History: Should contemporary Germans feel guilty about the Nazis ?

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by cherine, Jul 7, 2006.

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  1. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I'm quoting a rather long post that astonished my a lot. (I highlited the parts that are, for me, even more shocking)
    I never thought that Germans (considered by many as a great people; hard workers, highly organized, smart....) should feel guilty about things some of their ancestors did quite a long time ago.
    It reminded my of that thread about the invaders/invaded thread, but here I'm only talking about Germans. I/my people wasn't/were not of the Nazis' victims, but I know about the horrors they did to millions of people.
    Still, I think it's very unfair to hold modern Germans responsibles -even in an indirect way- for what was done by their rulers more than fifty years ago. It's totally unfair to raise your children with such a huge feeling of guilt for something they weren't even there when it was done.

    How come that a nation, which could rebuild itself from ashes, not feel proud of its acheivement, let alone its History -not the recent one of course- but feel guily of horrors commited by its criminal rulers.
    What do you foer@s think ?

    P.S. I'm sorry if my question offend anyone, but I'm really curious about this.
    P.P.S. Any corrections are, of course, most welcome.
  2. Dr. Quizá

    Dr. Quizá Senior Member

    Esuri - Huelva York.
    Spain - Western Andalusian Spanish.
    Then... should you be proud what your ancestors did? Only if it still remains as an advantage.

    I don't see why one should feel guilty for what hasn't done nor supported (specially after making an effort in the opposite way).
  3. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Very good point Docteur :) I think it's much more easy to be proud -than to feel guilty- of other people's deeds :D
    But let's discuss the guilt thing first, then maybe we can discuss the unmeritted pride in another thread :)
  4. gjou

    gjou Member

    I say no, frankly.
    People are not responsible for what their ancestors have done, and I denounce the current trend to ask nations to apologize for everything:
    slavery, genocides, wars, and so on.
    We have to know our history, and to look at it, but neither with a feeling of guiltiness nor a feeling of grievance.
    But we must not forget what happened, otherwise we will commit the same mistakes, again and again..
  5. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    I heard about this, too. It seems that in Germany, from very young age, and beggining with the end of th eWWII, children are constantly told about the horrors their ancestors did. As amatter of fact, I wouldn't even say ansecstors, since not all Germans were Nazis. It is very well known that Hitler cleansed first Germany of opposition, and then started his ride to world conquest....

    But after the war, in order to prevent any germ of future reptetition of what nazis were and did, children are taught to have that ridiculous guilt. I have a German friend from very long time ago, and I spoke with him this subject very often, especially in the last 15 years, when I had the similar experience, feeling guilty because of what some other Serbs did... On the other hand, my brother studied in Germany, and he was amazed with the enormosity of guilt modern Germans still have....

    It is stupid. It is senseless. Germans have many many other characteristics to be proud of and also to be ashamed of, as any other nation in this world. Besides, we shouldn't forget that (I repeat myself here) NOT ALL Germans were Nazis, and many Germans were killed by Nazis, too.

    As Always, generalizing is VERY dangerous thing to do....
  6. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    1) Well, some Germans are still alive from those who entered into the WWII. The youngest (enlisted) fighter will currently be in his 70s, while actual responsibles will be around 85.

    2) I think there is a limit for apologies. I certainly would have demanded apologies from the Germans after the war (they did apologise), but 60 years after is enough.

    I am not sure about the cases when the involved country has never apologised and we are still close to the facts.

    3) Those who are proud of Beethoven, Leibinitz, Goethe or Clausewitz should feel some shame for Hitler and his mariachi. They should examine how the German culture (if there is such a thing) could produce the best and the worst.

    Maybe all Europeans/Westerners (humans?) should examine it.
  7. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    For me it is not just a question of should Germans feel guilty about what was done under the Nazi banner but all of us as human beings should be aware of how easily humans can forget their own humanity. Genocide makes us all base - both those who commit it and those of us who do nothing active to prevent it.

    I think there are aspects of guilt (or should I say shame?) which can have a useful role. It shows that you feel some sort of remorse for what has happened. It also indicates a level of acknowledgement. If you then do something constructive with it - you are moving on from paralysis.

    As result of the acknowledgement that much that the Nazis did was deeply wrong, over the last 60 years Germany has completely turned around. It is now unquestionably a solidly democratic state and has been a huge motor for European integration which arguably makes a future war at the heart of Europe impossible. The German state is based on fundamental respect for a common code of human rights. For me this shows that good can come out of guilt and an awareness of our shared history.
  8. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    Should contemporary Germans who were once citizens of the DDR/East Germany feel guilty about the Stasi [State Security Service]?

    Should contemporary Russians feel guilty about the NKVD, KGB, the Gulags, the purges of Stalin, Katyn Forest?

    Should contemporary Chinese feel guilty about the Cultural Revolution, and the 70 million or so deaths caused by Mao Zedong?

    Which of us should feel guilty about the current slaughter and rape in the Darfur region of Sudan?
  9. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    I was more surprised with how (according to the post that Cherine quoted that is) people from other nationalities react to the Germans. Shame to those who act like this!

    I am also surprised that they are taught to feel guilt. That is unacceptable.

    Should they feel guilty? No, they shouldn't. I don't think it is possible to avoid that after learning (as we all do) what the Nazis did nor is it possible (according to those Germans I know) not to wonder (and some times try to rationalize) how on Earth did such a big portion of the German population followed that madman.

    But guilt has to end somewhere. Whenever I read or recall some of the things my ancestors did (up to and including ancient History) I do feel ashamed and a bit guilty. It is unavoidable to a person with conscience.
    But it is not a sense of personal guilt nor do I think I have to do something to make up for what they did (I guess things would be different if -for example- we had invaded somewhere and this place was still under our rule or if my country had never admitted/apologized for an atrocity of the past).

    But Germans are not freaks. They don't need special tutoring to feel guilty. This is a horrible practice that should stop. Same goes for any anti-German actions such as those described in the aforementioned quote
  10. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    I aggree in a lot of things that are been said here, but one thing that annoys me is that just as not all Germans were Nazis, not all other nationalities were Anti-Nazis. As a German with non-German parents I feel very well entitled to point my finger on this fact: Hitler and his Nazis had considerable support among the citizens of the countries they occupied as well. Should they have succeeded in occupying Sweden or Great Britain I am convinced that vast numbers of Nazis would have come out of the woodwork in those countries too.

    Does anyone feel responsible for them?

    Did anyone discuss if they did right or wrong?

    Does anyone in those countries sound an imaginary alarm signal when young people go "paki-bashing" or extreme.right-wing populist parties get elected into parlaments or even form coalitions with their governments?
  11. Krümelmonster Senior Member

    Germany, german
    Well, what you said about Nazi supporters outside Germany reminded me of something my history teacher once said about Austria, who was only very little blamed for their role in the Nazi times. She said: "The Austrians are really clever people, for they made the whole world believe that Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German..." :)
  12. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    Agreed. They claim the Anschluss was just an invasion. Anyway there is a strong Austrian movement claiming they should feel guilty also. The Waldheim case arose a lot of controversy.
  13. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Not only are many Germans taught to feel guilt, but people from other countries are taught to think less of the Germans for what happened in the Nazi era. The children are taught all of this "lest we forget" the injustices, the atrocities, etc.; and German society is viewed as tainted -- after all, it's the culture where Naziism was allowed to happen. But the irony, for me, is that the British, French and Spanish cultures (and American, among others), are the cultures where this kind of hatred is allowed to happen.

    The message? That we should not forget our own humanity -- not only when we think that we are all capable of what was perpetrated during the Nazi era; but also that in our reaction to those events, we may also be guilty of the same intolerace, hatred and disrespect for other humans.
  14. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    I too am uncomfortable about the German guilt. The recent German history is one of my hobbies, and I also enjoy studying its current repercussions, so I think I am quite familiar with the topic.

    One of the weirdest situations I have ever experienced was a question by a German who happened to be aware of my family history: "So, how do you feel in the country of those who did it?" (Land der Täter)

    He was in his mid-30s and I obviously did not think I was im Land der Täter. I adore the language, I love the country, it felt like home when I lived there and I have been hankering after Berlin ever since.

    And yet, he felt compelled to bring up the question, to receive a rebuke for something that happened long before he was born. I wish Germans would find a more balanced attitude to the history of their country.

    That being said, I wouldn't want to see the World War II relegated to just another major war in the school curricula. I appreciate that all German students, by and large, visit a concentration camp in their teens. I don't think, however, that it should be a German specialty. It would be very beneficial for every European to have to come to grips with the evil during the formative years.

    Germany is a solidly democratic country but, as in all democracies, there are extremist groups. For a citizen of an adjacent country, it is quite reassuring to see that a vast majority of Germans is genuinely appalled at their rant.

  15. Bettie Senior Member

    United States.
    I don't think they should, but people don't let them forgive themselves for something that they didn't do! It's so sad that some people think that all germans are still nazis, when they never were... I mean even in that time not of them were and for sure they still are some but I don't think that more than here in the U.S. that the Neo-Nazi Movement is getting stronger.
    So I think that we shouldn't forget so this won't happen again, but whe should stop putting blame in people that don't have any.
  16. Krümelmonster Senior Member

    Germany, german
    Most of the "Neo-Nazis" here in Germany are frustrated youths without much future... and sometimes I wonder if they are a result of us being prohibited to be proud of our country.
    There are many examples of youths being proud in their country without doing any harm, for example a spanish friend of mine who always wants to compare "who's country is better" by comparing Schumacher and Alonso... or people who just like to sing songs about Asturias, their beloved patria or hang a flag in their car... or portuguese who are angry when you talk to them in spanish, even if they could understand it, just because they love their own language and don't want to hear it's "swabian spanish" or something like that... I think this is silly, but it's not bad to love your country... You see what I try to say?

    I mean, perhaps all those Neonazis are just longing for something to be proud of, and they think they have to reach back to Hitler in a time where being proud wasn't prohibited... and they have to get the extreme because you can't find people with a normal amount of pride here.

    Just some little thought...
  17. Bettie Senior Member

    United States.
    It's very sad that you can be sad of your country, specially germans, I mean, I was in Berlin and I was amazed of how you rebuilt the city, everything is so organized and beautiful and people were so nice with me and to me, I really loved Berlin and its people.
  18. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Noooo, Krümelmonster, don't fool yourself.:)

    Neo-nazis, in Germany and in all other countries, do not seek a countru to be proud of, but someone to blame for their miserable lives. As you said, neo-nazis (again, not only in Germany, but in all other countries where they exist) they are just a bunch of loosers, unemployed, drug addicted and usually psychopatic and violent. They all come from very poor and marginal backgrounds, usually with a criminal record in the police. They are rejected by the society, and of course, they must blame someone. If you noticed, neo-nazis exist in developed countries - like Spain or the USA. What these countries have? Very big flow of immigration. Who is usually the victim of neo-nazis in these countries? All no-white immigrants, and sometimes, white ones too, just for being immigrants, but mostly they are non-white, whether they are immigrants or not. They blame immigrant for coming to their country and taking them away their jobs. Well, some reason they must have in order to "justify" fercious attacks they do.
    On the other hand, there are also some neo-nazi movements in some not so developed countries, even in those countries that suffered from the very same nazis, some Slavic countries, although they are very weak and unsignificant. Their target is usually Gipsies, since they are the only ones who at least seem to be of different race... Sad and stupid, but true. Slavs were another big victim of nazis concentration camps. when you see all the facts, it's just.... Delusional!

    No, neo-nazi movement does not have anything to do with being proud of your country. Look, the USA and Spain, their citizens are usually very proud of their countries, and yet, they also have very strong skinhead neo-nazi movements. The only thing they have in common is that all of them are a bunch of loosers who just seek for someone to blame for their unsuccessful life, being cowards to face with reality and do something about it.
  19. maxiogee Banned

    If anyone thinks today's Germans ought to feel guilt about the Nazis I'd be interested to hear why. I'd also be interested to hear at what point in history they would allow a nation to stop feeling guilt.
    Many modern nations were founded on cruelty, slaughter, slavery, exploitation and other forms of nasty behaviour. This is not something for which current generations have any need to feel guilt.

    However, all nations need to be aware of the things their ancestors did - as we humans can tend to let "distance lend enchantment to the view" when we look over our shoulders. It's all very well for those countries which were victims of the Nazis to be aware (if they are) of why the Nazis were able to come to power, and why they did what they did, but it is vitally important that everyone, victim contries especially, should be aware that like-minded groups can and do spring up in countries at times of turmoil and unheeded protests from the underprivileged - the fascist types who flocked to Hitler in Germany had counterparts in many countries - and not just in Mussolini's Italy and Franco's Spain. There was Mosely in Britain, O'Duffy in Ireland (he even sent a contingent to fight for Franco in the Spanish Civil War (with, of course, the approval of the Irish Catholic Church. France was not without its willing collaborators, nor were Norway or other countries.
  20. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    No nation in this world can say: We never made any atrocities. Not even one.
    I think that what is really important is not to seek guilt and especially not in new generations, but NOT FORGET. Humanity cannot permit a luxury to FORGET all atrocities a human being was able to inflict to a fellow being, just because of different color of the skin, or language, or religion, or poltical view, because the other one was rich, or the other one was poor, and sometimes not even that, but simply, just because they felt like it. As a matter of fact, I think that all thas nacionalist, racist, religious etc. blah blah is only invented to cover the real reasons for extermination of others - economical one. Why Hitler proclaimed Jews as enemy? Because the Jews were those who had money in Germany of those times of dreadful economic crisis. Why did Bush attack Iraq? Why does Guantanomo exist? NOT because of his love towards democracy... No, my dears. It's because of oil. That is why he invented that never-found biological wapons...
    So, I think that in Germany, and all other countries, adults should start to teach children to love otherness, to wake up and intrigue curiosity for differencies, so children grow up in adults who are eager to GET KNOW other cultures they don't know, and not TO BE AFRAID of them just because they are unknown or different, instead of feeding the feeling of guilt for something that is sooooo far away from them.
  21. djchak Senior Member

    USA English
    The answer to the original question is NO.

    With that being said, the Germans should not accuse other peoples/countries of being "Nazis" either.

    WW2 was an awful war, and many people should learn from it, but each war has differing circumstances. They are not all the same.
  22. ukuca

    ukuca Senior Member

    Istanbul - Turkey
    Turkish - Turkey
    I think, if one should feel guilty about their past national crimes against humanity, the Germans are not the only ones. There are several nations who has suffered from similar extinction actions or alike cruel and inhuman treatments. I can count America's nuclear attacks to Japan, extinction of Indians or what happened in Yugoslavia, etc..

    There's one discussion nowadays about Turkey and its action against Armenians in 1915. I don't know very much about it whether it is true or not (because in Turkey, it's nearly impossible saying so!!). All the information we get is single-sided. I would say that if it is true, I would feel ashamed (but not guilty because I didn't do it) for my country because I'm a member and a part of it.
  23. maxiogee Banned

    I'd disagree with that. Every war is caused by people wanting things they shouldn't want and don't have a right to. People who don't and won't talk and aren't prepared to listen.
    That there are two sides to a war is a given - neither of them talking or listening.
    They are all the same in that old people send young people to do their fighting, don't seem to care who gets hurt, and then lie about the process to anyone they think will believe them.
  24. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    If someone did argue that, Tony, then one could argue that anyone with German ancestry should also feel guilty. Will all of the Schmidts of the world please stand up?

    Of course, we should feel as guilty for the actions of the Nazis as we should the actions of the Neo-Nazis. Natasha, I disagree with some of your assertions about Neo-Nazis:
    Disclaimer: I'm not defending anyone associated with Naziism, present or past.
  25. djchak Senior Member

    USA English
    Should Americans born after WW2 or Vietnam be feel guilty about being Americans?

    What would it accomplish?

    Is the desired result the absence of war? So...there's no war but everyone feels miserable and guilty?

    Did the "Indians" feel guilty for making extinct other "Indian" tribes before the Europeans came to the Americas?

    Not all wars are exactly the same. They might have similar aspects, but each is specific. You can't compare WW2 to Gulf War 2.

    The more we question, the more answers and facts we find out, the more we communicate...the LESS we will need to use war.... that's my opinion.

    Guilt by itself will not prevent war.
  26. maxiogee Banned

    Can't or shouldn't?

    I'd argue with both strictures, and I don't believe I'm the only one who would.
  27. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Once again, all is right with the world, since I disagree with you, chak. ;)
  28. Seana

    Seana Senior Member

    Hello Krümelmonster,
    When I was reading you post I felt very moved by it and I had decided to write something because it is maybe little 'taboo' topic between our countries.
    Poland was very battered during the WWII. Additionally we were innocent victims of this war even after the war - the communism - it was a terrible state difficult to describe or depict it we were separated from all rest of world and all who doesn't know our horrible facts for years would not imagine it. Of course that time average people didn't die but it had been dying our country, sovereignty, economics, discontinuity of the generation tradition, religion and customs, we were overcome by a sense of hopelessness, dullness and despair... being finally lost generation. Being locked up and fed on propaganda we were shown loads of films about the WWII what could be supposed probably to hold our hate to Germans.
    However the purpose hasn't achieved. Poles respect Germans for their perfections, the technical culture ect. but some splinter into our hearts stayed, it is a natural it couln't be differently. But believe me nobody I know has prejudice against young Germans, nobody thinks that they should be responsible for their ancestors mistakes, moreover I think that you should not live with a sense of guilt, you cannot be embarrassed of your national identity, because just dissatisfaction, suppressing natural behaviours could be a cause of frustration and just frustration... could be most often a cause of the worst actions.

  29. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Originally Posted by natasha2000
    Neo-nazis, in Germany and in all other countries, do not seek a country to be proud of,
    As marginalized people, they tend to have a poor self-image and are looking for ways to feel proud of themselves.
    But they only feel proud if there is someone they can consider lower and worse than themselves. Their existence lies on BEING SUPERIOR than someone else, not BEING GOOD. If there is nobody to be SUPERIOR from, they do not find the sense in their existence.

    but someone to blame for their miserable lives. As you said, neo-nazis (again, not only in Germany, but in all other countries where they exist) they are just a bunch of loosers, unemployed, drug addicted and usually psychopatic and violent.
    There is no link between Neo-nazis and drugs or mental illness. Their violence is usually a lifestyle choice, not a psychological disorder.
    Not all drug adicts or mentally ill people are neo-nazis. But all neo-nazis are or drug adicts or mentally ill people, mostly psycopaths. No being of healthy mind can think as they think.

    They all come from very poor and marginal backgrounds, usually with a criminal record in the police. They are rejected by the society, and of course, they must blame someone. If you noticed, neo-nazis exist in developed countries - like Spain or the USA. What these countries have? Very big flow of immigration. Who is usually the victim of neo-nazis in these countries? All no-white immigrants, and sometimes, white ones too, just for being immigrants, but mostly they are non-white, whether they are immigrants or not. They blame immigrant for coming to their country and taking them away their jobs. Well, some reason they must have in order to "justify" fercious attacks they do.
    On the other hand, there are also some neo-nazi movements in some not so developed countries, even in those countries that suffered from the very same nazis, some Slavic countries, although they are very weak and unsignificant. Their target is usually Gipsies, since they are the only ones who at least seem to be of different race... Sad and stupid, but true. Slavs were another big victim of nazis concentration camps. when you see all the facts, it's just.... Delusional!

    No, neo-nazi movement does not have anything to do with being proud of your country. Look, the USA and Spain, their citizens are usually very proud of their countries, and yet, they also have very strong skinhead neo-nazi movements.
    But isn't that a correlation? Is it merely coincidence that countries with a high degree of patriotism also foster Neo-nazis? I'm not saying that there is a relationship between the two, but that doesn't mean that there isn't.
    This statement o yours can be discussed... And I am sure that I am almost sure that I would agree with you on this. But.... I was saying this because of other thing. I was just trying to show to Krümelmonster that he was wrong when he said:

    As he was trying to find the reason of existence of neonazis in Germany in being prohibited to be proud of their nation, I just pointed out that there are also nations who are extremely proud of their countries, and it is NOT prehibited to be in those countries, yet they also have neonazis... Now... If national proudness and existence of neonazis is connected or not... That's another topic, which if you want, we can elaborate....

    The only thing they have in common is that all of them are a bunch of loosers who just seek for someone to blame for their unsuccessful life, being cowards to face with reality and do something about it.
    Disclaimer: I'm not defending anyone associated with Naziism, present or past.

    Nobody was saying nor thinking you're doing it.

    Fenix, here are my answers....:)
  30. Pivra Senior Member

    Do you think the American media is to be blamed for this? Why can't they start depicting the good aspects of Germany? The movie EuroTrip is one of the examples.
  31. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    This statement is totally false... unless you can produce facts to support it. While many Neo-Nazis may have psychological problems, and many use drugs, none of them that I have ever met fit either of those descriptions.

    You are overgeneralizing, assuming and mis-stating the problem as heinously as krumelmonster, with his mistaken belief that neo-nazism comes from a desire for a national pride that has been robbed by communal guilt. In calling them all addicts and psychos, you prevent us from addressing the real cause, which is that neo-nazism is a belief system that is taught -- not a mental illness.
  32. Everness Banned

    Guilt doesn't belong to the club of the negative emotions. Some guilt is good. It allows us to acknowledge that we did something bad, make amends, and hopefully avoid doing it again. In that sense guilt is a positive and healthy emotion. Too much guilt is unhealthy because it's paralyizing and eventually it turns into shame. People feel guilty for what they do but shameful for what they are.

    If what Krümelmonster feels represents what most Germans feel, we have a serious problem. By the way, I don't think it's unhealthy for people to feel guilty for things their ancestors did. It's a way of integrating our collective past into our present collective identity. The fact that our generation didn't do it, doesn't mean that those behaviors have nothing to do with us and that we can disown them.

    Apparently some of us want to be picky. "Let's just remember and be proud of the good things our ancestors did but let's forget and avoid feeling guilty for the bad things they did."

    We have to claim and own our entire past with its good and bad things.
  33. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    I just can't connect the dots here. Perhaps you can provide some examples. I can't seem to come up with one, unless you are talking about something such as "Schindler's List," which was not about making the current Germans "feel guilty" as much as it was telling one man's story of what he did during the holocaust. It was a story told by a jew who knew people who had survived some of the camps.

    It's not like our news reporters go around looking for stories on how to portray the Germans as bad people. They don't. They've got too many other stories to focus on.

    Many Americans tend to focus their feelings regarding WWII more on the French and what the American troops did to liberate them from Hitler's regime. We're reasonable enough people to recognize that current Germans had nothing to do with the Hitler situation. We still have our own guilt burdens to carry from our sad history of slavery, which we're reminded of much more often, and the ghosts of which still haunt our very culture. Some still also carry our own guilt complex about what we did to the Native Americans, too.

    I know people like to blame the "American media" on many, many things, but imposed guilt over the Hitler situation? More than fifty years after the fact? Please.
  34. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    Hello Pivra
    It is possible that this is a red herring in that the news medium concentrates almost exclusively on the BAD news and controversy.
    I no longer watch the news on television or read newspapers because I am sick and tired of seeing stories that are almost always twisted beyond any connection to truth or accuracy.
    Most stories that are portrayed about any country seem to be quite biased toward sensationalism and I doubt if any thought is given to the zeig heil brigade at all.
    I have just watched a parody of current affairs reporting that reveals many tricks used to twist stories. The Show is Australian and is called Frontline but I suspect that this is a copy of an overseas show. It may be worth a look as it reveals the workings of power in much the same manner as Yes Minister.

  35. Layzie Member

    United States
    English, Spanish.
    I saw the German movie downfall, and it seemed to place the blame on hitler and persuade the viewer to sympathize with the German people. People get deluded all the time. If half my country voted for bush, then it just goes to show that people will always mistakingly follow. The Germans have nothing to be ashamed about.
  36. Pivra Senior Member

    Have you watched Eurotrip? There are many more things about Germany to make jokes of, but why Hitler?
  37. MarcB Senior Member

    US English
    Hi Forer@s
    To Cherine was El Alamein not in Egypt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Alamein
    Most people were affected n one way or another by that war. Several years ago I heard victims and their descendants blame Germany for the evils of the war. The further away we get from the war and the fewer living victims the sooner we forget. I think we can not forget the ills of the past, least we repeat them. But I do not hold accountable people who were not yet born (the sins of the father). People should, no, must reconcile their differences and grow. So let’s forgive the sons of the fathers yet not forget nor dismiss the fathers for their role
  38. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I am not familiar with the movie and I do not know what type of jokes were used but it is my opinion that we should laugh at every power crazed fool we can.
    We should hold every cross-eyed moron with a wrinkled forehead who wants to rule the world up for public ridicule at every opportunity.
    Mel Brooks has carved a career out of really bad nazi jokes and openly holds the view that dictators hate to be laughed at so this is why he does it and I totally agree with him.

  39. Pivra Senior Member

    I remember bunch of people in my class were laughing in Romeo and Juliet when one of the lines says

    " Come hither.." they said, come Hitler. lol Luckily there were no German exchanged students in our class but I am not sure about other classes.
  40. Krümelmonster Senior Member

    Germany, german
    Well, I don't want to talk about movies, because they always portray history in a way you can make a good story of it, and you have to show a good one and a bad one in order to make it a blockbuster.
    But media definitely keeps us from stoping being "old Nazis". You want an example? For the World Cup, the police had as a symbol a little ball with a police cap on his head, why not... Now, british press said it shows we're still Nazis because the black spot in the middle of the footballs face is not a nose but Hitler's beard... See what I mean? Germans have to be careful with everything they say and do, because people like to interpret it the wrong way... Gosh, that's just some stupid smiling ball!!!
  41. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Those who iterpret the nose of the ball as Hitler's moustashe (it's a moustashe, not beard, Hitler didn't have a beard:)), have a sarious problem in their heads... You can find bad side in almost everything if you really want to. Therefore, the hell with them.! I like this ball...:)
  42. Seana

    Seana Senior Member

    I like this ball too.:)
    Dear Krümelmonster, natasha is right, try to see the brighter side of this situation rather than only dark, nowadays Germany is wonderful, large nation being counting in the world. So, you will often be a target of the coarse jokes, satire and the criticism -it is simply price of the greatness.
  43. pickypuck Senior Member

    Badajoz, Spanish Extremadura
    Extremaduran Spanish
    Of course not... but if so... why to limit that guilt to a nationality... why not to religion, colour of skin, gender...?

    Crazy! :eek:
  44. luar Senior Member

    Why should I feel guilty for something that my parents did? There is an interesting concept in family therapy: differentiation. It refers to the ability that one has to understand that his arm is his arm and not his father’s, that his legs are his legs and not his mother’s, that his life is not a continuation of his parents’ life. Then, should contemporary Germans feel guilty about the Nazis? No! But if someone does feel this way, I would highly recommend a few sessions with a good Bowenian family therapist.

    Paraphrasing Savater: If we want to be at peace with ourselves and with one and other, we must kill the dead. We must kill them, and certainly their conflicts, hatred, suffering, guilt would die too.
  45. Everness Banned

    The Bible has a different take on this issue. The Ten Commandments talk about a moral and spiritual principle that might yet be in operation.

    "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20.4

    Maybe it's hard for Western individualistic societies to understand the implications of this commandment. Rampant hyperindividualism doesn't allow us to see how interconnected we are horizontally (in the here and now) and vertically (historically). The fact that we don't see or acknowledge this reality doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Some of us would love to be cut off from our shameful past as individuals, families, nations and world. But it's impossible. Of course we shouldn't allow our past to overtake our present and future. However, we can't just kill our past or pretend that it doesn't exist. We need to integrate into our communal lives. We need to put it into the correct perspective. How we do that? Telling the good and bad stories. In that sense, we could all learn form the Jewish people.

    I like family therapy but this time I'll go with the Bible.
  46. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, of course Marc, El Alamein is in Egypt. And people still get killed by the mines planted in our soil more than fifty years ago (Egypt is the fourth most heavily mined country in the world). We can't develop the major part of our north coast because the Axis and Allies won't give us the maps of the mines they planted in Egypt, which was a "theater" of there stupid war.
    But this doesn't mean we hate Germans (in fact, many Egyptians of that time were so naive as to wish for Germans' victory, dreaming that this would liberate them (past us) from the British colonization).
    Germany is a very respected country -I speak of Egypt, but I don't think we're alone in this feeling- and also admired : a country that could rise from almost ashes, build a modern civilsation in less than fifty years, German people who are so hard working, highly organized (we consider them a bit cold and too organized, as machines) but we still admire them a lot.
    We -partial victim, who still suffer until now- don't hold the current Germans liable for what their ancestors did. And this is why I was shocked to learn that they teach their children to be ashamed and to feel guilty. I understand that they teach them to be ashamed of the sins/crimes committed by their predecessors; but to feel guilty ?! this is what I can't understand.
  47. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Something happened with my huge answer and right now I am so angry :mad: that I cannot repeat it, but Fenix, I promise, I'll be back with the answer.
  48. maxiogee Banned

    You make a major misreading of the piece there, Everness.

    It is this GOD who will do the punishing.
    No mention is made of us being required to punish either ourselves or others.
    We must not presume to do this God's work for it.
    Note also that this God only states the it will thus punish those who hate it (and their children), no mention is made of punishing other offences.
    Who are we to ascribe guilt to anyone? —> I'm not ready to cast the first stone, particularly not against a whole nation!
  49. Everness Banned

    You got it all wrong. You don't need to be a deist --rationalists who perceive God as a watchmaker who set the universe running and let people manage it by reason-- to abhor the idea of God as a micromanager.

    The Ten Commandments give us, using Fromm's words, an object of devotion and an ethical framework. This is God's message: "Here are the moral principles I want you as individuals, families and nations to observe. If you live up to them you'll be blessed. If not, sooner or later you'll have to face the consequences." What's important to emphasize in a world so absorbed in the here and now, is that the next generations will pay the price of our sins of ommission and commission. (And this doesn't apply exclusively to our hobby of destroying the environment.) However, whole nations can acknowledge their misdeeds and turn their communal lives around. That's exactly what Germany did. In other words, there's also a chance for redemption. But first you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror and recognize and renounce your ability to inflict so much pain on others. (Of course this doesn't apply to the current American administration who see themselves above God's law.)

    I would add that even if there weren't a God, there are moral laws that need to be followed by mankind.
  50. maxiogee Banned

    Germany didn't do anything of the sort.
    Those who did the evil were removed, and Germany carried on as 'normal' — getting on with life as must everyone else.

    Mmmmm - "laws"? I'm not so sure. We accord each other "rights", and we set ourselves "moral standards", and we try to encompass most people's ideas of their own moral standards into our various nations' laws - but I don't see any evidence of either "natural law" or "moral law" - these are concepts which societies (usually religions) use to try to rationalise their strictures.
    We all, individually, have to decide what is the 'good', and how to live a good life.
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