Arnold Schwarzenegger under fire after visiting Auschwitz

“Arnold and I are living proof that you can completely reverse hate in onegeneration.” They are both of Austrian origin. And both made their fortunes inthe US. One as an actor, bodybuilder and governor of California. The other asCEO of a large brewery and producer of musicals. But Arnold Schwarzenegger andSimon Bergson’s visit to the Polish concentration camp Auschwitz was more thana trip among friends.

(read more below the photo)

Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Auschwitz with his compatriot and brewer SimonBergson. — © AP

In World War II, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold’s father, fought on the side ofthe Nazis. Bergsons is the son of Jewish parents who were imprisoned inAuschwitz, and survived the horror. In all, 1.1 million people were killed inthe camp. By visiting the site and the museum side by side, Schwarzenegger andBergson wanted to send a message.

“Let’s fight prejudice together and get rid of it for good,” said the actor.To then refer to one of his most famous roles in the Terminatormovies. “Let’sterminate hate and prejudice.”

Wrong word choice

Schwarzenegger also met Holocaust survivor Lidia Maksymowicz, who, as a3-year-old, became a victim of Nazi doctor Josef Mengele’s experiments. “Herstory needs to be remembered. So that we all say that something like thisshould never happen again.”

(read more below the photo)

Schwarzenegger embraces Holocaust survivor Lidia Maksymowicz.

Schwarzenegger embraces Holocaust survivor Lidia Maksymowicz. — © AP

A clear statement with the best intentions. But still, Schwarzenegger takescriticism after his visit. Afterwards, the museum shared a photo of theinscription left by the ‘Governator’ in the guestbook. He also referred toTerminator with the famous quote: “I’ll be back.”

Inappropriate, many Twitter users think. They make a link with the films,where Schwarzenegger’s character is not sparing with violence and leaves atrail of victims. “This is not the right choice of words,” it sounds. And: “Ifmy father was a Nazi, I would have thought twice before writing something likethat.” Those who believe that Schwarzenegger meant no harm also point to theunfortunate use of language.

(read more below the tweet)

Here is inserted content from a social media network that wants to write orread cookies. You have not given permission for this.

Click here to adjust your preferences

The museum itself sees no point in it, and came up with further explanationsto defend Schwarzenegger. “His visit was relatively short. The message wasintended as a promise to return later for a more in-depth visit.”

‘Nazi gang’

Schwarzenegger has always been open about his family history. When theAmerican press discovered in the 1990s that his father had fought for theNazis, the actor himself started an investigation. This showed that his fatherwas indeed active in the Second World War, as a member of the SA – a ‘Nazigang’.

The man was sent to France, Poland, the Soviet Union and our country, amongother places. He had nothing to do with war crimes, such as in Auschwitz. In1943, Schwarzenegger’s father was sent home after being injured in Leningrad.

(read more below the photo)

Arnold Schwarzenegger never made a secret of his family history.

Arnold Schwarzenegger never made a secret of his family history. — © REUTERS

Last March, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Arnold Schwarzeneggerexplicitly referred to his father in a video message to the Russian people. Init he spoke out against the war.

“When my father arrived in Leningrad, he also believed all the lies hisgovernment told him. And when he left, he was broken. Physically and mentally.He has been in pain for the rest of his life from a broken back, from theshrapnel and from his guilt.” To add, “I don’t want the Russian people to bebroken like my father.”

READ ALSO. Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses Russian people: “Dear friends, youare being lied to”