International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, commemorates the day that Russian forces liberated the concentration camp at Auschwitz where 1.5 million Jews were murdered (Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day is in April, commemorating the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto). Here is an essay written for this occasion.
Jesus Christ was a Jew. He was born a Jew, lived as a Jew and died a Jew. In fact he never mentioned the word “Christ” because it is Greek, he spoke Aramaic, which was the lingua franca of the region. He never called himself a Christian and indeed no such designation existed then. He considered himself merely a reformer within the realm of Judaism. For example, his teaching was an adaptation of Rabbi Hillel from centuries earlier, who wrote “that which is hateful to you do not do to another.” Jesus was then murdered by the imperial forces of Rome and crucified as just another Jew. The religion known as Christianity was founded by Saul of Tarsus, a Jew who Hellenized his name to Paul and missionized for his heretical version of Judaism among the Greeks within the Roman Empire.
Initially the Christians were persecuted by the Romans, they were murdered and used in spectacles where they were devoured by lions and killed by gladiators. But, many years later when the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity (in 312 ce) he was responsible for deciding the tenets of the Christian religion (such as the semi-divinity of Jesus) at the Council of Niceae (325 ce) and wiping out all other variants as heretical. So the collapse of the Roman Empire was coincident with the acceptance of a new and supposedly non-violent religion.
Yet, the religion was corrupted by the power and wealth of the Church and of the Christian Empires that succeeded Rome, the Byzantines, the Italian States, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and England. As a result of replacement theology, Judaism was supposed to be extinct and therefore Jews could be killed if they did not accept Christianity (the Muslims did the same). This lead over the centuries not only to religious anti-Judaism, but also to racist anti-Semitism.
The logical outcome was that the perverse political extremist Adolf Hitler could use popular anti-Semitism as a means to attain power and then use his control over Europe during WWII to eliminate the Jews, which meant murdering millions of men, women and children. So the Jews of Europe took the role of the downtrodden people of Jesus, that the early Christians had taken in relation to the Roman Empire.