Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant
Executive Pastor

This past Monday we recognized the anniversary of Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass. On November 9, 1938, the destruction of more than 1,400 synagogues began in Nazi Germany.

Over the years Kate and I have watched so many films about Nazi Germany and all the different lives dramatically affected by their evil. I like to remind myself that these horrors took place just a few years before I was born. We have been to Auschwitz, and I visited the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

During my lifetime, there have been at least two major evil killings, so called ethnic cleansings, in Bosnia-Serbia-Croatia and in Rwanda.

Along with all the good wonderful things about life and human nature, there is also the dark presence of evil. I think it is important to know this and keep this truth in the front of our minds.

While I admit we enjoy and find interesting these films about the Nazis, it also is a spiritual discipline to keep our hearts and minds in the real world and in the sure and certain truth that evil exists and human nature needs the transformation that comes from divine intervention.

Here are just a few outstanding films of this sort that we have watched:

  • The Pianist, based on the memoir of Holocaust survivor memoir by Władysław Szpilman, a Polish-Jewish pianist and composer.
  • Black Book, about a young Jewish woman in the Netherlands who becomes a spy for the resistance. It is based on a true story.
  • Schindler’s List you are probably familiar with, based on the true story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler who saved more than a thousand Jewish refugees.
  • Phoenix is based on a novel about an Auschwitz survivor who tries to return to her life in Berlin, and what she learns about who betrayed her.

The two we have watched most recently that I highly recommend are both in series form:

  • Generation War is a three-part miniseries that follows five young German friends as their lives take different turns in Nazi Germany and World War II
  • The World on Fire is a BBC series tracing the lives of average people from Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the United States during World War II. The first season has seven episodes, and a second season has been ordered.