Hatred of Jews in Europe


Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk


German Culture

All humanity lives in two environments. Like all animals and even plants, we are subject to the laws of nature. However, unlike all animals, we also live in an manmade environment which anthropologists call culture.

Culture has three dimensions. The first is technological culture. This consists of all discoveries and inventions of a technical nature such as a primitive flint stone, the atomic bomb, the chair we sit on, one nail, the space shuttle and the steam engine. These physical objects have all become parts of human culture and have produced subsequent inventions such as the automobile (self mover) and the computer.

A second dimension of culture is ideological culture. That aspect of culture consists of what we believe.  Belief is very important because it is far more influential with us than reason. Some beliefs are called religion, a word which the Latin author Cicero , in his book De Natura Deorum, tells us is derived from Res Legare or “The thing that binds,” as people who believe in the same religion are bound together by emotion and familiarity. Of course, religious beliefs are not the only beliefs among us. There are political beliefs, such as believing in democracy or communism, and “Nazi” beliefs. “Nazi” is not a word. It is a syllable derived from the name of Hitler’s party “Die Nazionalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei” or The National Socialist German Workers Party. The beliefs of this political party are part of the German ideological heritage, and like the German language, the music of Wagner, the use of the automobile and the airplane, the belief in Christianity, and the admiration for military heroes, are continued from generation to generation.

Thirdly, there is behavioral culture. This consists of what we do as dependent of what we can use, such as the bicycle or a cookbook. Behavior is also greatly influenced on what we believe. Therefore, Americans, who are taught that “all men are created equalm” seek to overcome racism and other undemocratic conduct.

Germans and almost all Europeans, however, have been taught for 1,600 years, since Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, to hate and persecute Jews.

Christians were taught that the Jews had an obligation to convert to Christianity because the Christian god would return only when the Jews had become Christians. Moreover, it was Christian doctrine that the Jews had killed the Christian god. That Jews living at present could not have been old enough to do so made no difference. To the European mind, all children of a Jewish mother were “Christ killers” and therefore deserved to live in misery. Even newborn babies were tossed out of the windows of maternity wards to die as their skills cracked on the cement below, as they too were viewed as “Christ killers.” All kinds of crimes were attributed to  Jews for centuries. These crimes were actually Christian crimes but were attributed to Jews.

Therefore, when the Austrian Catholic Adolf Hitler campaigned to become the head of the German government and succeeded in becoming dictator in 1933, he did not need to convert the German population into hating all Jews. He only needed to allow what Germans had always done and sought to do with more radical methods, that is kill all Jews.

Professor Daniel Goldhagen in his book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” describes in detail how ordinary Germans, including those who opposed the Nazi regime, were willing to murder all Jews. These ordinary Germans went so far as to enter the homes of Polish Jews and shoot those sick in bed. The killed old people and young children and murdered others as well.

Those Germans who were not active killers nevertheless stole all the possessions of Jews deported to death camps. The entered the empty homes and stole the money, the furniture, the kitchen utensils, the children’s toys, the pictures, and the bedding. Their greed had no limits, as they nevertheless claimed that “the Jews have all the money and the Jews love only gold.”

After the Germans lost the Second World War and Hitler had died by suicide, the German public claimed they knew nothing of the persecution of the German and eastern European Jews.

The German government proclaimed a new Germany and even asked Russian Jews to settle in Germany. The condemned anti-Jewish activities and supported Israel.

Yet, ideological and behavioral culture guarantees that the beliefs and actions of Germans cannot overcome the hatred of Jew.

Culture is taught by each generation to its children. It continues from one generation to the next for centuries. Therefore it is fairly certain that the German population today, in 2021, is as willing as ever to be “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” of Germans were allowed to act on their beliefs.

It is therefore astonishing that nearly 200,000 Jews live in Germany today. Surely these German Jews must know that their neighbors have learned to hate them despite the many years since the end of the Nazi horrors. How could it be otherwise, when culture is delivered from one generation to the next ad infinitum?

No one can foresee the future. Therefore the Jews living in Germany or Poland today need to leave now before some event, not foreseen, delivers the German Jews to another Auschwitz.

Shalom u’vracha.

 Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The American Jewish Community in the 20th and 21st Century (2021).

Home ] Up ]