Tom V. (tiotditv) wrote,
Tom V.

On being German

Not a day has gone by in the past 12 years when I did not hear the name 'Hitler' or the term 'Nazi'. Ever since I moved to this country, I have ever repeatedly been reminded of the past of my country of birth. It is incredibly rare that when someone finds out I was born in Germany, that they do not make Hitler or nazi "jokes".

Yes, jokes. Something tells them that they're actually funny and unique.

First of all, before all the other mumbo jumbo, let me say "you saying that is about as unique as sliced bread". Nothing in the world has been done to death more than Hitler and Nazi 'jokes'. Nonetheless, let me go on.

I would very much agree that Hitler was the most influential person of the 20th Century. When it comes to one single person, I don't think anyone has had any more of an impact upon the world than Hitler. And that can even be said not just for the 20th Century, but probably even all of time. Hundreds of years from now, the name will not have left our consciousness.

Now few people would deny the atrocities commited by him under the name of 'German Supremacy'. (Yes, there are those who deny the holocaust ever happened and there are neo-nazis, but those are fringe groups, similar to the Flat-Earth Society).

What I question however is the association of modern German people to National Socialism. I do not think that there is any other country defined as much by their past today as Germany. The core of the identity given to Germans by outsiders lies at Nazism. It does not matter how you, in essence, feel about the world as a German, you will always be portrayed as a violent, jew-hating, white-supremacist with a stupid moustache.

But that makes me wonder... Why do we not treat other nationalities like that when they go abroad? Why is it that when Australians go overseas, no one asks them 'hey, do you wanna go steal some aboriginal babies?'. Occasionally, the odd hippie here or there will ask the visiting American 'so which country do you want to invade today', but again, that is still a fringe group. Anti-American humour, although it exists in fringe circles, has not grown to the extent that Nazi humour has extended itself into popular culture.

And living here in Australia, as someone who is German, is quite awkward sometimes. When I visit back 'home' sometimes, I am known as the "Australian" whereas here in Australia, I am known as the "German". In essence, I have no nationality attached to me (which I guess contributes to my support of the No Borders network).

But what does truly annoy me is the double standard. Again, people are always more than happy enough to blame me for the holocaust, or make Hitler jokes at my expense. But taking blame for the Stolen Generation is 'not our fault, I had nothing to do with it, it was past politicians, why should I apologise?'. So fucking what? The core of my identity here in Australia is built on the decisions made by past politicians.

And I guess that is why I have tried so hard to actually make myself an interesting person, by studying, taking bizarre jobs, going astray from modern beliefs of living - to create a unique identity. Because if I did not do all these things, if I did just get a job somewhere doing x for years on end, I will end up being known as the Nazi no matter what.

Ah Fuck.
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