In today's edition of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, 54, talks about the tragic events during Wold War II that destroyed his mother's family. Born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel on August 25 1949, the Jewish musician is walking around in his hotel suite in Stockholm, Sweden listening to the song "Now That You're Gone" from his forthcoming solo album "Asshole".
"The song is about my father who recently passed away," explains Gene.
"Most of my mother's family died in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. My mother only made it because she was the hair dresser for an officer's wife."
What has this meant for you?
"The wisest person I have ever met is my mother Flora. Through her eyes and words I've found a meaning with life that no one else that been able to teach me. As a 14-year-old she saw her mother and grandmother being led into the gas chamber. Only her grandmother was sentenced to death, but Flora's mother didn't want her own mother to die on her own, so she sacrificed herself. If I'd lived through that, I would've been very bitter. But my mother's philosophy is that every day on this planet is a good day, that you should treat everyone well and that children are born with a pure mind. We have a will of our own to do well, not just evil because we've been treated badly. In a way she's a better person than I am, because if I'd been in her clothes I would have demanded revenge until the day I die."
Ironically, KISS were accused of being Nazis when they first broke through. Even more strangely is that Gene never defended himself.
"There's nothing to defend. It's okay. I was very handsomely paid to go on stage and do my thing. There will always been unsympathetic and ignorant people," says Gene Simmons with a shrug. [article translated from Swedish]