Man apologizes for grandfather's duty as a concentration camp guard

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Monday, November 13, 2006

27-year-old Robin Parkircher arrived in Israel today to apologize to Holocaust survivors for his grandfather's behavior. Parkircher's grandfather was an SS guard in a Nazi concentration camp near Bremen, Germany, where over eight hundred women were incarcerated. In an interview, Parkircher told Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper that years after his grandfather passed away, Parkircher found a picture of him wearing an SS uniform. After inquiring with his grandmother, he discovered about his grandfather's service as a camp guard.

After the discovery, the younger Parkircher decided he should look for the camp survivors and ask for their forgiveness. After months-long search, he discovered survivors in Nordia senior citizen home in central Israel.

His first visit was to author and camp survivor Lili Curtis, with whom he previously unsuccessfully tried to communicate. After the communication attempts failed, Parkircher decided to come to Israel by himself and meet with Curtis.

After the meeting, Curtis said that she was confused at first and moved as the conversation developed. Following the conversation between the two, Parkircher was invited to a meal with residents of Nordia House, where he used the opportunity to talk and apologize to the survivors. Witnesses reported later that the apology was very moving and brought many of them to tears.

He is scheduled to stay in Israel for another twelve days, to visit additional survivors of the concentration camp.