Christian Picciolini was a neo-Nazi skinhead who at the age of 16 was already pushing the ideology of white-supremacy, the product of which we have again seen raising its ugly and love-less head in the last few days.
In this video, Christian shares his story, explaining how he went from such extreme and sickening behavior as raising his hand in a Nazi salute outside Dachau Concentration camp (one small, destructive action amongst many), to eventually leaving the movement and campaigning for peace.
He explains the frightening development of the movement he was involved in, stating that: “What we’re seeing now, we’re seeing the normalization of racism in our country.”
Can people ever change? How can such violence and hatred be diffused? Picciolini believes people can and do change, and he shares the extraordinary way that he was able to leave a life of hatred behind.
This is an issue that none of us can turn a blind eye to. I write this on the Feast Day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who was killed in Auschwitz after offering his life in substitution for another man. During his life, Kolbe said that: “the greatest poison of our times is indifference”. In the last months of his life, in the darkness of such a place as a Nazi death camp, Kolbe also offered the sobering, but powerfully beautiful reminder that: “Hatred is not a creative force: only love is creative.”