Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Pity of it All

In a literal and literary version of "Honor Thy Father" I am now finishing reading 'The Pity of it All' by Amos Elon. I had bought the book for my dad since it's a history of German Jewry and I thought he would enjoy learning more about his roots (he did); I didn't anticipate his asking me to read it, too, so that I would understand him better. Not exactly Jodi Picoult or even Azure magazine but it moves along in it's own way.

What's interesting is that I know how it ends so it's like watching a train speeding, about to go off a cliff, but not being able to stop it. In 1896 a physician named Bernard Cohn wrote a pamphlet warning German Jews that devastation was around the corner. No one paid any attention. So many brilliant Jews, so loyal to Germany, really patriotic to the point that not a few killed themselves during WWII, they just couldn't live with the betrayal of the Fatherland. A message for today? I wonder.

It really could have been Germany's century. They had brains, an incredible work ethic, organization and loyal citizens. They took it all and turned it to evil and destruction. Talk about free choice, so sad. My son Amiad is going to the States to work in camp for the summer and there was a Lufthansa flight open. I know, I know, it's silly. We owned a VW for awhile and other German products but I just couldn't see sending him alone on a plane with German signs and German announcements, (to me it's the language of death) and a stopover in Berlin. (Although I'm sure it would be on time.) So it's costing more but El Al it is.

Maybe I'll get over this one day. The again, my mother's cousin was killed at Pearl Harbor and she still dislikes the Japanese. So maybe not.

It's a crisp and cool Judean evening. And the language I'm hearing my kids prattle to their friends on the phone is Hebrew. Alive and well.

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