This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Surfeit of German Penance

"Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital."
"This laughable policy of coming to terms with the past is crippling us."
"There were no German victims [e.g. Dresden firebombing by Allies] any more, only German perpetrators."
"[Any suggestion of criticism of the Holocaust memorial is] a malicious and deliberately denigratory interpretation of what I actually said."
"In my Dresden speech I wanted to ask how we Germans look at our history."
Björn Höcke, AfD state leader in Thuringia
Björn Höcke (centre) marches with AfD members in Raguhn (Getty)
"Everybody knows our historical burden. The never-ending shame, not a day on which the shame is not presented to us."
"[The Holocaust Memorial turned] the centre of the capital [Berlin] into concrete with a nightmare the size of a football pitch. Turning shame into monument."
Martin Walser, German author

"Anyone who views Auschwitz as 'our shame' is more interested in the image others have of us than in the image German citizen retrospectively form of themselves ... in order to be able to look each other in the face and show each other respect."
Jugen Habermas, 87, German philosopher

"The social climate has changed."
"Much of what was long considered to be accepted is now being questioned."
Peter Eisenman, Holocaust architect
Close to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is also found. It is a memorial that is a stele-field which can be approached      © Stiftung Denkmal

Germany is once again polarized between the left and the right. The social conservatives who want no more immigrants welcomed into Germany, and the social progressives who more or less are willing to continue inviting migrants and haven seekers to make their home away from persecution, oppression and conflict, in a free and democratic Germany. This is a Germany distinctly poles apart from how it had presented itself before mid-20th Century when the Third Reich came to power, a nationalist dictatorship of fascists.

Then, the target of hatred and dehumanization was anyone who was not pure Aryan; leaving Jews, Gypsies, Gays, the physically and mentally deficient, and political dissenters vulnerable to being rounded up and sent to concentration and work camps, with their final destination an early and brutal death. Nazi Germany's march toward totalitarian conquest of the free world cost the world that it occupied throughout its quest, millions of lives of Innocent children, men and women, young and old.

The current Germany, under Chancellor Angela Merkel, cannot take in too many migrants and refugees from the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa, as eager to sacrifice its culture, heritage, religion and social values to foreigners with their very own social structure and religious devotion, as they once were to reign supreme as supervolk, in the process slaughtering all those who failed to conform to the 'normalcy' of Aryan perfection.

At the same time, Germany is wearying of its admissions of guilt for imposing grievous harm on the world body, on helpless civilians, on dispossessing millions of human beings of their most basic human right; survival, while looting their possessions and destroying the hope that lives eternal in the beating hearts of the living. Berliners may have become accustomed to Germany's badge of shame in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe situated a block from the Brandenburg Gate, but they bear no pride as its host.

Germans, in a mass paroxysm of shame and penance, initially took pride in their fortitude in baring themselves to bearing such an ignominious cross that they bore, of guilt for a crime too horrendous to assimilate into one's consciousness. Now they seem to think they have suffered sufficient shame for the genocidal extermination they perpetrated. Germany's currently most revered philosopher believed in the Holocaust representing a unique event of huge significance that must be acknowledged into perpetuity.

At a post-war time of Germans hoping to put everything behind them, to 'forget' what they had wrought, Jugen Habermas stressed the need to own what they had perpetrated. And that as part of the process it would be necessary and fitting to ensure that all Germans be aware of their history of mass human extermination, that school curricula teach its reality and memorials be erected so that no German could ever evade that reality their nation had been capable of producing.

Many in the Alternative for Germany (AfD) anti-immigrant party gaining popularity under its head, Bjorn Uwe Hocke, go against that particular grain. And many members of the AfD state that Germany's "self-imposed low self-esteem" is not acceptable to them. "We are a succeeding generation that has never committed any crimes", they emphasize. "Everyone from other nations is proud of their country, why not us?" they rationalize.

And Peter Eisenman, the architect of the Holocuast memorial which presence engenders social bitterness in the hearts of those Germans who feel they have served sufficient penance for past sins, gravely stated his opinion that such a monument to the past could never find social consensus within Germany to build it at the present day. He expressed his view in an interview with Die Zeit that growing xenophobia and anti-Semitism now permeating the German body politic would never now allow such a public admission of guilt and shame.

Jewish Museum
JEwish Museum -- Photograph: Bitter and Bredt

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