This article was written jointly by Roger Froikin and Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks
Throughout the early years of my life in Yisrael, I heard people referring to you in various ways. They were diverse depending on the contexts, setting and who made a mention of it.
In my household, for instance, it was always negative and understandably so. Both my parents, my close family members and most of our friends were Shoah survivors. The mere citation of your name evoked memories of pain and suffering. It brought to the surface nightmares and recollections of an era which were frenziedly pushed to the dark corners of my family’s sub consciousness in an effort to erase any trace of their existence. Your forbidden name was engraved on their brain, the physical scars brandished on their skin and both are still imprinted on my soul.
“Never Forget, Never Again” is the motto that our people has adopted when we recall that chapter in our history where you, Germany, Deutschland have played such a critical role. That role, I must admit has changed us immensely. You have helped us raise and shape a race of Jews who are determined to make that motto a reality every single day of our lives.
In my home, though, and again, plausibly so, that motto was followed by “Never Forgive.” Surely you cannot blame blemished souls, emotionally and physically disfigured (my father was 70% disabled), for vowing that. We never bought products made by you. We never drove cars produced by you. Neither did we ever listen to the beautiful music composed by Strauss and Wagner. My brother and I were raised to believe that you were the embodiment of all evil.
I refused to accept that perception and was determined to change it. I was resolute to “Never Forget,” but I was also ready to forgive. For how, I asked myself, can anyone blame the children for the sins of their fathers? The optimist in me wanted to believe that the seed of goodness was after all in you and continued to hold the conviction that its fruition was provisionally hindered because it was tended by the wrong gardener. I wanted to believe that you and your people have learned the lessons of World War II and would make every effort to educate your youth the meaning of compassion, justice, civility and respect.
Needless to add that my embarking on such a journey towards such a noble goal was not very welcome by those who raised me otherwise.
Reality, however, soon dealt me a hard blow .The new, repenting Germany might have been the case for some. Not for all, though, so it seemed.
I recently learnt that "According to reports submitted by Israeli NGOs, in 2012-2015 alone, €4 million of German taxpayer money was allocated to 15 Israeli NGOs (this may be a partial amount, as not all Israel NGOs adhere to the submission requirements), 42% of which went to organizations that promote BDS and/or “one-state” visions. " (http://www.ngo-monitor.org/funder/germany/)
Such a reality makes me wonder, why do you, Germany, of all nations, engage in such activities, aimed at out rightly undermining the Jewish state, the Homeland of the same people that almost a century ago, you were so determined to annihilate?
The answer, I believe, can be summed up in one word, Projection. The term is used in the realm of psychology where it describes the actions of humans who defend themselves and their bad deeds by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others.
Naturally, you, Germany and some of your proud Germans, are aware of your dark history and your atrocious actions against the Jews. Such a history rests as a yoke on your neck refusing to disappear. The human conscience can bear only so much guilt especially when it is repeatedly flung at it. Your guilt-ridden essence needs to relieve itself of it.
Supporting and financing groups that promote BDS, which clearly present Yisrael and Jews as malevolent, is one way of dealing with all that guilt. It helps dwarf the crimes you committed against the Jewish Nation. Creating and aiding a narrative which portrays your victims as evil and themselves guilty of “war crimes,” helps diminish the magnitude of your own crimes and shift focus from them to those of their victims, those they have wronged so badly.
Such actions by you, Deutschland will eventually act as a boomerang. They may provide you with the so long sought after relief but it is merely a temporary one. Your current behaviour not only reopens and deepens our scars, it makes ‘Never Forget” and “Never Forgive” for people, like yours truly, more unyielding than ever before.