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To Our Boys in Service

Dear Fellows:

Now the war is over, and correspondence with friends and relatives in Europe is re-established, more and more reliable accounts by eyewitnesses reach us about the atrocities committed by the Nazis upon the people of the occupied countries. They wantonly robbed the people of virtually everything they had, leaving them starving and almost naked; they shot them to death at the slightest provocation or without any at all; they pressed them into the hard bondage of cruel slave-labor, beat them, stepped on them with spiked boots, burned them alive in gas-houses, and subjected them to tortures too horrible to describe.

There is a lesson in all this. Only let us beware, lest we draw the wrong conclusion, and make the erroneous application of ascribing all this to the wanton pride and cruelty of the German nation and the German character. The lesson these horrors and atrocities teach us is that the ‘Word of God is true when it describes the natural man as corrupt, “full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity. . . .without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Rom. 1:29-31. The cruelties committed are the manifestation of the wickedness of man that departs from the living God, and of the corruption of man’s mind as it was, in this case embodies in Nazi Philosophy.

Sin is not German, but universal. Also among the Germans there are many people of God, of which Henry Faber, in a letter I recently received from him, and in which he beautifully describes his own impressions and experiences in Germany, reminded me. And just today, I read, in a letter from Holland by an eyewitness, that many a German would help the “underground” refugees, protect and feed them, and reveal the grace of Christ.

Not civilization, or culture, or democracy, nor anything else that man may invent or do, but only the grace of Christ is able to deliver us from the dominion and power of sin that came to such dreadful manifestation in the Nazi atrocities.

May that grace keep you in the midst of the world, also from the deceitful influences of man’s philosophy which is vain.

And here is hoping that you may soon return to us, and take your place among us in the Church.

As ever, your friend,

H. Hoeksema

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Lt. Maurice Herrick, member of the 2nd Prot. Ref. Church, was reported missing while on his second mission, Jan. 13, 1945, and is now reported to have been killed.

Pfc. Gerrit J. Vis, member of the Hull Protestant Reformed Church, Hull, Iowa, was killed in action on Okinawa, on April 28, 1945.