Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Germans: "Umm.... the Nazis are gone."

posted by Jazz at 1/23/2005 10:17:00 AM

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I'll preface this post by saying that I know I'll catch a lot of flack for it. Nonetheless, we shall push onward.

This morning's subject is the following article from the Times of London, titled "Germans 'sick of Nazi reminders' ".
MOST Germans would prefer to forget the Holocaust and are tired of hearing about Nazi crimes during the Third Reich, according to a poll released just before the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, writes Justin Sparks.

Some 62% of the 3,000 people questioned by researchers from the University of Bielefeld agreed they were ?sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews?.



Most said they wished to consign their country?s Nazi past to the history books. Well over half also thought there were too many foreigners living in Germany.

With some very important caveats, I have to say that I can agree with some of the sentiments being expressed here. The anniversary in question is the 60th one since the liberation of the hell hole of Auschwitz. (That's sixty years, for you red state Bush voters.) Even assuming that some of the youngest of the Nazis running the camps are under discussion, they are nearing or well past their eighties by now. There is a dedicated group of people who have been relentlessly hunting them down across the globe for as long as I can remember. If there are any left, by all means, let's find them, hang them up by their tender bits and set them afire. I have no problem with that.

However, modern Germany is filled up with a couple generations of people who weren't even alive at the time of the holocaust. Just for the record... no. I am not one of those historical revisionists who seeks to downplay the holocaust or say it never happened. It did, it was horrific beyond description, and it's vitally important that we ensure it never happens again. However I can relate to the feelings which some younger Germans might have about this. I get a sense of there being a general sentiment of, "Yes.. yes. We get it. We know it happened here. No, we don't want to ever see it happen again. But we're not Nazis. We're just regular people trying to find a damned job, and we don't really feel that we need to stand up every year on this date and keep apologizing for something that happened then."

You wouldn't have to search very far in the United States to find white people who are completely on board about ensuring equal rights for everyone in the country, regardless of race, but don't care to be continually reminded about slavery. Ditto for people who are very concerned about ensuring that Native Americans remain free and empowered on their own lands, but don't want to take the rap for the genocide committed on the Indians over a 300 year period.

It's important to observe and learn from the past, and to mourn for the victims and honor their memory. By the same token, I think it's equally important to be careful not to look down our noses at the citizens of Germany in the modern day with the muffled comments of "damn Nazis" etc. coming under our breath.

This same article brought up another sentiment in Germany which the poll uncovered.
The poll also highlights anti-Israeli feeling in Germany. More than two-thirds said they believed that Israel was waging ?a war of extermination? against the Palestinians.
I've made my feelings on the Middle East situation clear here in the past. I'm frankly sick of the United States being involved. But on this score I must, at least in part, agree with the poll results. I think that BOTH the Palestinians and the people of Israel are, in some ways, trying to wage a war of extermination on each other. Frankly, I don't see any sweeping signs which indicate that either side is interested in a stable, lasting peace and a secure set of borders so they can both have nations of their own living side by side in harmony.

I want to see the United States out of Iraq right now, and quite frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing us entirely out of the whole area, including Israel. We've got plenty of problems to deal with right here.