On a logical level I completely understand that Germany today is completely different from Germany in the 20th century. On a logical level I understand that Germans today are repentant and Germans also suffered under Hitler’s regime. But at the same time, Germans should not be completely absolved - they were the ones who elected Hitler.
However, to me, the Holocause wan’t so long ago. I grew up hearing about it, we were told the “war stories” at the dinner table and before we went to sleep. The Holocaust has always been part of my life. I know my grandparents’ stories, how they suffered, how their parents and grandparents were tortured and murdered. I think it is most likely impossible for me to feel anything positive towards a country that in the recent past organised the systematic killing of 6 million of my people.
I think the most important thing for me to recognise about myself and for you to realise about me is that while I can differentiate on a logical level, I cannot on an emotional level. To me, Germany will still always be the country who murdered my family and organised the genocide of my people.
Our Story in 2 minutes
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
- מינה בת יוסף - Mina the daughter of Joseph. She was killed in a concentration camp in France, although lived in Germany. She was my great-grandmother. My mother is named after her.
- שמואל בן גרשון - Samuel the son of Gershon. He was murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. He was married to Mina and lived in Germany. He loved music and was on his town’s council. He was my great-grandfather.
- פני - Fani. Prior to WW2 she lived in Germany. She was killed in Izbica, Poland. She was my great grandmother. My mother is named after her.
- יואל - Julius. He was Fani’s husband. He was on the “Lost Transport” who perished en route from Bergen-Belsen to Theresienstadt and were buried in mass graves in Troebitz, 04/1945. He was my great-grandfather. Julius was a decorated German soldier who served during World War 1. He was a tailor.
- ישראל - Israel. He and his family had lived in Krakow, Poland for hundreds of years before WW2. All of his children, survived the war. He was my great-grandfather and my brother is named after him.
- פריוה - Priva. She was Israel’s wife. My aunt is named after her.
The State of Israel was established in 1948. However, thousands of years before that, there was Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel.
In 70 CE, the Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel by the Romans. For the next 1878 years, control of Israel changed hands numerous times. Despite her tumultuous history„ there has been a constant Jewish presence in the Land of Israel since the times of Joshua.
Zionism exists because Israel remained the homeland of the Jews, despite their exile.
You’re correct, Zionism is the creation, development and protection of a Jewish State/homeland in the Land of Israel. Zionism was needed to re-establish a sovereign Jewish state in the Land of Israel, while the Jews were still exiled in the Diaspora.
Theodor Herzl met with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (who at the time, controlled the region in which the Land of Israel is found), in order to appeal for the creation of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. His quest was unsuccessful.
The region in which the Land of Israel is found is often called Palestine. This term became popular after the Roman conquest of the Land of Israel. The Romans renamed the area Palaestina
in order to minimise the Jewish connection of the Land of Israel.
Note: There is no connection between the ancient Philistines and those who call themselves Palestinians, today.
Please take the time to read the following links.
So, I see you like history.
I like history too!
Here’s some history!
Palestine has never existed. There has never been a state in that region, with the name Palestine.
Before the re-establishment of the State of Israel, the region was known as the British Mandate for Palestine. Before that, the region was part of the Ottoman Empire. I could go back thousands of years, but since all of this material is available if you would just “read a book”, I’ll give you the links.
On the other hand, there was a Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel in 1020 BCE under the Jewish monarch, King Saul. This was 200-300 years, AFTER the Israelites entered the Land of Israel.
While I don’t agree with everything that the Israeli government does, I do generally agree and support the Israeli Parliament of the day.
Although you believe Israel shouldn’t exist, there is an overwhelming amount of information that supports Israel’s existence. If you would like to “inform yourself about Palestine”, please take the time to read the following links provided.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the history lesson, and please, mind your language.
This reminds me of a true short story I once read.
It was September in the 1940’s in Germany. Two 18 year old Nazi soldiers were working; some sort of menial labour. They were digging, the sun was shining - their backs and brows sweating. One of the soldiers, a typical German blonde hair and blue eyed fellow, started to whistle a tune as he worked. The other Nazi soldier, also typically German looking, recognised the tune and started whispering the words.
The two Nazi soldiers stared at each other, and sang the words out loud simultaneously.
“Avinu Malkeinu! Our Father, our King!”
The two Nazi soldiers, were both Jewish teenagers. They had enlisted with the hope, that they’d be able to help their Jewish brethren, from the inside of the enemy’s forces.
That’s really funny! My great grandfather was actually born in a town on the German-Polish border. At the time, (late 19th century) it was considered part of Poland. Soon after, his family moved further into Germany and that’s where he spent most of his life.
From the other side (my father’s side), my ancestors lived in Krakow since the 16th Century. So, there’s quite a bit of Polish blood in my family.