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August 31, 1962 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1962-08-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Christian Geissler, who was
born in Hamburg in 1928 and
studied in German universities,
served for 15 months in a Ger-
man anti-aircraft division dur-
ing the last world war. His fa-
ther was a Nazi, his Polish-born
mother was anti-fascist. He be-
gan writing in 1950, has edited
a book on the Hitler regime,
has written radio plays and now
is engaged in journalism in See-
feld, West Germany, where he
lives with his wife and three
children.
In his first novel, "The Sins
of the Fathers," published by
Random House, Geissler uncov-
ers the wounds that were left
upon him by the war and by the
Nazis. The book is as the title
indicates—an indictment of the
fathers for their Nazi sins.
In a preface, explaining the
"inquiry" — "Anfrage" — incor-
porated in this novel, Geissler
states that he had intended to
have the book inaugurate a de-
bate—and it has: some in the
Federal Republic have asked
that he be convicted for , treason,
while others are looking deeply
into their hearts for explana-
tions of what had happened.
And the author expresses the
hope "for the maintenance and
proper growth of a republican
spirit in West Germany."
Meanwhile his story—his "in-
quiry"—for the story is about a
search for the reactions of Ger-
mans to what had happened as
well as for the Jew who escaped
the persecutions — reveals too
many evidences of a perpetu-
ated Nazism.

*

*

*

It all revolves around a Ger-
man physicist, Klaus Kohler,
who seeks to establish the cir-
cumstances under which a Jew-
ish family died at the hands of
a Nazi and he carries on the
search for a surviving son of
the family.
While making the search he
meets another surviving mem-
ber of the family, an American
who displays a measure of
shame at being a Jew; he finds
the Nazi who persecuted the
family on the day on which the
survivor died of cancer after
being in hiding throughout the
post-war years under an as-
sumed name.
It is the attitude of the post-
Hitler Germans that emerges

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as the major revelation in the
book. They are mostly still en-
amored with Hitler. They re-
tain a loyalty for Nazism. It is
an appalling situation.
It is when he meets the
American Jew who does not
affirm his Jewishness too read-
ily that Kohler, when asked
why he, in turn, is ashamed of
being a German, declares:

"My father knew the Nu-
remberg Acts and made no
protest. Is that a good rea-
son?"

And in the -course of their
conversation, Kohler expresses
his wrath by stating:
"One must compose the little
long-overdue brochures: 'How I
became an SA man, and
Why I Am No Longer, but a
Cabinet Minister,' or 'How I
Became a Writer on Race
Hatred, and Why I Am No
Longer, but Secretary of State,'
or 'How I Became a Nazi Privy
Councilor, Though All the
While I Was Really a Roman
Catholic Bishop.' These instruc-
tive pamphlets must one day be
written. . . . When fathers re-
main silent, they are lying; if
the sons become dangerous,
they're susceptible to ideolo-
gies. Every shout of Heil is
fundamentally revenge against
deceitful fathers, protest against
fathers who deserted . .

Assisting in the search for
the Jewish survivor was that
family's gardener who at one
point, in the early days of the
persecution, pinned a yellow
star on himself as a mark of
sympathy with his Jewish
employer. Then he continued
the search, as an atonement.
He died in an accident while
conducting the search. This
gardener, Mollwitz is one of
the saintly characters who
disapproved of the murders.

ADL Official Will
Lecture to German
Military -Officers

AJC Leaders Fear
More Anti-Semitic
Violence in Argentina

NEW YORK, (JTA) — West
Germany's Minister of Defense
has invited an official of the
Anti-Defamation League of Bnai
Brith to lecture student officers
of the German armed forces on
American attitudes toward the
Hitler past and the German
military tradition.
Kurt J. Bachrach-Baker, the
League's director of foreign re-
search, is the first representa-
tive of an American-Jewish or-
ganization to address members
of the German armed forces.
Bachrach-Baker, who was born
in Germany and came to the
United States as a refugee soon
after the Nazis came to power,
will also discuss current prob-
lems of German-American un-
derstanding.
Among the schools at which
he will lecture are the West
German Naval Academy in
Flensburg-Murwik, the Army
Officers School in Hanover, the
Military School for Civic Guid-
ance in Coblenz, and the Air
Force Pilot Officers School in
Fuerstenfeldbruck.

WASHINGTON — A delega-
tion of American Jewish Con-
gress leaders, at a meeting with
State Department officials here,
warned that mounting political
turbulence in Argentina might
result in further outbreaks of
anti-Jewish violence there.
Phil Baum, director of the
American Jewish Congress com-
mission on international affairs,
told Assistant Secretary of
State Edwin M. Martin that the
stability of the present admin-
istration in Buenos Aires has
been further threatened by
wrangling among rival military
factions.
This has caused the kind of
general unrest among the Ar-
gentinian population that in
recent months has found its

David Nunez Cardozo, a Jew-
ish soldier who fought in the
American Revolution, fought
with Richard Lushington's com-
pany in South Carolina and
participated in the Battle of
Beaufort in 1779 with the rank
of sergeant-major.

Others, however, still spoke
of their Fuehrer, of Autobahn
he built, of Germans working
in Cairo, after the war, the
Hitler-way.
To a prosecutor and to
judges, in the final summary of
this story, the narrator declares,
"I am guilty," and asserts: "I
have a son. It is better for a
son to have a guilty father who
acknowledges his guilt than to
have a father who is not in full
possession of his faculties. . ."
The- judges return with a speedy
verdict to send the man to a
mental institution. The reader
of Geissler's novel must enter-
tain the hope that anyone who
exposes Nazism in this post-war
era will not be a candidate, by
the decision of. German courts,
for a mental institution. But it
is evident that more than the
average, as they emerge in "The
Sins of the Fathers," are op-
posed to exposes of Nazism.
Too many still "heil" the Fueh-
rer. Indeed, "The Sins of the
Fathers" is a piece of realism
about a perpetuated sin. Yet
hope will accompany the Chris-
tian writer of this drama that
there will be a proper growth
of republican spirit in West
Germany. Else the crime will
never be expiated. P. S.

Find Nazi in Charge
of Hungarian Jews

KIEL, (JTA)—A new contro-
versy about the Nazi pasts of
public officials in Schleswig-
Holstein blew up when it was
disclosed that a secret docu-
ment on nomination of mem-
bers of the Christian Demo-
cratic party for offices in the
land administration had been
signed by Otto Winkelmann, a
former high SS and police offi-
cer who was named in the trial
of Adolf Eichmann.
The disclosure was made by a
Social Democratic member of
the Schleswig - Holstein parlia-
ment. It was noted that in 1944,
Winkelmann was ordered by
Hitler to take charge of all SS
and police duties in connection
with the handling of Jews in
Hungary.

most convenient expression in
attacks upon the Jewish com-
munity, he said.

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9 - THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS — Friday, August 31, 1962

Geissler's 'Sins of the Fathers'
Shows Guilt of Neo-Nazi Germans

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