Monday, January 25, 2021by Reverend Dan on January 25, 2021
“When you pray, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them . . .”
Eva Kor and her sister Miriam were the subjects of horrific experiments at the hands of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
In 1995, Eva returned to Auschwitz for the 50th anniversary of their liberation. She asked Dr. Hans Munch (who signed death certificates at the camp during the war) to join them and sign an affidavit acknowledging what happened there. To everyone’s surprise, Dr. Munch agreed.
Eva explained what happened afterwards:
I was so glad that I would have an original document witnessed and signed by a Nazi to add to the historical collection of information we were preserving for ourselves and for future generations. I was so grateful that Dr. Munch was willing to come with me to Auschwitz and sign that document about the operation of the gas chambers, and I wanted to thank him. But how can one thank a Nazi doctor?
For ten months I pondered this question. All kinds of ideas popped into my head until I finally thought, how about a simple letter of forgiveness from me to him? Forgiving him for all that he has done? I knew immediately that he would appreciate it, but what I discovered once I made the decision was that forgiveness is not so much for the perpetrator, but for the victim. I had the power to forgive. No one could give me this power, and no one could take it away. That made me feel powerful. It made me feel good to have power over my life as a survivor.
In an interview before her death, Eva said, “If I had discovered forgiveness sooner, I would have had that 50 years of my life back. Forgive. See the miracle that can happen.”
If a survivor of the worst concentration camp in the history of the world can forgive her captors, shouldn’t we all be able to find forgiveness for anything done to us?
Merciful and Forgiving God. Help us to forgive others and in the process free ourselves from all that being unforgiving does to us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN