Intermarriage, Holocaust remembrance and the victory over Hitler
Yesterday I posted the Ynet-article about the extremist group „Lehava“ who currently runs „Jewish Girls – Don´t date Non-Jews“-campaigns in Israel.
Interestingly, many decent people told me in private that those issues should be silenced because I would do bad PR for Israel in these harsh times. The thing is just that as most Jews in the post-holocaust era, I have a good nose for Antisemitism, but additionally, as a German Jew I smell Nazism like a police dog smells particles of drugs.
And Nazism doesn´t start in the entrance door of Auschwitz, Nazism starts when someone like Hitler writes in 1923 about his anger of seeing blong German girls date Jewish men. It may be news to some people, but yes, „getting drunk“ and „being drunk“ are interrelated.
In the comments beneath the article some readers defended it by saying: Yes, this is important, because intermarriage is a silent holocaust. I am serious, that is what they said.
I once wrote a text about this, which I took back later due to bad timing, but I think here is the right place to publish it. But before I wanna put out one thing, to make clear that I am not like those people who made the „ad“:
Everyone is free to choose his/her partner according to preferred criteria, and if observant religion is your top priority, you might wanna look for a similar partner, that´s fine, or as we say: Find out what interests you and be as good as you can. But this is a highly confidential and personal decision. But if people make anti-Arab campaigns compareable 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. Us, 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 a 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 happend 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 tradtitions. 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 as 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 with a different wording: 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“ but be proud of it that we know what the next steps of human kind ought to be, even if this is too much for some Austrian dumbfuck 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 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 and for the widow and the orphan is a gift to the world of such beauty, that it 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 that we have to try everything in order to become a normal nation just like other people or as Ben Gurion said: There should also be Jewish prostitutes. But the only problem in this equation is that other 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 wants 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.