The church building where I am serving is over 100 years old and was once owned by a Jewish man who fled Poland in WW2. The Nazis and the Ukrainians and local Polish people who collaborated with the Nazis during the war, took over the building. They knocked a hole in the wall, where the staircase is now, and built the stairs and put on the door.
The sign means “For Jews”.
During WWII, Nazis would hunt for Jews and paid people living in the community were to identify and turn over Jews. The Ukrainian and Polish collaborators and the Nazis would then lock them in the basement of the current church. These Jews were held in the basement for a couple of days and then taken out and either killed or sent to a camp.
This building reminds us of the inhumanity of man to other men and brings us back to scripture from Jeremiah and from Romans:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Now a building once owned by a Jewish man, which was used by the Nazis as an instrument of death and now it is housing others fleeing war and preaching peace and salvation.
God is merciful and good.