MITCH ALBOM: The son must refute father's hateful rants
February 22, 2004
BY MITCH ALBOM
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
My sister married a wonderful guy. His father was a Hungarian Jew.
During World War II, he and his eight brothers and sisters were imprisoned
in Nazi concentration camps. Some were killed in gas chambers. Others
were put on a boat that was deliberately sunk.
By the war's end, my brother-in-law's father was the only one left. For
years, his wife would find bread stuffed under his pillow, a habit from
Every now and then some nut case says the Holocaust was faked. Usually,
you dismiss him as pathetic.
Last week, however, a man named Hutton Gibson told a national radio
host that the Holocaust never happened, that there were no concentration
camps, only "work camps," and that Jews basically made the whole thing
Hutton Gibson is Mel Gibson's father.
So this nut case must be addressed.
I'm aware of Mel Gibson's father's words. I am also aware that he was asked to shoot down his father. I know Mel disagrees with his father's stance, but to publicly castrate his father would be disloyal. My father has said some pretty crummy things about people in the past. I've confronted him over these statements, but by no way would I publicly criticize him for the security of strangers. Mel Gibson's concern, if he were to say anything about his father's views, would be the light in which the media would present his statements. The headlines would read, "Mel Gibson thinks his father is a crazy nut." In no way should Mel sacrifice his relationship with his father to please some political powers that be. I have been touched by my father, but one should not then assume that I hold to the same perspectives as my parents.
I think it's about loyalty. Gibson does not owe me or anyone else an apology for what his father has stated. This whole issue is more an attack against Christianity and Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, than it is about what father Gibson had stated. I'm certainly not in the business of defending other people's actions; (I have enough trouble taking care of my own actions). My opinion is that Mel does not owe the public any outward condemnation of his father. Mel's actions will speak louder than just some political verbiage. If he holds the same views as his