Nechemya – Tel Aviv, Israel

I’m a retired general in the Israeli Defense Force. In 1963 I’m a helicopter pilot, we didn’t have any schools for helicopters in Israel and we were sent all over the world to study. Six of us went into an Air Force plane and arrived 9pm to North Europe, Germany. 1963, eighteen years after the Holocaust and I am there with my friends, Jewish friends. We walked to the terminal and a German officer came to escort us. Blonde, blue-eyes, the typical Nazi as was described in the literature of the Nazi Regime. The same uniform of 1940-1945 because they didn’t change the uniform. It was a chilly moment and I’m not a Holocaust survivor, but as a Jew the Holocaust is something in our history, and it was only eighteen years before. The day after they introduced me to my flight instructor, an ex-Nazi pilot. We take off and our flight area is over Bergen-Belsen [the concentration camp]. I am flying over the Bergen-Belsen, look down to the beautiful park with graves and just small signs for hundreds of thousands of people buried there. I’m flying over this big cemetery and asking myself if the Jews that died there only eighteen years before could dream in their wildest dreams that eighteen years after a Jewish pilot would fly over Bergen-Belsen and a Nazi pilot would salute him and call him ‘Sir’. Because he was a Sergeant and I was a Lieutenant.

Over Bergen-Belsen I say to myself, ‘If this kind of dramatic change can happen, anything can happen.’ This is why I think we should talk to our enemies, we should talk to anyone, anytime.