What is forgiveness to you?

Yesterday I watched a documentary called “Forgiving Dr. Mengele“.  The documentary followed a victim/twin of the Holocaust by the name of Eva Mozes Kor and her decision to forgive the Nazis who killed her family and in particular Dr. Mengele and his staff who experimented on her and her twin along with approximately 1,400 other sets of twins.  They were separated from their family as soon as they were off the cattle cars.  The sets of twins were taken and experiments started.  They were injected with mysterious concoctions that some think were strains of lethal bacteria, injected in their eyes to see if the eye color would change, surgeries were performed with no anesthesia, twins were sewn by skin, blood vessels and organs to make siamese twins along with so many other horrendous experiments .  Still to this day no one knows what Dr. Mengele injected the children with..no records have ever been found and he left after the liberation to live in hiding.  At one point Eva Kor was given 2 weeks to live due to whatever it was she was injected with but she refused to die, she refused to leave her sister knowing that once she was gone there was no hope left for her twin.  They would kill her too so they could compare the autopsies.  Her twin was injected with something that stopped the growth of her kidneys.  They never finished developing and she died later in life due to complications and never knowing what she was injected with.  You can learn more about Eva and her sister Miriam  here.

The documentary’s main focus was Eva Kor’s forgiveness towards the Nazis, Germans and Dr. Mengele after 50 years and everything that was done to her and the other twins.  Other Holocaust twin survivors do not agree with her decision of forgiveness.  Eva Kor’s thinking of forgiveness is that if she forgives them for what they have done she can move on with her life closing that chapter.  It is a step for her in self-healing from her horrendous past.  Her way of not being locked in as a victim anymore, her forgiveness is her freedom. Not forgetting, never forgetting but simply forgiving to move on.  You can’t walk around with hate in your heart, revenge serves no good, you must forgive in order to move on, to be free.  The surviving twins disagree with her way of thinking, for one because they think she is forgetting and an example was given saying: when a parent forgives their child for something they did wrong it is usually never spoken of again.  There have been a few that agree and even more that disagree with Eva and her forgiveness towards the Nazis and Dr. Mengele.  She stands hard on her view of forgiveness and has written books and has spoken at over 400 schools, colleges etc. regarding her forgiveness.

My question to you is what is forgiveness to you?  Could you forgive someone for something that they had done to you?  Could you forgive and not forget?  Would you be able to find forgiveness in your heart or would you harbor that hate and never forgive?

Forgiveness is different to everyone.  What is your thought on forgiveness?



About Jamie

Taking my time through this A-Mazing thing called my life. I'm the owner and photographer at The Adore Girls here in Nashville TN. Life is what you make of it and I am making mine...AMAZING!

Posted on February 23, 2011, in life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Great post. I am aware of the whole scenario you outlined and have seen documentation as well as to the horror endured. As for my ability to forgive, it is limited. I can move past the moment but the memory always sets off the emotions and so if the said person were to do something again, it compounds the issue. In the end I often times find I cannot move past it and musy move past the person in my life. Time does fade wounds for many and that natural evolution of our emotions is about as close as I come to moving past something. My inability to forgive is one of my weakest traits.

  2. This post ties really closely to what I’m posting about tomorrow, so I’m definitely going to link to your post.

    I have to admit I’m not a very forgiving person when it comes to big stuff. I don’t think I’d be able to forgive him.

  3. This was awesome girl. You wrote this post so well!
    First off I think there is a fine line. I understand why she is saying she forgives the people involved. Perhaps it will help free her from the horror of it, help her let go, maybe she no longer wants to be defined by the tradegy. What she is doing takes great strength. I commend her.
    However, this wasn’t just someone saying something hurtful or someone hitting you. CAn victims of rape forgive their rapists?
    The people toruring others knew what they were doing. It wasn’t just a one time thing either. It was teir job to do this and it wasn’t in the name of science either.
    When you see it like that, I don’t think I could ever forgive. Never.

  4. I spent a lot of time thinking about this yesterday. I think I forgive easily for little things. When it comes to the big stuff it is harder. If I was in Eva’s shoes I don’t believe I could do it…ever.

  5. Hi Jamie,

    I saw your post yesterday and had to give myself time to think. And I believe that I’m probably in line with you to some extent. I just don’t know if each of us would draw the line in the same place.

    I know of the show to which you refer. And locally there is the case of Karla Homolka, the wife of serial killer Paul Bernardo who admitted she accidentally killed her younger sister by drugging her so that Paul could rape her.

    She was also his accomplice in at least two other kidnap/rape/murders yet her parents forgave her. Felt she was a victim in some way.

    Forgiveness does take many forms and I would like to believe I can forgive almost anything. Like Eva or the film, I feel that to not forgive hurts me. But unlike her, I don’t know if I could honestly ever let go of something this horrendous.

    I guess we’ll never know unless we’re there.

    So let me ask you please … If you found something so terrible that you could not forgive it, would you feel like your life was in any way diminished by carrying around the hate or other bad feelings you could not let go of? Or how would you handle it?

    Thanks Jamie. Excellent post.

    – Bob

  6. I’ve been thinking about forgiveness myself lately, although not at all at this level.

    It is interesting you bring up the idea of “not being a victim”. I think there is definitely a language that says “what happened to you was so awful, how can you ever recover? how can you ever forgive?” Such language is NOT helpful in the healing process, and always labels that person a “victim” instead of a “survivor”.

    I think you have to be able, at some point, to put down hate and anger, to learn not to sit so easily with sadness. That has to happen. Maybe forgiveness is part of that – acceptance, too. I don’t know about forgetting. Something like this? No. Never forget. Ever. Something much smaller, in our every day lives? Sometimes forgetting, or maybe replacing it with new behavior, is important for moving on, or for accepting someone back into your life.

  1. Pingback: Could I forgive? How would I handle carrying around Hate. A comment question answered. « All Things Fnkybee

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