Love Wins for Holocaust Survivor Even While Discrimination Persists
People often think anti-Semitism is a thing of the past, but it still affects many people, including some Seminole State students. Despite facing turmoil, many who have faced discrimination have chosen to stay hopeful in the face of hate.
“When people think of modern discrimination they usually don’t think of anti-Semitism,” said Aaron Weiss, a sophomore at Seminole State College. “Admittedly it doesn’t affect me on a daily basis but it does happen a lot more than people may think. I’ve dealt with a harsh bullying and things like coming into class to find someone had drawn a swastika on my desk.”
Dr. Jacob Eisenbach, a 92-year-old dentist, lived through some of the worst atrocities committed by humankind. He is the subject of a book, “Where You Go, I Go,” written by Karen McCartney. The book chronicles Eisenbach’s experiences in the Holocaust and shares his stories with others to spread one message: never again.
“People who spread good will and life prosper,” Eisenbach said. He mentioned American actor, humorist and sometimes philosopher Will Rogers, who is famous for saying he never met a man he didn’t like.
“I like that idea,” Eisenbach said. “I practice dentistry. This country is full of people from all over the world, patients from all over the world, and I like people no matter where they come from.”
Most people are good, Eisenbach said. He talked about time he spent in China, and he had a chance to visit a school there. He said the teacher spoke Chinese, but the group had a translator.
“You know what they teach children?” Eisenbach asked. “Love of family, love of country, respect for authority, and just all of these good positive things. Here, you have to get it either from home or from a religious institution, but they teach those things in school.
He said he had many Chinese patients, who were wonderful people.
“Each of the patients, they were great people,” he said. “I had them from all over the world. I never met a man I didn’t like, but I didn’t meet Hitler.”[pullquote]I never met a man I didn’t like, but I didn’t meet Hitler.[/pullquote]
Despite having every reason to become disheartened, he loves others and has even opted to forgive the Nazis that changed his life forever.
What would Eisenbach say to any young man today who identifies as a Nazi?
“I would say to him that some of the worst crimes in history were performed because of hate,” Eisenbach explained. “I would recommend to him to get the best education he can possibly get. Get himself a profession, get married, have children, and learn what love is truly like so he can realize how bad hate is.”
He said most people who hate are failures. They are often unsuccessful in employment and socially they only know how to hate.
“And that’s exactly what I would say to him,” Eisenbach continued. “You cannot fight hatred with force. You can only fight hatred with good advice.”
Weiss, the sophomore at Seminole State, said there are parallels between the discrimination experienced by Jewish citizens and the way that groups, such as Muslims, refugees and others, have been treated in the United States.
“Discrimination is discrimination no matter who it’s toward,” Weiss said. “I just think most people don’t want to feel like they’re doing something wrong. The way they treat people now is no better than the way they treated people in the past. Hate hasn’t gone away, people just try and call it by a different name.”