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Pictured: The moment a Holocaust survivor shook hands with a former Nazi guard

“He lived a miserable life,” she said,
Apr 27th 2015, 9:38 PM 30,968 77

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR EVA Kor has shared a photograph of the moment she met former Nazi officer Oskar Groening.

Groening (93) – called “the bookeeper of Auschwitz” – is on trial in Germany on accessory to murder charges in 300,000 cases of Hungarian Jews sent to gas chambers.

He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Eva Kor, an Auschwitz survivor, testified at Groening’s trial. Today, she shared her story  of her meeting with him, and why she thinks it was important.

The first time they met – on the first day of the trial – he fainted, she said:

But the second time, she appealed to him to sit down to avoid a replay of this.

Kor, who said that Groening kissed her cheek after she spoke to him, said she knows her actions will not please everyone:

I know many people will criticize me for this photo, but so be it. It was two human beings seventy years after it happened. For the life of me I will never understand why anger is preferable to a goodwill gesture. Nothing good ever comes from anger. Any goodwill gesture in my book will win over anger any time. The energy that anger creates is a violent energy.

The septuagenarian said that she told Groening:

I appreciate the fact that you are willing to come here and face us. But I would like you to appeal to the old Nazis who are still alive to come forward and address the problem of neo-Nazis in Germany today. Because these young misguided Germans who want Hitler and fascism to come back – they will not listen to Eva Kor or any other survivor. You can tell them you were in Auschwitz, you were involved with the Nazi party, and it was a terrible thing.

She said she feels sorry for him because “he lived a miserable life” and that when he looks back “he probably cannot be proud of anything, and will see he was wrong”.

Kor said she wants to teach young neo-Nazis that Auschwitz existed, which is why she made the appeal to Groening. On Quora, she also said she has forgiven the Nazis, a point which she emphasised in this tweet:

Kor said she considers Groening a murderer because he was involved in supporting the Nazi regime, but explained that she will not permit herself to hate:

I think hatred destroys the person who hates rather than the object of the hatred.

Read: Trial begins of ‘Auschwitz bookkeeper’, facing 300k charges of accessory to murder>

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Aoife Barry


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