Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers anti-hate message on first visit to Auschwitz – The Australian Jewish News

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) – Movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the grounds of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz on Wednesday, met a Holocaust survivor and the son of Holocaust survivors and said it was time to “end” the hatred.

That terminator Actor and former California governor viewed the barracks, watchtowers and remains of gas chambers that serve as evidence of German extermination of Jews and others during World War II.

He also met a woman who, as a 3-year-old child, was subjected to experiments by the notorious Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

“It’s a story that has to stay alive, it’s a story that we have to keep telling,” he said after his visit to the extermination camp site in a former synagogue that now houses the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation .

Standing alongside Simon Bergson, the foundation’s chairman, who was born after the war to Auschwitz survivors, he mentioned his own family history.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, and Simon Bergson, Chairman of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, third from left, visit the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz – Birkenau. Photo: AP Photo / Michal Dyyuk

“I was the son of a man who fought in the Nazi war and was a soldier,” Schwarzenegger, 75, said in Oswiecim, the city where the Auschwitz site is located.

He said he and Bergson, who are the same age, are united in their work.

“Let’s fight prejudice together and just end it once and for all,” Schwarzenegger said.

Bergson added, “Arnold and I are living proof that hate can be completely shifted within a generation. Governor, thank you for joining us here today.”

His visit to southern Poland, which was under German occupation during World War II, was his first and came as part of his work with the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, whose mission is to combat hatred through education.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, hugs Holocaust survivor Lydia Maksimovicz. Photo: AP Photo / Michal Dyyuk

In June, he received the foundation’s first Fighting Hatred Award for his anti-hate stance on social media. He said he couldn’t attend in person at the time because he was filming a new action series in Canada and was in a “COVID bubble.”

He vowed Wednesday’s visit would not be his last.

“I’ll be back,” he said, using a famous line from The Terminator.

Schwarzenegger, who is originally from Austria, has spoken openly in the past about his father, Gustav Schwarzenegger, being a Nazi soldier during the war.

He told Russians they were being lied to about the war in Ukraine in a video posted to social media in March and accused President Vladimir Putin of sacrificing Russian soldiers to his own ambitions.

In this video, he revived painful memories of how his own father was lied to in battle and how he returned to Austria a physically and emotionally broken man after being wounded in Leningrad.

Historians estimate that around 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz during the war. About 1 million of them were Jews. About 75,000 Poles were killed there, as well as Roma, Russian prisoners of war and others.

times of Israel

Get the AJN newsletter by email and never miss our top stories Sign up for free