Alex Constantine - August 11, 2008
The descendants of Nazis decided to wash off the sins of their ancestors by converting to Judaism and finding new life in Israel
The descendants of war criminals are often marked by the sins of their ancestors. We can find examples of that across the globe and throughout human history. Somewhat more rare are cases of descendants who decided to flee from the past by running of to the descendants of the victims of their ancestors.
New Jews are ashamed of their German origins
A reporter of the Guardian, Tany Gold, discovered this paradox after reading a magazine for Orthodox Jews. The son of a notorious SS officer converted to Judaism and moved to Israel where he served the army. She also found dozens such examples. So she travelled to Israel to find out what exactly made them make such a change in their lives.
Aharon Shear-Yashuv is ashamed of his father and the fact that he took part in the Holocaust, so he decided to become a Jew.
- During my theological studies at university it became clear that I couldn't be a minister in the church. I concluded that Christianity was paganism. One of its most important dogmas is that God became man, and if God becomes man then man also can become God. Hitler became a kind of god – Aharon explained, adding that later he went to study Judaism in America. He then moved to Israel where he found his peace.
He did not want to mention his father, the only thing he would say is that his father was a Nazi and that he had renounced him as a son after he found out Aharon had moved to Israel and converted to Judaism. Describing these details he did not show regret, but compared it to Germany today.
My father is living a long lost ideology with no future. Such is the whole of Germany, acting proud, but in fact dying, he said.
- People there don't get married, and if they do they have one child. But the Turks and the other foreigners have many children. So it is a question of time that Germany will no longer be German. I think it is a punishment for the Holocaust. Germany will leave the stage of history, no doubt about it. All the great cultures have left the stage of history. The Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Babylonians. But this little people, who gave so much to the world, do not – he said.
Running away from the past does not bring inner peace
Whoever reads carefully what Aharon said, they can easily notice the extremism in his understanding of the world and the fact that, although he ran away from his father in body, he did not do so in spirit. While his father as a Nazi killed Jews, Aharon decided to judge the Arabs in the name of Jews. Who knows, maybe his descendants will try to wash the sins of their fathers as Arabs.
But Aharon is not the only convert in Israel. There are many of them, but the society never accepted them. Psychologist Dan Bar-On confirmed this. He claims that converts are trying to run away from the past instead of dealing with the past, thus not solving anything.
While Aharon said his name, the others did not wish to do so because their anonymity is important, both because of the past life and their present life. It is interesting that all of them decided to convert to Judaism when they were young. A 24-year-old convert from Germany is an interesting example.
The young man is actually a model of all the other examples because they all went through his youthful rapture and anger. He did not want to reveal his reasons for converting, although they are obvious. The reason is that both of his grandfathers and grandmothers were Nazis.
I would have become a Jew even if I wasn’t connected to Nazis in my family – he says, repeating everything the others repeated, although psychologist Bar-On completely refutes this.
He listed additional reasons being the society in Germany, a lot of neo-Nazis and so-called Catholics, a religion he hated all his life, for unexplained reasons. Probably because he was born a Catholic and because Catholics are opposite to Jews, that is, the victims of the Holocaust. That is, they look too much like the average German. So the young man decided to flee from everyday life to find peace.
There are those who face the past, even if it is too late. Human rights activist, that is, Palestinian right activist and a homosexual woman confirmed this.
I arrived in Israel in my early twenties. It was my rebellion, by answer to my family’s connection with Nazism and my strict upbringing as a Christian, she says. I could not stand it and I became a Jew out of spite. Now, 20 years later, I realise how immature I was and that the world is not comprised of things I though it was comprised of, she continued. Today the Jews are doing to the Arabs what the Nazis did to them. There is no difference and running away is not the solution. I understand that now, she said.
She dropped Judaism and decided to go back to Germany to solve problems she should have solved long before.
Hitler’s relative sees his great-great uncle in his children
All these converted Germans are not at all as interesting as the great-great nephew of Adolf Hitler, a person called in Israel ‘the Jewish Hitler’. His great grandfather was the half-brother of Adolf Hitler.
- - I have neither any blood nor DNA from Adolf and his family. I was not socialised by that family – he says, adding that the only person he recognised was his mother because she denounced Nazism during the war and she suffered for it.
His motives for moving to Israel and converting to Judaism are therefore, obvious. Like Aharon he studied theology to find peace and he found himself in Judaism. He remained in Israel after he spent six months there studying. But fate is a strange thing. As he was trying to run away from his ancestors, his descendants surprised him.
- Two of my sons are chauvinists and one of them is even partially racist. I can't listen to fascistic discourse. I don't suffer that – he disclosed a somewhat of an irony and sent a strong message about what running away does to a man’s destiny.