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What would have been your answer?
November 30, 1999
12:35 pm
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eve
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Dear all,
I had an encounter over a decade ago and I still wonder and sometimes worry about it.
I was together with another girl out for holydays in Spain, after we finished high school. We met a boy, and mainly tried to get rid of him after some average teenage exchange of platitudes and some funny things with the language problems. This guy must have been from one of the muslim north african states and propably was there as an immigrant or seasonal worker. He was trying not to let us go, by saying that we were pretty and so on, but when he saw we were being serious about leaving, he tried to convince us to stay with him by saying: But you are German, and Germans are so cool, because of what they did to the jews. Jeah, the nazis, that is why you need to spend this evening with me, we must be friends. And he was really meaning it, he didn't notice that we would be shocked by his statement, so he did not say it to make us angry. What we did: we told him that's the most stupid thing we ever heard and he should leave us alone, then we went away.

It was much later that I really got upset about how heinous this statement was. He not only said what he thinks about nazi Germany- that wouzld have been bad enough. He implied without asking, that we would / must think so, too, because we are German. And worst, he seemed to believe that this could really be something to base a friendship on.

Does anybody out there know, what an appropriate answer could have been - or is there none? Eve

November 30, 1999
5:46 pm
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Eve.
A Catholic priest once surprised me by telling me that, given the right circumstances, he was capable of commiting the most heinous acts. I believe him. The Germans are not the only nation to commit genocide. It happened in Rwanda, Uganda, Cambodia, Koscovo, Australia (decimation of the aboriginals), America (Indian massacres), China (1937), Kurdustan, etc.

Jung explains this propensity for such actions by stating that it is our inability to come to terms with and acknowledge our personal 'shadow'; the demonic desires in the depths of our unconscious. He claims that when this occurs en masse in the right environment such as Hitler's Nazi Germany, then the collective 'shadow' erupts in an orgy of destruction. It would be too simplistic to blame the German race for Hitler's rise to power. The severity of the reparation payments coupled with the great depression all contributed to the massive inflation of the Deutschmark. Many,many Germans were ruined and in desperate circumstances. Hitler held the promise of a renewed Germany. How amongst us would not have followed this one glimmer of hope? When the atrocities began, who would have had the courage to stand up to the massive power of Hitler? A horrible death would certainly have followed such futility. Pastor Neimuller proved that.

The attitude of your 'friend', all those years ago, was probably forged in the furnace of a fearful upbringing. He probably 'knew not what he did'.

As for the 'guilt' of the German people in WW2 - "There, but for the grace of God, go I".

I hope this helps, Eve.

December 1, 1999
2:38 pm
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eve
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tez, thanks. yes, that helps, but only to a certain extent. I have done a lot of thinking about nazi Germany and asked my older relatives a lot of unnerving questions, so I think I can come to terms with being a German - somehow always responsible that this time should not be forgotten. I even agree to what you said: he propably didn't know what he was doing, so it's not really he who is to blame, but his background, family and so on. But I think the most unnerving thing for me was that I hadn't foreseen something like this. It shook my believe in my ability to "judge" people. How can somebody look like an everyday nuisance, and bring such havoc to my feelings! And it further upset me, that if I want to avoid such things in the future I will have to shut down a lot of contacts to people who may seem strange at first sight. I do not want to do this and will not. But I have seen a vulnerable spot of myself, and I'm more "on my guard" now, lost some of my innocence. That's sad, isn't ist?
Eve

December 1, 1999
4:01 pm
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Eve.
I try to use such 'button pushing' in me by other people as a signpost to show me my own inner psychological status. It can be a great asset that we can make out of the sh..t others sometimes throw at us.

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