It’s an unusual man who can forgive his wartime torturer – or whose quest to do so can touch so many people around the world.
Eric Lomax, a former British prisoner of war whose moving tale of wartime torture and forgiveness is being turned into a film, died Monday in England at 93.
His dramatic act of forgiveness formed the heart of a celebrated 1995 memoir, The Railway Man.
In World War II, Lieutenant Lomax was captured by the Japanese during the fall of Singapore in 1942 and sent to the brutal POW camps building the infamous Burma railroad (as depicted in Bridge On The River Kwai).
Decades later he reconciled with one of his former torturers, interpreter Takashi Nagase of Japan, on a hillside overlooking the bridge, which was built by prisoners forced to labor. The experience of forgiveness effectively freed him from years of turmoil which haunted him with thoughts of revenge and hatred.
John McCarthy, a journalist who was held hostage for five years, described Lomax’s autobiography as “an extraordinary story of torture and reconciliation”. It was made into a television drama Prisoners in Time starring John Hurt as Lomax in 1995. The book is being made into a big-screen film of the same name, and shooting started in April 2012 with Colin Firth and Jeremy Irvine starring as the older and younger Eric Lomax respectively and Nicole Kidman playing his eventual wife.
(READ the AP story from the Modesto Bee – WATCH a video by Lomax below)