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A pig and forgiveness

Posted September. 28, 2022 07:37,   

Updated September. 28, 2022 07:37


Too much hatred takes away the peace of mind. Vladimir Jankelevitch, a French Jewish philosopher, lost his temper because of frustration. He wrote and spoke in his academic writings and broadcast media: “They massacred 6 million Jews. Yet, they sleep well, eat well, and live well.” Those who committed brutal crimes deserve to suffer and live miserably, but Germans were “getting fat, thanks to their economic miracle.” “Forgiving these people is an evil joke; pigs and sows do not deserve forgiveness.”

One German youth, who was teaching French, wrote a letter upon listening to his words on the radio. He wrote that he had never taken away single life of Jews and that having been born a German was not his fault. The young man also wrote that although he had never been involved in the Nazi crimes, that did not give him any comfort. “My conscience is not clean; I feel humiliated and pity,” he said. “I am regretful, and I am sad. I feel doubt and disgust. I cannot sleep well.”

While generalizing all Germans as pigs, Jankelevitch overlooked that there were people who were appalled by, and guilty of, the Nazi’s ruthless aggression, people who slept fitfully and could not eat properly. How could this man be a pig?

Jankelevitch lost peace of mind because of hatred and got lost in irony. While advocating for a duty to forgive what is unforgivable, he retracted his own words and degraded Germans as a pig, stating that they should not be forgiven. This was all due to excessive hatred. A French writer, Jankelevitch’s friend, was embarrassed by his hatred and publicly apologized to the young German. “A fanatical Jew is as evil as a Nazi sympathizer,” wrote the French writer. As his friend wrote, Jankelevitch was becoming more like a Nazi follower, owing to his unbridled hatred. Madness sprouted from excessive hatred. This is a reason why we all should guard against excessive hatred, no matter how justifiable it may be.