Could you forgive a Nazi?

Discuss the August 2014 book of the month The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.
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Re: Could you forgive a Nazi?

Post by Dh_ »

That depends on the nazi. What they did is unforgivable, but in some cases I would forgive them. If they only followed orders to feed their family and stay alive, despite knowing what they were doing was wrong, I would forgive them.
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Post by Christina O Phillips »

lnygaard wrote:I was talking about this book the other day with my family and it ended up being a discussion on forgiving Nazis. In the book, Josef feels that Sage had the powere to forgive him because of her Jewish heritage---do you think he's right? If someone asked you to forgive them even if it didn't directly affect you, would you do it?

Personally, I think I wouldn't be able to do it. Since I wasn't directly affected by the holocaust or my family I would feel a little strange offering it. I don't think it would be my place... Then again can you hold one SS officer accountable for the entire genocide? What do you think?

While I understand that you can't hold one officer accountable, they were still a participant. I do not have any Jewish heritage so while the holocaust did not directly affect me, I am a minority and I know what it is like to have the wrong skin color or background and how it causes people to treat me. So no, I do not think I'd be able to forgive.
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Post by bobRas »

There needs to be accountability. And the certainty that they learned their lesson. Whether I forgive them is pretty irrelevant. It's not like I could take them to any place that includes people they hate(d). They would have to do so much to get on these people's good side again, without the expectation of brownie points (otherwise they're missing the point). Just as, as a man, you should not be a feminist to make women like you. Or, as a white person, be anti-racist to make POC like you. You're feminist/anti-racist because you think it's right.
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Post by csimmons032 »

I would almost have to be neutral in that situation because it does not directly involve me. I would hope that I would be able to forgive a Nazi though. Unfortunately we are all put into decisions where we have to decide whether or not to forgive someone for something, no matter how harsh the situation is. I could understand why anyone involved in the holocaust would have a difficult time forgiving, but I think it is possible. Just because we forgive, that doesn't mean we are excusing what that person did or that we even have to be around them.
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Post by Naval Aulakh »

I think I wouldn't have the capacity to do it. Since I wasn't specifically influenced by it, I would feel a little abnormal offering it. I don't think it is something I could do.
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Post by CYITATIRE Remy »

No I could not forgive a Nazi as them too did not put in mind that humans are naturally from God
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Post by MrsCatInTheHat »

It depends on how you define "Nazi". Many, many men were REQUIRED to join the German army during WW2. In my grandparents village, the men were all told to report at a certain time on a certain day to join the Army. If you did not show up, they came to your house. They gave you one chance to come with them. If you refused, they started shooting your family. Then they either shot you or took you prisoner, depending on their mood. My grandfather and his brothers all joined the German Army. If you would consider them Nazis, then yes, they should be forgiven if you feel that they did something "wrong".
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Post by Pknjo »

As a rule (for Christians), it's an obligation and a privilege to forgive all, even the hypothetical Nazi in this scenario
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Post by Lincolnshirelass »

I am in a similar sort of position to CatIntheHat - I'm part German and though I don't know of any Grandparents/Great Aunts and Uncles being in the Wehrmacht (though there almost certainly were some family who were) I know they were in the Hitler Youth or BDM. Of course I imagine most people would forgive children up to a certain age, but what can be problematic is when they admit that there were elements of it they enjoyed - and perhaps we're hypocritical about this. I particularly remember my Great Aunt Eva (of all names!) saying that she would be lying if she said she hadn't enjoyed the sport, sing-songs etc, even though she came to abhor the ideology and was actually a councillor for a left-wing political party later on in life. As for forgiving the 'responsible ones', well, frankly, if I were personally affected by it I don't know if I could, but it's a fact that those who can forgive often, if not always, seem to have more peace of mind and chance of happiness in the future than those who can't - to the present day you witness this with family of murder victims. Complex and emotive subject! BTW, way too late for reviews, but I loved the book.
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Post by AmySmiles »

Unless directly affected I don't know that a person has the ability to forgive someone for someone else. Just my opinion.
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Post by Rafaella Michailidou »

I'm afraid I couldn't. I want to say that I'm a good person but I just can't forgive some things. If he was a Nazi who had no choice and he was forced to do things then maybe I could forgive him, but I guess that's not the case here.
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Post by Kansas City Teacher »

A short time ago I would have said no, but after studying psychology, I am convinced that social pressure, conformity, and obedience have had a profound effect on the Nazi rise to power. I have read about many studies, one of which is the Milgram experiment, in which more than half of the participants were willing to harm another person, because a person in authority told them to do so.
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Post by Noosh »

Well, no, it's not my place to forgive anyone instead of someone else. That doesn't make sense to me.
What happened in the concentration camps, the holocaust, it was unforgivable. I mean, it's been years since the war and I have not been affected by it in any way but still every time I read a book that concerns these matters I get furious and I wanna punch someone.

Forgiving or not forgiving someone is a purely personal thing... between the wronged and the wrongee (?)
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Post by LinaMueller »

I believe everybody deserves forgiveness. Christians must forgive all others, in order to expect to get God's forgiveness. Derek Black is a good example of a racist that deserves a second chance.
Heart! We will forget him!
You an I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you're lagging.
I may remember him!

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Post by rumik »

Forced to be a Nazi is one thing, but I could never forgive someone who was a Nazi by choice.
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