by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
I was standing by the entrance to the Kotel yesterday when a non-Jewish man and his young son walked up to me. I asked him where he was from. He said, "Germany."
I can't help it. Whenever someone tells me that they are from Germany, my blood goes cold. I feel my face drop and my jaw stiffen. I want to be civil, and rarely do I ever meet a German who is old enough to have participated in that unspeakable torture and mass murder of millions of innocent people, but still, when I hear that word, I have to hide my feelings.
He took a step closer. He said, "Please forgive me for the horrible things that my people did." He started to cry. His son looked up at him and showed sincere sadness.
"I can't forgive you for something that you did to someone else. You have to ask them. But how old are you?"
"Fifty-eight," he answered.
"You weren't even there. You weren't even in the world then! What did you do?" I asked.
"It was my people who did it." His bottom lip was shaking.
I said, "I cannot forgive you, but if you want forgiveness for your people, then at least work to reverse what that evil nation tried to do. They tried to destroy the Jewish People. You should try to help Jews to increase. You can work to prevent Jewish intermarriage. You can help any Jewish survivor you find. You can speak out against anti-Semitism. These things won't change what happened, but they will show that you are sincere and that you really want to help."
I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for the man. He wasn't even in the world when it happened, and he seemed totally honest, but that dark hell, what they did, is still vivid, etched in my mind.
The Lubavacher Rebbe said, "There is no sign that those people [the German people] have changed."
Maybe… maybe, some of them are starting to change, now?
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא