On receiving the award, the ‘Terminator’ star said that eradicating anti-Semitism has been a lifelong personal mission of his as he is the son of a Nazi.
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pic/AFP
Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger was recently honoured with the inaugural Award of Courage at Los Angeles Holocaust Museum's annual gala on Monday for his longtime fight against anti-Semitism and bigotry. On receiving the award, the ‘Terminator’ star said that eradicating anti-Semitism has been a lifelong personal mission of his as he is the son of a Nazi.
Going back to his older days, Arnold recounted encountering a hatred of Jews in his own home when he bought a bodybuilding magazine as a teenager and his father disparaged it when he found out the publisher of the magazine was Jewish. Years later, after the actor won the Mr. Universe and was invited to the US, which he later made his home, he called his father to tell him it was that same publisher who had made it all happen.
“From that moment on, I said to myself, ‘I have to go and fight that, I have to go and speak out about hatred, I have to go and get involved in this issue',” Arnold said. “And the more I became a celebrity, the more I became a movie star and a bodybuilding star and all that, the more I felt like, ‘Oh, I have another power',” in being a public voice against anti-Semitism according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Given the violent and gruesome background of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the fight against anti-Semitism has acquired an entirely new dimension altogether. As the existence of the Jewish community is at stake, and how the war has elevated to dangerous levels, more and more voices have begun coming out. Looking back on his life, the ‘True Lies’ actor said he had dreams to become the most muscular man in the world, as well as to come to the US to become rich and famous, which he did.
But as a native of Austria, and as the son of a Nazi, he also wanted to fight “for inclusion against hatred and speak out about hatred, and how wrong it is to not look at everyone’s life equally. And to attack each other because of someone’s religion and religious background or their colour or their sex, whatever it is.”
The actor added: “I felt it was very important, especially since I come from a country that is known to be a big part of the second World War and had the most vicious Nazis during the second World War and beforehand. I thought it is important to go out and to let people know that the next generation doesn’t have to be the same, that the next generation can change.”
As such, the ‘Commando’ alum visited the former Nazi camp at Auschwitz and said he plans to return with “a whole bunch of Hollywood celebrities so they can see what is going on, what went on there and to put the spotlight on this issue.” Expressing his own views on how to deal with the stream of hatred and negativity, Arnold said: “There’s all this chatter out there and all this stuff and all this negativity and hatred that we have to speak up and confront them. The more we speak out about that issue, the better it is.
“So every day you have to talk about that, you have to talk about it over and over again because we cannot let them get away with those lies and with this hatred. You’ve got to talk to them, and talk them down and let them know that the only way to go is through love… hatred you never ever win; love in the end always wins," he concluded.
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