One of the bigger issues that comes up when discussing the Holocaust, I’ve found, is the issue of karma and free will. Many people just assume “Nazis = bad, victims = good” and leave it at then when considering karma and the soul. Those of us who were involved with something like this know it is not that simple. However, I’ve read (and heard) a lot of other troubling ideas come about in trying to justify this immense suffering and I would like to address them.
The Holocaust related blog Liberate the Tortured Soul recently examined some hurtful and entirely unfounded comments by a Rabbi claiming that those who died in the Holocaust were dying to pay off sins from their own past lives. (I won’t link to his article, but unfortunately, it is one of the first sources to come up in a google search on this topic.) The infuriating thing is all of the hidden assumptions that are being made with this kind of statement! More troubling is that while many would not agree with his claims outright, I have found that many actually do hold this belief in some form or another: that those who were victims were in essence paying off negative karma from previous lives as perpetrators.
Let me show you why this is a problem and makes no sense. What people who hold this viewpoint need to consider is this: does that then make the Nazis “karma police”? Were they just doing their cosmic job punishing sinners? Should we not hold them accountable then? What about their past life sins? What about the victims’ supposed past lives as perpetrators; weren’t they just acting as karma police for other sinner souls in the past?
That is to say…
1. Person A sins against person B.
2. In the next life, person B sins against person A, but it is ok because person A deserves it for a past life sin against Person B!
3. But Person B must have met person A with previously accumulated karma already, so that means Person A was simply helping to pay off the debts that Person B was carrying.
4. Therefore, neither of these persons are karmically sinning, as they are both enforcing just punishment! Therefore, neither of the sins were actually wrong! Therefore, there were no sins to punish in the first place! So why is there punishing going on? Who is originally wrong here?
See, it doesn’t make any sense. It’s just intended to blame the victim and be divisive. I do not believe that karma is a “do good get good, do bad get bad” system at all, but since many people do view it this way, they need to take a look here. If all perpetrators are simply acting out as the karma police for past perpetrators and doing their soul a favor, then those people never carry any negative karma for their actions. The police are held unaccountable! Therefore, so would the “sinners” because they had just been acting out as the karma police in a previous life! Absurd? I think so too!
Other sneakier things that come up is the idea that undergoing this negative event was intended to punish the self (as in the soul acting as its own karma police). I find this troubling as well, as once again it blames the victim and attempts to find anything to justify this immense suffering. What it actually does is continue to avoid a very uncomfortable truth:
The Holocaust was entirely created and sustained by freewill. There was no higher purpose behind it, there was no spiritual reason, there was no justification for it. Those who wanted it created it, and many who didn’t want it ignored it until it was too late. Now, I do believe that the Holocaust extends into the spiritual realms and was known about, and I do believe that those who incarnated at the time (myself included) had an idea of what was likely to take place. But the reasons why are still far more complicated or perhaps far more simple than we’ve all been grasping at. There was no cosmic justice system taking place; there was nothing just about the Holocaust. Like all perpetrators, the perpetrators of this event had a choice to make, and they made it every step of the way, for whatever reason.
This leads me into wanting to address the original fallacy I first mentioned, that Nazis are bad and victims are good. I do not believe this either. We all had very complex reasons for doing what we did, and I strongly believe we each carry negative karma just from having been there. That is why it is too complicated to label anyone as simply evil or simply good. It does not work that way! Each choice we make can have good or bad implications, and it is our choices that we control. When talking about the Holocaust, I feel it is healthy to look at the choices made and hold them accountable, rather than searching around for someone to blame or some explanation to justify it.
I do understand that not everyone agrees with this. But it is my understanding of events from my own meditations on my experiences there and what it means to be a reincarnated Holocaust victim.