Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Twelve days a'countin'

I don't think I ought to comment on the news story about the advice the Berlin police administration gave to Jews considering a stroll through the Paris on the Spree. You know, the one where they say that outward signifiers of Jewish faith, like yarmulkes, striemels, long black gabardine coats, beards, et cetera, are very certainly poor fashion sense, and possibly rage-inciting?

You've come a long way, baby!

Ahem. That was in poor taste. I was looking for some pictures online - pictures of German soldiers standing around traditionally garbed rural Polish Jews, making fun of them. Failing that, pictures of Jewish men forced to wear Talleisim while cleaning the streets after Kristallnacht. But the picture of the couple with the signifying stars will do.

Gears grind.

Those effing Germans - their racial-national spirit personified in the police official giving the helpful advice to the Ha-aretz reporter - they just don't get it.

How charming. How marvelous -- Germans have swung between two extremes of aesthetic feeling regarding the externals of their Jews... Paul de Lagarde, a Germanist of the nineteenth century, demanded that the Jews of Germany utterly abjure their identity in order to stay within the land - a harmonious society was a homogeneous society - and since the Jews symbolized distinction and disciplined, malevolent alienness, they had to become German in appearance and spirit, or they had to be dealt with as disease bacilli:

With trichinae and bacilli one does not negotiate, nor are trichinae and bacilli subjected to education; they are exterminated as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.
The failure of Jewish assimilation brought the second aesthetic representational mode of Jewishness - the one that the Nazis imposed - that of forced distinction.

Look's like I found one of the pictures of abuse of traditionally-garbed Jews that I was looking for.

Forced distinction, intended to speed extermination - rather like this:

All in all- that was a remarkably stupid thing for the police bureaucrat to have said.

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