Legends & Legacies View More

A Legacy of Forgiveness

Published: 10/10/2012

Eric Lomax's wartime story is an amazing one – it goes from distinguished service to torture at the hands of the enemy, from simmering anger to reconciliation and, in the end, forgiveness.

Eric Lomax, a former British prisoner of war who died 8 October 2012 in Berwick-upon-Tweed in northern England. (AP Photo / Vintage Books / Joe Payne)
Eric Lomax (AP Photo / Vintage Books / Joe Payne)

Lomax, who recently died at age 93, was a Lieutenant in the British Army during World War II when he was captured by the Japanese. Held in a POW camp, he was put to work building the Burma to Siam railroad, enduring the worst years of his life as he was beaten, deprived and tortured. When he was freed at the war's end, he – like so many other surviving POWs – struggled to forget the horror he had experienced.

But then something astonishing happened.

Lomax had the chance to meet a former captor, Nagase Takashi. The Army veteran initially thought he might want to kill the man who enslaved him… but when they met, he found himself forgiving him. "Forgiveness is possible when someone is ready to accept forgiveness," he later said. "Some time the hating has to stop."

The experience was so singular that Lomax was moved to write a memoir, The Railway Man, which is soon to be made into a movie starring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. After learning about Lomax's story, we can't wait to see it dramatized on the big screen.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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