The Gift Of Forgiveness
Radical grace, forgiveness and second chances on Holocaust Remembrance Day. At the age of ten Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister Miriam were taken to Auschwitz where they were starved for food, separated from family and used for medical experiments. Eva and her sister survived, but not without consequences of the experiments. Years later, Eva did what some would call unthinkable. She forgave. Writing a letter to the Nazis and the doctors who experimented on her, she forgave them all.
Eva Kor wrote this...
"On January 27 1995, at the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I stood by the ruins of the gas chambers with my children – Dr. Alex Kor and Rina Kor – and with Dr. Munch and his children and grandchild. Dr. Munch signed his document about the operation of the gas chambers while I read my document of forgiveness and signed it. As I did that I felt a burden of pain was lifted from me. I was no longer in the grip of pain and hate; I was finally free.
The day I forgave the Nazis, privately I forgave my parents whom I hated all my life for not having saved me from Auschwitz. Children expect their parents to protect them, mine couldn’t. And then I forgave myself for hating my parents.
Forgiveness is really nothing more than an act of self-healing and self-empowerment. I call it a miracle medicine. It is free, it works and has no side effects.
I believe with every fibre of my being that every human being has the right to live without the pain of the past. For most people there is a big obstacle to forgiveness because society expects revenge. It seems we need to honour our victims but I always wonder if my dead loved ones would want me to live with pain and anger until the end of my life. Some survivors do not want to let go of the pain. They call me a traitor and accuse me of talking in their name. I have never done this. Forgiveness is as personal as chemotherapy – I do it for myself."
The full story from Eva Kor is featured on The Forgiveness Project: a UK based charity that uses storytelling to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution can be used to impact positively on people’s lives. Photo Credit