May 14, 2012
Intermarriage, Holocaust remembrance and the victory over Hitler
Article taken from: http://www.jewdyssee.com
Everyone is free to choose his/her partner according to their own rules, and if observant religion is your top priority, you might wanna look for a similar partner, that´s fine. As we say: Find out what interests you and be as good as you can. But this is a highly confidential and personal decision. And if people make anti-Arab campaigns comparable to “Kauft nicht bei Juden”, it is a declaration of war against everything which is good about the Judaism I grew up with.
The creation of Israel, the Jewish State is a true miracle. So many utopias of the 19th and 20th centuries have failed, even the Soviet Union ceased to exist – only Israel, only Zionism managed to maintain this tiny state based on an idea. And world Jewry needed it. We, who were born after all the big wars, what do we know about being Jewish after the holocaust but before the Six-Day-War? After all, the viciousness of the Nazis was so beyond anything imaginable, so it is understandable that people have fears when being in countries with non-Jewish majorities. To me it is obvious that the lesson from history is that we need both a strong Jewish state and strong cosmopolitan Judaism worldwide. Ministers from Netanyahu´s coalition have described intermarriage in the diaspora as a „silent holocaust“. This is a very vicious way of holocaust denial. As if there is no difference between non-Jews trying to kill Jews, and non-Jews who are marrying Jews. So in official ads you hear slogans like „Intermarriage is Hitler´s victory“. Anyone who didn´t learn history from Groupthink motivations, but is willing to understand what actually happened between 1933 and 1945, knows that it is exactly the other way around. If Jews had remained in the Shtetl, orthodox and only among themselves, Hitler would have probably given them minor importance. He didn’t hate the Jew for keeping Jewish traditions. Don´t mix him up with the Greeks you know from Hanukkah. He hated them for entering and destroying his illusion of a racially pure Germanic tradition. He didn´t hate the Rebbe, he hated the cosmopolitan Jewish artists and activists, who gave young readers dreams about a better world, an international world, against the narrow-mindedness which Hitler thought to be the ideal. Hitler didn´t hate Jewish prayers as much as he hated articles like the one you are reading right now. And some Jewish leaders like Jabotinsky would have supported him in this, as also revisionist Zionism thought that the biggest problem of the Jewish nation is their prophetic dream of having the lamb sleep next to the wolf. Moral restraints were viewed as a sickness of the diaspora that rooted from political weakness. Hitler said the same thing with different words: The Jews have invented the conscience and moral guilt. Having the Likud Party, that comes from this revisionist Zionism, ruling in Israel, and me existing in Berlin, I guess you can tell what my answer would be to the question of who defeats Hitler more and who keeps his spirit alive not knowing the facts on the ground.
We need to free ourselves from the burden of defining our identity in a negative way. It cannot be that the only thing that keeps us together is that we were persecuted together. This seems like a strong answer, but it is a weakness as it is a self-impression based on the reactions of other people. Freedom, Jewish freedom, is what we gain when we make our agenda, because it comes from the innermost part of our hearts. And this needs to be defended against all threats from the outside as well as the inside. A people of 13 million with such a history and an amount of attention as if it were 500 million can only sustain if it has a special mission. If Hitler thinks that we invented morality we shouldn´t act like Jabotinsky who responds „Yes, you are right, sorry about that.“ Rather, we should be proud that we know what the next steps of humankind ought to be, even if this is too much for some Austrian idiot to understand. For this mission, we need our supreme ability to remember. Therefore we have to remember much darkness, such as the Holocaust. But the question remains, what do we do with the memories? Do we instrumentalize them or do we truly mourn? Every culture has something to offer to the world. The Hebrew prophets with their holy sermons against the oppressor but also for the widow and the orphan, is a gift to the world of such beauty—a world that should be a source of a self-conscious and humble pride. After seeing pogroms and mass murder it is understandable that some of us thought the solution is doing whatever it takes in order to become a normal nation just like other people. As Ben Gurion said: There should also be Jewish prostitutes.
But the only problem in this equation is that people don´t want to be LIKE other people. They simply are other people. So let our lesson from the Holocaust not be that we have to construct ourselves as separate from the world as Hitler and the Halachah want us to be. Let´s defeat Hitler by being proud of the fact that we stand for everything that he hated, and that we are still around, flourishing, with so many good people from NY to Berlin and Haifa to Eilat.