Arnold Schwarzenegger has a pretty strong message to antisemites and those who engage in hate speech: “I don’t want you to be a loser.”

The Austrian-born actor and former governor of California, in a long video posted on his YouTube channel on Monday, shared the horrors and atrocities that occurred at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination and concentration camp in Poland during World War II, and the emotional toll he felt after visiting.

“Today I want to talk to the people out there who may have already stumbled in the wrong direction, down the wrong path,” said Schwarzenegger, whose father was a member of the Nazi Party.

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“I want to talk to you if you’ve heard any conspiracies about Jews or people of any race, gender or orientation and thought, ‘That makes sense to me,'” he said, looking directly into the camera.

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“I want to talk to you if you’ve felt that someone is inferior or out to get you because of their religion or the color of their skin or their gender.”

Schwarzenegger visited the Auschwitz concentration camp a few months ago and called it “one of the darkest moments of my life.”

The former professional bodybuilder told viewers “there has never been a successful movement based on hate,” adding that he had “seen enough people throw away their futures for hateful beliefs.”

“The Nazis? Losers. The Confederacy? Losers. The apartheid movement? Losers. I don’t want you to be a loser. I don’t want you to be weak … despite all my friends who might say, ‘Arnold, don’t talk to those people. That is not worth it.’

“I don’t care what they say. I care about you. I think you’re worth it. I know nobody’s perfect … I can understand how people can fall into a trap of prejudice and hatred.”

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Schwarzenegger pointed to his father, Gustav Schwarzenegger, whom he grouped with “broken men” after the war who were “filled with guilt.”

“They felt like losers, not only because they lost the war, but also because they fell for horrible, loser ideology. They were lied to and misled down a path that ended in misery,” Schwarzenegger said. “.. .In the end it didn’t matter why they joined (the Nazis). They were all broken in the same way. That’s the bottom line here.”

Schwarzenegger recalled seeing unclaimed suitcases that prisoners were promised to be reunited with when they left for gas chambers. He spoke of scratches on the walls of gas chambers from the fingernails of desperate people “trying to hang on to life.”

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He said those “at the crossroads” of choosing a hateful and racist path in life “will not find success at the end of that path.”

“Hatred burns fast and bright. It can make you feel empowered for a while, but it eventually consumes whatever vessel it’s driving. It breaks you,” Schwarzenegger said.

Instead of looking for scapegoats in other people, he advised people to look more to personal responsibility and inner strength, adding that there is “still hope” for those traveling a hateful path.

“There is still time for you,” he said. “Choose strength. Choose life. Conquer your mind.”

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Earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians not to become complacent when anti-Semitism and hatred are growing across the country.

Speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day memorial in Ottawa in January, the prime minister warned that in times of peace, “people look back on this atrocity, bewildered as to how it could ever have been allowed to happen.”

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“We wonder what could ever have driven people to such cruelty. But hate never comes upon us all at once. It creeps up inch by inch“, Trudeau said.

According to Statistics Canada, hate crimes have targeted the Jewish community been on the rise. In 2021, the number of hate crimes against Jews reported to the police increased by 47 percent. Of the 884 religion-based hate crimes reported to the police that year, 487 of them targeted the Jewish community.

In addition, there have been high-profile incidents of anti-Semitism in popular culture over the past year. Rapper Kanye West publicly praised Adolf Hitler in a series of anti-Semitic online posts that sparked a violent wave of condemnation.

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A study commissioned by the Canadian charity Liberation75 last year found that one in three students out of the 3,000 surveyed believed the holocaust was made up or not reported correctly.

In January, Ottawa police charged two high school students with public incitement to hatred, criminal harassment and mischief after an incident in which they were accused of displaying a hate symbol and using anti-Semitic language.

with files from Global News.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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