Michelle and I met the two most delightful German guys yesterday while getting manicures. They were very sweet, extremely kind, and wonderfully interesting. We agreed to meet for friendly drinks.
I feel like the country of Germany is very guilt ridden about the whole Hitler thing, as they very well should be. That was dumb. They should not have let him do that. People got hurt, cultures got extinguished, it was not okay.
And it was fairly recent.
I knew it would come up eventually. It always comes up eventually. I live in a Jewish facility, I work for a Jewish company, I drink Kedem grape juice with lunch…It was bound to happen. And I realize a person is not their former fascist dictator, and of course held nothing against him, but I still felt weird letting him know that I was Jewish. I just avoided saying it for some reason. Not that it mattered to anyone or would have changed anything…I just felt like once I said it there would be this elephant in the room of, “Hey, so, there’s a good chance your ancestors killed my ancestors…Nice that you admitted they were wrong…Nothing personal…Can you pass the pretzels?”
Put a Jew and a German together and the Holocaust is bound to come up eventually. And I just really didn’t feel like discussing it over cocktails.
And it did come up, as of course I predicted, and we had a long conversation about how much he loves Jews, and I told him how much I love African Americans, and we both established that despite our countries bad reputations we are not prejudiced people. And that was nice. But at the same time a little weird. It felt like making excuses for an obnoxiously drunk family member at a party. “Oh old Uncle Jimmy, you know him. Always committing genocide and enslaving people… I’m really sorry about that…”