World Affairs Journal: Germany and the Holocaust -- Part 1
July 21, 2012, 6:04 p.m. |
Alexander J. Motyl
Rabbis of the Society for the Preservation of Jewish Holy Sites "Athra Kadisha" stand at the site of what is thought to be a mass grave containing 753 Jews killed by the SS near the eastern German town of Jamlitz on April 22, 2009. The victims, mostly from Poland and Ukraine, were held in Lieberose, a subcamp belonging to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. AFP PHOTO DDP / MICHAEL URBAN GERMANY OUT
Since June 22nd marks the day Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, it’s an appropriate time to consider the question posed by Paul Hockenos, an accomplished journalist and political analyst in Berlin, in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: “Can Germany Help Central Europe Confront Its Dark Past?” Unsurprisingly, the answers his interlocutors provide range from “yes” to “no” to “it depends.” The yea-sayers generally argue that the truth is the truth and, if Germans can help promote it, so be it. The naysayers insist that the Germans have no right to preach morality in a region they devastated in two world wars. The it-depends camp says that truth-telling is fine—as long as it’s done with sensitivity and tact. I come down hard in all three camps.
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