We’re now 70 years since the greatest act of genocide in the history of the human race and there are, alas, Germans who seem to have learned nothing. Or, if they’ve learned any lessons, they’re largely the wrong ones. This post begins with a tweet I published concerning an alarming poll of Polish public opinion regarding attitudes toward Jews. The survey found anti-Semitism in anywhere from 65-80% of respondents, depending on the question. I tweeted mordantly that the nation responsible in part for the murder of 3.3-million of its fellow citizens seems to have learned nothing in the interim:
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) January 19, 2014
A German law student and Huffington Post blogger (!), Matthäus Piksa, took offense at my characterization of Polish attitudes toward Jews and claimed I was overstating the case. Piksa is not so much pro-Israel (though he is that), but rabidly Islamophobic. In fact, he told me that it’s far more dangerous for Germany to sell Saudi Arabia than to sell Dolphin nuclear-armed submarines to Israel. Ignorant pro-Israel tweeps like him are a dime a dozen so I didn’t pay him much mind until our most recent interchange reverted back to the Holocaust. He seemed to be claiming that his family were righteous because his great-uncle “worked and prayed” in a Polish hospital during World War II. Knowing the history of anti-Semitism among Polish Catholics I sardonically asked how many Jews he saved. This is where things really went off the rails for poor P. Here is his reply:
@richards1052 Thinking of Hannah Arendt, we all now there were Judenräte&betrayers helping the Nazis.Can u proove noone in your fam did so?
— Matthäus Piksa (@MPiksa) January 24, 2014
That’s right: because Hannah Arendt documented a history of Jewish collaboration with the Nazis, I should look to my own family history before criticizing his. There is only one small problem with Piksa’s deeply offensive tweet. Most of my known-family on both my mother’s and father’s side immigrated from Europe well before the Holocaust. My maternal grandmother did tell me about one of her brothers who came here and returned “home” shortly after, saying of America “dos iz a geneyvishe landt” (“a land of thieves”). While he was undoubtedly right, at least it wasn’t a land of murderers.
So in answer to this swinish ass, I said I only had one great-uncle remaining in Europe and he was likely incinerated in Auschwitz. The unmitigated gall! And to paraphrase Joseph Welch during the McCarthy hearings: “Have you no shame? At long last, have you no shame?”
Not to leave one foot firmly planted in his mouth, he decided to put the other in as well when he tweeted that I hate, not Israel, but the Jewish people. In classic Kahanist fashion, he also called me a “betrayer.” I told you he was ignorant–making a fatal mistake often made by classical Zionists and anti-Semites as well, conflating Israel and Judaism.
I would never make the mistake of conflating him with all Germans. I’m hoping there are others who find him as distasteful and offensive as I.