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March 30, 1990 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-30

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

OPINION

CONTENTS

A Jewish Perspective
On A United Germany

MARVIN $CH1NDLER
ROSLYN SCHINDLER

I

t is hardly possible for
Jews to view the ap-
proaching unification of
Germany with equanimity.
And the Jewish response can
all too easily be an
overreaction.
But the extraordinary pace
alone of the movement
towards union, borne at least
in part by the wave of na-
tionalism that has swept
Eastern Europe in recent
months and, if not out of con-
trol, seemingly almost beyond
the effective control of the
main protagonists
themselves,
must
be
unsettling.
The mixed feelings of many
are reflected by those of Elie
Wiesel, expressed in an arti-

The fears of the
past and the
hopes of the future
are clashing.

cle for Die Zeit last December.
Wiesel tells of the happiness
he felt for the thousands of
young East and West
Berliners celebrating their
freedom as the Berlin wall
came down. "Wherever and
whenever freedom is vic-
torious, people everywhere in
the world ought to be happy."
But then his feelings are
displaced by political con-
siderations, by the possibility
of a union of the ,two Ger-
manys and what might follow.
As long as the "old genera-
tion" is still alive, he insists,
one must be on one's guard.
Wiesel sees a trend towards
"normalization" of political
consciousness and of history
and asks whether this trend,
if it continues unhindered,
will not lead to the natural
desire to close that chapter of
the past that contains the
story of the Holocaust: "That
past has already been struck
a blow: Nov. 9, so the mayor
of West Berlin announced,
will go down in history, and
all around the world this
declaration was repeated.
"In the process it is being

Marvin Schindler is professor
of German and director of the
Junior Year in Germany
Program at Wayne State
University. Roslyn Schindler
is associate professor of
humanities and interim
director of the University
Studies/Weekend College
program at WSU.

forgotten that Nov. 9 already
has its place in history: On
this day 51 years ago the
Reichskristallnacht took
place."
No one, he claims, neither
in Berlin nor in the United
States, has drawn the connec-
tion between the two anniver-
saries. What will one forget
next? What, he asks, should
one feel when he hears the
"old-new" national anthem
"Deutschland, Deutschland,
ueber alles"?
For some Jews the response
to the question "Why now?",
why such fears and anxieties
surface at this particular mo-
ment and event in history, is
in fact an extension of the
question "Why still?" For
them, more than forty years
of official government good
will and attempts at recon-
ciliation, of reparations
payments to survivors of the
Holocaust, of unswerving pro-
gress as a democracy are not
enough.
The changes in attitude of
the German people are only
skin deep, and, presented
with their first opportunity to
regain enormous power in a
union spawned by national-
istic fervor, the Germans will
sell out and revert to their
former ways.
If the German people's first
crime was Nazism itself, their
second, according to Ralp
Giordano in his book Die
zweite schuld, was the sup-
pression of repression of its
reality, the refusal by the
generation that came out of
World War II to acknowledge,
to confront, to discuss the
Third Reich and the
Holocaust and their own roles
in them.
Guenter Grass, in a com-
manding article appearing in
Die Zeit on March 2, com-
ments with caustic wit on the
West Germany of the 1950s,
where it was difficult to find
anyone who had supported by
deeds or words the goals and
actions of the Third Reich:
"Some had known nothing,
had suspected nothing, and
acted now like children seduc-
ed by demons, while the
others had always been
against [the regime], if not
loudly enough to be heard, at
least in secret."
But generations change,
and the times with them, and
no one who has spent any
length of time living in West
Germany in recent years can
claim honestly that these are
matters which are not
discussed openly or are sub-
Continued on Page 10

DETROIT

15

Perfect Hosts

RICHARD PEARL

Detroiters are planning
for instant family in August.

CLOSE-UP

Changing Tides
For Miami Beach

ELLEN BERNSTEIN

A long chapter is closing
for "Little Jerusalem"

42

BUSINESS

Success At Sunrise

MELANIE KOFF
A Soviet immigrant
champions capitalism.

BOOKS

The Encyclopedia
Of David Grossman

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM
An author is in love
with the written word.

center

Passover and Soviet Jewry
is our family section topic.

ENTERTAINMENT

69 Broadway Bound?

STEVE HARTZ

Jared Hoffert's horizon
is beyond the college stage.

FOCUS

Rappin' Jewish

SUSAN GRANT
"Dr. D." puts NCSY
over the airwaves.

DEPARTMENTS

31
39
51
52
58
80

Inside Washington
Insight
Community
Synagogues
Sports
Fine Arts

82
97
103
104
107
132

Cooking
Engagements
Single Life
Births
Classified ads
Obituaries

CANDLELIGHTING

95

Friday, March 30, 1990
6:38 p.m.
Sabbath ends March 31 7:32 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

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