One Act of Forgiveness
Understanding forgiveness, from at least one aspect of it because forgiveness has many criteria and it’s almost impossible to diagnose every aspect of it.
What brought me to writing this article is because I watched a documentary, it was titled; The Girl who Forgave the Nazis.
Forgive (verb); stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense or mistake.
When one speaks of the Nazis, forgiveness is not a word that is allowed to be uttered in the conversation or debate, for that matter.
I am pretty sure we all know of the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews in World War Two. Just in case you were born in the most remote place on Earth and has just been introduced to the rest of the world, here is a little insight. The Nazis party led by who I believe and the rest of the sane world, is the most evil person this world has ever behold; Adolf Hitler, between the years of 1939 to 1945, committed the worst act of genocide against humanity during the second world war. It was so odious, survivors are marred even to this day, and the last concentration camp was liberated over 70 years ago. Now you may be slightly getting the magnitude of scarring I’m talking about but read on, it gets clearer.
At the beginning of the World War Two in 1939, indefensible and innocent men, women and children of Jewish background were been taken from their home and brought to ghettos and ultimately concentration camps, the largest of which was the infamous; Auschwitz in Germany. Stories of successful escape from these camps are few and so, starvation and death were the most certain if you were a prisoner at one of these camps. If death didn’t come by starvation or been experimented on by the “Angel of Death” himself, Josef Mengele, it would certainly come by been put in a gas chamber. A gas chamber that certainly contained oxygen but that was until the doors on these chambers were tightly sealed and then filled with the deadly gas, hydrogen cyanide.
Let us take away the power of the gas for a moment and let us think about the power of our mind alone. Personally, I’ve never been in an elevator but I’ve seen people in an elevator but I can physically put myself in another position of being in a cramped passenger bus (in Jamaica), just being in such a cramped position like that alone is uncomfortable even thinking about it makes you feel uncomfortable. Now, transfer that feeling of being lined up by Nazis soldiers holding blood thirsty hybrid dogs, batons and the awe intimidating rifles but the fear starts even before been lined up for the gas chambers. The fear starts when they were being picked by whoever were the head of these camps. It is right then, when the power of the mind truly comes into play and one of the greatest powers of the mind is to evoke fear on ourselves, fear that can cripple us both psychologically and physically. Aside from been guarded, these Jews were crippled by fear brought on by the psychological torture of the Nazis. It had to be devastating for the ones experiencing it physically and the ones left behind, scheduled to be killed at a later date.
The crimes committed by the Nazis against the Jews are so unbelievable, one have to ask themselves; where did they find so many people to kill and that is not even funny.
Let us get back to the topic forgiveness which this article is about. Eva Mozes Kor is the only woman I suppose is known to forgive the Nazis. Eva Mozes Kor is a Holocaust survivor and one of survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp which was liberated by the Soviet Union in January of 1945.
Eva Mozes Kor had a twin sister; Miriam, at age 10, they along with their mother ended up at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. At Auschwitz; the obscene physician, Josef Mengele was its head and decided who lived and who died but his main area of expertise was doing experiments on the prisoners, his specialty was doing experiments on twins…and at this point I’m sure you are following…Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister, Miriam were his so called “lab rats”.
Before Eva and Miriam were selected by one of the soldiers at the camp, their mother was asked; “are they twins?”. She replied by asking; “is that good?”. The soldier supposedly confirmed it was a good thing and so she revealed that they were twins. Being a twin at Auschwitz was never a good thing by any means, unless his (Josef Mengele) experiments and findings are being covered up by today’s medical professionals, nothing of value came from his experiments, only the constant torture of little boys and girls because of an ideology of pure disillusion.
Eva Mozes Kor’s first day at Auschwitz she witnessed dead children on the latrine floor and it was then she made a silent pledge that she would do everything and anything in her power to make sure, herself and her sister did not end of on the latrine floor. A pledge that sounds lightweight coming from a 10 year old girl, who had a twin in a place where being a twin, was a curse. Like a vow, a pledge must be honored by any means necessary even when you are just 10 years old and in a place where death is certain.
Eva Mozes Kor is the woman who publicly forgave the Nazis of their atrocities which outraged her fellow Holocaust survivors, even the ones who were killed, are turning in the mass graves they were buried in.
We are all made differently but even so, no one will understand or try to understand why someone would forgive the Nazis for their crimes and to go as far a publicly proclaiming it, hugging and kissing Oskar Groening, a Nazis who stood trial in 2014. After Miriam’s death in 1993, Eva met an Ex-Auschwitz doctor, Hans Munch, she persuaded Munch to make a statement at Auschwitz to what he had witnessed there, things that even haunted him.
Marianne Williamson said it best; “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.”
To understand someone, we must think like that person and that was how I came to my conclusion on why she ultimately forgave the Nazis. Remember the pledge Eva made in the beginning of arriving at the concentration camp. When the camp was liberated by the Soviet Union, in January of 1945, Eva and her sister Miriam were still alive. She said she couldn’t let the Nazis win, the most important person to her at the point was still alive and so she felt like she had won, her pledge was honored.
So it’s safe to say; the only way forgiveness can be gained from such a horrific episode, is if the person who was wounded, in the end, is the winner. If we think about that for a moment and think about the times we were hurt, the reason we don’t forgive was because we felt like we lost and forgiving the person who handed us that loss, only gives them more power and makes us feel vulnerable. Often times we believe the person that hurt us is happy while we are hurting and forgiving that person makes it all the more painful.
We live and we learn but the fact is, we don’t like to lose and when we do, forgiveness is not the prerogative but how we can restore ourselves. Ironically, full restoration may not be possible if we don’t offer forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and realizing that prisoner was you,” –Lewis B Smedes
We can’t always win but what we always have is the choice of how the loss influences us, whether it breaks us or makes us a stronger person.
Peace of mind is the ultimate and forgiveness is one of its necessary ingredients.