The more things change, …
I’m not Jewish. No one in my family died in the Holocaust. For me, anti-Semitism has always been one of those phenomena that doesn’t really register on my radar, like tribal genocide in Rwanda, a horrible thing that happens to someone else.
But I live in a small town outside of Munich on a street that until May of 1945 was named Adolf Hitler Strasse. I work in Munich, a pleasant metropolitan city of a little over a million inhabitants whose Bavarian charm tends to obscure the fact that this city was the birthplace and capital of the Nazi movement.
Every day when I go to work, I pass by the sites of apartments Hitler lived in, extant buildings in which decisions were made to murder millions of innocent people, and plazas in which book burnings took place, SS troops paraded and people were executed. The proximity to evil has a way of concentrating one’s attention, of putting a physical reality to the textbook narratives of the horrors perpetrated by the Germans.
Then the little things start to happen that over a period of time add up to something very sinister. I’m on a bus and a high school boy passes around Grandpa’s red leather-bound copy of Mein Kampf to his friends who respond by saying "coooool!" He then takes out a VCR tape (produced in Switzerland) of The Great Speeches of Joseph Goebbels."
A few weeks later, I’m at a business meeting with four young highly educated Germans who are polite, charming and soft-spoken to say the least. When the subject matter changes to a business deal with a man in New York named Rubinstein, their nostrils flair, their demeanor attain a threatening mien and one of them actually says, and I’m quoting verbatim here: "The problem with America is that the Jews have all the money." They start laughing and another one says, "Yeah, all the Jews care about is money."
This is not good. The way things are going, we might have to fight another war in Europe, in addition to the Middle East.
Powered by Qumana
No comments yet.