Monday, February 4, 2008

Comparative history

This is the first in a 5-part blog entry at Blog Around the Clock by the blogger's mom, who was a Jewish child in eastern Europe during the Holocaust. She describes deprivation, fear, loss of parents.

I read this only a few days after finishing Stones in the River by Ursula Hegi. This novel is about a German citizen's view of the Nazi period, about deprivation, fear and loss. The main character is a sympathetic one, a dwarf or Zwerg in German, and thus, an outsider or object of Nazi disdain. She and her father hid Jewish friends and strangers. I have usually found myself, as a Jew, unsympathetic toward the German people of this time but this book forced me to look at some of them differently.

I was struck by the willingness of even the good guys to accommodate to the early Nazi restrictions on their freedom and it made me think about how we are accommodating the imfringement on our own freedoms as Americans now. Don't get me wrong. I know the most fascist members of our current government pale in comparison to the Nazis BUT the rhetoric of today is so reminiscent of the early rhetoric of the Nazis.

The good Germans came to regret letting their freedoms lapse, wishing they had stood up to the local bullies. I hope someday we do not feel the same way. I heard some commentator on the radio over the weekend say that the good thing about democracy is that the people get to change their minds after 4 or 8 years. I think it is time for a mind change. WAIT! I didn't use the c-word, did I? Noooooo. Mind, uh, uh, permutation. PRM

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