In April 2015, Eva Kor, who survived the Holocaust, publicly forgave ex-Auschwitz accountant Oskar Groening. This documentary tells their stories, and explores the impact of her forgiveness. January 27 is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK, a time for us to remember the victims of the Nazis, as well as those who lost their lives in other genocides across the world.
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But while we seem to be in agreement that it’s – vital that we never forget these atrocities – the question of forgiveness has proved much more controversial.
It (Documentary) looks at one of the last stories to emerge from the horrors of the Holocaust. Born in Romania in 1934, she lost almost all of her family in Auschwitz… she was subjected to horrific medical experiments at the hands of the notorious Doctor Mengeles. However, what really thrust the case into the headlines were the actions of Holocaust survivor Eva Kor, 81, who publicly forgave him and even embraced him in court.
For some people, that made her gesture of forgiveness all the more moving. Although it ultimately made no difference to the outcome of the trial – Groening was found guilty of being an accomplice to the mass murder of 400,000 Jews and sentenced to four years in prison – the image of their hug went viral.
She would later say: “I don’t forget what they have done to me. But I am not a poor person – I am a victorious woman who has been able to rise above the pain and forgive the Nazis.”
It (Documentary) hears from some the last Holocaust survivors living in Britain, who, like Eva, lost their families at Auschwitz. They talk about how they continue to be haunted by their experiences, and why for some of them, Eva’s actions felt like a betrayal of the memory of their loved ones.
There are no easy answers, but the film aims to explore a difficult issue, while also paying testament to survival against the odds and the persistence of humanity.
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