Letter: The Holocaust: neither blame young Germans nor allow them to forget it

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The Independent Online
Sir: Michael Graham is being naive in asking us to let the Germans off. He seems to overlook the fact that the Germans did not let 6 million Jews off.

I was born in Budapest in July 1944 - my father was already in a labour camp, my maternal grandfather snatched to Auschwitz weeks before my birth to perish there, and my mother and I were soon to be incarcerated in the Budapest ghetto. We were lucky - all three of us survived to come to England - my parents deeply embittered.

All my life I have been aware of what the Nazis did, and I now have three sons, aged 15, 12 and 8. They, too, know what happened and that my survival was a whim of fate. They also realise that but for that whim, they, too, would not exist - they who are the third generation.

The trauma experienced by those who survived the camps does not fade - in fact, it apparently increases with old age - and many of the frail and elderly survivors are still suffering nearly 50 years after the end of the war. Spielberg has done humanity a favour at a time when revisionists deny the full horrors of the Holocaust.

What happened in Nazi-occupied Europe should never be forgotten, simply to remind us all of the depths to which humans can sink. 'Letting them off' is irrelevant and to turn to the West Bank is no solution. I do not in any way condone or excuse the horrors of the Hebron massacre, but the psyche of those who live in Israel today has been forged both by the Holocaust and the centuries of anti-Semitic prejudice and persecution that preceded it.

Yours faithfully,

AGNES SPIER

Sheffield

7 March

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