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Document Details :
Title: 'Please give me some of your son's love-fruits' (Gen 30:14)
Subtitle: Apportioning or Sharing God's Election?
Author(s): BEUKEN, Willem A.M.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 23 Issue: 3 Date: fall 1998
Almost every week I pass a little plaque on the wall of a building in Amsterdam which is intended to remind passers-by that Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) lived there until she disappeared into the transit camp at Westerbork. She was a Jewish mystic whose diaries are perhaps less well-known than those of Anne Frank although they really don't deserve to be. The house where she lived stands as a symbol of unequaled barbarism directly opposite three museums and a concert-hall, symbols in their own way of civilization. A rather grim contrast! When I see the Hillesum house my thoughts follow two different paths. In the first place, as much as Hillesum was a secularized Jewess, she is the perfect illustration of God's freedom to reveal himself to one of his own people when he sees fit, even when the usual conditions of membership do not seem to be present. For someone like me, with an image of God which has been informed by education and the institutions of church and academy, such thou ghts stimulate something of the thrill of encountering the unknown, the unfamiliar. In the second place, of all the experiences Etty Hillesum recorded in her journals, the following is perhaps the most striking for me. Her concern for the social welfare of the children in the camp impelled her to beg on their behalf for better conditions. The camp commandants responded: “It is part of an inescapable historical process that among the nations of Europe there will be no more Jews.” Indeed, the German occupiers gave more or less the same response to the complaints of the Roman Catholic bishops in the Netherlands.