October 22, 2009
The S-Bahn system in Munich is my transport, bed, and television. I have to ride it everyday for atleast 1 hour and in that time I get to meet a lot of people, see all the crazys, and enjoy the industrialized sector of the city.
Today I met an old man, probably in his mid 60s, and he was studying the Hebrew Bible. He was so fascinated that an American would want to come to Germany to learn his language and sponge up his culture. He explained that because WWII was so recent, Germany as a whole still has many negetive stereotypes against it and that wherever he has traveled, he’s been asked if he was a Nazi member.
In many ways, its sad that after generations of progress and technological ingenuity, that a land’s history can’t be shed, even in my age group. I find it comical that even someone from the USA has the nerve to ask such a question after Jackson conquered the indians, the entire nation tortured colored people, and just as recent as WWII, we rounded up the Japanese like cattle and put them in internment camps.
I am not anti-American but I am anti-hate.
One way to criticize Europeans as a whole is their hate towards the Turkish and North Africans. These groups are completely segregated into small sections of the city. I find that we treat minorities similair, but not with such aggression. The proximity to these countries probably adds to the problem.
Going back to the old man on the train: I found the bible to be significant because when I asked him about it, he said he is a non-believer Lutheran, but loves the culture of the Jews. I hesitated but went ahead and asked what his connection to WWII was. He said to me, his father was an SS officer; he himself was in the Nazi Youth. Near the end of the war, his father was imprisoned by the Soviets and when he was released, the war was already over.
He said, that in the 50s, when he was already a teenager, he studyed in a religious university located in the newly created state of Israel. Here, he continued, was where he learned to love Middle Eastern culture, and openly embraced all its values.
Unfortunately, this is where our journey ended, because he had to exit, but I feel that that 25 minute conversation can easily open ones eyes to the kind of attitude I have encountered in Germany. Empathetic and advanced thinking, capable of forgiving, and learning from there mistakes.
One small step for man, one giant leap for Bavaria
Celebrating a friends birthday in class