The Impact of Accountability

My friend and Holocaust Survivor, Inge Auerbacher, has had a profound effect on my life.  I love her dearly and cherish our friendship.  Beyond that, I have learned many life lessons from her story.  I continue to be amazed at her resilience when I consider the facts of her stay in the Terezin Concentration Camp.  I was able to visit this place a couple of weeks ago during my time in Eastern Europe.  I was profoundly affected by the overwhelming realization of the devastating effects of the failure of  the Red Cross to act responsibly in their investigation of the camp.  You see, Terezin was used as a source of Propaganda by the Nazis to appease critics by allowing the Red Cross to visit and inspect the camp.  Great efforts were taken to hide the truth from the visitors.  Unfortunately, those charged with the responsibility to inspect, blindly accepted the lies and neglected to perform a thorough investigation which may have saved many, many lives.

The site that has continued to haunt me is our visit to the wash room designed specifically for this visit which featured rows of new sinks.  These were meant to convince the inspectors that the “prisoners” had nice facilities and humane treatment.  However, despite the new and clean appearance, no pipes were installed.  If the investigators had performed their duties and simply attempted to turn on the water, the lie would have been discovered.  How many lives could have been saved by this simple act of responsibility?  Unfortunately, they did not perform their duties and chose to accept the lies of the accused.  As a result, many lives were lost after their visit ended.

I believe God holds us accountable for our actions related to our responsibilities.  If we are in positions of leadership or of influence, we must be diligent in performing those duties.  We must be careful that we are not assuaged by excuses or explanations, especially if there is evidence of injustices.   Hopefully, we will never be charged with investigating an atrocity of this level.  However, as leaders we are accountable for the actions that affect those in our areas of service.  We must take seriously and act responsibly when faced with issues that negatively affect our employees and colleagues.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”    Luke 12:48b

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