with Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
with Special Guest Vicki Harris missionary to Vienna, Austria
(J) Well this is going to be a very different podcast. We’re here at Mauthausen, which was a site of one of the concentration camps here in Austria. And we’re about an hour and a half outside of Vienna city. We’ve just walked through the concentration camp and we’ve seen a lot of the buildings are still there, the barracks, the prisoner housing. And we saw the extermination kind of room, death area, where they gassed them and they hung them and they burned them. And so it’s, you know, it’s quite shocking to actually see it; where you actually go to the, you know, the actual chamber where they were gassed and see the door, and the little hole in the door where they watched them die, and waited ‘til they were all dead before they opened the door. I watched a movie that said that they took about six hours. It took about ten minutes to kill them all, but it took about six hours to evacuate all the bodies and dispose of them. But the reason our trip is here in Vienna is because we’re visiting Vicki Harris, who we’ve known for a number of years. She actually went to Israel with us back in 2004. And so…
(M) And we were in Vienna with her and Julie in what year?
(Vicki) I believe it was in the fall of 2003, right before the trip. I think that’s correct.
(M) We were here for a conference, and you were a principal in a Christian school at that time.
(J) We did the message “Forgive, Forgive” from Vienna. We went over, actually we did the message in Slovakia. And we also did “Entering The Kingdom” at the Firehouse. And the development of the Firehouse, it was a prayer house. And so, we did that message there. You spoke Martha, and it’s the CD series “Entering The Kingdom”; and gave a really neat message. Do you remember what that message was about?
(M) I remember weeping, but it was about Daniel, to these specific intercessors that were gathering for God’s purpose there. I remember that much about it.
(Vicki) I remember you were talking about, I think, that the Lord had called you to the little pockets of prayers throughout the world. And you confirmed to us, our little small group there in Guntramsdorf that you believed the Lord had called us indeed to be one of those little groups that He was raising up for intercession.
(M) One of those little lights in the world… So this week, we’ve been with Vicki in her apartment, which is in an area, a Jewish area, and cobblestone streets. It’s an area where the synagogue… She lives next door to the synagogue that was demolished by Nazi tanks. And there were many atrocities on that street and…
(Vicki) It was called Reich’s Kristallnacht in 1938. And people are probably aware of that from the study of World War 2 history, because it was a night that happened throughout Europe when the Nazi’s came in and absolutely destroyed whole Jewish neighborhoods. And there are huge blocks and blocks and blocks in the city of Vienna, in the second district where I live, that were demolished. And I believe throughout the time there, from that area alone there were about 40,000 Jews collected, for lack of a better term, and shipped off to various concentration camps.
(J) Does Kristal Nacht, does that mean the breaking of glass?
(Vicki) You know Kristal is like glass, that’s the idea, that it shimmered like Kristal; because glass was broken in all of the streets.
(M) So it became a little bit real to me in living there for a few days. And then Vicki has taken us to Mauthausen to the concentration camp, and it has been a wrenching experience, the reality of it. I never dreamed I would stand in front of ovens and gas chambers, and then see the film of the liberation by Patton’s army. And the films they made… We just heard an American soldier, who was probably a boy then. He couldn’t, even as an older man… He couldn’t tell it without weeping. And we’re standing right now on the burial ground of that. The Americans had to bury the first day, 1200 people who had died of starvation, and then every day after that 300 more would die. And the atrocity is very real to us right now this moment. And this gorgeous blue sky and beautiful Austrian hills, it’s still a place of such a nightmare; it’s inconceivable that humans could do that to anyone. So, Vicki’s had some… God has placed her in some of the most amazing positions, to be in points of, not Austrian history or American history, but the history of the Son of God; and what He’s doing in the earth today in Europe. And she’s had some experiences here, if she would be willing to share them. Vicki…
(Vicki) Well Martha, as you mentioned earlier, when you, when we first had you and John visit, I was still the principal at a Christian school in Vienna. The Lord has changed my life quite a bit since those days, and brought me into connection with several different ecumenical movements here in Austria. And one of the ones that I have been the most encouraged and having the honor of interceding for and ministering with, and praying for leadership of, is a group called Weg der Versöhnung, which is “Way of Reconciliation”. And this is a group of Christians, from every possible denominational and non-denominational background, who have chosen to gather together in the name of Jesus, and try to put aside all of our little differences; and come together in the Lord, and hear Him and build unity in the Body of Christ. One of the things that they were very involved in is the reconciliation of Christians to Jews, with regards to the anti-Semitism and the history of Nazi control here in Austria back in those years. So, a couple of years ago I had the privilege of being right here in Mauthausen as this group came together and repented as a group, as a group of believers, those who call themselves, who are Christians. They came together to repent for what was done in the name of Christ, what was done in His Name, by believers, people who call themselves believers. Here in this concentration camp, and throughout Austria. And there was actually a ceremony here, in which there was repentance given to a Messianic Jew, Peter Loth, who is, who was actually born in a concentration camp, Stroudhoff, in Poland. And he came and stood in representing Jews, the Jewish community, and allowed us to repent to him, and he spoke forgiveness to the Body of Christ in Austria for what was allowed to happen here. And then there was a time of prayer asking the Lord to come and restore the land, and to come and restore His plans and purposes for this nation. And so yeah, that’s what actually happened here just, I believe it was March maybe two years ago exactly, if I’m thinking correctly.
(M) I think you had another opportunity to bring Israeli youth here, Messianic youth. Is that right?
(Vicki) Actually we did not bring them here to Mauthausen. I had the opportunity to meet them. One of the other things I’ve been involved with two years in a row, is going to pray at the concentration camps, four different concentration camps in Poland. And we would go and just ask the Lord what we were supposed to pray. And the first time I went it was very deeply, gut wrenchingly repentance focused. And I found myself being the one repenting for the United States for turning away. We turned away shiploads of Jews that were seeking asylum. Then later I also repented for the church for not standing for the Jews, standing for what was being done. And so, that was extremely, in contrast to the next year, in which it was a very worship oriented trip. And it was… We felt like we were carrying vessels of the Light of Christ back into this land, and onto these properties that had been so decimated by the horrors that were done there. And I had the privilege that year to meet an incredibly delightful group of young Messianic, Jewish young men and women; and also about four or five charming German young people. And I will never forget walking into… I think we were going into Berkenau or Aushwitz it’s also called. And Marianna was on one arm, and Johannes was on the other arm. And I’m thinking, oh, my goodness Lord, you have me walking in here with a Messianic believer and a German believer. And it was such a mixture of emotion. I hardly even now know how to explain it, because each one were taking in from such different perspective and such horror. Even the horror was from different perspectives. And I will never forget this precious 17 year old young man looking me in the face and he said, “How could my people have done this?” And I just looked at him, and I said, “Johannes, look at me. You are a vessel of the living God. You are a vessel of Jesus Christ. Don’t you hang your head. You march in there as a German believer bringing the Light of Christ. This time you’re coming in bringing Christ. You’re coming in bringing Life. You’re coming in bringing Love. You’re coming in bringing mercy and compassion and restoration.” And so it was… I will never forget that. And Marianna and he got to really minister, I think, to each other in that, and she ministered to him very deeply in that place. It was an incredible privilege, truly.
(M) I remember you writing to me about it Vicki, and it was wonderful to hear, but to see a place like this that doesn’t even equal the places you’ve been in Poland; that is cleaned up and most of the barracks are gone. But the thousands and thousands that came through here and suffered and were tortured and died, it makes it so incredibly real and fresh, like I have never felt it or seen it before. And I just, I appreciate so much that God has put you in that.