Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Forgiving Hitler

I don't know what goes through one's mind when they see a title like this.  Can anyone forgive Hitler?

Carrying on with the topic of forgiveness, I thought I would review this book as well.  I first read it eight or nine years ago during a women's book club which used to exist at my old church in Perth.  It's one of those stories that really sticks with you because it is someone's personal story.  Written by Kel Richards, this is the story of Kathy Diosy, a Jewish woman who lived in Budapest, Hungary prior to and during World War 2.  After her life was destroyed by the Nazis and her father died in a concentration camp, she makes her way to Australia with her mother.  After her teenage daughter was invited to church by a friend, Kathy is confronted with the gospel.  She later puts her faith in Jesus Christ and makes peace with her past after her anger had long burned against the Nazis.

It is a pretty riveting and powerful story.  It's not a complete biography - it mainly focuses on her experiences during the war and life in Australia.  Although the parts during the war are pretty gripping reading, I personally would have liked to have had more focus placed on her conversion and life as a Christian.

One of the ladies in the book club remarked that she wasn't sure whether Kathy really had forgiven Hitler.  I think that's something between Kathy and God, and not something anyone else can comment on.  After reading Unpacking Forgiveness, I'm not sure whether Forgiving Hitler is the right title for this book (but I don't have any other suggestions either).  I don't know if any person can offer Hitler forgiveness since he is dead (and was likely unrepentant).  I know what Kathy means...she has come to terms with the gross injustices done to her and others, and has left it in God's hands.  I'm just not sure about the title.

One of the best things about this book is that it is someone's personal experience of evil which should shake us all up a bit about the reality of living in this world.  Many of us have been untouched by such injustice and could never understand what Kathy has gone through.  It is a stark reminder that issues such as injustice and forgiveness are not a walk in the park, and should not be just glossed over or swept under the carpet.  This book names and identifies evil for what it is.

But the greatest thing about this book is that it points us all back to our need for a Saviour.  No matter who we are or what we've done (or how 'good' we think we are), all of us have fallen short of God's standard.  We have sinned against God and against each other.  We all deserve judgement.  We all need God's forgiveness.

The back of the book says, It's a journey to discover who needs to forgive whom.

This book is available from the Matthias Media Australian store here.

There is also a US store here.

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