Standing Up

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Vergessen und Vergeben aber im Hertzen bleibst Kleben


“Forgotten and forgiven but in the heart it remains”


Deeds can harm us, as can words.  As normal human beings, we attempt to forgive and forget.  We forgive things that we cannot change and suppress our feelings because we want to remain at peace with the individual or group that has harmed us.  As Jews who, through pain, tears, and extremely difficult acts and times, have escaped the Nazi killers, we make a superficial effort to suppress what we have experienced.  In our hearts we despise the Nazis, the haters of the Jewish people, for the tortures they have put our brethren through, as they have thrown our mothers and fathers into the gas ovens that they, a nation of murderers, have built and used to extinguish good God fearing human beings, for the brutalities that they meted out, and much more.  We cannot forget the six million of our people that have been annihilated.  First their earthly goods were stolen, then they were starved, and ultimately their last breath was taken from them.  We cannot love the Germans who did this nor the murderers of the Russian pogroms; we can pretend but we cannot find thoughts of forgiveness.  We also know that we have been imprisoned, sent to the desert, to concentration camps without cause; been ridiculed and scapegoated out of jealousy and hatred. We have been segregated from our loved ones and, in spite of our knowledge and our intelligence, we have been ridiculed and jeered, seemingly forever and always. 

Those of us who have escaped from the Germans and from other haters of the Jewish people,  thieves, killers, and bigots, can never feel nor be the same.  We can never ever forget, not ever.  We can make every effort to be good actors and hide our resentments, our losses; we have feelings that will sneak through our well kept controls.

There are a number of our kin who have given up their religion and have married outside of our faith.  There are others who go further and marry undesirable foreigners that are unable to speak the English language; people we have difficulty understanding people who are of different races, and often people who dislike us. We have, in that fashion, thrown away our identity and become foreigners to our family and to ourselves.  Self hatred has become our road, having taken the feeling of our enemies.  We have tried to escape from ourselves and become folk we cannot identify.  It is one way of throwing away ourselves.  We have become remnants of a very small minority of self respecting  human beings. Many of our kin have taken on the self hatred attributed to them by our enemies!

The very brilliant and educated Jewish people who have accomplished so much are not recognized by their religion.  How many people speak of the genius Albert Einstein as Jewish?  How often are we labeled as folk who have the lowest crime rates in the world; who have invented life saving medications, as did Jonas Salk, who kept away the annihilation of children with his polio vaccine?

Unfortunately, in our hearts we have become self haters, believing our enemies, their lies, their hatreds, their falsehoods. 

We must learn from the relatively small number of our brethren, the Israeli Jewish people, who have shown the world that they will not accept the vicious hatreds of our enemies, the violent group of Arabs who are determined to annihilate our brothers, sisters, and their offspring.  They are brave men and women who protect our people even at the expense of their own lives.  They will not permit violence in the very small country of Israel.  Those of us who are left in our country must learn from the Israelis that cowering and agreeing with our enemies is a “Nevere” (sin), something that we must never allow again wherever we, the Jewish people, are living.


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

Home ] Up ]