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December 15, 1989 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-15

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

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38

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1989

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Falling German Walls
Raise Israelis' Fears

Special to The Jewish News

CHANUKAH
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Tel Aviv auto mechanics who lost relatives in the Holocaust discuss East
German headline.

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hile most people
in other countries
greeted the demise
of the Berlin Wall with enor-
mous enthusiasm, most
Israelis were far from en-
thusiastic — indeed, they
were fearful.
Even today, nearly 45 years
after the collapse of the Third
Reich, the thought of a strong,
united Fourth Reich unnerves
the survivors of the
Holocaust, their children and
their children's children.
This probably doesn't make
much sense in view of the fact
that anti-Semitism in con-
temporary Germany is less
pervasive than it is in most
other Western nations. But
memories of Auschwitz re-
main strong in Israel. So
when Israelis watching a TV
newscast see members of the
West German Bundestag, in
jubilant response to events in
Berlin, singing "Duetschland
Duetschland Uber Alles" —
The stridently chauvinistic
German national anthem —
it is no wonder that shivers
run up and down their spines.
Musical symbolism doesn't
begin or end with that par-
ticular song. An editorial
recently carried by Ma'ariv,
an influential Tel Aviv daily,
expressed the fear that "the
freedom songs now being
sung at the Brandenburg
Gate may eventually be
replaced by the nationalistic
marches of another era.
"The quick reunification of
Germany advocated by some
people," the newspaper goes
on, "might prompt the Ger-
man people to once again

delude themselves into
believing — for the third time
in less than a century — that
world domination is within
their reach."
An editorial in Yediot
Aharonot, the most widely
circulated Israeli daily,
similarly warns -against the
dangers inherent "in the
rebirth of a large and strong
Germany in the heart of
Europe."
The paper concludes by
demanding that Jewish and
Israeli spokesmen openly ex-
press their opposition to Ger-
man reunification.
This country's leaders —
like Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir and Deputy Prime
Minister Shimon Peres —
have been very circumspect
when asked to comment on
the dramatic events in Berlin.
But people unburdened by
the diplomatic restraints of
public office, among them
highly respected author
Aharon Applefeld, have
spoken more openly. Apple-
feld, whose books deal almost
exclusively with the
Holocaust, said that his joy at
the collapse of the Berlin Wall
was tempered by his fear that
"a terrible German colossus
might rise again in Central
Europe."
When it was pointed out to
him that there have been
great changes in both East
and West Germany, Applefeld
expressed his doubts on that
score. "How can we be sure
that the German people have
profoundly changed?
"Indeed," he added, "how
can we be sure that the men-
tality of any people can
change?"
While it may be difficult to

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