The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland – The court trial for a former Nazi concentration camp guard has triggered an emotional battle among Holocaust survivors over whether they can – or should – forgive their tormentors.
Former SS Sgt. Oskar Groening is being tried in Germany as an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews at Auschwitz. (See the Forgiveness News article immediately below this one dated 4/28/15 for more on the 93-year-old Groening’s trial.)
Now 81-year-old Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who was subjected to horrific experiments at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by camp doctor Josef Mengeleis, is being critized after publicly forgiving Gröening for his role in the crimes against her family.
Other concentration camp survivors (co-plaintiffs in the trial) have attacked Kor for staging a “one- woman rehabilitation” show.
“Being a co-plaintiff in the name of the murdered while using this role for public and personal forgiveness – that doesn’t fit together,” they said in a statement. “We cannot forgive Mr Gröening for his participation in the murder of our relatives.”
Kor, however, is unrepentant. She says her show of forgiveness is a gesture of respect to Holocaust victims and has given her inner peace.
“Even if every Nazi was hanged for their crimes, my life would be the same,” she said. “But if we give each other the hand as humans – good, bad and indifferent – then something can happen.”
Kor added, “I’m a survivor, not a victim. Fostering victimhood doesn’t help victims and society shouldn’t encourage it. We cannot heal victims by continuing victimhood, but by encouraging forgiveness.”
Read the full story: “Auschwitz survivors row over forgiveness”