Writer takes account of 'people love dead Jews'

Horn’s point is that Anne’s words are inspiring exactly because her perspective is not only incomplete but also false. We are taking the...


Horn’s point is that Anne’s words are inspiring exactly because her perspective is not only incomplete but also false. We are taking the easy way out rather than probing the depths of evil. We are looking for universal lessons instead of witnessing the actual persecution of the Jews. Horn wants us not to be encouraged by what appears to be the proliferation of these forms of remembrance, a proliferation engendered by an idealized and gracious perspective that aims to reaffirm the values ​​of the very culture that, despite everything, shattered so many. Anne Frank.

In three other essays, Horn deals with the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States. Here it becomes clear that his preoccupation with the ways we remember is inextricably intertwined with how we relate to what is happening today. Horn argues that defining the Holocaust as the bar of anti-Semitism means that “anything other than the Holocaust is, well, not the Holocaust.” The bar is pretty high. According to Horn, this could explain the limited shelf life, so to speak, of current events like the slaughter of Jews in Pittsburgh, San Diego, New Jersey.

And then there is the moment of relief that the Jews feel when they come to the famous questions of Act III of the “Merchant of Venice”: “If you sting us, don’t we bleed? … If you poison us, don’t we die? So Shakespeare was not really an anti-Semite, but rather, more benignly, a satirist when he described the stereotypical Jewish character of Shylock. After all, he’s Shakespeare, and we want him on our side.

Or how we recognize the Chinese government’s $ 30 million investment to restore “Jewish heritage sites” in Harbin, a city that was built by Russian Jewish entrepreneurs, who thrived there until they are no longer needed.

“People Love Dead Jews” is an exceptional book with a daring mission. He criticizes people, works of art and public institutions that few others dare to challenge. As I read this book, I began to think of the words I should have said to this woman from Motal. I should have answered that maybe Eastern Europe has found itself with a void, but I hardly have any family left.

But there’s a rare moment in Horn’s book where she admits the austerity from her own perspective. It’s in “The Legends of the Dead Jews”. The common family story that so many American Jews have heard about changing their last names to Ellis Island is a myth, she writes. The names were not changed by mistake. American Jews preferred to change their name in order to be able to integrate, merge, assimilate.

I expected Horn to criticize the purveyors of this legend. After all, they twisted the past to avoid the discomfort of its truth. But she writes: “Our ancestors could have lingered on sordid facts and transmitted this psychological damage. Instead, they created a story that ennobled us and made us confident in our role in this great country. Perhaps a review like this doesn’t always have to be about self-blindness. Perhaps, as Horn suggests, it is “an act of bravery and love.” Some things are just too painful to say.

Reading Horn’s beautiful words, I thought that maybe, after all, what this woman from Motal wanted and needed was a simple thank you, a handshake and a humble nod.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Writer takes account of 'people love dead Jews'
Writer takes account of 'people love dead Jews'
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