MURDER and FORGIVENESS

An entire German family is murdered in a gang robbery.  The head of the family, severely injured, survives by playing dead.  He seeks forgiveness for the robbers, and starts a new family, living in the same house where it happened, by dire necessity.   He petitions the state for the release of those who had not touched the two guns used.  ¶  He and the family are pestered by reporters, not wanting to revisit those events.  He writes a manuscript and eventually publishes the account as a little book in 1960.  A grandaughter reads it and shares this account of deep, radical forgiveness.   (Clear writing and reporting by the grandaughter.)
                                                    Lilli Heinemann’s grandfather with his first wife and three of their children, all of whom were murdered in 1945

My grandfather’s whole family were murdered – but he found a way to forgive the killers

After 12 of his relatives were killed in a single night, where was his anger and pain? And what does his refusal to permit himself these feelings mean for me?

don’t know when I first heard my grandfather’s story. But I do remember the little green book with the white cross on it. The book was kept in a black steel cabinet in our living room, one that was usually locked, its contents mysterious. There must be important things in there, I thought, that were not for me to see.

My paternal grandparents were part of my childhood; my sister and I called them Oma and Opa and paid them regular visits, but we knew very little about our mother’s parents.  [Continued here.]

 

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