17.06.2009 21 °C
I was discussing with my friend here yesterday my experience in Berlin this past weekend, which was interesting to say the least. After I told him about my time there, we inevitably touched on Hitler and that whole crazy era. Of course he got a bit defensive but I calmed him down right away and we were able to chat nicely.
He told me about his grandfathers history in the war and how the Germans who were not Jewish basically turned a blind eye or really didn't know or want to know about the holocaust going on. He then went on to tell me about how other Europeans view Germans.
He told me that they are always and we think always will be viewed at as first Nazi's and then Germans. My friend told me that a few years ago Germany won some sort of fütbol championship thing and of course everyone was celebrating on the street. Not everyone was happy though. Those that lost were not celebrating, of course, just like in any match situation. In any case, he said that the other Europeans in the city (and this goes for other places in Germany), sneared and screamed out 'Nazi's'. I gotta say, I was shocked at this comment.
Never once during all my study and learning of German history did I ever think or classify all Germans as Nazi's. I am not naive to think they do not exist because of course they do (all over the world unfortunately) but to call people that word out right is very daring.
When I asked him what they did, he replied, 'Nothing'. There is nothing they can do as no matter what, this will always be a negative spot on their historical records. He advised me that most times Germas just feel shamed and try to move on as they can't deny the past. I have been told this over and over by people I talk to. It is one of their biggest shames.
I personally think it is sad but The Third Reisch regime is an important part of world history that should not and cannot be forgotten but to keep placing blame is a bit much. So far, I have encountered no nazi's and have only been shown kindness and respect from my colleauges and society in general in Stuttgart and places I have visited in Germany. I am fascinated however at how much inter-European hostility there is. People (I'm talking North Americans here) have this assumption that Europeans are extremely laid back. On certain levels I would say yes, but they (the people I have encountered) have the same greivances like everyone else.