January 28, 2009

Family Gathering on Grandpa Rapist's Obit

The inimitable Henryk M. Broder has reacted to the decision of the Central Council of Jews in Germany not to attend the official Berlin ceremony marking International Holocaust Memorial Day due to organizers' failure to greet the survivors present in previous years. The Secretary-General of the Central Council, Stephan Kramer, a convertite and, to put it politely, intensely media conscious, said he had asked the parliament years ago for Holocaust survivors to be welcomed formally at the event. His request, he said, had been turned down as it went against the protocol of the parliament. Broder stated in an "open letter" to Kramer that, while the decision not to attend was right, the reasons were all wrong.
... I can understand the disappointment of our representatives who would have liked to be greeted personally and by name. If we are prepared to share "our" Holocaust with others, we want to sit now in the VIP-box and not somewhere at the end of the aisle.

However, it isn't "our" Holocaust. If it had been a parcel, our parents and grandparents could have refused to accept it. But that was an option they didn't have. Nowadays, it's different. "We" can say now: "Thank you very much, not with us. Do your own Holocaust among yourselves!"


If the offspring of the perpetrators want to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust is that an honourable thing to do. It speaks for "The Germans" that they have faced their history more boldly than any other people in Europe. However, they have more reason for it. "The Jews" have done their bit when it comes to the Holocaust. They may now sit back and relax and say: "It's your turn now. Go on, you do it."

That they don't do that, that they dance at any after-show-party, is a sign of lack of character. It is as if the children and grandchildren of a raped woman would meet with the children and grandchildren of the rapist at a family gathering on every anniversary of grandpa's death.

There is another good reason to refuse to go on such a memory-retreat. You mention yourself the growing antisemitism, which is apparent in a growing number of hate-mails to the Central Council. If that were the whole story, we wouldn't need to worry.

Worse is that they want to prevent retroactively the last Holocaust in Germany ("Resist the beginnings!" "Never again 1933!") without letting the possible next Holocaust on the horizon rain on their parade. No matter how clearly, unambiguously and unmistakably the Iranian president announced Israel's soon-to-come end, nobody in Germany takes his threats seriosly and dismisses them as political rhetoric for domestic use.
Translation mine!