By Kristen Johnson
Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor, Nazi-Hunter, crusader for justice, is highlighted in the documentary I Have Never Forgotten You. It is a fascinating documentary that viewers are not likely to forget.
The film takes a hard look at the life, work, and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal. It is incredibly difficult to watch, as it shows quite a bit of video and photographic evidence of the Holocaust. But, the film will leave you encouraged by a life spent finding justice for victims, and one spent trying to find and encourage peace.
What struck me most about Mr. Wiesenthal was that he didn’t have a thirst for blood or vengeance, in spite of spending horrific years in concentration camps at the hands of the Nazis, and having lost almost his entire extended family in the camps. He simply insists on justice. He wanted criminals to pay for their crimes and he spent a lifetime chasing these criminals and refusing to give up, in spite of incredibly difficult challenges.
When Mauthausen Concentration Camp was liberated, Mr. Wiesenthal volunteered to assist U.S. Army Officers to bring members of the SS to trial. That work led to a lifetime work of seeking justice for victims of the Holocaust. He also worked on other genocides during his lifetime, including Rwanda and Yugoslavia. It was interesting to note that he also made an effort to highlight the suffering of non-Jews during the Nazi regime including gypsies and homosexuals.
Many aspects of the film will leave viewers feeling hopeless and shocked. But, the overall message of hope will give viewers goosebumps.
The work of Simon Wisenthal continues today at through the Simon Wisenthal Center. The Center confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations. (Simon Wiesenthal Center).
The sad truth is that generations after the Holocaust continue to commit atrocities and genocide – Pol Pot in Cambodia, Yugoslavia under Milosivec, mass rapes in Rwanda, and more. So, the work of centers like the Simon Wisenthal Center will continue to be relevant.
Romans 12:10 (NRSV): love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
Serve all with love.
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