

  3. There is something between us now;
    The cry you did not raise.

    You have washed your hands again,
    Put down the pitcher.
    Ths water will flow between us.

    Give me back Jesus;
    He is my brother.
    He will walk with me
    Behind the gray ghetto wall
    And into the slaughter house
    I will lead Him into the lethal chamber;
    He will lie down upon the poisoned stone;
    The little children pricked with the death bubble
    Will come unto Him.

    Return to Him the yellow badge.
    Give me back Jesus
    He is not yours.

    To A Christian Friend (Marie Syrkin 1899-1989)

  4. Just back from a bit of time away from the computer, thanks Dror for highlighting this, hadn’t seen this before, I really think a little more caution should have been exercised when they discussed the original idea. However if they want to create controversy and get people talking about them, they will probably succeed. Will they get people talking about Yeshua, some, probably, yes. Is it the best way to get people talking about Yeshua, probably not. This is a highly sensitive area, which does not mean JfJ have no right to even broach the subject.

    An Orthodox ‘theological’ response to the Shoah is Rabbinic Responsa of the Holocaust Era – translated and edited by Robert Kirschner.

  5. The premise of the video is actually not so nefarious, but it seems that the discussion is more based around JFJ’s motivations [to do this film].

    JFJ courts controversy, its founder (Moishe Rosen) said, “there is no such thing as bad publicity” — and certainly in an age where JFJ is losing its grip and influence in the Messianic world, maybe this [the film] is a way to gain some credence.

    Again, in and of itself it is not bad to do that either, however, if Jewish people in Auschwitz are simply ephemera to prove a point, that may be bad.

    At least it got us talking!

      1. Yes, it has (and will be noticed), again I have to say that I don’t think the video in-and-of-itself is bad I simply don’t think that most contemporary Jewish people will do the paradigm mind warp shift to understanding the concept of substitutionary atonement (as presented in the title of this video) paralleled with a Jewish Jesus in Aushwitz.

      2. You might want to be prepared for their hardball tactics, then, because they are playing hardball with their critics like me (and I first learned about the video for Rosh Pina Project). They’re also sullying Moishe Rosen’s memory in doing so.

        1. We know Nicole, we have experienced some of that sneaky rather than hardball tactics already in the offline world.

  6. I looked at all the sublinks from

    Setting aside this controversy I was brought to tears by the wonderful testimonies of Jews who survived. Their stories touched me. Also the slide show of Jesus as portrayed by Jewish artists before and after the war was an eyeopener.

  7. I read the article that asked “was Christianity really responsible for the Shoah?” The answer is, in some way, yes it really was. It is rather convenient for the authors to break 1930s Germany into “liberal” and “conservative” Christians, or true and false. This is the worst form of historical assassination and lets the elusive Unicorn called the “true Christian” totally off the hook for the misuse, and yes it is a misuse of Christian theology. Many people have done the same to Islam in the modern world. We have to take our scriptural texts with the good and bad, and not shrink from it. If you are going to disarm the text of its anti Judaism, the first step is to accept that it is there. Like it or not, “liberal” theology” has been around since the 1700s. Jefferson’s Bible? Deism? We can’t blame Nietzsche for ideas that he developed from intellectual trends common during his day. It is very true that Hitler hated Christianity, but he used it politically as many before him also did, including those in the pulpits. Christianity has always claimed to be the bedrock of western civilization, and with a very loud voice to that effect coming from Conservative believers. If that is the claim people wish to make, then take that claim in full, good and bad. When we say it wasn’t the “good” Christians, we fail to take responsibility for the bad Christians that the “good” ones indirectly helped to create. The middle ages and in turn the Protestant reformation, the counter reformation, and even the enlightenment etc. were full of violence, one person toward another, and in a very very religious context, as that was all there was, all that was acceptable, even in academia. In this sense, it is the biggest fallacy to try and blame “liberal scholarship,” or “heresy” for what happened. A movement’s schisms always belong in some way to that movement. I’m a great fan of the past, especially when we don’t sugar coat it.

  8. Gefilte, its not about not understanding substitutionary atonement. Off course Jews understand the concept of substitution. The problem is the video itself. Christians stood by (in large numbers) while the Shoah occurred, (although many Christians also died,) there is a major insensitivity to Jewish suffering, and to the role that Christians inevitably played, whether through inaction, silence, or G-d forbid, approval of such horrendous events. A video like this makes a mockery out of all that Judaism and Christianity have accomplished vis a vis interfaith dialogue in recent years. Jesus has the cross for the symbol of his suffering, he doesn’t need the Shoah to illustrate his suffering. The real problem with the video is that it makes light of a history of Christian anti Judaism that played no small part in Europe’s apathy and negativity toward Jewish people and their affairs. Christians need to worry about the state of their own souls more, and that of Jewish people less. Let Hashem decide who is worthy when the time comes. This video would have been more effective had there been say a rabbi and a Priest walking hand in hand in the lineup supporting each other with Jesus and Moses behind them (to illustrate both traditions,) to illustrate how far we have come in terms of mutual respect. This video makes the holocaust into a marketing and PR campaign for Jesus and Christianity. Its distasteful in the extreme.

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