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Can the Holocaust be forgiven? Show more Show less
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As a result of the Holocaust, over 6 million innocent Jews perished under Nazi rule. Beyond that, millions of innocent civilians were also murdered under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Examining this massacre's atrocities and lasting trauma begs a tough question. Who, if anyone, should be forgiven of their involvement in the Holocaust?

The Holocaust cannot be forgiven Show more Show less

The impact of the Holocaust has been felt by survivors and their descendants years later. The lack of justice faced by the perpetrators, and consequently served to the victims, is a key barrier to forgiveness. The absence of genuine repentance on the part of the aggressors is another reason why the aggressors should not be forgiven.
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The Holocaust cannot be forgiven unless the perpetrators repent

Nazis do not deserve forgiveness because they cannot possibly repay for the trauma and death that they inflicted upon innocent people. They should not be granted any form of unmerited forgiveness.

The Argument

A person cannot be granted forgiveness by another unless they genuinely turn away from their actions and request forgiveness. According to Jewish tradition, a person that has done something wrong must perform, teshuvah, an act of genuine repentance and remorse for their actions. [1]Without performing this, the offender is in no position to request forgiveness. Therefore, any Nazi that has not shown repentance for their actions is not deserving of forgiveness. For a person to show true repentance, they should make amends for their past actions. Due to the atrocities of the Holocaust, millions of innocent people were murdered. There is no way for the perpetrator to repay the harm and trauma that harmed generations of people. This makes it impossible for Nazis to be forgiven for the harm that they inflicted on other people. To grant a Nazi forgiveness for their actions when they are undeserving is immoral because it sets the standard that a person will be forgiven even though they are not repentant of their actions.[1]

Counter arguments

Forgiving a person does not imply that the person must ask for forgiveness first. It is more about the mental and emotional healing of the victim. In many cases, a survivor of the Holocaust may never meet any of the Nazis that harmed them after the Holocaust, so they will never observe them repenting and asking the survivor for forgiveness. Despite this, the survivor should be willing to forgive for the healing that it will bring them. While the Nazis may not deserve forgiveness, it is up to the survivors to show compassion and take control of their own healing.



[P1] A person should not be forgiven unless they have earned it. [P2] The Nazi's have not earned anyone's forgiveness. [P3] Therefore, the Nazi's should not be forgiven.

Rejecting the premises




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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 13:32 UTC

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