Some people should be spanked

On Friday Sweetie and I attended the second of a six part seminar on World War II…or as my dear friend Lenny would say “WW2, the big one, the one I was in.”

The program is taught by Rainer, a university professor who grew up in Germany.  Rainer’s relatives were in the war and served on the losing side.  One was a member of the Nazi party while another was an involuntary foot soldier.  A lot of family history to remember and regret.

It’s a tough subject for Rainer.  His mother won’t discuss the war.  Both by word and body language, Rainer is ashamed of what his countrymen did.  It’s painful to watch him pacing in front of the class, rubbing his face, listening to words catch in his throat.

There have been an onslaught of Holocaust movies of late.  The Reader, Defiance, The Counterfeiters, and Boy in the Striped Pajamas leap to mind.  The number of WW2 movies listed at Wikipedia goes on for pages.  The Holocaust has been a perennial favorite with book publishers.  There are 11,412 Holocaust books listed at Questia…and over 10,000 journal, magazine and newspaper articles.

What makes the subject so popular? First, it’s riveting.  You couldn’t invent it…no one would take you seriously…Holocaust deniers are proof of that.  For us Jews, The Holocaust is an essential part of our DNA.  The causes of The Holocaust go beyond anti-Semitism.  National pride, economics, expansionism, domination and the need for a scapegoat were all part of the Nazi formula.

But this isn’t a lesson on The Holocaust.  It is a lesson on the freedom of speech.  A right that was missing in Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Rainer began yesterday’s class by flashing an e-mail on the screen.  In short, the writer, probably a Jew, took exception to the existence of the class, the information presented and the belief that Rainer, of German heritage, could not possibly convey the horror of The Holocaust.  The writer implied that Rainer was probably minimizing the atrocity and the role of the Germans in the whole affair.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  However, the e-mailer had not attended the seminar.  It didn’t seem to matter.  It was enough that the subject was being taught by a German.  Guilt by association.  A convenient scapegoat.  He or she had lost sight of why there are so many books.  Why we must constantly repeat the lesson.

Lest we forget.


5 Responses to “Some people should be spanked”

  1. 1 Leo March 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Keep on Fredila.


  2. 2 Steven Rothenberg March 15, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    the name of the game is to be the same
    any deviation might cause some pain
    same set of rules from the school same set of values

    not taught to question the suggestion
    made from the same complexion
    i’m overqualified to speak
    having been labeled a freak

    OR :

    if you insist upon this bliss
    this perfect and priceless gift
    i don’t think i can resist
    this higher state of consciousness
    i will succumb to your kiss
    and be on my way…..

    to the bliss

    OR :



  3. 3 sissy March 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Steve:

    I thank you for your poem.
    Very moving
    Very articulate


  4. 4 Maureen (Other Maureen or Mo) March 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I think it would be really worthwile to hear from people in Germany at that time and understand what they knew, felt and how they dealt with it. There must be important lessons to be learned in how to prevent it happening again.

    Growing up after the war,in war torn or war worn England, we didn’t talk about what had happened either – and we were on the right side! Our parents didn’t burden us with war stories and it was not until much later in life, when Mary Susan and Edward came home on a visit, that I even heard about what had happened to my parent’s home and to friends nearby.

    Thats why we need the books, the movies and the stories to remind us of what was unspeakable to our parent’s generation.


  5. 5 Steven Rothenberg March 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    you’re very welcome, Auntie – and thank you. Dad provides good fodder (‘father…’) to comment upon.

    and how are you, Auntie ?



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