A talk with young German pseudo-Nazis

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A talk with young German pseudo-Nazis

The young Germans engaged in discussion with the Jewish author of this article are people my age and younger. While I am no expert on German people or culture, I did spend several years in Germany in the 80's when I was in the U.S. Army. I can tell you that we weren't really the most loved people on the planet to the German back then. I was engaged in more than one physical altercation because I was an American breathing a German's air, but I always figured it was because some of my fellow Americans were not trying to be gracious guests. Still, even accounting for this, they seemed different. Sometimes they will say things after a few drinks that will leave you wondering, too. The author got a real awakening.

It seems that this author might be illuminating the reason:

... Quote:
In in his controversial tome, "Hitler's Willing Executioners", the author, Daniel Goldhagen, posits that the Germans underwent a miraculous transformation in the wake of their devastating defeat in World war II. En masse, they have abandoned their centuries-old rabid, virulent, and ultimately lethal brand of anti-Semitism and anti-Slavism and became docile, altruistic citizens of the New World Order. This unlikely scenario sounds too good to be true because it is far from the truth.

In the last 4 years (starting in late 2003), I have had multiple opportunities to collaborate or hold lengthy conversations with dozens of young German scholars, intellectuals, artists, and budding politicians from across the political and ideological spectrum. As alcohol and mutual acquaintance put them at ease, they all, with one or two exceptions, reverted to shocking form.

Granted, this is far from a representative and statistically-significant sample. It may well mislead me and my readers into stereotypical generalizations. All the same, what these educated Germans in their thirties and forties had to say was both telling and ominous.

All my interlocutors paid lip service by strongly and unequivocally decrying the errant generations of the 1930s and 1940s. Yet, the subtle twist was that they criticized their predecessors for having failed to subjugate Europe, not for having embarked on this inane project in the first place. They also found the Nazi methods employed in the pursuit of Deutschland uber Alles distasteful and vulgar, though not always reprehensible.

Three years ago (in 2004), I dined at length with young political activists and thank tank scholars from a renowned right-of-center foundation (Stifftung). They were well-aware that I am an Israeli and a Jew. The exchange was so disconcerting that moments after we have dispersed, I committed it to paper from still fresh memory. It is typical of conversations I have had also with German left-of-center and centrist intellectuals and professionals.

The conversation this author had is really not at all mind-bending. Not to those who have had similar conversations at the bars, discos and gasthousens. Still, for those who haven't heard such things, be prepared to disbelieve this article. Disbelieve it or not, read it.

... Quote:
"Hitler was not worse than other leaders of his period, like Stalin or Mussolini."

Again I disagreed:

"You cannot compare Hitler and Stalin to any other leader in history, before or after. They were sui generis. Their paranoia-fuelled butchery was a first and hitherto a lonely case in the annals of Mankind. The question that the world is grappling with ever since is how come a nominally civilized nation like Germany gave rise to Hitler, this grotesque apparition, and then proceeded to sacrifice itself to realize his morbid and sick nightmares."

The only woman in our group, a translator, observed resentfully:

"Germans were as much victims of Hitler as the Jews. They, too, were exterminated by a murderous regime."

"The word 'exterminated' is a euphemism for murdered or killed." - I explained to my wife - "Germans cloak reality behind a veil of disorienting and distorting language. The monetary compensation they have paid to the victims of the Holocaust, the greatest sadistic mass murder in history, they call 'Gutwiedermachung', 'making it all well again, restoring'."

I turned to the fuming feminine component of the long-forgotten dinner:

"Germans were not murdered merely because they were Germans. Germans got killed because they elected a deranged idiot to office and then declared war on the rest of the world with the express intention of assassinating tens of millions of people, whole nations, in effect - which they almost succeeded to do in the case of the Jews. You were no more victims than Hitler himself."

"Outrageous!" - Hissed my counterparty - "Not all Germans were Nazis, you know! Hitler took over Germany by force and violence! The Germans didn't want the war, Hitler forced it on them!"

"It sure doesn't look like it in the newsreels that I have seen."

"Propaganda!" - The political advisor pooh-poohed my observation - "What did you expect from this gang of criminals - objective new coverage? The Germans of my grandfather's generation were caught in a trap and couldn't extricate themselves without risking their lives and property. The SS committed atrocities, but the SS was a minuscule portion of the population and was composed of good-for-nothings and ex-convicts. The Wehrmacht fought honorably. Germans suffered greatly during the war. The Allies bombed our cities indiscriminately with the express intent of causing as many civilian casualties as possible, you know. But this kind of misbehavior is not considered a war crime because it was perpetrated against Germans."

"They must have been imitating the honorable Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe which carpet-bombed Warsaw, Belgrade, and hundreds of other cities in Europe."

Moments of uneasy silence lingered and I ordered the bill.

"It's on me." - Insisted the politician - "Let me defray some of the damage we, Germans, have inflicted upon you in Auschwitz." - He grinned

"Since we are into stereotypes, please don't pay, it would be so un-Jewish of you!" - Contributed the translator.

They all burst into howls of convulsive laughter.

Read the full story here:

I know that some will say that this is not possible, that the Germans have been made to see the error of their ways. Ok. Sure.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 4-12-2007

Hmm ....

Must be a political based sub group.

All the Germans I have ever talked to about it are totally sick of the topic of WW2 and what they see as the obsession of other western nations over it.

One German living in my country said she had never heard so much about the war until she moved here, and that the guilt she personally was always expected to have over the actions of her people was unfair.

I can see her point of view, neo nazis are in every society, of course they are perceived to be more dangerous in Germany than elsewhere, but there are just as many articles on the net about Germans rising up and silencing them.

My extensive experience of German society is that their education system and social structures have bent over backwards to rebuild their society in a way that the horrors of the past are not repeated.

Their people are some of the most outspoken and assertive I have ever seen in defending peoples rights. The massive protests over the Gulf war's showed they have keen social conscious, even if its somewhat misguided. What other country had the churches full of people praying it would stop, and massive street protests and petitions?

I was there during the World Cup last year, and a friend said it was the first time in his life he felt he was proud to be German, and that it was the first time he felt it was OK to feel nationalistic. The sort of feelings that other nations populations take for granted. His son carried the German flag to school after the match in a rare display of pride.

I think you can write a one sided article like that with any people group.

For example white supremacists in American South, it doesn't follow that the general population hold the same beliefs, or that they see those beliefs as anything more than abhorrent.
By netchicken: posted on 5-12-2007

Ever spent much time in the American south? I live in the American south, was reared here. I only spent a total of about five years in Germany, but met more Germans of this mentality than white supremacists in the South.

The Arabs were staunch allies to Hitler, Iraq was the side against the U.S. and its allies (countries that opposed Hitler in WWII). Yes, they are against the Iraqi war. When I was there in the eighties, there to insure they didn't have to take a crash course in Russian in order to know what their new masters wanted of them on a day to day basis, they weren't too happy with us. They protested our bases and depots and, as I stated earlier, they preferred to pick fights with me rather than stand with me against the Soviet threat.

Right Wing mentality and Nazism is on the rise in Germany, too. There and in other parts of Europe. So is, as one might expect, desecrations of Jewish cemetaries and synagogues that aren't guarded.

Just one of the many problems Europe is facing.

BTW, while white supremacy is virtually a historical footnote in the South, the movement has relocated to the West and Northwest. Seems there is no dumbass vaccine.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 5-12-2007

Well it is true that right wing nationalism is on the rise in East Germany and other Eastern parts of Europe especially old Warsaw pact members and Russia. I think from the Germans I have interacted with that in Germany today, especially in Bavaria and West German parts there is little right wing attitude, compared to other parts.

Even in NY there are a lot of Germans who come to my university and from the conversations I've had with them, they are actually resentful. Resentful of having to carry the blame of their forefathers. Resentful that the Jews still wont let the Holocaust be forgotten, resentful that their politicians have made them into a self hating nation of apologists. Thats why, even today if you cant really say things like "Deutschland uber alles" and other things which though they may be patriotic towards germany but because they were used during the Nazi days they are completely shunned. Even displaying the german flag could get you into trouble in germany for it could be seen as nationalism. From the people I've spoken too, want to go to a stage where they can live as Germans without carrying the weight of the past on their shoulders. Quite a few even dont even want to discuss it because it makes them uncomfortable to discuss those things. A lot of the conversation is actually pretty true to the germans today, they feel that along with the rest of Europe they have been made to suffer as well by Hitler and the Nazi party. They have to carry the legacy, plus they had to suffer the ravages of war, foreign control etc. Their history is also pretty wierd in their schools. They have german history all the way uptil the Weimar republic and then a blank for a decade or so with sketchy details of Hitler and Nazism. Then the post World War rebuilding efforts. Communism etc.

They have no problems with race so much as problems with being labled. And Israelis tend to be quick to judge germans especially. If they speak german they will quickly label them "nazi" in their heads. Sad state of affairs actually, all around.
By IAF: posted on 5-12-2007

No problems with race?!?

LOL! They must have really changed since when I was in the middle of them! Sure, they weren't as blatant as how many stereotype the Southeast still today, but they were very arrogant and condecending with regard to other races. As the author pointed out, their words to the contrary seemed canned, and they clearly knew what would get them in trouble with the law. Although, I did have a beer with one old man who was -SS- during WWII.

If you want my opinion, and even if you don't, I don't think it is very healthy to attempt to alter ideology by law. I think it only supresses thoughts and emotions and gives allowance for the criminalized words and thoughts to become a cult dream.

I think the Jews have a very good reason to not trust or judge the Germans. For starters, they have approximately six million very good reasons. Survivors of the concentration camps are still alive, though not many, of course. While it might not seem as though the horror inflicted upon the Jews is a part of today's world to you, it is to them. And, there is a reason that police protection is required at the synagogues; the Jews are not loved. Vandalism and graffiti isn't committed by Japanese people sneaking into and then back out of the country, you know!
I also don't think that the Jews are quick to forget that, while not all Germans were Nazis, most all of them sat back and did nothing to prevent the decimation of the Jewish population. Everyone from the factory worker to the private in the army was German. They were all part of the machine.

They'd better not forget the England, another place where antisemtism is on the rise, blocked the immigration of the Jews from Germany, and, America knew the Jews were being slaughtered but didn't breal its neck to save them, either.
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 6-12-2007

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