Can we bury the hatchet now? Stop blaming modern Germany for its terrible past? They elected a geriatric German Jew as mayor. Hell, Germany does more to fight anti-Semitism than we do. Holocaust denial is a crime, swastikas are outlawed. Even in the internet age, where stupid, dangerous ideas can spread regardless of what censors each country creates, they’ve kept these outdated laws.
Look, I’m to blame as much as the next guy. I love a good joke involving Jews and Germany. But I’ve come to recognize that these jokes are usually just lazy guilt-ridden jabs at a country much different than its predecessor. Not that they don’t have their place in comedy, but rather that they’re obtuse and arrogant in profile pieces.
The worst offender of this crime may be the NYTimes. In February they wrote a piece about Evan Kauffman, an American Jewish hockey player who went to play for Germany. Sounds like your typical fish-out-of-water story, until — OH WAIT — THE HOLOCAUST happened there. Cue obtuse background info:
He would recall feeling a tingle of excitement. He felt something else, too, emotions that crisscrossed like the laces of his skates. He was proud to wear the jersey but also solemn about what history had done to the name on the back. His great-grandfather starved to death by the Nazis. His great-grandmother herded to extermination on a train to Auschwitz. His grandfather shuttled between ghettos and concentration camps, surviving somehow, finding a displaced sister after the war, pushing her from a hospital in a wheelbarrow after her lower left leg was amputated because of frostbite.
That’s cool…I guess? 28 year old Kauffman is just trying to play a sport he loves. And sure, there is atrocious history behind it. But did they need to get so graphic. Or is it easier for people to just whine about how Europe is sooo much more anti-Semitic than the rest of the world, how all the Jews need to leave France before they revert to 1942 Vichy pussies.
“From an achievement standpoint, it was amazing to represent the country. But it was pretty insane to think about what my grandpa had to survive to allow me to be where I am today and how it’s come a long way from then to now.” // NYTIMES
I guess my point is this: Germany and myself would appreciate it if you didn’t bring up the Holocaust EVERY time Germany is uttered. Maybe like 1 out of every 2 times? Is that fair?
We still get to keep the banks though. Sorry.