I made a painting that has holes in it. Why is there holes? Because God says to us, I cannot do all. I can create you, but I cannot do it all. You have to help Me fix the holes and put everything together. This is the learning from the Holocaust. That each of us is here to fix the holes. My little brother, they put him in the crematorium. What did my mother, undressing in front of strangers, holding this little boy by the hand, what did she say to him? What? No one knows. There is a hole.
You know everything was terrible in Auschwitz. There was no food, there was no water, there was cold, you didn’t know whether your father or mother lives. I worked in a factory in Auschwitz. One day in the factory, it was almost Christmas, and the snow that fell was like a table set for guests, it was so beautiful, it was so white. And of course we had to work inside, starting at five o’clock in the morning and finishing at five o’clock at night, and not having food or anything we need. The foreman watching us every minute making sure we are making every ammunition supposed to be made. And the foreman looked at me and called me over. I was sure I was to be punished because all the way walking there the SS man is whipping his whip. You don’t work fast and you don’t do the work like it is supposed to, they beat you. I was fifteen years old and my legs are shaking. I am trying to tell him please just don’t hurt me. Please I will work faster. And the foreman says bend down bend down bend down and I feel that he is about to be beating me he says take that white bread, put it under your coat, and go out fast. That was my Christmas. What an incredible man. The SS man was behind him. He bet his life to give a child a chance. You know what a slice of white bread meant? Could you imagine that I am starving? Instead of beating me he gave me bread I could share with my sister. So you see, everywhere there are good people, everywhere.
I don’t know how much you know about the Holocaust. What is your interest in it? What do you want to do with your life, where do you want to go? What is hurting in you? What are your holes to fix? What is now important in my life, and in your life also, is that after the Holocaust, we shaking hands with each other, that we are nobody lesser than the other. That we understand the real meaning of what God created us for. You have the task. You have the task to better this world. There are holes in people also but those we create and we can fix with love. God want us whole. We should fix the hole and make a good human being. Use all of your hands. One time I gave a painting to the pope, Pope Benedict. He said to me come, come!, and he held my hands. I tell him the painting is us arriving to Auschwitz, we were so frightened, and the first thing they did, they took away your name, so that you are not a person, you are a number. When you don’t have a name, you are nobody. The pope asks why is yellow in the the painting and I tell him that is the yellow stain, that is the odor in Auschwitz, that odor never left me. That wonderful man had tears in his eyes. He held my hands for nineteen minutes. Then they put my painting by the Sistine Chapel.