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Lessons In Life, Love & Peace

Just what’s going on in the world today? What’s with all this strife, conflict and war around the globe? For a while now, I have been avoiding watching the news but I can hardly turn a blind eye to what’s been happening in places like Gaza and the Ukraine. It breaks my heart to see all this anguish and sorrow around us.

Just what’s going on in the world today? What’s with all this strife, conflict and war around the globe? For a while now, I have been avoiding watching the news but I can hardly turn a blind eye to what’s been happening in places like Gaza and the Ukraine. It breaks my heart to see all this anguish and sorrow around us.

When will we ever learn? I feel that the world quickly needs to remember and apply the lessons taught by the likes of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Then recently, with almost divine intervention, amidst all my anguish and hopelessness I met Eva Schloss. Eva Schloss has an incredible story. She was arrested in Amsterdam by the Nazis on her 15th birthday and sent to Auschwitz. Thanks to incredible luck, her own determination and the love and protection of her mother Fritzi, Eva somehow survived Auschwitz.

After the war, Eva and her mother returned home to Amsterdam – alas only to learn that both her father and brother had been killed during the war. Before the war, Eva had been friends with Anne Frank, who went on to change the world through the legacy of her diary. Though their fates were very different, Eva’s life became entwined with her friend’s forever more after her mother Fritzi married Otto Frank, Anne’s father. Eva kept quiet for many decades about her Holocaust experience, but in recent years she has been on a mission to spread her message of peace and reconciliation.

She has published a number of books and her most recent one is After Auschwitz, a searingly honest account of how an ordinary person survived the Holocaust. It is also a heart-breaking exploration of what happened next and Eva’s struggle to live with herself after the war. I am on a mission to get Eva and her message of peace into the world. And this is where I begin – Eva was very kind to share her life lessons for today’s world and this is what she had to say: Eva, thanks for joining me and for this wonderful opportunity to learn from you about life, love and peace.

What do you think is the biggest challenge we face today in the world? The biggest challenge the world faces today is the lack of acceptance. Sadly terrible atrocities are still happening now and we just have to look around at the news today to see what’s happening in the Middle East and elsewhere. We simply need to accept each other for who we are. For instance, at the end of the day, what’s the difference between Shia and Sunni Muslims? There is actually very little difference except their interpretation of their faith. We are all just one people and it’s high time we realised we are all one.

We preach tolerance but we are not tolerant towards each other. If we have no trust in each other, then where do we begin? How do we even begin to negotiate? Even soldiers involved in the many wars around the world are so traumatised. What’s the point of all this fighting? What would you advice people today on an individual basis? Life is so precious! Today I see people wasting their lives away and not doing their best. And it’s such waste. Having been through the type of experiences I have, one learns what’s truly important in life. People don’t look after themselves today – which is why obesity is such a huge challenge. People are mostly greedy and it’s all about me, me and me. Plus the drinking culture does not help.  There is more to life than getting drunk on weekends! So look after yourself to the best of your ability. Remember the sacredness and value of your life.

What about the younger generation? What are your thoughts and suggestions for them?

Nowadays, I see children spending so much of their time on computers and video games. Movies today are mostly violent, as are videos. Kids play games that encourage seeing how many people they can kill, etc. So inevitably, children think that violence is the normal way.

What’s happened to the censorship of movies and news? Also, there are very few role models for children. Footballers shouldn’t be so aggressive – we need stronger referees! In my own family, my grandchildren are interested in the Holocaust and in my past. A couple of them are following careers that will allow them to make a difference in the world. So it’s not all doom and gloom where the young people are concerned. With a bit of guidance and mentoring, we can create model citizens for tomorrow. I myself have never watched movies like Schindler’s List, as it would be too harrowing for me. But Arvind, I do recommend for you to watch The Pianist, which is about a Polish Jewish musician who struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. Also, I did watch Sophie’s Choice many years ago, about a woman forced by the Nazis to choose between her son and her daughter.

Apart from your book tours and talks, what else do you do?

I have worked in eight prisons around the UK and shared my experiences of life. We have to remember that most prisoners are not criminals but people who have ended up in prison through either being badly brought up or not being loved by their parents. One prisoner had murdered her husband after being provoked for many years in a violent, abusive relationship. She was very disturbed and could not speak. She had suicidal thoughts but she is now in regular dialogue with me and is getting her life back together again. Ultimately, everyone is “good” but some people are “bad” only through circumstances. How can someone have children and not look after their own child?

What advise can you give me, especially on my quest to be a peace activist in the world?

Well, your wonderful book Get the Life you Love is a good start. Keep doing what you are doing – write more books and get yourself out there. Let your life be your message.

Finally, you are now only 85 years young! What’s more for you next?

More of the same for me – more talks around the world. Time is so precious and there is so much more to be done by me – and people like you and others. It encourages me to see so many people interested in peace work and making the world a better place. Anyone who wants to know more about my work and my life lessons should read my books, and also check out my interview with Steven Spielberg on YouTube.

Peace in the World Begins with Me and You

So there you are – some simple but powerful words of peace from an inspirational woman who lived through hell and came through to share her light with the world. Thanks Eva, for your time and ongoing inspiration. What’s really present for me right now is that it’s high time that ALL of us took a stand for a peaceful world. Let peace in the world begin with ME and YOU.

 

 


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