German Culture and Nazism

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



is not a word but a pair of syllables. The first four letters of the German word, nazional, or in English, national, relate to Hitler’s party, Die Nazionalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, or The National Socialist German Workers Party.  There is nothing sinister or political about the four letters nazi. Because the party had such a long name, people abbreviated it to Nazi.

Today, the Nazi party is prohibited in the so called democratic Germany. However, the beliefs and sentiments associated with Nazi ideology cannot be prohibited.

Beliefs are part of culture. Sociology teaches that culture has three dimensions. The material aspect of culture consists of all material objects, such as one nail, the atomic bomb, and the chair we sit on. The material culture determines much of what we do. Surely no one could have driven a car, written on a computer, or flown in a plane before these material objects were invented.

Another aspect of culture is ideology. This refers to our beliefs, which largely dictate our actions. Germans have been taught for 1,600 years that Jews are not human, that Jews are the devil, that Jews have no right to live, and that murdering Jews is not a crime.

This ideology led to the Holocaust and continues to this day. Hence the third part of culture is behavioral culture, so that the German people were in agreement with Nazi behavior, including the mass murder of Jews.

Recently, the president of the German Jewish community complained that hatred of Jews is once more evident in Germany. That complaint leads a reasonable person to ask why there are any Jews living in Germany. In the 1970’s, so many Russian Jews settled in Germany that today 90% of the German Jews came from Russia. These Jews could have gone to the USA or Israel. Yet, they settled in Germany, the land of anti-Jewish hate and murder. What were these Jews thinking? How could they not have known that the German culture includes the hate of Jews in the same manner as it includes the German language, drinking beer, and playing soccer?

It is not surprising that today Germans and their Muslim allies stand in front of synagogues and shout in chorus, “Juden, Juden, feige Schweine, komm heraus und kampf alleine” or “Jews, Jews, cowardly pigs, come on out and fight alone,” and other epithets. Of course it is dangerous for a Jew to wear a skullcap in public in Germany. Of course synagogues are surrounded by walls, barbed wire, and police. Of course Jewish children are assaulted in school, etc. Indeed, the Merkel government will not persecute the Jews among them. However, Merkel cannot be chancellor forever. Therefore the Jews living in Germany today need to leave before it is once more too late.

Years ago, in the 1930’s, many German Jews wanted to believe that the Hitler government would soon collapse, that they were loyal Germans and therefore would not have to leave, that anti-Jewish slogans were only propaganda, and that those who fought in the First World War would be recognized as true sons of the Fatherland.

There is a proverb attributed to several sources which once more applies to the German Jews of today, “All we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

Shalom u'vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Gender, Sex, & Status (2019).

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