Bintel Blog

Poll: Israeli Ill Will Toward Germany Is Dissipating

By Nathan Jeffay

Is bad will towards Germany vanishing from Israeli society?

Once, it was common to hear people say they refuse to buy German goods. A new Hebrew University poll reveals that today only 6% of Israeli citizens today do so.

In fact, Israelis are pretty engaged with German culture. A third of respondents said they had watched a German movie of recent.

Among Jewish Israelis, pollsters found that some 61% are very satisfied with how Germany has dealt with Holocaust memorial and four in five think that Germany today is a “different Germany” to that which carried out the Holocaust. When the same pollsters asked that question on several occasions during the 1980s, the figure was always fifty-something percent.

In the new poll, when asked about German’s role in the Middle East, Jewish Israelis were very positive. Some 54% said they have confidence in Germany — 9% more than have confidence in France. Interestingly, only 27% of Israeli Arabs said they have confidence in Germany. This reflects a feeling among Arabs that Germany is pro-Israel. But it goes deeper.

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Man Beheads Wax Hitler

By Daniel Treiman

Reuters reports:

A man tore the head from a controversial waxwork figure of Adolf Hitler on the opening day of Berlin’s Madame Tussauds museum Saturday, police said.

Just minutes after the museum opened, the 41-year-old German man pushed aside two security men guarding the figure before ripping off the head in protest at the exhibit, a police spokesman said. The police were alerted and arrested the man.

The waxwork figure of a glum-looking Adolf Hitler in a mock bunker during the last days of his life was criticized as being in bad taste. A media preview of the new branch of Madame Tussauds Thursday was overshadowed by a row over the exhibit.

Critics said it was inappropriate to display the Nazi dictator, who started World War Two and ordered the extermination of Europe’s Jews, in a museum alongside celebrities, pop stars, world statesmen and sporting heroes.

Let’s just hope that this fellow doesn’t cross paths with any of these cats.

UPDATE: The Guardian reports that the wax fuehrer’s foes are celebrating the decapitation, while the German newspaper Bild is reporting that the wax Hitler — let’s call him “Witler” — has been flown to London, of all places, for repairs. (It would have been fitting if the RAF had intercepted his flight.) Madame Tussauds, for its part, is vowing to return “Witler” to its Berlin museum as soon as he is re-headed. Meanwhile, the museum seems to be facing possible legal action from another, much less genocidal former German leader: ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl, who reportedly said that he didn’t give permission for his wax likeness to be displayed.


With Friends Like These…

By Daniel Treiman

Ha’aretz reports:

Nazis against anti-Semitism? As bizarre as that sounds, a group of Germans which calls itself “National Socialists For Israel” launched its Web site in support of Israel.

“Stop the hatred of the Jewish people,” the Web site reads. “The Jews are a healthy, strong nation.”

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Jew vs. Jew in Germany

By Daniel Treiman

The Economist offers an interesting look at Germany’s Jewish community, which has grown dramatically thanks to an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. But it is a community deeply divided, between the native German Jews and the Russian-speaking newcomers, who now make up more than 90% of the population.

The Economist reports:

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Albert Speer’s Son Follows in Father’s Footsteps, Trailed By His Dark Shadow

By Daniel Treiman

Hitler’s chief architect, Albert Speer, is remembered, in part ,for his grandiose vision for remaking Berlin’s built landscape along fascist lines. In an irony of history, it turns out that his now 73-year-old son — who has the same name as his father — went on to be an influential urban planner. The younger Speer is preparing an Olympic bid for Munich and has designed entire cities in China and Nigeria from scratch.

The German newspaper Spiegel profiles the younger Albert Speer.


Reparations and the Couch

By Daniel Treiman

A group representing children of Holocaust survivors is demanding that Germany cover the costs of psychiatric treatment to alleviate cross-generational trauma they suffer. The group filed a class-action lawsuit in Tel Aviv calling for establishment of a fund to pay for regular therapy sessions for 15,000 to 20,000 people, Time magazine reports.

Commentary’s Gabriel Schoenfeld thinks the lawsuit is “preposterous.”


Worst… Book Title… Ever

By Daniel Treiman

mobile modernity

Wondering what the book’s about? Fortunately, there’s this informative back-cover testimonial from Stanford literature professor Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht:

Reading the texts of a culture that could only achieve its Germanness by being so utterly Jewish, along the lines of the 20th-century’s terminal mass migrations, Todd Presner’s book opens our 21st-century eyes to a new way to narrate — and to be obsessed with — the Holocaust, i.e. that which will never be arrested in concepts because it forever exceeds our conventional thought and imagination.

Thanks for clarifying, Prof. Gumbrecht!



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