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.........THE WAY OF RECONCILIATION

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In the video I was there, but you won’t see me produced by the Israeli-Venezuelan artist Lihie Talmor she offers a testimony of her trip of May 2003 specifically to the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in  southern Poland,  together with 280 Israeli Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens, and 220 Jewish, Christian and Muslim French citizens. The purpose of the trip, organized by Father Emile Shofani, priest of the Greek-orthodox community of Nazareth, and .Ruth Bar-Shalev, a valuable woman dedicated for many years to broadening the mental models of leaders and organizations in Israel, was to propitiate a fruitful dialogue between members of communities that have traditionally been antagonizing due to political and religious reasons. The meeting point was the suffering and pain of the other, following somewhat the thoughts of the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, author, among other contemporary classics, of Ethics and infinite  and  Humanism and The Other

The dense meditations that this trip suggested and that Lihie Talmor’s video re-elaborates and communicates, forces us to answer uncomfortable questions on the nature of violence and of forgiveness. It also shows the possibility of attaining a level of interrelation capable of dimming the differences of historic and religious order that could have created un-surmountable barriers among the fellow travelers. We have tried to analyze the war against the Jews carried out by the national-socialism from a perspective close to the psychological, trying to understand the spiritual voyage made by Talmor, and thus trying to grasp completely the repercussions in the psyche of the travelers as well as in ours, as witnesses and observers (thanks to Lihie’s video) of this jump into the unknown made upon trespassing the gates of Auschwitz.

The final solution, code assigned by the Nazi bureaucracy to the task of destroying Jews, required –according to Daniel Goldhagen [1] – four simultaneous conditions:

1) Nazi leadership – and especially Hitler- had to decide the implementation of the final solution, extermination of Jews as a culture and a community.
2) The need to control Jews, the population as well as their possessions, and the territories in which they lived.
3) They had to mount an organization in order to carry out this control and grant it resources.
4) They had to convince a great number of persons to carry out these murders.


[1] Goldahagen, Daniel Jonah (1996): Hitler´s Willing Executioners. Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 9.

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