Dr. Tullus Fuchs and I

Clearly, Dr. Tullus Fuchs is taller than I am, but this non-Jewish, German, non-related to me psychoanalyst and I are on the same page when it comes to working toward reconciliation after the Holocaust.

Vickie took this photo of us standing on the site where the Great Synagogue of Hamburg once proudly stood until the Nazis burned it to the ground on Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938. The square is named in memory of Hamburg’s late Chief Rabbi, Joseph Carlebach, killed by the Nazis.

Dr. Fuchs and we met by chance in Jerusalem a couple of weeks ago when Vickie overheard that his name is Fuchs and started a conversation.

He was in Israel to meet with groups of Israeli Jews and Israeli Palestinians interested in peaceful reconciliation. In particular he attended sessions led by Jewish and Palestinian parents who have lost children yet share a vision of the two peoples living together peacefully.

One of the Palestinians referred to the meeting of bereaved parents as, “the only group he can think of whose stated goal is NOT to increase its membership.

Tullus also does work in Germany with descendants of Holocaust victims and Holocaust perpetrators eager to learn from the past and work toward a future of reconciliation and kindness.

Over a very nice lunch in Hamburg we discussed our family histories: his of relatives who were Nazis and ours of displacement during that horrible period in German history.

Our fruitful discussion led me to even deeper commitment to the mantra we share in every synagogue, school and church in which we speak here:

Wir können die Vergangenheit nicht ungesehen machen, aber wir können gemeinsam an einer besseren Zukunft arbeiten.”

We cannot undo the past, but the future is ours to shape.

Each in our own way and employing our different skill sets, Tullus, Vickie and I are working to make the future better for our children, grandchildren and the generations to follow.