Jewish ER nurse said in Facebook post that alleged Tree of Life gunman ‘thanked me for saving him’

By Amanda Klein | November 4, 2018

An emergency department nurse who said in a Nov. 3 Facebook post that he was “The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save [Robert Bowers] life” talks about being lonely and being bullied as a child because he is Jewish.

Ari Mahaler who lists that he is an “Emergency Department RN at Allegheny General Hospital,” said in the posting that he wants the opportunity to speak for himself about what he has expirenced being Jewish.

A hospital spokesman has confirmed that Mr. Mahler treated Robert Bowers, the alleged attacker, last Saturday.

“When I was a kid, being labeled ‘The Jewish (anything)’, undoubtedly had derogatory connotations attached to it. That’s why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term.”

Mr. Mahler said he experienced “anti-Semitism a lot as kid,” and would find “drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, ‘Die Jew. Love, Hitler.'”

He said that the shooting did not come as a surprise to him and added, “To be honest, it’s only a matter of time before the next one.”

As far as why he treated Bowers with compassion Mr. Mahler explained, “Love. That’s why I did it. Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings.”

Because of HIPPA laws he couldn’t go into detail concerning his interaction with Bowers, but did say, “Bowers thanked me for saving him, for showing him kindness, and for treating him the same way I treat every other patient. This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide.”

“I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse, when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse?

During the time he was treating Bowers Mr. Mahler said he didn’t tell Bowers he was Jewish. Instead, “I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy.”

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

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