While teaching/reading, “Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, THE Definitive Edition” (which really is the most comprehensive edition), I had a student who was not familiar with much of the context surrounding Anne’s diary.
We have spent a few days reviewing WWII, the isolation and ghettoization of the Jews, the choices made by various governments to step in or look away, and finally, yesterday, we discussed the concentration camps.
I showed her this:
This woman and her sister lost their entire family in a matter of minutes, they were tortured and left to die by Joseph Mengele until finally liberated by the Russian Army.
The fascinating and hopeful part of her story is when she reconnects with a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz in 1995, has him sign a document testifying of the horrors of the gas chambers and mass genocide which occurred at that death camp during WWII.
As a result of their interaction, Eva chooses to forgive. She said, “I spent 50 years feeling like a victim with no power. Now, I had the power to choose to forgive or not to forgive and no one could take that from me.”
The word forgive comes from both German and French, and without a lengthy etymology lesson, means to:
release the need to punish
To forgive does NOT mean to forget or embrace behavior is that is immoral, corrupt, and unacceptable. To forgive does not mean to become besties or continue to accept abhorrent and intolerable actions.
To forgive is to release MY need to punish. To forgive is to release not only my desire to punish others but my desire to punish myself. I have enough on my plate. I’m going to leave the punish/reward phase of life to God or the Universe or the internet.
To be clear, I have no intention of laying down under the wheels of the bus again, I’m just not going to slash its tires.
Light and Love,