Germany likes to fancy itself as the world champion of Holocaust commemoration and contrition. And while it is true that Germany has loudly confessed and owned up to the terrible crime of the Holocaust, especially in relation to other European countries who prefer to minimize or ignore involvement, Germans still have to take a few extra steps to completely overcome Holocaust guilt and truly make amends.
The Culture of Remembrance
The “culture of remembrance,” as it is often termed in Germany, is often extremely cerebral, hardly ever personal.
Ask the average German in his or her 30s and 40s what his grandparents did during the war, and they will likely not know the answer. Most of the time, they don’t want to know. Some know vaguely. Others are relieved their ancestors served as German soldiers in the Wehrmacht (army), but not the SS. Some claim they hated the Nazis and resisted. They will almost always, without a doubt, acknowledge that “those” Germans perpetrated an unspeakable crime.
While the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, taking up several city blocks right near the Brandenburg Gate landmark, is impressive, I have been increasingly making the case that the greatest memorials that Germans could build are memorials of the heart. I believe that understanding family involvement in World War II, whether good, evil or neutral, will do more than make Germans conquer any lingering antisemitism that now expresses itself in anti-Zionism.
The Need for Introspection
This deep introspection could transform more than just German society but its individuals, healing a lot of hidden pain and subconscious guilt that prevents Germans from realizing their full potential; allowing them to develop deep, meaningful relationships with family members and friends; and making the right political decisions. The work will not be easy or comfortable, and so I have created a webisode series, along with the prominent German site, Die Achse Des Guten, that will provide Germany a loving Jewish couch for its much needed therapy session.
So here you have “Dr. Orit”, Germany’s (satirical) psychologist, offering Germans 3 steps to truly curing Holocaust guilt.