The Null Device

Hitler of Jerusalem and other stories

There's an intriguing article in the Guardian about the descendents of German Nazis who converted to Judaism and moved to Israel. The article interviews several such converts (the son of a SS man who's an Orthodox rabbi, a left-wing lesbian campaigner for Palestinian rights, and a professor of Jewish Studies who is related to Hitler, and who describes his (Israeli-born, Arab-hating) son as a "fascist").

One somewhat obvious explanation for this phenomenon is that of assuagement of guilt by rejecting the oppressor population one came from identifying with the victims, and this explanation is floated by an expert on the psychology of the children of perpetrators. Interestingly, though, none of those interviewed, when asked for why they converted to Judaism, mention the Holocaust or Nazism, instead giving theological reasons:

"During my theological studies at university it became clear that I couldn't be a minister in the church," he says. "I concluded that Christianity was paganism. One of [its] most important dogmas is that God became man, and if God becomes man then man also can become God." He pauses. "Hitler became a kind of god."
I tell Bar-On they talk obsessively about the Trinity. But is incredulity really a reason for abandoning a religion with a three-in-one god for one that still believes bushes talk and that waves are parted by the will of God? "That is another way of saying what I have already told you," he says. "They want to join the community of the victim. They may have their own way of rationalising it."

There are 1 comments on "Hitler of Jerusalem and other stories":

Posted by: ianw Thu Aug 21 08:23:05 2008

this article reminded me of the anti-Germans, a weird name for a political group from anywhere let alone Germany, but I think they do blame something in German culture for the holocaust. I disagree - I think the Germans were innovators, and there have been so many instances since WW2 of non-Germans conducting similar campaigns. Then again - I think - the anti-Germans would suggest there is something special about the (WW2) Holocaust which can be traced to its German-ness, and this needs to be addressed. But I digress. They are a strange bunch - not a homogenous group - some of whom have begun supporting the US since they began overtly attacking Israel's enemies. Strange behaviour from a left-wing bunch. It's worth bearing in mind that in contemporary mainstream German culture even something as nationalistic as waving a flag is outrageous..

anyway, check it out:

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.