As most of you know, earlier this year I traveled to Germany to testify against former Nazi guard Reinhold Hanning. I was able to speak out and voice my thoughts on his guilt, despite the decades which had separated him from these heinous acts.
A couple of months later, my heart wept when another survivor, Joshua Kaufman, traveled from Los Angeles to Germany to testify about his time at Auschwitz removing corpses from gas chambers. As one of the only remaining eyewitnesses alive to tell the story and lead to a conviction, ultimately, he was denied sharing his story with the court. According to an NBC News Report, German law prohibited him from testifying because the court had “already heard evidence on how the victims” died and no additional evidence was needed.
The injustice of it all shook me.
However, this month, justice was finally served.
Hanning was found guilty on 170,000 counts of being an accessory to murder and helping kill more than 1.1 million Jews and others. Albeit a small sentence for the crimes, the former guard was sentenced to five years in jail. But, at 94, I am certain his remaining years will be void of life’s pleasures
Fellow survivor Kaufman has a poignant response to the sentencing I feel everyone should take a moment and listen to.
As for me, no amount of years behind bars will ever take away the suffering and loss of six million people, nor will it make their absence less palpable to their families.
But, it is important in showing the world that hatred has no place in our story or history.