December 11, 2018

A love letter to Germany, from the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors

Dear Germany,

I have a lot of feelings to express to you, feelings I can’t understand just yet, feelings few will understand, feelings some friends will say are wrong and nonsensical – and that maybe I need a psychologist.

It’s strange to write and tell you this: I’m crazy about you. When Germany won European championship soccer games, I felt it as if it were my own team. When it lost in the semi-finals, I was sad. Yes, I even love your language.

As a Berliner this summer, I walk (and bike) around, feeling the smooth trams, delightful beer gardens, gorgeous parks and nice people embrace me, healing much of the difficulty I experienced living in terror-torn Israel in the past few years.

I can’t understand it, especially after visiting Auschwitz recently, seeing how your nation, decades ago, herded my people — naked, humiliated, pained, in agony — to a room where masked Germans threw in a couple of blue pellets that turned into gas to cause their bodies to writhe in pain and cease to function. My paternal Polish grandparents made it through Auschwitz because they were able-bodied.

And yet — it’s so strange! I’ve come to love you, Germany. Me. This Israeli patriot. This Zionist. This proud Jew. This dark, curly-haired girl (from my mom’s Iraqi side). Maybe it’s because our fates are intertwined, and what happens to you affects me, because much of who I am was shaped by what you did to my people — and my grandparents and their slaughtered families. And just as you are coming to grips with what you’ve done, my nation is still coming to grips with what you did to us. And now I feel your embrace, no matter what statistics say about anti-Semitism. I’ve had wonderful times in the creative, inquisitive, crazy, beautiful Berlin.

And now, when a terror attack hits you, I feel more pain for you than for any other European country victimized by terror, even as I hear friends say Germany deserves it, that it got what’s coming, especially for indiscriminately opening its borders to scores of migrants from antisemitic Muslim countries. But I feel your pain, and I want to fight for you, almost as much as I want to fight for Israel.


So I feel this need to tell you: it’s okay. It’s okay to be brutal again. It’s okay to be “cruel”. No — I don’t mean to murder, pillage, build concentration camps. I mean to be vigilant and not so damn politically correct, so that you could name the enemy — radical Islam — and fight it.

The media’s saying the motive of the Munich shooter,  the axe-wielding Afghani ISIS-fan, and (as I write this) the Syrian machete-wielder and suicide bomber — is “unknown.” But, Germany, we know the motive, and at least the ideas and methods that inspired it: jihad against “infidels”. “Lone wolf” attacks are simply the new, manipulative war technique to blur enemy lines and paralyze us.

You thought it was noble to swing open your borders, but you have chosen a slow path to self-destruction, and maybe it’s because, deep down, you feel a self-hatred because of your past. Or maybe, as some friends might say, deep down, you are willing to destroy yourselves — again — if it appeases some latent Jew-hatred in you.

Maybe you should have sided more strongly with Israel in its fight against jihad. Maybe you should have checked the antisemitism entering your country. Of course, good, helpless people have entered, but you also let in people who sympathize with the worst of your nation’s past, and not with the good, free Germany of the future.

Still, you don’t deserve this. So it’s okay to defend yourself, as German patriots, from Islamic terror and its adherents. Actually, I plead with you to, because I want to be safe again. I want you to provide me that safety because you’ve already given me so much joy just for this short time. Maybe, I dare say, you owe it to me and my family. Mostly, you owe it to yourself.

Please, please, know that even granddaughters of Holocaust survivors could love you and tell you that you can still have an iron fist when necessary, that you could be proud of where your country has gone and where it could be headed. I know, weird I’m telling you this. I still can’t explain it.

So, Germany, please take care of yourself, and of me.

Love, Orit

Update: This article has been translated into German by Andreas Boldt here, and has been shared on the Israel-German Friendship page on Facebook.