As a German, I would never have thought I’d be writing this only 70 years after 6 million Jewish men, women and children were murdered by Nazi Germany, and writing at a time when Auschwitz survivors are still around to share their stories of the living hell they experienced.
As a German, I was appalled by Inge Günther’s opinion piece in The Frankfurter Rundschau (11.4. 2019). By titling the article “The Eternal Netanyahu,” she compared Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s to “The Eternal Jew,” an infamous anti-Semitic Nazi piece of propaganda whose raison d’être was to present the Jewish people as vermin who contaminate society and are unworthy of life.
As a German I am sickened that Inge Günther would adopt Goebbel’s methods and insinuate that Benjamin Netanyahu, the elected Jewish prime minister of the only democracy in the Middle East, is vermin – “The Eternal Jew.”
If not contained, the likes of the antisemitism that has infected the Frankfurter Rundschau, threatens to become a societal virus. Last month they were symptoms when Herbert Diess, CEO of German car maker Volkswagen stated: “EBIT macht Frei.” Nobody could fail to see the comparison of the Nazi-era slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei,” the sign hanging on the entrance to Auschwitz that serves as testimony to the murder of 6 million innocent Jewish people. Despite his “apology,” the damage was done, the sickness spread.
As a German, I am baffled that antisemitism isn’t news-worthy anymore. Even the video of the Jewish young man wearing a kippa in Berlin assaulted by an asylum-seeker, only went viral because Merkel condemned it.
As a German, I am ashamed that Germany’s Jews cannot go about their daily prayers without protection. Further, there is not a Jewish school or Jewish community center in Germany that does not have security.
As a German, I am staggered that in 2019, Jews are leaving Europe. France, which was the crucible of emancipation for Jewish people just 200 years ago, is being emptied as Jews flee to live in Israel. With an untamed German Free Press that spews out antisemitism, it would be no surprise if Germany was next.
As a German, I know that we have confronted our horrific past with necessary honesty. However, let no German be deluded into thinking the passing of time has buried the world’s oldest hatred that festered in our soil only decades ago. Let no German be deluded into thinking that time passed makes our history less shameful and serves as an immunization against the world’s oldest hatred.
Because, as a German, the evidence is clear: old attitudes just like viruses, don’t always die out.
Sebastian Woller is a G20 Young Global Changer. Born in Germany and raised in Africa. Management professional with experience in banking, consulting, the public sector and the automotive industry