Headline: How the path of “teshuvah” (preparing the perpetrator to meet the victim with the intent of releasing both from the painful grip of the past) led people from three generations of the Shoah and of the Nazi Regime toward “tikkun olam” (bringing light into the world.)
Given the current, deep divisions in our country and in the world, and motivated by the words “NEVER AGAIN,” we are seeking your support to share the stories of how we “met on the bridge” and came to terms with the fallout of the Holocaust and the Nazi Regime.
Help us to publish One-by-One: Transforming the Legacies of Conflict, War, and Genocide. Help us to promote dialogue and understanding, not only as a transformative tool for those whose lives have been impacted by conflict, war and genocide, but also as a powerful, proactive tool for promoting peace and justice.
One-by-One, Inc. (http://one-by-one.org), a non-profit organization, was created in Boston, Massachusetts fifty years after the end of World War II in order to grapple with the fallout of the Shoah and the Nazi Regime. With honesty and courage three generations from the side of survivors as well as from the side of perpetrators, bystanders, resistors and liberators, met together to transform our painful legacies.
Guided by the Judaic path of teshuvah and inspired by the writings of Holocaust survivors Dr. Victor Frankl and Primo Levi, as well as principles of openhearted forgiveness and psychological understandings of trauma, we created a unique dialogue group format.* This format enabled participants to seek out the humanity in each other, bear witness to the truth, and listen with compassion to each other’s stories of pain, guilt, anguish, loss and fear.
In our groups over the years, we experienced life-changing events: one member of a group learned that the father of the member sitting opposite him was responsible for murdering his family. In the end we were left with tears as we witnessed their embrace and her words, “I have lost a family, but I have found a new brother.”
The presence of another group member frightened us until we learned that he had been carrying guilt throughout his life because he did not resist being forcibly conscripted into the SS as a teen. We understood that he and other young men like him were sent to the Russian front in a desperate move by the Nazis to shore up their failing campaign, and we came to appreciate him for his honesty and courageous protests against present day neo-Nazis.
Following another group meeting, we witnessed the daughter of a Nazi help the daughter of a survivor in the U.S. find her long lost brother who, having grown up apart from her in Germany, did not know that he had a sister or that his biological father was a Jew. These are but a few examples of the stories found in this book.
For more examples, please visit our website: http://one-by-one.org/journeys-of-transformation
Many of the people who participated in One-by-One’s challenging dialogues over the years experienced profound changes in their lives. A good number were moved toward social action, others toward educational and creative endeavors in the spirit of tikkun olam (bringing light into the world through positive action).
We welcome the reader to experience the past, the present and the unfolding future through the writings, artwork and social action efforts made by our members. Their presence in the world during the past 22 years has been an inspiration to people in other parts of the world still struggling with their own legacies and some of these stories are recorded in this book as well.
We cannot forgive or forget what happened during the Shoah, but in the midst of the darkness, we trust that the publication of this book will add light, hope and inspiration for the courage we all need to support one another whenever possible on paths toward justice and peace.
“It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”
Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot (Ethical Sayings of the Fathers) 2:21
Our goal is to format, self-publish, and distribute as many copies as possible of our book: One-by-One: Transforming the Legacies of Conflict, War and Genocide. We plan to distribute to libraries, educational and faith communities, interested non-profit organizations, and the general public as well. We are asking for $5,000 to cover costs of formatting, printing, and distribution.
It is our hope that with your kind support this book will bring us one step closer to the age of peace that our ancestors envisioned for us all.
• Reference: The One By One Dialogue Group Concept: Descendants of the Holocaust Meet the Descendants of the Third Reich. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 39(2), 1999:106-133
“We at Facing History appreciate the important work of your group in opening and sustaining dialogue. Bringing your experience and insights to students adds a valuable new dimension to their understanding of the relationship between the past and the present.”
Vice President & Chief Program Officer
Facing History and Ourselves.
“The impact of One-by-One’s work goes far beyond it’s own membership. Members are helping to heal one of the deepest wounds in our collective psyche. They are the teachers for a new generation of peacemakers.We are all the beneficiaries of their courage and wisdom.”
Dr. Judith Thompson, Co-Founder, Children of War
“I first came to know One-by-One in the summer of 2001. ….After listening to their stories and efforts towards understanding and reconciliation, I thought to myself,…If these people, as descendants of those caught up on both sides of the Holocaust, can undertake voluntarily without a push from their governments, the process of grappling with such vicious hatred, then my fellow countrymen, the Hutu and Tutsi communities, can surely benefit from this model of transformative dialogue. This first encounter with One-by-One reinforced my growing commitment to peace and reconciliation…”
Joseph Sebarenzi, former Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, Author of God Sleeps in Rwanda
“We as facilitators stood in awe of all the participants: Muslims, Serbs, Jews and Germans as they wove a new story from their intertwined histories, this one committed to honesty, introspection, civic responsibility and compassion. In this experiment in multi-level dialogue infused with the history of two genocides, the members of One-by-One found a significant application of lessons learned for others recovering from war and betrayal. The Project DiaCom members experienced a degree of intimacy among former enemies and their descendants previously unimaginable to them, and participated in acknowledging their own tragic past as a bridge to Bosnian healing and community restoration.”
Dr. Paula Green, Director of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding; Professor at the School for International Training and Co-Director of CONTACT, a Peacebuilding Institute and Certificate Program at the School for International Training in Vermont, USA.