Part Six: Epilogue
(Posted to this site on 12/22/2006)
A Few Final Words
Since coming to America in 1949 I have been asked numerous times if I could ever forgive the Nazis for what they did to me, my family, friends and the others who were murdered in cold blood. I have thought about that question repeatedly and still have not been able to decide. Perhaps I will never be able to make that decision.
I believe that in order for forgiveness to occur, there must be an honest effort by the perpetrators to admit that they were wrong and to ask sincerely for the forgiveness of their victims. In my opinion, the German government and their allies have neither fully admitted nor taken responsibility for the horrors they caused. They have never made a good-faith effort to restore confiscated property, money, paintings, jewelry and other property to their rightful owners. They have never asked their surviving victims for forgiveness. How can there be forgiveness without the perpetrators first fulfilling their responsibilities?
I realize that being able to forgive one’s enemies is perhaps a wonderful thing. However, after all the horrors the Nazis subjected us to, I still cannot find the strength and grace to bestow forgiveness on the most evil regime the world has ever seen.
If somehow in the future, I find that I am capable of forgiveness I would only be able to forgive the Nazis for what they did to me personally. I would never presume to forgive on behalf of my father, mother, three brothers, two sisters, many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, and all other innocents who were tortured and died at the bloody hands of the Nazi killers.
While at Auschwitz-Birkenau, I asked, “Where is God?” as I observed the fire raging in the trenches that could have contained and consumed my mother, my sisters and my cousins. More than 50 years later, I no longer dwell on that question because I realize that the horrors of those concentration camps were caused by diabolically evil human beings who were exercising free will.
As I celebrate my fifty second-year anniversary of residing in the United States of America, my adopted country, I thank God for the wonderful opportunities this country has given me.
The proudest day of my life was November 11, 1954, when I raised my hand and took the oath of United States citizenship in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia.
Throughout my more than fifty years as an American, I have consistently tried to live up to the ideals of this country.
I bring closure to this book and to this chapter in my life with a great deal of humility and gratitude. In retrospect, it was my inner-strength and the confidence and belief in myself that helped me survive the Holocaust. While my wounds from concentration camp beatings healed long ago, the wounds that can never heal are the ones inside, in my heart. Yet, I am most grateful that I did endure and have had the opportunity to be productive and to have a meaningful life.
I have a burning love for this country and the soldiers who gave their lives so that I might be free. I have an undying respect for our men in military service.
Finally, I know first hand, that with all of our problems, we have the greatest country in the world.
May God continue to bless America my beloved country.