Arnold Schwarzenegger Delivers Impassioned Speech Against Anti-Semitism After Auschwitz Visit

Arnold Schwarzenegger
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Schwarzenegger referenced his father, a member of the Nazi party, who he called "a broken man."

Arnold Schwarzenegger is addressing the recent rise of anti-Semitism.

The Austrian-born actor took to his YouTube channel Monday to deliver a passionate speech against hate and anti-Semitism following a recent visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where approximately 1.1 million Jews were killed by the German SS during World War II.

"When you walk through a place like Auschwitz, you feel a tremendous weight," 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 75-year-old actor and former governor of California then directed his message at those who have "stumbled into the wrong direction."

"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 about 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 on the end of the path."

Schwarzenegger referenced his father amongst his group -- a member of the Nazi party, who he called "a broken man."

"Besides the guilt and the injuries, they felt like losers. Not only because they lost the war, but also because 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 lives worse …. It breaks you … it is the path of the weak … there has never been a successful movement based on hate."

Returning his focus to those who have embraced a hateful worldview -- either due to their upbringing or due to being drawn into extremist online rabbit holes -- Schwarzenegger encouraged them to improve themselves and their own lives rather than blame others, with the former bodybuilder using gym metaphors 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, 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 hate, 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."

Schwarzenegger's speech and September visit to Auschwitz come after the Anti-Defamation League reported in 2021, the number of documented reports of harassment, vandalism and violence directed against Jews hit a modern record high (since at least 1979) in 2021, with 2022 trending the same way. 

For other celebs who have addressed anti-Semitism, check out the links below.