1/29/08

Times: Germans Atoning for Nazi Crimes With Exhibits and Monuments

Amazing. This article spins in a dizzying fashion. The Germans are special because they have the ability to memorialize their own evil.

Spin away. I will continue to believe that the "defective" nation in WWII was the one that perpetrated the Holocaust. There never was anything wrong with the Jewish people. But there was a deep and abiding sickness of evil in the German people.

A few exhibits and monuments don't assuage the guilt of that fact of history, that dark and abiding blot on humanity.

Rabbi William Wolff attends a commemoration of Holocaust victims in the German parliament in Berlin on Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. Miguel Villagran/Associated Press.
Memo From Berlin
Germany Confronts Holocaust Legacy Anew
By NICHOLAS KULISH

BERLIN — Most countries celebrate the best in their pasts. Germany unrelentingly promotes its worst.

The enormous Holocaust memorial that dominates a chunk of central Berlin was completed only after years of debate. But the building of monuments to the Nazi disgrace continues unabated.

On Monday, Germany’s minister of culture, Bernd Neumann, announced that construction could begin in Berlin on two monuments: one near the Reichstag, to the murdered Gypsies, known here as the Sinti and the Roma; and another not far from the Brandenburg Gate, to gays and lesbians killed in the Holocaust.

In November Germany broke ground on the long-delayed Topography of Terror center at the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. And in October, a huge new exhibition opened at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. At the Dachau camp, outside Munich, a new visitor center is set to open this summer. The city of Erfurt is planning a museum dedicated to the crematoriums. There are currently two exhibitions about the role of the German railways in delivering millions to their deaths.

Wednesday is the 75th anniversary of the day Hitler and the Nazi Party took power in Germany, and the occasion has prompted a new round of soul-searching.

“Where in the world has one ever seen a nation that erects memorials to immortalize its own shame?” asked Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, at an event in Erfurt on Friday commemorating the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz. “Only the Germans had the bravery and the humility.”...

1 comment:

International Observer said...

Dear Tzvee,

If a country dwells on the negative instead of positive, aspects of its history, can it unintentionally perpetuate that negativity? That seems like a rule for individuals, perhaps it operates on a nation level? Perhaps for any nation.

A person who has abused but no longer abuses and apologizes or asks for forgiveness can't be said to necessarily be dwelling on the past. Forgiveness is a sign or plea for moving beyond the past.

If the Germans make a memorial dedicated to those it wronged, I could imagine this being a sign of asking for forgiveness. Your point is that such memorials don't assuage the evil that they committed; in other words they are not forgiven. Perhaps this is part of the reason why German continues to be obsessed with signs for forgiveness.