Many people have told me and others who were victims of bullying that we should forgive them. That by not forgiving them, they still hold some power over their victims, me included. Well, the short answer is that I do forgive my bullies. After all, that was one of my main motivations for writing “He Was Weird” in the first place. Without giving any more of the story away, (I want you all to buy it), the final line in it is, in reference to Mark, “that he too could stop hating and forgive.” However, a couple of weeks ago, I watched something so astonishing, that it made my problems pale in comparison and showed things in a new light.
The television programme was a documentary about Eva Kor, called “The Girl Who Forgave the Nazis.” Eva was born in Romania in 1934 and because she was Jewish, the Nazis took her entire family away to Auschwitz, where the family was separated and most of them died during their imprisonment. Because Eva had a twin sister, Miriam, they were both sent to Dr Mengeles, who used twins to carry out many of his sadistic experiments. Both sisters survived although Miriam died in the 1980s and would eventually start the group Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors or CANDLES.
What makes this story so extraordinary was that last year, the former accountant at Auschwitz, Oskar Groening, went on trial for his complicity in the holocaust. Eva was one of the many Auschwitz survivors brought in to testify against Groening. However, what she did shocked the world, especially many of her fellow survivors. She openly embraced the man who was responsible for taking away the possessions of the newly arrived prisoners and publicly forgave him.
Her actions caused a lot of controversy and debate. She was criticized by many of her fellow survivors who feel that it is not up to them to forgive the Nazis. That what was done to them was unforgivable. I can definitely see their point here but I must further applaud the courage of this remarkable woman. Saying that, while she might have forgiven Groening, she still testified against him and he was convicted of being an accomplice to mass murder and given four years in prison. At 94, that could be a life sentence for him.
All the while I was watching the programme, I kept thinking that if she could forgive people who committed such heinous acts against her, her family and her people, then I should completely forgive those who bullied me. Like I said, I do but there is a catch.
If I were to meet one of those ex bullies, I wouldn’t go up to them and say “I forgive you.” See, in the back of my mind, if I did that, they might think, he forgives us so we don’t have to be sorrowful for what we did to him. In my mind, that would give the bullies power over me. In order for me to actually udder those three magic words, they would have to express some sort of remorse for their actions. After all, Groening did apologize for the Nazis, although his defense of not knowing what actually went on was quickly dismissed. So, while I forgive in my heart, because it is very unlikely I will ever see any of them again, so forgiveness lightens my burden a great deal, for them to hear that forgiveness orally, they would have to admit their part.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1454447315&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird