Given that the up until the 1980s the Nazis and all their terrible implications were written out of German education, it certainly seems Germany has made up for this in the last 30 years.

This blog will basically take the form of a rant based on our experience of the perpetual apology towards, very specifically, the murdered Jews of the Holocaust.

Firstly, the Holocaust Memorial Museum is much better than the Jewish Museum, and not just because it is free. In an intimate and personal way, it humanises the the historical statisitics. That over 6 million people (not just Jews – also homosexuals, political oppenents, Roma, blacks, mentally/socially nonconforming [anyone who challenges the ‘Volk community’], physically impaired, ‘work-shy’ [the Nazi wording for not “working” ie the homeless and unemployed], the list continues…) were killed by the Nazis is a kind of incomprehensible. This exhibition brings faces to this statistic and is at times emtionally quite hard. [One room is usefully dark, so you can read the letters, telegrams and diary entries lit up on the floor without other people realising when you cry… – Lucie] However, one of my only criticisms of this exhibition, it that while it is a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, it barely mentions any other group that were killed. However, compared to the Jewish Museum, this exhibition was perfect.

Of course you might say, “If you go to a Jewish Musuem what do you expect to read and see”. But my response would certainly be “Not the most biased, factually misleading, and Zionism-encouraging exhibition I have ever been to in my life”. If you want to learn about how the Jews are the most oppressed and continually persecuted group in the world ever, as well learning what particular spoons were used for, then this is the exhibition for you. If you also want to learn how all the Jewish people who have done great things in the last 100 or so years did so precisely because they were Jewish, then you should certainly go. Also, if the idea of queueing in a compulsory cloakroom line for 45mins makes your body tingle, get over there (preferably not by flying) right now.

I am by no means attempting to say the people who either saw themselves as Jewish or who were considered Jewish (Marx was apparently a “non-Jewish Jew”) have not been persecuted terribly over the centuries. However, they are by far not the only group to have suffered historically,  nor the only group to suffer in WW2. Where is the exhibition for the political dissidents, both in Nazi Germany and throughout history? Where is the memorial to the persecuted women, blacks, Roma, Sinti, Slavs and so on? Over 200,000 “Gypsies” were murdered by the Nazis, while conservative estimates suggest 5,000 mentally disabled people were murdered. The Museum claims that Jewish people did not have the vote until 1871 in Germany, but when, for instance, did women get the vote in Germany? Answer – 1919. Section 175 made homosexual acts between men illegal until 1994!

The Museum claims that Jewish people did not get equal rights after the Englightenment. Well yes, thats true. But unless you were white, middle-class or higher and male, neither did you. Half of all Jews lived at or below subsistence level, but so did most people. The list of examples of where this Museum draws out the persecution of Jews without considering the broader historical and poltical context is endless. The exhibition suggests that the Holocaust was a logicical conclusion of the anti-Semitism of the previous centuries.  This is in itself a problem, but more significantly, is used to faciliate a pernicious logic.

While not stating this explicitly, what the permanent exhibition in the Jewish Museum does is justify the claim to a Jewish-specific land. In the children’s section of the Museum you can find pictures on the wall stating “Israel is our saviour. We love Israel”. In my worst handwriting, I had to respond by writing “FREE PALESTINE”. And this is exactly the point. The land that this exhibition implicitly suggests Jews should have was, as a Polish Rabbi at the end of the 19th Century noticed when trying to find a land for the Jews, already occupied! Today there are over 1 million Palestinian refugees, all displaced by the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists.

Pastor Niemöller’s famous quotation ‘First they came for the Jews’  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came… – is highly relevant in my opinion. We must stand in solidarity with each other, rather than forming aritifical and divisive lines between us. This exhibition perpetuates a mentality which can do little but harm both in understanding the past and changing for the future.

If you are looking for a more balanced version of this period in history (which is also free), check out the Topology of Terror (near Potsdamplatz).

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