Eva's Definition of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a way of healing oneself from pain, trauma, and/or tragedy. It is a means of self-liberation and self-empowerment.
Forgiving is not forgetting. It is in many cases impossible to forget events that deeply affect us. They shape our lives for better or worse. In the case of the Holocaust, it is important to remember and educate so it cannot happen again.
Forgiving does not mean that we condone the evil deeds of the Nazis and/or other perpetrators, nor does it mean we wish them to be granted amnesty or political asylum. The question of justice is separate from the issue of forgiveness.
This concept of forgiveness has little or nothing to do with the perpetrators. It has everything to do with the need of victims to be free from the pain inflicted upon them.
This concept of forgiveness has nothing to do with any religion. All people yearn to live free of the pain and burden of the past. If it is confined to one religion, or any religion, then some people will not be able to access it.
Each person can forgive only in his or her own name. One cannot forgive in the name of all Holocaust survivors, nor can one forgive someone for something he or she did to someone else. One can only forgive for what was done to him or her. It is a personal act.
Forgiveness is not a way to counteract violence, to provide safety in the midst of violence or to advocate non-violence necessarily. When we feel our lives are in danger, most people will do everything they can to maintain their lives. Forgiveness is something to consider after the trauma has occurred.
Forgiveness is more than “letting go.” It is proactive rather than passive. We become victims involuntarily, when a person or entity with power takes away our power to use our mind and body in the way we choose. Something was done to us that put us in a position of feeling powerless. Thus the conscious choice to forgive provides healing, liberation, and reclamation of this power.
“Anger is a seed for war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace.”
- Eva Kor, Auschwitz survivor