This blog should come with a warning label. It is based on a first person account of an American writer, William Grim, who has been living in Germany for some time. He found the degree of anti-Semitism to be appalling. For the record, he is not Jewish. He had no preconceived opinions or ideas. I strongly believe we should be mindful of what he has reported.
Many of you will find his account shocking and too incredulous to be true. As I read it, I, myself, was shocked. Based on my research for previous blogs, I knew anti-Semitism was still extant throughout Europe as well as many other parts of the world. (Some of you may recall my previous blogs on the subject that described anti-Semitic incidents and attitudes in France, Sweden, the UK and Germany, to name a few countries.) Special thanks to my good friend and loyal follower, Marvin, for bringing this account to my attention.
It is entitled “A writer’s view of today’s Germany.” The entire story is some 2,500 words, too long for a blog, so I have omitted some sections and paraphrased some others. Let me know if you want to read the unabridged version, and I will be happy to forward it to you.
Here it is.
“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 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. This proximity to such evil brought a physical reality to the textbook narratives of the horrors perpetrated by the Germans.
After a while, little things started to happen that over a period of time added up to something very sinister. For example, one time I was on a bus and a high school boy passed around [his] Grandpa’s red leather-bound copy of Mein Kampf to his friends who responded by saying ‘coooool!’ He then took out a VCR tape (produced in Switzerland) of The Great Speeches of Joseph Goebbels.
A few weeks later I was at a business meeting with four young highly educated Germans who were polite, charming and soft-spoken to say the least. When the subject matter changed to a business deal with a man in New York named Rubinstein, their nostrils flaired, their demeanor attained a threatening mien, and one of them actually said: ‘The problem with America is that the Jews have all the money.’ They started laughing and another one said, ‘Yeah, all the Jews care about is money.’
I soon found that this type of anti-Semitic reference in my professional dealings with Germans was not unusual. In my private meetings with Germans it often happened that they would loosen up after a while and reveal personal opinions and political leanings that were thought to have ceased to exist in a Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945. Maybe it’s because I have blond hair and my last name is of German origin that the Germans felt that I am, or could potentially be, ‘one of them.’ It showed how much they don’t understand what it means to be an American.
Whatever the reason, the conversations generally had one or more of these components:
(1) It was unfortunate that America and Germany fought each other in WWII because the real enemy was Russia.
(2) Yes, the Nazis were excessive, but terrible things happen during wars, And anyway, the scope of the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated by the American media, which is dominated by Jews.
(3) CNN is controlled by American Jews and is anti-Palestinian. (Yes, I know it sounds incredible, but even among the most highly intelligent Germans, even those with a near-native fluency in English, there is the widespread belief that the news network founded by Fidel Castro’s friend Ted Turner, who was married to ‘Hanoi Jane’ Fonda, is a hotbed of pro-Israeli propaganda.)
(4) Almost all Germans were opposed to the Third Reich and nobody in Germany knew anything about the murder of the Jews, but the Jews, themselves, were really responsible for the Holocaust.
(5) Ariel Sharon was worse than Hitler and the Israelis are Nazis. America supports Israel only because the Jews control the American government and media.
For the first time in my life, then, I became conscious of anti-Semitism.
Sure, anti-Semitism exists elsewhere in the world, but nowhere have the consequences been as devastating as in Germany. The Free Democratic Party openly caters to Germany‘s sizeable Muslim population, and German revisionist historians have begun to redefine Germany’s actions in WWII and the Holocaust not as crimes against humanity, but as early battles against communism (with regrettable but understandable ‘excesses’). The situation has deteriorated to the point that German Jews are often advised not to wear anything in public that would identify them as Jewish because their safety cannot be guaranteed.”
Grim said a lot more, but as I said at the outset, his unabridged piece was very long, and I tried to paraphrase and streamline it for you.
Some of you may have perceived a rise in anti-Semitism in the US in recent years. There have been many examples of this, which I have also detailed in previous blogs and feel no need to repeat now. Jews have always been welcome in the US, and it seems that, despite the occasional anti-Semitic incident, they are “safe” for the present time. But, remember they were welcomed and safe in places like Egypt, Poland and even Germany for hundreds of years, until, one day, they were not.
Which brings me to my final point. Israel, though not perfect, is the only guaranteed safe haven for Jews in the world. It is the US’s only true and enduring ally in the volatile, and often hostile, Middle East. It is very important that we continue to support it and support politicians who do so while rejecting those who don’t (and we all know who they are).