Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses the rising increase in anti-Semitism.
After a recent visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where over 1.1 million Jews were slaughtered by the German SS during World War Two, the Austrian-born actor came to his YouTube channel on Monday to make a passionate address against hate and anti-Semitism.
“When you walk through a place like Auschwitz, you feel a tremendous weight,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “There are reminders everywhere of the horrors that happened there.”
“Let me tell you something,” he continued, after listing the visual remains of the atrocities that took place there. “The weight on your back hits ya heavier than a squat I’ve ever done, and it never goes away.”
The former governor of California and 75-year-old actor then addressed individuals who have “stumbled into the wrong way” with his message.
“If you’ve heard some conspiracies about Jewish people, or people of any race, or gender, or orientation, and thought, ‘That makes sense to me.’ I want to talk to you if you found yourself thinking that anyone is inferior and out to get you because of their religion or the color of their skin or their gender,'” Schwarzenegger said.
He continued, “I don’t know the road that has brought you here, but I’ve seen enough people throw away their futures for hateful beliefs. So, I want to speak to you before you find your regrets at the end of the path.”
Among his followers, Schwarzenegger made reference to his father, a Nazi party member whom he described as “a broken man.”
“Besides the guilt and the injuries, they felt like losers.” Not only because they lost the war, but also because they fell for a horrible, loser ideology,” he said. “They were lied to and misled into a path that ended in misery…they bought into the idea that the only way to make their lives better was to make other people’s lives worse… It breaks you … it is the path of the weak. “There has never been a successful movement based on hate.”
Returning his attention to those who have adopted a hateful worldview—either as a result of their upbringing or as a result of being sucked into extremist online rabbit holes—Schwarzenegger urged them to better themselves and their own lives as opposed to blaming others, using analogies from the gym to do so.
“Your mind and your character are no different than your body and your muscles,” Schwarzenegger insisted. “If you want to grow as a person, you really have to make friends with pain.” Embrace the discomfort, and enjoy the struggle. You have two paths in front of you right now. One of them is going to be the harder one today. It’s going to be downright painful. You will have to force your brain to think in new ways. You may lose some friends who want to hold onto their weak beliefs, but as you pull yourself away from that anger and that hatred, eventually, you will start to feel empowered. You will realize you have the greatest power of all — the power to change your own life. “You will be stronger than you’ve ever known.”
“The other path is easy, much easier,” he continued. “You don’t have to change anything, everything in your life that you aren’t happy about can be somebody else’s fault… You will end up broken. searching for ways to numb your pain and misery. I don’t want you to go through all that… Choose strength. Choose life. Conquer your mind. “You can do it.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported that in 2021, the number of reported incidents of harassment, vandalism, and violence against Jews reached a modern record high (since at least 1979) and that this trend continued in 2022. This is why Schwarzenegger made his speech and visited Auschwitz in September.