Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Two passages by the same author
On the other hand, my own expected happy homecoming into German society wasn't necessarily working out as planned. One of the teachers at the Gymnasium told me that Heinrich Heine wasn't really a "German" poet, but rather was a "European" poet. My absurdly well-meaning and wonderful hostfather regularly repeated that "Deutschland ist kein Einwanderungsland" (which is, as Schneider points out, a common theme among Germans of a certain generation). Whenever I told people I was of German descent, they would argue with me -- then upon discovering that I was Jewish, would say "Oh, so you're not German, you're Jewish" (strangely, I never heard anyone say to someone, upon discovering that they were Christian, "Oh, so you're not German, you're Christian"). Among my German friends, there was a pervasive sense of the strangeness of other cultures, which alternately manifested itself as either irrational disdain or irrational admiration. There was certainly a very vivid sense, among even the best intentioned of my German friends of non-Turkish descent, that (like me) the Germans of Turkish descent were not German (there was also a kind of befuddlement about what it meant to live in a genuinely multicultural society. I remember my hostfather saying that Germans and Jews will not be reconciled until he could shake his fist at a bad Jewish driver who had cut him off in traffic, and yell "You dirty Jew!"). 
I still identify as an American of German descent, and I have a number of strong emotional ties to my father's homeland (and indeed, returned for a year of college). There are a great many things I admire about current German society, from their remarkable acceptance of the sins of their forebearers to their social welfare system. But in the end, I probably couldn't live there. The fact that most Germans would view a blond person from Pennsylvania whose great-grandparents were German as more German than me would be a perpetual annoyance. The fact that most Germans still can't really think of the German Jewish population of the past as genuinely German makes me pessimistic about their ability to eventually accept Germans of Turkish descent as genuinely German.
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I have returned to my father’s homeland many times, sometimes for years. I have absorbed its language, literature, and philosophy, and experienced the love of Germany that my father’s family never lost. I am able to do so even knowing that I have close friends whose grandparents not only participated in the murder of my people, but feel no remorse whatsoever about it. I love Germany, despite having been told by older Germans that what the Jews did to Germany after World War II is far worse than what Germany ever did to Jews. I have broken bread with former Nazis, and have close friends who were raised steeped in anti-Semitism, and have shaken off those shackles.'
I've commented before on Stanley's focus or fixation on religion being a defining factor for Jews rather than ethnicity. It's more evident in the second piece if not from the quote above. He hopes for a future in Israel where Judaism will be part of the state no more than "Anglicanism in England or Catholicism in Spain". But Israel was founded by secularists, many of whom weren't happy when Ben-Gurion granted civil powers to religious authorities.

I'm posting the passages above because they show a sad, confused, perverse relation to the past.

Jason and Marcus Stanley on this page
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In the introduction of How Propaganda Works  Stanley refers to Victor Klemperer as "a German citizen of the Jewish faith". Klemperer converted to Protestantism in 1912.

See also Amos Schocken and Sara Lipton. I remember reading a quote from Deborah Lipstadt saying that victims of the Holocaust looked just like their neighbors.  True for some.
Lipstadt, on Trump

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