ON RESPONSIBILITY

In 1952, I was stationed at US Army Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. One day while purchasing an item, a twelve year old girl was selling me the goods and we chatted in my Yiddish and her German. It struck me this girl had nothing to do with the Holocaust, she was trapped in a horrible world in which monsters committed brutal acts. Years later, I worked with German educators. Manfred one day told me the story of his childhood in Nazi, Germany. His father was a labor organizer in the twenties and was beaten by the Gestapo. When Manfred was eleven, he joined the Hitler Youth in order to protect his father. In other words, he was an anti-Nazi in a Nazi organization. Today, there are riots in Afghanistan and crazed people yell hate and then resort to murder because some obscure minister in America burned a Koran. Their riots raise the question as to whether the American nation is responsible for actions of all Americans.

I am responsible for my actions, not the actions of other people. If my son murders, he is responsible for the action, not me. When will Muslims grasp the meaning of responsibility? We have witnessed massive demonstrations because a cartoonist published a piece of his work, and, in so doing made all Danes and all Westerners enemies of their religion. It is an interesting theory, but leads only to hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness.

No Jew can hate Christians because of the actions of Nazi Germany. Nor can we hate all Germans. Those who committed the actions are the guilty ones. Period!

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