Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Forgiving Dr. Mengele: An Inspirational Story

Today, I watched the wonderful 2002 documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele.

A quick history: Dr. Mengele was a doctor in the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Eva Mozes Kor and her sister, Miriam, were children that survived Dr. Mengele's experiments on twin children. The documentary focuses on Eva and her journey in mentally processing what happened to her in Auschwitz, forgiving the perpetrators of the crimes against her and the effects that her forgiveness has had on other survivors and the world, at large.

The documentary is, as of this writing, available for viewing on Netflix streaming.

Of all the documentaries I've watched, I deem this one to be the most profound and important. 

None of us comes through this life unscathed. As a victim of rape, violence and abuse, I have come through much in this life. Others have come through much worse.

We come through unloving parents, teasing and ostracizing by our peers, rape, violence, abusive relationships, gaslighting, poverty, racism, sexism and intolerance. But, no matter what we have come through, for the most part, none of it comes close to the horrors and pain that Eva, her sister and all the survivors of the Holocaust came through.

I found this documentary inspiring. Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, survived atrocities and pain that most of us could never even dream of experiencing. Even after the death of her sister (which was a direct result of Dr. Mengele's experiments), Eva still manages to look past the pain and toward a brighter horizon.

This horizon is one that few of us could imagine getting to after such an ordeal. Eva's horizon is the forgiving of her tormentors and the building of hope for a better and more understanding future.

This begs the question, for me, "If Eva can forgive something so great, why can't we all forgive the things in our lives that seem so small by comparison?"

I would have thought there would be support for Eva for such courageous acts - even going so far as to visit the house of a Nazi doctor who worked in Auschwitz in order to gain some clarity and closure. But it seems that this is not the case. Arguments fly of "Who are we to forgive them? We are not God!" and "If I forgive, I would be dishonoring the memory of my family who died." to "We demand acts of atonement for what was done to us!"

I can not say that I would blame those who are still hurting over their experiences. Maybe, if I were in their shoes, I would feel the same way, hard pressed to let the past go. But Eva's response is simple and pure. "
Getting even has never healed a single person."

Eva is not about forgetting. And, in fact, world should never forget the horrors that happened, lest we lose the lesson found therein and allow something like the Holocaust to happen, again. "I don't want to be a victim all my life, " says Eva. "That is why I forgive."

And Eva is right. Our forgiveness does not change the nature of the acts committed against us as wrong. It doesn't even matter if the people who hurt us deserve to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves, our own hearts, our own spirits. We have things we want to do and people (hopefully free from pain) that we want to be. We forgive because we want to move on.

What was done to Eva, her sister and millions of others was wrong. Nothing will change that fact. But holding on to the pain, to the trauma, to the hatred of the perpetrators does nothing for the healing of the wounds in the human soul. Everyone is entitled to feel whatever they wish regarding this issue, to forgive or not. All I am saying is that Eva and her perspective inspire me.

Eva inspires me to think that, if she can forgive such a huge encroachment on her being, why can we all not forgive the little (by comparison) violations in our own lives. Eva and her story give me hope for a more forgiving world.

And I come to find out that Eva and I live in the same state. How amazing and cool is that?!? Maybe, one day soon, I'll get to meet with her and thank her for all the work she's done.

Me? I've forgiven most of those who have harmed me. As I said in my first vlog, amnesty is granted to all. (And please, make no mistake, there is a big difference between forgiving people and allowing them back into your life so they can hurt you, again.) I do not want to live out my days in fear, in pain, in keeping the negative things in my life in the forefront of my brain. I prefer hope, joy, reason, compassion, empathy and oneness.

Until next time, my lovelies. Please remember that we are all visionaries.We just have to figure out where we excel.

Go to Episode 2

Love to All,


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