In observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Slo Mo presents what is possibly the most powerful episode we ever aired. If you've listened to Slo Mo across the years, you've surely heard me reference my chat with Dr. Edith Eger more than any other.
At the age of sixteen, Dr. Edith Eger, a trained ballet dancer and gymnast, was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were sent to the gas chamber, the “Angel of Death,” Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele forced Edith to dance for his amusement and her survival. He rewarded her with a loaf of bread that she shared with her fellow prisoners, an act of generosity that would later save her life.
On May 4, 1945 a young American soldier noticed Edith's hand moving slightly amongst a number of dead bodies. He quickly summoned medical help and brought her back from the brink of death. Today, Edith is a prolific author, a clinical psychologist, and holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego.
Every story I've heard on Slo Mo has left an impact me, but Edith's was the first to make me openly cry while recording. It hit me like a spiritual experience.
Listen as we discuss:
- How taking care of her mom as a child gave Edith immense patience.
- Revisiting our childhoods and healing the pain.
- How she forgave the Nazis who joked about her mother's burning.
- We are not born with hate. We learn it.
- Question authority, don't blindly adhere to it
- How we do everything with feelings except feel them!
- The healing power of crying.
- The effects of telling a lie and repeating it.
- How she danced for the Angel of Death shared the reward, saving her life.
- The biggest concentration camp is in your own mind.
- Why she decided to go back to Auschwitz.
- Feeling pity and sympathy for the Nazis that imprisoned her.
- Make peace with your parents and your past, or stay a prisoner of it
- The positive side of trauma: "You realize you're here now, and no longer there"
- Conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, and my own Middle Eastern upbringing.
- "There is a Hitler in all of us"
- How her daughter teamed up with the grandson of a Nazi to spread peace.
- "People killed my parents, not God. He had nothing to do with it."
- Edith's series of questions for me, which opened me up too.
- Her advice to young women: become financially and emotionally independent.
- Her suicidal thoughts after being liberated.
- Her time spent with Martin Luther King and the Mamas and the Papas.
- Discussing the passing of my son Ali: "There is no loss. It's just about celebrating what you have while you have it."
Connect with Dr. Edith Eger on Facebook @dreditheger, Twitter @dreditheger1, Instagram @dr.editheger, and her website, dreditheger.com
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