Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It Would Make A Most Entertaining Book

Jewish Anti-Semites.  You may recall that the Chicago area neo-Nazi that threatened in the late 1970s to march his little group through Skokie, Illinois (a community unusually rich in Holocaust survivors) because Chicago would not grant his group a permit to hold a rally in a Chicago park later turned out to have a Jewish father--and not just Jewish, but a Holocaust survivor.  There have been others that I have read about as well.  This is from the August 14, 2012 New York Times:
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of "buying up" the country, railed about the "Jewishness" of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols.
Then came a revelation that knocked him off his perch as ultra-nationalist standard-bearer: Szegedi himself is a Jew.
Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn't practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.
Having Jewish ancestors really should not be any great surprise.  For centuries, Jews have converted to Christianity in Europe and America for a variety of reasons: getting out from under the legal and social disabilities of being Jews; genuine religious belief; sometimes to keep a mob from killing them.

My earliest ancestors in America named Cramer were likely converts.  Cramer is one of those names that is both Jewish and Gentile; the name means "peddler" or "small merchant" in German.  The maiden name of my great-great-great-grandmother was Kahn, which is one of the many variants of Cohen and Kahane.

What is sometimes amazing is how many anti-Semites turn out to have Jewish ancestors, like Szegedi, or where there is some serious reason to suspect that this might be the case, like Adolf Hitler.  Shortly after the Anschluss that united Austria into Germany, it appears that some of his ancestral records disappeared.

I am distinguishing here between Jewish anti-Semites and those who make bizarre compromises.  Saul Friedlander's Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 is a very readable account of the early years of Nazi rule, and includes the bizarre example of a Jewish professor of classics who supported the Nazis, even though he thought it would likely be to the detriment of the Jews, because Hitler would do such wonderful things for Germany.

9 comments:

dearieme said...

One of the consequences of Hitler was to replace a Jewish minority that was assimilated, few, and patriotic, by a Turkish minority that wasn't.

Clayton said...

Of course, German Jews didn't occupy the same niche as German Turks. German Jews were significant parts of the sciences, arts, and business.

Anonymous said...

Were you alluding to George Soros?

Clayton said...

Actually, I would not characterize George Soros that way. His work for the Nazis helping to loot other Jews during World War II was an unsurprising form of self-preservation--but his unwillingness to acknowledge (apparently even to himself) that it was wrong shows that Soros is just a completely amoral person.

asdf said...

Are you sure that Soros was involved in self-preservation, and not profit?

James B. Shearer said...

Inasmuch as Soros was born on August 12, 1930 I doubt he should be judged too harshly for anything he may have done during WWII.

Clayton said...

His unwillingness to acknowledge in interviews that there was something at least shameful about what he did is what most impresses me. A kid goes along to save his own life? There were plenty of adults who did that--members of Judenraten who hoped to save their lives and their families by feeding the Nazi killing machine. But Soros won't even admit that he did something wrong.

James B. Shearer said...

Going by Soros's wikipedia entry his offences, if any, during WWII seem pretty trivial to me and hardly worth bringing up.

Clayton said...

I'm guessing Soros's flying monkeys have a lot to do with his Wikipedia entry. This is one of the reasons not to trust Wikipedia too much.