Auschwitz Survivor to Speak at Peace Service, Urging Forgiveness for 9/11
Ft. Lauderdale, FL — September 13, 2006 — Agnes Helfman, a 79-year-old survivor of the infamous Auschwitz death camp, is calling Americans to forgive the 9/11 attacks. The Lauderhill resident who lost her father, mother, sisters, relatives and countless friends and neighbors to the Nazis during World War II says that forgiveness is the only way to peace.
Helfman will join a Catholic priest, a rabbi, a Muslim leader, an interfaith minister and a Religious Science minister in presenting an Ecumenical Candlelight Peace Service at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Religious Science Ft. Lauderdale – Center for Spiritual Living, 1550 NE 26th St., Ft. Lauderdale.
Speaking also will be the Rev. Ernest D. Chu, assistant minister of Religious Science Ft. Lauderdale; Father William Houran, chaplain emeritus of Holy Cross Hospital; Rabbi Loring Frank of the All People’s Synagogue, Miami; and Altuf Ali, executive director of CAIR, a national Islamic organization.
After struggling for nearly 50 years with what happened to her at the hands of the Nazis, Helfman finally concluded that compassion and forgiveness are far more powerful than vengeance and violence, which lead only to more killing. Helfman points out that this past 9/11 marked not only the fifth anniversary of terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., but also the 100th anniversary of the beginning of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence movement. She urges Americans to work for more global understanding by remembering that 9/11 is an opportunity for peace achieved through forgiveness, rather than a rallying cry for war.
Organized by Rev. Chu, the service on Friday will be presented in observance of Eleven Days of Global Unity, Forgiveness, and Nonviolence, which began on the Centenary of Gandhi’s Satyagraha Movement on Sept. 11 and will conclude with the United Nations International Day of Peace and Call for a Global Ceasefire on Sept. 21. The observance is jointly sponsored by the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence; the Association for Global New Thought Pathways to Peace; We the Peoples Initiative/We The World; and the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation in Mumbai, India. More information about Eleven Days is available at www.agnt.org, the website of the Association for Global New Thought.
A celebration following the service will benefit Kids in Distress, an agency that serves children and families in South Florida. All are welcome to attend the celebration as well as the peace service. Both are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested for the celebration, scheduled at the church in honor of the 60th birthday of Rev. Chu, who also is founder of The Soul Currency® Institute and author of the forthcoming book, Soul Currency: Investing Your Inner Wealth for Fulfillment and Abundance.