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October 05, 1990 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-05

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Continued from Page 1

and fled the Nazis in 1938.
He attended public school
and studied in the after-
noons with a rabbi. Later, he
moved to Hamburg.
Mr. Greenbaum describes
the Germans as a
militaristic people. He fears
the new generation "doesn't
really know what the Holo-
caust is."
Mr. Greenbaum refused a
free ticket to visit his bir-
thplace because "I'd seen the
pictures of the camps lib-
erated by the British, and
after that, I knew I can't
possibly go back to Ger-
many." But another local
resident — Leo Liffman. of
Southfield — did return to
his native Germany, and his
concerns about the new ge-
neration there reflect those
of Mr. Greenbaum.
Born in Weisbaden, Mr.
Liffman returned to the
school he attended as a child
when he visited Germany in
1988. After hearing Mr. Lif-
fman speak on his experi-
ences in Nazi Germany, the
high school students in
Weisbaden asked him the
most basic questions about
World War II.
"The knowledge of what
happened during the Hitler
years was very, very slim,"
he said. "The students
wanted to know, 'What did
you do about the persecu-
tion?' and 'Why didn't you
leave the country?' They
didn't understand that
nobody wanted us."
Such ignorance, and Ger-
man anti-Semitism which
long preceded the rise of
Hitler, leaves Mr. Liffman
"I'm getting leery of the
whole German situation,"
he said.
"There's an appalling ig-
norance about the Holocaust
in East Germany, though
less so in the West," accor-
ding to Professor Bolkosky.
He said he fears the new ge-
neration of East Germans
has been raised on a steady
diet of World War II
statistics without any
understanding of the mean-
ing behind the facts.
East Germany, which sup-
ported the United Nations
resolution linking Zionism
with racism, has seen nu-
merous incidents of anti-
Semitism in recent years.
That figure is likely to in-
crease as East Germans
discover freedom of expres-
sion in the new democratic
Germany, Professor
Bolkosky said.
The reunification will be
positive for Israel because
Germany has been a consis-
tent champion of the Jewish
state, Professor Bolkosky

Sidney Bolkosky:
Behind every anaylsis of the new
Germany, "there's always Hitler."
said. A stronger Germany —
which is inevitable with the
reunification — means more
support and aid for Israel, he
"But will there be an in-
crease in anti-Semitism?
There's no question about it.
When you make people free,
some of the things that
should have been repressed
come out.
"There are going to be
some Germans who say, 'At
last we're one nation as we
should be, like we were in
the Reich,' and they're going

Speaking to high
school students at a
German high
school, Leo Liffman
was asked, "What
did you do about
the persecution?"
and "Why didn't
you leave the

to feel that Germany can
flex its muscles now, instead
of striving for real state uni-
ty," he said.
It will be impossible for the
nations of the world to con-
trol East Germany's rising
tide of anti-Semitism, Pro-
fessor Bolkosky said. "That
will be up to West Ger-
"I have great trepida-
tions" about a unified Ger-
many, added Henry Baum of
Southfield, who was born in
Cologne. He fears what will
happen if the country faces
economic difficulties, as it
did in pre-Nazi Germany,
and fascist elements there
become more outspoken.
"We keep saying that
things can never happen
again," Mr. Baum said. "But
Continued on Page 14

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