Jews fighting for Germany


By Jennifer Lipman
November 8, 2010
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The New York Times had a lovely piece yesterday about the German army and a memorial event for the 467 German-Jewish soldiers who died fighting for their country in the First World War.

According to the NYT: “It was organised by the Association of Jewish Soldiers, a small but growing group in the German military whose existence testifies to the feeling by at least some Jews that it is possible for them to be patriots again in the nation that once tried to wipe them out.”

Visiting the German First World War cemeteries on a school history trip to Belgium, I remember being struck by how desolate, how bleak they were. The dilapidated sites, visitors few and far between, contrasted immensely with the well-maintained, sparkling white British and French ones.

What impacted on me the most was seeing the name Lippmann inscribed on a memorial to the German troops – my name, albeit with a different spelling. Perhaps a relative, a Jewish soldier fighting for the side I had long thought of as “the enemy”.

On Thursday, there will be the annual two minute silence for the lives lost during what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars”. If some conflicts are black and white, simple cases of good versus evil, it’s worth remembering that not all of them are.

COMMENTS

Avraham Reiss

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 14:34

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"According to the NYT: “It was organised by the Association of Jewish Soldiers, a small but growing group in the German military whose existence testifies to the feeling by at least some Jews that it is possible for them to be patriots again in the nation that once tried to wipe them out.”"

- two words spring to mind:

1. Stupid
2. Masochists

I agree that Germany probably won't wipe out Jews again: they've had their turn, now it's some other country's turn.

But what kind of Jew would want to live and serve in a country with such a black history?


Yvetta

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 14:50

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Indeed. But maybe they think they are actively not giving Hitler a posthumous victory.


Avraham Reiss

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 17:04

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A valid point, Yvetta, and under other circumstances I emphasize it myself. Israel has already lasted five times longer than the "thousand Year Reich"!

But how can these Jews stand it?


newsmax

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 12:45

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One can't help but admire Germany and Germans - off all faiths and backgrounds.

This is a country that fought a war against the US, the Soviet Union, the British and French Empires with skill (and a certain panache), under a nihilist totalitarian government, was reduced to rubble after five years of total war, was occupied by the four powers, divided and emasculated yet within 9 years - half of the country - as West Germany, had won the World Cup! Stunning achievement when one thinks how long it took Ingerland to achieve their one and only success (against an unlucky West Germany) or for France and Italy to win. (Though Italy had already won it twice pre war)

I digress anyway. Respect to all soldiers who die in all wars.


telegramsam

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 12:50

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Newsmax, that's sick. IN WW2, the Germans fought with neither skill nor panache. Go and join Anthony and Avraham


Yvetta

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 13:09

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Sick! Vomitously repulsive. Grotesque. Monstrous. Odious.


yankeeuxb (not verified)

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 16:29

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Many Military historians would agree that the German armies fought with skill and panache in both the first and second world wars.
There is little doubt of that. Think of the 'glamourous' German soldiers: Rommel, Richtofen, Manstein. What's the beef? Have you never read any Max Hastings or Anthony Beevor (to name just a few)

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