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Jeff,

There is a large degree of truth in what you say. There is also a lot more that could be said about this topic, which has not been said and probably will never be said.

The true measure of how a nation deals with its dark periods of its past is the actions it takes to correct them.

Using the comparison you cited of slavery in the US and the holocaust in Germany, one has to ask the question who is making the most progress in correcting those periods. As you said all of these are acts of individuals but collective they reflect both the people of a nation and the will of nations.

This week the US saw the swearing in of a black woman whose ancestry must include slavery. This is just another small step in the US of addressing this dark period of American history, which occurred over 200 years ago. This issue is still part of the fabric of American history and will ever remain so. It is something we as Americans must deal with even today.

So to think that germans today because most of them did not have a direct involvement in the holocaust denies both their history and their culture of this dark period.

Much as been made of the phrase of never again, it has become a popular statement. Yet in the US racism the attitude, which sprung from slavery, is on the decline. At the same time anti Semitism is on the rise in germany. You see that here in some of these postings. Where I because I disagree with the actions of the both the german people and thus the german government must be a Jew.

So it is safe to say that the culture which spawned the holocaust is alive and well in some parts of german society. This is not a statement of ideology but of fact.

So no at this rate Germany has a long ways to go to rid herself of the collective guilty of the holocaust.


@Joe

I simply deny any moral validity at all to the notion of collective guilt. A is NEVER guilty of B's crime.

I do not know enough about modern Germany to have an informed opinion whether anti-Semitism is more or less common among Germans today than it was 70 years ago. (I do know that 100 years ago Germany was one of the least anti-Semitic countries in the world. The politics of cultural despair was a fringe aspect of Imperial Germany.) I also do not know whether German anti-Semitism is as virulent now as it was in the 20's and 30's: I shall have to take others' word whether there is a widespread German interest in making the world Judenrein through genocide. I do not know whether there is anyone remotely as blatant as Karl Lueger in modern Germany (yes I know Lueger was Austrian.)

I am sure there is plenty of anti-Semitism in Germany. There is still some in the US, and there is plenty of anti-black bigotry in the US. I no more believe that modern America is a racist society because it houses bigots like the KKK than I believe that modern inhabitants of the US South want their slaves back.

I know quite a bit about German history, but this blog is supposed to be about fairness and accuracy in the modern world. It's easy enough to slam the German past as being horrific; the Atlantic Passage from Africa to America was pretty horrific too. The history of humanity is mostly horrific.

But I am not going to condone or participate in condemning people for what their forebears did. In my view, that is racist and totalitarian. It is just like those moral idiots who said Arnold Schwarzenneger was not fit to be governor of California because his FATHER had belonged to the Nazi party.

I wouldn't call it guilt, I call it responsibility. It is common to see it this way.

Jeff,

Please define what racist means.

Are the germans a race? I think we have disagreed on how you use this term before.

As for your use of totalitarian, it is a second term that would be helpful for you to define.

Can individuals be totalitarian or only nations?

And what do you consider to be modern history. History only of the 21st century. History since 9 11? History since the wall of the berlin wall? History since the end of World War 2?

Just where does modern hisory begin for you?

Gabi

What a person chooses to take responsibility for is that person's business. If some or many Germans choose to feel a special responsibility as a result of the history of their people, that is admirable. If I were German, I too might want to take care to avoid encouraging anti-semitic tendencies in my culture. I have no dispute with what you have said or written ( at least to the extent that I can read your posts in German.)

But tolerance, decency, fairness, and accuracy are not promoted by those who themselves are intolerant, bigoted, unfair, or inaccurate. If people who comment on this blog are sincere in their claims to care about fairness and accuracy, then I should not be criticized for expecting comments to meet those criteria.

And I refuse to copy Nazi/Marxist "morality" in holding person A morally responsible for some misdeed of person B. I view that as totalitarian because it is anti-individual. And when person A is held responsible because of the accident of birth, the accident of native language, the accident of skin color, the accident of religious heritage, etc, I call that racist.

Joe wants us to believe that he is not prejudiced against Germans in general because he does not define Germans as a biological race. I think anyone who reads his comments can see that he is prejudiced against Germans and that he ascribes guilt to people who were not even born when certain crimes were committed because of where they live, what they speak, and who their fathers and mothers were. I have no interest in debating whether that is racist. It is morally wrong however we define it.

Jeff,

As wrong as you about defining race, you are equally wrong about my beliefs, my attitudes, and the positions I have taken.

If you were the open-minded and thoughtful scholar you pretend to portray then you would clearly see my objections are to the morally superior attitude taken by the majority of the germans, the resulting militant pacifism and the avoidance of responsibility. I also object to their application of the darkest periods of their history to the actions of the US.

You may find these to be both correct and admirable. I find them to be neither.

I do not at all associate Germans of today with the actions of their forefathers. I do however believe today’s Germans are accountable for the actions they take. I am sure you would disagree with that position too.


@ Joe

You said that "I do not at all associate Germans of today with the actions of their forefathers."

You also said in an earlier post that "Germany has a long ways to go to rid herself of the collective guilty of the holocaust."

Well make up your mind before you argue. The latter statement is totalitarian in its attribution of collective guilt. And it is that sort of statement that I was objecting to.

And please do not attribute to me propositions that I have never said. Nor have I ever said that I am a scholar.

Jeff,

It would appear we would read the below article differently. It would also appear where you Gabi took expection to your comment, the German Chancellor did not.

Your position is no one is responsible for this other than a group of dead evil people. Fine I accept your position.

Still you fail to define terms. You just hurl them. So the use of the word totalitarian will remain undefined. When you get elected to the school board, might I suggest you propose more hours in English and by extension word definitions.

Germany's shame over evil of the Holocaust
BY CHARLES BREMNER

GERHARD SCHRÖDER, the German Chancellor, expressed his country’s shame for the Holocaust yesterday.

He urged his nation never to forget the crime of Auschwitz, saying that Germans bore a special responsibility for the Nazi genocide of Jews and other minorities


“I express my shame over those who were murdered, and before those of you who have survived the hell of the concentration camps,” he said in an emotional address to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz tomorrow.

The Chancellor’s speech to former Auschwitz inmates and Jewish leaders was echoed in Paris by President Chirac of France. Opening a new memorial to victims of the Holocaust, he told France not to forget that its wartime State had been an accomplice to the Nazis.

Both leaders called for effort to fight resurgent anti-Semitism and to teach the reality of the Holocaust to younger generations. Some Jewish leaders cited Prince Harry’s recent use of a Nazi costume as an example of ignorance of history.

Herr Schröder said: “The vast majority of Germans alive today are not to blame for the Holocaust, but they do bear a special responsibility. The evil of Nazi ideology did not occur without preconditions. The brutalisation of thought and the loss of moral inhibitions had a history. Above all, Nazi ideology was desired by people and man-made.”
The memory of the genocide was part of German national identity. “Remembering the era of National Socialism and its crimes is a moral obligation . . . it is true that the temptation to forget and suppress it is great, but we will not succumb to it.”

Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, told the Berlin gathering that lessons were being forgotten. “While apologists clamour Holocaust fatigue, the deny- ers receive open forums to spread their lies and instructors teaching the Holocaust this week are shouted down by their students in various European countries,” he said. Referring to Prince Harry, he said: “We experience insensitivity towards the Holocaust by Europe’s younger generation, sometimes from the highest and most important families

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1456346,00.html

@ Joe & @ Jeff:

The Bible has it both ways at different times:

In Ezekiel (18:2)
The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.

In Jeremiah (31:29 - 30)
In those days they shall say no more, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

If the Germans (and Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Poles, French ...) look at the the consequences of the anti-semitism of their forebears with revulsion, and resolve never to let it happen again, they escape the guilt. If they just tweak it here and there (Zionism = racism; "We're not anti-semitic, we're pro-Palestinian") to bring it up to date, they inherit it.

There is really no conflict between your positions, Joe and Jeff. Each generation has the option of renouncing their inheritance. Unfortunately, too many have failed to do so.

Niko,
thank you for this information. I think it is hard for the Germans to understand and take their responsibility. They are looking for ways to put the blame on something what no longer exist: Nazi Deutschland. But the people did not die all in 1945. So we should remember what happened in Germany:

Aufkleber von 1933: Jüdisches Geschäft! Wer hier kauft, wird photographiert.

Berufsverbot für Ärzte und Rechtsanwälte schon 1933!

Brief einer Schülerin, Januar 1935:

"... Leider sagen heute noch viele: "Die Juden sind auch Geschöpfe Gottes. Darum müßt ihr sie auch achten." Wir aber sagen: "Ungeziefer sind auch Tiere und trotzdem vernichten wir sie".
... Wir standen am Rande des Grabes. Da kam Adolf Hitler. Jetzt sind die Juden im Auslande und hetzen gegen uns. Aber wir lassen uns nicht beirren und folgem dem Führer... "

Was passierte mit dieser Schülerin 10 Jahre weiter? Was passierte mit ihrem Haß auf Juden? Was hat dieser junge Menschen seit diesem Brief aus dem Jahre 1935 beigetragen? Zehn weitere Jahre in denen sie nichts anderes gehört hat, als daß Juden minderwertig seien. Hat dieser junge Mensch irgendeine Schuld auf sich geladen?

Daß kann man letztlich nur beantworten, wenn man bedenkt, in welchem Klima des Hasses und der Angst auch viele Deutsche lebten. Jeder muß das für sich beantworten, der damals gelebt hat.

Ich kann und will keinen Finger zeigen auf einen Menschen aus dieser Zeit richten, aber wir werden diesem Horror nicht gerecht, wenn wir so tun, als sei das ein anderes Deutschland gewesen. Hitler und seine Nazis verschwanden, aber wohin verschwand der Geist, der über Jahre erzeugt und verbreitet worden ist? Hat es ausgereicht, den Deutschen die Gaskammern zu zeigen, um ihnen klarzumachen, daß sie Antisemitismus erlegen sind. Was hat diese Generation an die nächste weitergegeben? Diese Generation lebt doch noch. Hier liegt die Verantwortung der nächsten Generation.

Martin Schulz (siehe Nikos Kommentar), der jedes Wort ausmerzen will, das an das Deutschland von heute erinnert, zeigt doch gerade in diesem krampfhaften Bemühen, daß er die Verantwortung nicht mit Würde auf sich nehmen, sondern wegtrampeln will, was an ihm klebt.

Es war Deutschland und all unsere Familien waren Teil davon. Nur auf diesem Weg wird es Versöhnung geben zwischen den Nachfolgern von Opfern und Tätern. Und diese Versöhnung hat ja noch gar nicht stattgefunden. Manche der Opfer können noch nicht einmal ertragen, die deutsche Sprache in ihrem Parlament zu hören. Können wir uns das erlittene Leid wirklich vorstellen?

Wie viele aus Europa sind nach Israel geflohen?
Was denken die Kinder dieser Generation über Deutschland und die Übernahme von Verantwortung durch die nächste Generation, wenn Deutschland unter Schröder die pro-israelische Politik aufkündigt und sich von pro-palästinensischen Stiftungen beraten läßt, deren Mitarbeiter und deren Handlanger in den Medien auf die deutschen einkämmern, daß der Terror VERURSACHT würde durch die Besatzung.

Diese Haltung hilft nicht den friedvollen Palästinensern. Gerade wir Deutschen haben erlebt, wie es es, sich gegen gewalttätige Menschen durchsetzen zu müssen, haben gesehen, daß man aus Angst schweigt, wegschaut, sich wegduckt und nichts verhindern kann. Es passiert heute wieder, daß wir mit dieser Haltung Gewalt und Terror in den palästinensischen Gebieten Unterstützung geben.

Durch fehlende Kenntnisse über die Geschichte bei unseren Journalisten in den deutschen Medien kann es dann passieren, daß man sich einlullen läßt von der einfachen Lösung, daß die Israelis Schuld am Terror haben. Sollen sie doch endlich die Gebiete zurückgeben. Da löst dann Sharon die Intifada aus, man glaubt den Massaker-Lügen der palästinensischen Terroristen usw.

Aber wenn die Palästinenser einen eigenen Staat haben und die Terrorbanden bis dahin nicht ausgeschaltet worden sind (nicht alle Palästinenser wollen nämlich diesen Terror), dann kann Israel nichts mehr gegen diese Terrorstrukturen ausrichten. Dann können Radikale und Terroristen ganz legal "Politik" machen und die vollständige Zerstörung Israels betreiben.

Das steht nämlich in ihrer Charta und auch in den Herzen vieler Araber.

Was tun wir gegen diesen Haß? Was haben die Deutschen nach 1945 dagegen getan? Zurück zu meiner Ausgangsfrage: Wieviele Europäer flogen nach Israels wegen der Verfolgung ausgehend von Deutschland? Da liegt unsere Verantwortung mehr zu tun als andere, alles zu tun, was uns möglich ist.


sorry, es muß "flohen" heißen statt flogen.

http://www.weniger-staat.de/Deutschland/Hohmann1.html

Ich finde diese Gedanken von Alex zu Herrn Hohmann sehr hilfreich. Bitte hier klicken


Die Feier zur 60jährigen Auschwitz-Befreiung habe ich noch nicht ganz gesehen. Ich habe sie aufgenommen und gerade bis zur ersten Rede des ersten jüdischen Opfers mit der Nr. 4427 gesehen.

Dieser Mann klagte die Untätigkeit der anderen Länder an!
Niemand hat ihnen geholfen!
Alle haben seit 1942 (sagt er) alles gewußt, und niemand hat geholfen, lautete sein trauriger Vorwurf.

Da stehen wir nun mit dieser Anklage und müssen den überlebenden Opfern ins Auge sehen:

Haben wir (auch wir Deutschen, die gegen Hitler waren), haben wir alle genug geholfen? Haben wir alles Menschen Mögliche getan, um zu helfen? Waren wir bereit zu sterben, um den Opfern zu helfen? Wären wir bereit gewesen, ihnen sogar unter Aufgabe unseres Lebens zu helfen? oder war das eigene Leben, die eigene Sicherheit vorrangig?

NO MORE WAR! Kein Krieg mehr nirgends! Das ist die Antwort vieler Deutschen auf den WW II, weil der Krieg auf Deutschland zurückschlug. Städte wurden bombadiert. Deutsche starben an den Fronten und zu Hause in den Städten.

No more war - wenn Deutsche so reden, reden sie doch nur vom eigenen Leid, das sie dann ergriffen hat. Deutsche haben den Krieg begonnen, und sie haben dafür mit ihrem Leben bezahlen müssen.

Aber es war nicht der Angriffskrieg, der die Leben der Juden zerstört hat. Es war die Entscheidung der Deutschen aus Haß und Dummheit, Menschen umzubringen, weil sie jüdisch waren.

Die Parole NO MORE WAR kann diese Opfer nicht meinen. Selbst ohne Angriffskrieg aus dem Jahre 1939 sind ZUVOR die Juden ausgesondert, ihr Leben, ihre Würde zerstört worden. Mit dem Weltkrieg hat das nichts zu tun. Der Haß auf Juden wird durch die Losung "Kein Krieg mehr" nicht beseitigt. Nicht der Krieg hat die Juden getötet, sondern Haß, Antisemitismus.

Wenn also deutsche Pazifisten NO MORE WAR skandieren, dann denken sie nicht an die Juden, die deutschen Opfer, dann denken sie nur an sich und andere Kriegsopfer. Dann haben sie aus Auschwitz nichts gelernt.

Kein Haß mehr. Keine Feindbilder mehr. Das ist die Antwort auf Auschwitz.

Und dann reden wir doch mal mit den Deutschen von heute. Wieviel HASS ernten Sharon und Bush und die Menschen, die diese beiden unterstützen. Haben die Deutschen gelernt, Haß zu erkennen und dagegen anzugehen?

No more war - hat viele Iraker sterben lassen.

Ein jüdisches Opfer klagt die Welt an, vor mehr als 60 Jahren nichts getan zu haben, um sie zu retten.

Es gab eine Erklärung vom 17. Dezember 1942. Das war dem Mann nicht genug. Was wäre Hilfe, rechtzeitige Hilfe gewesen???

Und was lernen wir für die Gegenwart daraus: Manchmal reicht Dialog nicht!

@ Gabi

Es tut mir leid that I understand so little of what your long post says. I lost my German decades ago.

And perhaps I have misunderstood the overall thrust of your post.

But I read it to say that the way to prevent future wars is kein hass, keine feindbilder, but until that day comes, hass und feindbilder must be stopped when they are small and weak, if necessary by war.

I agree wholeheartedly (if I have understood correctly.) My only point where I have disagreed with anyone in this thread is that opposition to feindbilder and demonization must be consistent.

Jeff,
I think you understand my comment in the right way. But I did not understand your last sentence. I understand the word but what does it really mean? What is a consistent opposition?


I wonder that there is no German discussion about this theme.

Gabi

What I meant is that ALL stereotyping, eg Germans are naturally Nazi, they can't help it because fascism is in their culture or genes or water or whatever, eg the French are all cowardly, corrupt, secret anti-semites, is the basis of creating Feindbilder. If you allow person A, who agrees with your position, to create eine Feindbilder of B, who disagrees with your position, then you are condoning the creation of Feindbilder.

It is why, for example, that I thought the objection to the term IslamoFascist was extremely silly. It is very clear that a significant portion of the Islamic world is encouraging hate, murder, totalitarianism. These people must be stopped, by killing them if necessary. But there are a billion Moslems in the world. Are we going to kill every Moslem because some Moslems are evil barbarians? I for one do not think so. We must jail or kill people like Saddam and OBL, not because they are Moslem, but because they are evil and threaten our world. Arguing about whether IslamoFascist is the "best" word to describe the evil rampant in parts of the Islamic world is juvenile and foolish. Recognize the evil and oppose it. But arguing that every Moslem is a fascist because some are is worse than foolish because now we have descended to the level of those that we claim to oppose.

Jeff,
I did not use this word Islamofascist. In my opinion Bin laden has nothing to do with religion. Bush made very clear, it is a fight against terrorists, people who are misusing religion to get support. I think Osama Bin Laden does not care for the Palestinians, he is only interested in spreading fear and terror. Then he feels powerful because he is a looser. Nothing more. But a dangerous looser. A big worldwide criminal.

They should get him soon.

It is also not a war of the Western world against Islam. I don't understand why so many people say so.

We have to learn to live without Feindbilder. Germans first. I don't see that we learnt our lessons from Auschwitz. As I already said above: No more war is not the right answer.

No more hate, is the answer. War is sometimes necessary as a last option.

@ Gabi

I did not mean to imply that you had used the word Islamofascist. You and I are in fact saying the same thing (to the extent that our differences in language permit us): it is not Islam that is the problem, but a group who have antidemocratic ideas clothed in the language of Islam and advanced through terror and murder.

If we start confusing this group with every Muslim we have created in your words eine Feindbilder. That is why the term Islamofascist is useful, as a way to distinguish the anti-democrats who must be opposed and the ordinary Muslim, whose religion must be tolerated.

My reply to you was simply in response to your question about what I meant by consistency.

Of 7,000 Nazi guards, 750 were prosecuted and punished after the war, BBC wrote.

I wonder why they punished so few people. Does anybody know?


I haven't followed the whole discussion, but there is one important point I would like to mention. Of course, the hollocaust was of a complete different order of that what's happening in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, but there are some paralels to be noticed. We can clearly see how the moral responsability of the soldiers is changing for a technical responsability. People don't think about the consequenses of what they're doing, but they just do what they are told to do and try to do this in the best possible way. Check out the Milgram experiment and try to notice the paralels. We can not say those American soldiers are bad people (but in the same way you can't consider every Nazi soldier as an asshole, they were doing their 'duty'), they just follow orders in an autoritarian system. I don't have much time now, but i'll come back to explain my argument a bit more. See you!

I spent four months in the Netherlands and
some years in Sweden. A lot of intelligent
people compare President Bush to Hitler.
I usually ask with a smile "are you serious ?"
after a while I realise they are serious.
I think its because the dark shadow of Hitler
still haunts nations that are racially and
linguistically similiar to Germany. I notice
people in Britain do not have such views of
President Bush.

There is no comparision between the holocaust
and Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

The war on terror is going to be a long and
hard struggle. Mainly four nations are in the
struggle, the US, Israel, India and Russia.
All four are part of the war for a variety of
different reasons. I must sound a warning,
war can often bring out the dark side of
human nature. It is very important that those
on the side of democracy and freedom do
not become complacent. Terrorists want to
maximise civillian casualties, wereas we want
to minimíse it.

Countries not involved in the war
(such as germany) on terror
can never understand the nations that are
involved in it and often make pathetic judgements
on the struggle.
The outcome of the war on terror is important
for Europe, a terrorist victory would place
Europe in a very appalling situation, since
that continent has a huge islamic minority.

THE SEE NO EVIL AND HEAR EVIL ATTITUDE OF
THE LEFT (EXCEPT FOR ITS FANATICAL ANTI-AMERICANISM) IS A SICKNESS THAT CAN DEGRADE
EUROPEAN CIVILLISATION TO THE POINT OF EXTINCTION.

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