Letters Discussion Forums

Antidote to hatred is more humanity

  • 2b-Letter4
My name is Don Krausz. I’m chairperson of the Association of Holocaust Survivors in Johannesburg. Since 1985, I have lectured on the Shoah (Holocaust) to more than 500 audiences, mostly local, Muslim, German, and Japanese.
by Don Krausz, Johannesburg | Feb 06, 2020

I come from Holland. My father and 40 close relations were murdered during the war. I was incarcerated for two and a half years in transit and concentration camps, and sent on one death march. I’m still being treated for post-traumatic-stress disorder. Of the 140 000 Jews in Holland at the outbreak of the war, 107 000 were sent to the camps. Only about 5 450 returned.

Your article on waging peace is fascinating, especially considering the people involved. The cause of the Shoah, interalia, was hatred and fear; its antidote can’t be more hatred. Eli Wiesel counselled against dehumanising people, the main cause of the atrocities perpetrated against people of all ages. To dehumanise mankind, you first have to dehumanise yourself! In spite of all pressure and provocation, there must be a point where you say, “This I don’t do!” Our rabbonim teach that as well.

During and since the war, I have encountered people that were fervent Nazis yet likeable in other ways. My life was saved by such on several occasions. People aren’t consistent in their outlook and behaviour.

I find that I can’t hate. When I meet a stranger, I look them in the face, and if it satisfies me, I will relate to him or her as one human being to another, irrespective of nationality, skin colour, religion, or background.

Doing otherwise would turn me into a Nazi.


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