In the mid-1990s, near the end of the period during which she lived in Israel, Jennifer Teege watched Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List.” She hadn’t seen the film in a movie theater, and watched it in her rented room in Tel Aviv when it was broadcast on television.
“It was a moving experience for me, but I didn’t learn much about the Holocaust from it,” she tells me by phone from her home in Hamburg, mostly in English with a sprinkling of Hebrew. “I’d learned and read a great deal about the Holocaust before that. At the time I thought the film was important mainly because it heightened international awareness of the Holocaust, but I didn’t think I had a personal connection to it.”
Indeed, it was not until years later that Teege, a German-born black woman who was given up for adoption as a child, discovered that one of the central characters in the film, Amon Goeth, was her grandfather. Many viewers recall the figure of Goeth, the brutal commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland - played in the film by Ralph Fiennes - from the scenes in which he shoots Jewish inmates from the porch of his home. But Teege, who had not been in touch with either her biological mother or biological grandmother for years, had no idea about the identity of her grandfather.
The discovery came like a bolt from the blue in the summer of 2008, when she was 38 years old, as she relates in the memoir “Amon,” which was published in German in 2013 (co-authored with the German journalist Nikola Sellmair), and is due out in English this April under the title “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.”
Teege is scheduled to visit Israel next week to take part in events marking the book’s publication in Hebrew (from Sifriat Poalim), at the International Book Fair in Jerusalem, the University of Haifa and the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv.
She opens her book by describing the 2008 visit to a library in Hamburg to look for material on coping with depression. While there, she happened to notice a book with a cover photograph of a familiar figure: her biological mother, Monika Hertwig (née Goeth). She immediately withdrew the book, titled “I Have to Love My Father, Right?,” and which was based on an interview with her mother.
“The first shock was the sheer discovery of a book about my mother and my family, which had information about me and my identity that had been kept hidden from me,” Teege says. “I knew almost nothing about the life of my biological mother, nor did my adoptive family. I hoped to find answers to questions that had disturbed me and to the depression I had suffered from. The second shock was the information about my grandfather’s deeds.”
Its nice to know that not everyone is giving into hatred, and the irrational fear of the imitate “Islamisation” of Europe. I don’t think the “counter Jihad” is at all happy with Norbert Feldhoff. They’re probably even more upset with archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki. Jack Jenkins reports,
One of Germany’s most prominent Catholic churches is taking a stand against xenophobia and anti-Islam hatred, shutting off its lights this evening to protest a nearby anti-Islam rally and to express solidarity with Muslim refugees.
On Monday, thousands of demonstrators affiliated with the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) are expected to march through the streets of Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city. The group, which bemoans what they say is the creeping influence of Islam in Europe, has grown rapidly over the past four months, holding ever-larger rallies and demonstrations throughout Germany. Organizers of the grassroots movement, who also claim to seek the protection of Germany’s “Judeo-Christian culture,” have capitalized on simmering frustration over the recent influx of Middle Eastern refugees into Germany, many of whom are fleeing war-ravaged Syria.
Since I have a couple of minutes for Pages today, in addition to the story about the Muslim teen who was run down and killed in Kansas City, let me also call your attention to this story from a couple of days ago about an incident in Germany.
It’s unlikely to get much press here in the U.S. because I doubt that a Muslim doing the ultimate good deed—giving her life to protect others—is considered newsworthy. It doesn’t make good clickbait since, generally speaking, the narrative seems to be Muslims are scary and dangerous, people to be feared & reviled, not lauded as heroes for selfless acts. If she’d been a suicide bomber…
Okay, I’m gonna stop there because this stuff is making me cranky.
Large crowds in Germany have been paying their final respects to a young woman who was killed defending two girls from harassment.
Tugce Albayrak died on Friday after she was hit on the head and left in a coma outside a McDonald’s near Frankfurt.
Hundreds of mourners attended a service at a local mosque before she was due to be buried in her home town.
A man of 18 remains in custody over the 15 November attack, which shocked Germany. […]
A call to prayer rang out and a few flakes of snow fell as hundreds of mourners huddled together in front of Tugce’s coffin. It was a bleak scene. A funeral in the car park of a mosque on an industrial estate. A German and a Turkish flag stood out, colourful, against the grey sky.
Tugce, who was of Turkish descent, has become a national heroine in Germany. […]
World War I buffs might enjoy reading this biography written by an expert in Wilhelm II’s life and ill-fated career.
Exasperated by his stupidity and academic idleness, his parents surrendered him at seven to the charge of a disciplinarian tutor in the hope that he might grow up to become a liberal, reforming monarch like Vicky’s beloved father, Albert. For all the eccentric Dr Hinzpeter’s efforts over a ten-year period, that too was to no avail.
The Kaiser grew up to be emotionally needy, bombastic, choleric, hyperactive and hypersensitive. His personality combined with the militaristic, authoritarian culture of the Prussian court to create a monarch who was extraordinarily ill-suited to lead the most powerful country in Europe at the end of the 19th century. His belief in his powers as a great strategist and the absence of anyone prepared to challenge him were major factors in helping to create the conditions and the alliances that led directly to the catastrophe of 1914. Two abiding fixations were fear of Germany’s encirclement and a conviction that only smug, malevolent Britain stood in the way of German hegemony in Europe.
Yet it was the Kaiser’s own interventions that brought those things about. The ending of Bismarck’s secret Reinsurance treaty with Russia in 1890 helped drive Russia into the arms of France. Wilhelm’s ill-conceived and vastly expensive naval race with Britain was a major factor in forcing his mother’s homeland, too, into an alliance with France. While believing that Britain could still be deterred from war against Germany he fervently encouraged the development of the Schlieffen plan to invade France through neutral Belgium; the one thing that would guarantee enlisting Britain as a belligerent.
Some important lessons to be learned from the story of Helmut Roemer, the first German solider captured after D-Day.
He was treated humanely, offered correspondence courses bt Cambridge University, transferred to a Canada POW camp, and finally returned in 1947 to marry and have six kids.
Roemer and his two comrades spent more than a day hiding in their bush on the edge of the canal, drinking canal water. But after 36 hours they gave themselves up and witnessed the first British troops crossing the bridge accompanied by a piper.
“We were exhausted and we decided to hand ourselves over to the British, thinking, ‘Either they will shoot us or they’ll take us prisoner,’” he says. They took him prisoner and it was the start of two years in captivity which he describes today as “like a holiday camp”.
Roemer ended up appreciating Germany’s liberation from its insanity.
Contrast that to the American treatment of prisoners in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib. How successful have we been in winning over the hearts and minds of those captives?
Its really sad when a gesture like this causes outrage.
By William Booth, Published: April 12
JERUSALEM — Professor Mohammed S. Dajani took 27 Palestinian college students to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland a few weeks ago as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance. Upon his return, his university disowned the trip, his fellow Palestinians branded him a traitor and friends advised a quick vacation abroad.
Dajani said he expected criticism. “I believe a trip like this, for an organized group of Palestinian youth going to visit Auschwitz, is not only rare, but a first,” he said. “I thought there would be some complaints, then it would be forgotten.”
But the trip was explosive news to some, perhaps more so because it took place as U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were in danger of collapse, and emotion surrounding the decades-old conflict is high.
Controversy was also heightened by rumors — untrue — that the trip was paid for by Jewish organizations. It was paid for by the German government.
The leading candidate for Austria’s far-right Freedom Party in European elections next month resigned on Tuesday after coming under fire for racist comments and comparing the EU to the Nazis.
Mr Andreas Moelzer unleashed a storm of controversy after Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported him telling an event in February that the EU was in danger of becoming a “conglomerate of niggers, where everything is chaos”.
He announced his resignation on Tuesday, but remained defiant, saying that he had done “nothing dishonourable other than to formulate a non-conformist opinion in a politically incorrect manner.”
In a statement to the Austria Press Agency on Tuesday, he said his decision to resign was not due to the “politically correct” media or the “feigned outrage of the political establishment”.
More (sub. required) : Austrian MEP Resigns After Racist Outburst, Comparing EU to Nazis
When a bank goes bust in Europe, it doesn’t just threaten depositors and shareholders. With no single agency to handle failing euro-area lenders, wobbly banks can drag down the national governments that try to rescue them. European Union leaders pledged to attack this vicious circle in June 2012, in the third year of a debt crisis that almost broke apart the euro bloc. They plan to centralize bank supervision and crisis management for the first time, an effort seen as the biggest transfer of sovereignty since the creation of the common currency. Policy makers are united in the goal of what they call the banking union: ending taxpayer bailouts and taking key decisions out of national hands. But first they had to agree on who decides when a bank has failed, who pays to clean it up and how to divvy up the losses. Plus they had to convince Germany that it won’t end up paying the bill.
The asylum procedure is an assessment of whether an asylum seeker is entitled to asylum in terms of Article 16a of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), to refugee status in terms of the 1951 Refugee Convention or to subsidiary protection in terms of the German Residence Law (Aufenthaltsgesetz).
As Snowden is clearly not persecuted for reasons of “race”, religion and nationality or as a member of a particular social group, his claim for constitutional asylum would be assessed according to the same criteria as his claim for refugee status. In both cases, his application may be successful if he is persecuted for reasons of his political opinion or if his fear of being persecuted for such reasons is well-founded.
There is widespread misconception that the German executive has an almost unlimited discretion in assessing whether an individual is persecuted for reasons of his/her political opinion. This seems to be the view of those who invoke the transatlantic relationship as an obstacle to Snowden’s protection. In a distant past, this might have been a valid argument. Modern refugee law, however, has withdrawn asylum claims from the pure realm of arbitrary exercise of power and the outcome of the asylum procedure is subject to judicial review.