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29 September 2016

A Tribute to Max Mannheimer

How might a survivor of concentration camps like Auschwitz and Dachau ever have imagined all of Germany would one day mourn his death--more than seventy years after the war's end--in what parallel universe might that unlikely fantasy occur? But, yes, that did happen, and no greater evidence of healing could be possible than to see the reaction in Germany to the loss of Max Mannheimer at age 96. Max was a tireless educator, speaking of his experiences in the KZ camps to hundreds of thousands of German students over the years. He was so much more than simply a witness as important as that work remains--he was a healer, someone who transformed hate into love--simple to say, very difficult to achieve


An artist. 
A lover of all humanity.

Meeting Chancellor Merkel in 2013; she went out of her way to thank Mannheimer for all his service to Germany through his efforts to educate students over so many decades.

First there was Elie Wiesel, then Max Mannheimer and now only the young "kid," Leslie Schwartz, remains. They first met at Dachau when Schwartz was 14 and Mannheimer 25. 

Schwartz recalls a recent conversation with Max, just weeks before his death. 

Leslie Schwartz (right) and Max Mannheimer at Tutzing memorial service, 2011.

"Laszlo, if I'm gone, you must promise me that you're going to carry my flag"

Leslie replied, "Definitely, Max, that's a promise."

Indeed, there are many who will follow the path Max Mannheimer has shown us. His work will not die; anyone willing to choose love over hate, wisdom over ignorance, and peace over conflict will forever remain his flag bearers.  

The Nazi regime tried to destroy him, but his only answer was to heal Germany. A shinning example to all of us of what a human being can become when we swim in a sea of infinite grace, no matter where the journey starts, where we end up and the legacy we leave are ultimately what matter.

German media:

Some of earlier stories we did on Max in Talking Weeds:

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