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Topic: Herzog, Roman, Source of Speech in Bergen Belsen

Monika Muggli from Bad Aibling, Germany wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Shalom! I'm looking for the exact source of a verse allegedly from the Torah that the German President Roman Herzog quoted in a speech held at the former Bergen Belsen concentration camp. It reads: "Our fathers have sinned, they are no more. We carry their sins." Can you help me?

Dear Monika Muggli,

The quotation comes from Lamentations 5:7. In Lamentations - in Hebrew, Megillat Eicha - the Jewish Prophet Jeremiah predicts the destruction of the first Temple and the aftermath. He calls attention to the sins for which the Temple would be destroyed. The children are held accountable if they "carry" and continue the transgressions, and fail to learn from the mistakes of the previous generation.

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