The other classmate who presented is my reason for this post. Originally from Germany, C is now married to an American and lives in the US. I don't need to say much about her to get my point across but I've had a few classes with her before and we've always had a great relationship.
Being Jewish from German descent, there is of course the big gap of the holocaust that whenever you meet someone from that country, you wonder how do they feel about themselves today. You wonder if they would do it, si c'était à refaire (if it were to happen again). You wonder if they hate you, if you should hate them, you wonder all kinds of things. But the truth is, you know that the past does not make the individual your enemy nor your worst nightmare. So I will admit I was curious to discuss with C the whole topic 80 and some years later.
She shared it with the class and my esteem has only increased since. Here is what she shared:
In her early twenties, C decided to take it upon herself to "correct" what her country had done. Therefore, she went to Israel and decided to volunteer in Kibbutzim. It was her way of giving back, it was her way of making amends. She explained that growing up, there was a big silence about the whole era of the Nazi Germany, not a silence of denial but a silence of shame. However, the new generation is not necessarily one who bears such memories, grudges, shame or whatever it may be. So she decided to do the one thing she could do and volunteered herself to the people her nation once set out to exterminate.
I think that's pretty incredible and unusual for someone nowadays to care about the past, and beyond caring, acts upon it in a righteous way. Our generation is much more worried about having a good time, not feeling sad, and not having too many responsibility.
C also said that she was asked to leave after two weeks because the Kibbutz had some holocaust survivor resident and they didn't wan't her there. So she moved on to a different Kibbutz. That's also character strength. I don't care if you're Christian, Jewish or what, we need more people like that.