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Offspring of SS Officers Dance for Holocaust Survivors

Ceremony in Jerusalem Conjures Up Mixed Feelings

By: David Shear
Published: May 9th, 2013 in News » Israel
Pic: Ohad Zwigenberg
A number of Holocaust survivors took part in a unique dance ceremony held at the Jerusalem International Convention Centre on Wednesday, but the event was about much more than just dance.

The dance group that performed was the German troupe known as the YC Dance group, of which a number of its dancers happen to be the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the notorious Nazi group, the SS, which, under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II (1939–45). The SS, along with the Nazi Party, was banned in Germany as a criminal organization after 1945.

"We are not to blame for what our fathers did, but as long as there are survivors still alive, we have a responsibility to talk to them, ask forgiveness and try to relieve the terrible pain they are in," said one member of the dance group.

"Being in contact with us isn't easy for the survivors, but when we meet with them they always greet us with open arms," said Paul Davis Peter, another dance member whose grandfather served as an officer in the German Armed Forces during World War II.

"Usually they are willing to accept our forgiveness, and we know that what they went through cannot be described or explained in words, and they are entitled to treat us however they please. Our role as Germans and dancers performing in front of Holocaust survivors is to say there is a new generation in Germany that will make sure that what happened then will not happen again."

"This evening is very difficult and very emotional,” said 80-year-old survivor Sarah Goldfinger. “It brings back memories and it will be hard to sleep tonight. I receive the group with mixed feelings. I appreciate them coming here, because I understand how difficult it must have been for them."

Related articles: SS Officers, Dance, Holocaust Survivors, Jerusalem, Israel, Jewish
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