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< Back to question Can the Holocaust be forgiven? Show more Show less

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 can be forgiven Show more Show less

In an extremely oppressive regime, Nazi soldiers, the Jewish council, and Hitler Youth were forced to comply out of fear or indoctrination. If they did not comply, their families and their own lives would be at risk.
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Refusing to forgive the Holocaust gives more power to the oppressor

It is far more empowering to forgive someone by your own choice rather than waiting for the perpetrator to ask for forgiveness. By doing so, this puts the victim's healing in their own hands.
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Proponents


The Argument

When a person does not forgive the person that has wronged them, they are continually allowing the perpetrator to have control over their life. It allows that person to control the victim’s happiness. By not forgiving, they hold onto that trauma and anger, letting it fuel their life. Therefore, they should forgive those involved in the Holocaust. According to Jewish traditions, the person that was wronged should not forgive the offender. [1]This puts the power of forgiveness in the wrongdoer’s control rather than the person they harmed. This places a continual reigning power over a victim and their trauma. Although it is an extremely difficult decision for a survivor of the Holocaust to come to, it is more empowering to chose to forgive the perpetrator rather than wait for the perpetrator to ask for forgiveness.

Counter arguments

A perpetrator must show remorse and repent for their actions in order to be forgiven. This should not have any bearing on how a Holocaust survivor lives their life. Choosing not to forgive puts the power in the victim's hands because they can decide that they do not have to give peace to the person that harmed them in the past. In addition, if a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust desires to honor their traditions in forgiveness, they should have the power to do so. In not forgiving the Nazis that show no remorse for their actions, the survivor is abiding by their religious statutes. This is even more empowering than forgiving because the survivor as the full power to exercise their Jewish traditions without fear.

Premises

[P1] A victim has the power to forgive the person who wronged them. [P2] By actively deciding to forgive them, the victim takes power over the oppressor. [P3] Therefore, by not forgiving those involved in the Holocaust, they are continually giving power to their oppressor.

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-nazi-victim-who-forgave-her-perpetrators/

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

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