Tag Archives: Hungarian Jews

Flashback Friday: The Last Days (1998)

The only way to learn from our past is to not repeat it. Sometimes, that requires reliving it, as painful as it sounds.

The 1998 documentary, The Last Days, was released on Netflix back in May. The film follows five Hungarian Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. During the last year of World War II, the Jews of Hungary were the last intact Jewish community in Europe. That would quickly change. Within six weeks, hundreds of thousands were deported to Auschwitz. Only a handful would survive. Containing interviews with survivors, a SS doctor, and American soldiers who helped to liberate Dachau, it is powerful and haunting reminder of both the light and the darkness in humanity.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It was riveting, emotional, and a punch to the gut that is absolutely necessary. Hearing about this time in history from the people who lived through this nightmare reminds us all that the Holocaust is not a myth and not strictly relegated to the world of literature. It is an event that happened in the lifetimes of many people who are still alive. While we cannot bring back those who were murdered, we can honor their memory by remembering them, and open our eyes to the negative energy and destruction that hate drags behind it.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix

Is Forgiveness Truly Possible?

To err is human; to forgive divine- Alexander Pope

In world news, former Nazi officer and Auschwitz bookkeeper Oskar Groening is on trial in Germany for the murder of 300,000 Hungarian Jews.

He admits his guilt and asks for forgiveness.

Forgiveness in his case is not so easy. If he were a child sneaking a cookie before dinner who was caught by one of his parents, forgiveness is probably easily obtained. But and his cohorts were responsible for the deaths of millions, whose only crime was to be different.

Granted, the man is 93 years old. Even if he is given a life sentence, how likely is it that he will live to see the end of it? It’s not very likely.

My only consolation is that another eyewitness has told his story. Most eyewitnesses are survivors. This time, one of the perpetrators confirms what history has already told us.

I’d like to forgive him, but in truth, I cannot. The deaths of millions of innocents cry out from the next world. Forgiveness is only possible when we can accept our neighbors for who they are, even if that means accepting that they are different from us.

 

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Filed under History, International News