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March 04 , 2010

The Unforgotten Prayer


This is my story - my life from the horrors of war and slaughter to the travails of change and atonement. For much of my life I lived in fear that my past would catch up to me. I hid my beliefs and prejudices and walked among the gentle, unsuspecting people of a small American town. I am, or was, an embodiment of madness, atrocity, cruelty and horror.

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I had to remind myself how to behave, react and interact with those around me. I could not pick my friends, neighbors or the people I would like to associate with. I could not express my desires and thoughts. I could not do what I wanted to do. I was locked inside a mad world without the ability to make any contribution, as I used to do - during the war and before it.

Friends and neighbors? I shunned them. Social groups and religious organizations? I shunned them as well. Often I thought it better to turn myself in or die one way or another - just to get everything over with.

That changed one day - a miraculous day when a young child came into my life and helped me back into life, reappraisal, and a quest for atonement.

That young child was Jewish.

And I am a former SS officer.

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