Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Forgiveness Sets You Free

Plough, the publishing house of Church Communities International, a Christian community movement with branches in the United States, England, Germany and Australia, offers free articles on its website at

A recent article by Carmen Hinkey is entitled Forgiveness Sets You Free.
Today the headlines are full of the news about the theft of the sign over the gate to Auschwitz, which states in wrought iron, "Arbeit macht Frei." ( Work Sets You Free)

Indignation and sadness are the emotions that people are expressing, both entirely justified. I hope the police find the sign and restore it to its place.

A few weeks ago I would not have read more than one article about this incident. I may not have even opened a story, but been satisfied with reading a headline. Today I read everything I can on it. Why?

I have been invited, with my husband, to be part of a delegation to visit Auschwitz at the end of January. January 27, 2010, marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. I want to walk under that sign, and step in the shadow of millions of feet that walked in that gate and never walked out.

But our delegation is very different from other groups who will be there for the official ceremonies. The slogan "never forgive, never forget" has been used in events remembering the holocaust. Our delegation, lead by survivor Eva Kor, will never forget, but we hope to learn about forgiveness. Eva, a survivor of the infamous Mengele Twins group in Auschwitz, has freed herself from victimization by declaring that she has forgiven Josef Mengele and all other Nazi officials who inflicted suffering on her. She has discovered, and promotes, the rebirth from victim to healer that happens when we can forgive deep hurts. Outrage is usually the response of other survivors when they hear Eva’s story, and it’s understandable. I cannot explain how Eva forgives. But I have taken it deeply into my heart, and thought about it.

The rest of this brief article is here.