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In A Moving Video Plea To Russians, Arnold Schwarzenegger Details The Pain And Guilt His Nazi Father Had To Live With After WWII

In a powerful video shared on social media today, Hollywood icon and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a message to the Russian people, begging them to see through the disinformation surrounding the invasion of Ukraine.

Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, spoke candidly about his Nazi father’s failings in World War II, using his experiences to warn soldiers fighting on the frontlines of the life-long harm they were doing to innocent citizens and themselves.

“[My father] was injured at Leningrad and the Nazi army he was part of did vicious harm to the great city and to its brave people,” Schwarzenegger says in the nine-minute clip. “When my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government. When he left Leningrad, he was broken, physically and mentally. He lived the rest of his life in pain, pain from a broken back, pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years, and pain from the guilt that he felt. To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast: You already know much of the truth that I’m speaking. You’ve seen it in your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father.”

The action hero also revealed his personal ties to Russia, recalling a story of meeting his weightlifting idol, Olympian Yuri Petrovich Vlasov, when he was just a teenager. Despite his father’s contempt for Russia after his time in the war, Schwarzenegger said he’s always admired the spirit of the Russian people, using his experiences competing and filming in the country to show his connection to its citizens. He applauded the strength of civilians currently protesting Putin’s war there, saying, “The world has seen your bravery. We know that you’ve suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested, you’ve been jailed and you’ve been beaten. You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yuri Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia.”

Schwarzenegger also listed off some devastating consequences of the invasion so far, recounting how Putin has ordered his military to bomb homes and maternity hospitals while fighting back against Kremlin propaganda that’s been telling Russian citizens this war is to help “denazify Ukraine.”

“Ukraine is a country with a Jewish president, ” Schwarzenegger continues. “A Jewish president, I might add, whose father’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis. Ukraine did not start this war. Nor did nationalists or the Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started this war.”

The former politician ended his speech by speaking directly to Putin, asking him to use his power to call off the invasion for the sake of his people, and the world.

“To those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you: Why would you sacrifice these young men for your own ambition?” Schwarzenegger asks. “To President Putin, I say: You started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war.”