After Nazi-Germany’s attempt to wipe out its (and the world’s) Jewish population, today 118,000 Jews reside in Germany. Eight decades have passed since World War II and there are currently about 300 Jews wearing the German military uniform “ready to die” for their homeland. Some of them even come from families of Holocaust survivors.
How is it possible for Jews to join the German army after the military atrocities committed against Jews by the Nazis? The answers vary.
Some argue that this is the way to heal the wounds of history and others think that this is actually the way to clear prejudices since today there is a new Germany. But each assertion springs from a sense of self-righteousness, from a desire to show everyone that “Jews are not what people always thought they were.” It is a desire to be accepted and understood.
During World War I, about 100,000 German Jewish soldiers fought for their country. Before they were banned from serving in the army when Hitler came to power in 1933, they fought as hard as any Christian German to serve their homeland and did their best to show that they were loyal Germans. But did that help them when the Nazis, with their Aryan supremacy agenda, came to power? Why do they think it will be different today? How can they ignore that there is still rampant antisemitism throughout the country and right-wing extremists within the German military and police as authorities have uncovered in recent years?
Just as no one foresaw that only fifteen years after World War I Jews would be blamed for all of Germany’s troubles and their participation in the war would be presented as an act of betrayal against the country they fought and died in, today no one will salute them.
To understand where the phenomenon of Jewish self-denial comes from, one must understand who a Jew is and what his or her role is. Jews have an element that was imprinted in them in the time of our ancestor Abraham, which culminated with the acceptance of the Torah at the foot of Mount Sinai. This spiritual element connects the Jews to the power of nature; it is an element that does not exist in any other nation., Through this spiritual element the Jews can become a channel leading to abundance, light, and spiritual power for the whole world. That is what it is to be “a light to the nations.”
During the period of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were at the height of their glory and united in brotherly love that enlightened all of mankind. But as selfishness, the evil instinct, the negative force, grew and separated them, brotherhood and love were replaced by free hatred that sent the Jews to all corners of the world.
Since the destruction of the Temple, the Jews have failed to fulfill their role in humanity, and as a result of it, they evoke a sense of hatred known as antisemitism. In order to escape the hatred against them, they try to hide their Jewish identity wherever they live or attempt to blend in within the establishment, like those Jews who join the ranks of the German army, for example. In extreme cases, consciously or unconsciously, they become Jew-haters themselves.
In all ways, Jews are trying to free themselves from the role assigned to them by trying to uproot their spiritual origin. But this is impossible. The Jewish “gene” is in their essence. It is a spiritual root that is above nature, and it forces them to be Jews.
The only action the Jews have to perform today is to unite among them. That is the act that made them a nation to begin with; it is also the only act that has ever earned them respect and goodwill from other peoples and nations— it is the simple act of promoting the value of solidarity and cohesion from the Jews to the entire world.