Saturday, October 21, 2006

Two lives - past and present

Just a quick note... I spent today, Shabbat, reading, and what I was mainly reading was Vikram Seth's excellent and moving non-fiction book, Two Lives, about his Indian great-uncle, Shanti, and his German Jewish wife, Henny. I am half way through, absorbing in reading of the letters sent to and from Henny by her German friends, talking about how they had tried to help Henny's mother and sister before they were deported and murdered, and about life in Germany just after the war. It is deeply upsetting, all of it.

And then, just after Shabbat, I get online to check in with the news and I see this on the front page of the BBC: Envoy: 'German Jews feel unsafe' :

The Israeli ambassador to Germany has said he is concerned for Jews in Germany, against the background of what he says is rising anti-semitism there.

In a newspaper interview, Shimon Stein said the number of neo-Nazis in Germany had also increased. The interview appeared as neo-Nazi sympathisers gathered outside Berlin's Tegel Prison to demand the release of a singer jailed for three years. A court ruled that Michael Regener's band was spreading racial hatred. Mr Stein told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung he believed there was a greater willingness on behalf of neo-Nazis to use violence.

"I have the feeling that Jews in Germany do not feel safe. They are not always able to practice their religion freely," he said. "

It is hard to adequately describe my feelings at reading this. It is hard for me to find words for them. I don't think I need even find words. I want to lose myself again in the world of fiction, in my characters and their stories, a world in which, perhaps, I have some measure of control.

Shavua tov to everyone, a good week, a better week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is distressing. But why expect Germany to be better than France? Jews in France have felt unsafe for quite a few years now.

I wonder why neo-Nazism is on the rise in those countries. I am sure it is not mainly due to the growing numbers of Muslims in Europe.

But after more than 2000 years of anti-semitism, we should not be surprised.