Ben Lesser, a prominent voice among Holocaust survivors, was hesitant before meeting the grandson of a Nazi commander responsible for the deaths of his family members at Auschwitz. But when the two men spoke over the phone in January 2015, they became friends.
In a conversation with HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps, Lesser spoke about his unlikely friendship with Rainer Höss, who he found to be on a parallel mission to promote peace and understanding in the face of hatred.
"It was quite a moving experience," Lesser said about his initial chat with Höss. "We felt like we both are doing the same thing, and we have something in common. We have a mission in this world, and this is to keep this world from acquiring amnesia. We felt closeness because of this."
The 86-year-old also wrote about the friendship in a blog post, saying the two were partnering on a campaign against intolerance and hoping to garner six million signatures "for the six million souls who were silenced."
"Rainer’s courage in communicating his experiences as a German and as the grandson of a mass-murderer, helps us to understand that he and his generation are not responsible for what their predecessors did," Lesser wrote. "That he feels a responsibility to bring truth to the world, is testimony to his integrity."