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What 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."

Walter Lippmann. (1936), The Good Society

In 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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