Do The Young Jews Know ?
By David Truskoff
03 April, 2007
"Germans are the
most gifted and most highly educated people who ever devoted the full
strength of a modern state to stopping the exchange of ideas; they are
the most highly organized people who ever devoted all the coercive power
of government to the abolition of their own intellectual life; they
are the most learned people who ever pretended to believe that the premises
and the conclusion of all inquiry may be fixed by political fiat."
(1936), The Good Society
1939 my father, who always wanted his children to "fight through
the smog of propaganda and see the truth," took me to Union City
New Jersey, not far from our home, to witness German American Bund members
march through the streets, swastikas and all. I remember him shouting
swear words at them in Russian and English. We joined other members
of his trade-Union there. I was fifteen and confused. "Why?"
I kept asking him, "are they not Americans?"
"Because they are afraid
to be called un-German" was his answer. He explained that from
the early thirties The German Students' Association conducted a propaganda
campaign named "Against the Un-German Spirit" that led to
the idiotic book burning and masochistic destruction of wonderful German
culture that began to bloom again following the First World War.
Many first and second generation
German Americans were afraid to oppose Nazism for fear they would be
classified as" UN-German" and their life in the German communities
in which they lived would become unpleasant. .
A February 1939 rally was
held claiming that white gentiles were the "true American patriots
and German Americans who did not understand that Hitler was their leader
were Un-Germans." This Madison Square Garden rally drew a crowd
of 20,000 who consistently booed President Franklin D. Roosevelt and
chanted the Nazi salutation "Heil Hitler."
The German American Bund
closely cooperated with the "Christian Front" organized by
the anti-Semitic priest Father Charles Coughlin who spewed anti-Semitic
hatred from his radio pulpit.
Does it all sound familiar?
Perhaps Walter Lippmann could say the same thing about present day Israel.
Today in 2007 young Jews
know very little, if anything, about the campaign to make Young German
Americans afraid to be called UN-German and to make it unpleasant for
them in their own community. Even if they did, I doubt that it would
make any difference, for as Henry David Thoreau said, "Every generation
laughs at the old and follows religiously the new."
No, I am not Un-Jewish or
a Jewish self-hater, or anti-Semitic. I am opposed to the atrocities
perpetrated against the Palestinian people by out of control Zionism
and I stand with the peace makers in Israel.
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