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