I've resisted going to Germany but.....

Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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I've resisted going to Germany but.....

Now I am finally about to go.

For years I have had a psychological resistance to going to Germany because of their history during WW2 and the Holocaust. Intellectually I know this is foolish, but emotionally I have not been able to overcome it. As a result, I have not been to this country, but have been to many, many others.

As a result of the influence of my very dear cousin, we are going next week with our DHs on a river cruise down the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers through what is expected to be beautiful countryside and interesting cities. I am looking forward to going and hoping that I will make the leap and accept that Germany is now a totally different country now that we are in the 21st century.

I know that this topic has been discussed on other places on Fodor's but I thought I would express my new-enthusiasm to visit Germany.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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As a German I am certainly not the perfect person to convince you it's a beautiful country, great hospitality and excellent landscape and restaurants - not to forget the German wines!

Holocaust is part of German history and won't be forgotten. I don't want to shift to other countries and their burden - but at one stage it's time to close the file particularly as the Germans you probably meet don't belong to the culprit generation. As there is that say which means "who is sitting in a glasshouse should throw the first stone".

Forget the past - if you can - and just appreciate what you experience!

Safe travels!

SV (@))
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Germany is very different today and I hope that you like it here. Right now it is beautiful with all the spring flowers and trees blooming. The vineyards should be getting green too.

You might be pleasantly amazed at how many Jewish families come here to discover their roots, to visit where their families lived, to see those cities, like Berlin and Frankfurt, that had such high Jewish populations, where their ancestors had resided for hundreds of years. In fact, some of the higher quality tour companies in Berlin offer their tours regularly in Hebrew, so that those coming from Israel have a better experience.

There are memorials through out Germany to help keep alive the memory of those who were persecuted. Memorials to Jews, to Homosexuals, to Roma and Sinti, to Jehovah Witnesses, to those who were euthanized in the T-4 program, and to Communists too. Look for Stolper Stein in the towns you are visiting. These are brass cobblestones set in the sidewalk in front of houses where people lived who were executed. Germany has over 20,000 of these installed so far.

All countries change. Look how much America has changed since the 50's and 60's when Africn-Americans were persecuted, lynched and killed. Or the treatment of the Japanese who were interred in camps during the war losing all their property, or the appalling treatment of Native Americans. Think about Great Britain and their treatment of the natives in their colonies, or Australia and their Aborigines. No country is "clean" of atrocities somewhere in their history.

The passing of years allow countries to start again with a clean slate if they strive to better their policies and the behaviour of their citizens. I believe Germany has done this.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:54 PM
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>"who is sitting in a glasshouse should throw the first stone"
So is it:
1) "who is sitting in a glasshouse should not throw stones" or
2) "whoever is without sin should throw the first stone".

It could also be "whoever is without sin should not throw stones". ;-)
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 12:56 PM
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Lolo, look at it this way: you can visit a concentration camp to pay respect to those who were murdered.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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I hope you have a great trip and I am glad you have decided to give Germany a chance. We went to Germany a few years ago and are planning to go again next year. We had great fun in Germany.

WWII and the Holocaust was a terrible time in world history and the Germans have to live with the legacy of that. But we are in a new century and a few generations have been born since then. The oldest of the post-war generation are now retired and the people who were adults in Nazi Germany are quite elderly. Enough time has passed that most people in Germany weren't even alive during WWII.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 01:20 PM
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I did the same for 40 years (mainly because they used to nick our sunbeds in Spain during the 70s).

Went to Munich 2 years ago. Was absolutely stunned and bowled over. Very much like the yanks, generally aholes when on tour but really nice people on their own patch.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Thank you for giving us a chance. I am sure you will have a great time. Ok I am biased, being a German, but I think there is hardly a nation in the world that deals with the flaws of its history as openly and honestly as modern Germany. The memory is kept alive on purpose. The topic is discussed and researched. You will find information about what was happening in those terrible twelve years everywhere. There are certain people who still don't get it but they are a small minority - like any country in the world we have our share of idiots. Post-war Germany is shouldering its legacy and aiming at doing better.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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We love Germany and have traveled there often over the past 10 yrs. We lived in Vienna for a couple of years back in the 1980's and saw what physical and emotional damage was suffered there during WW2.

Germany has created memorials and holocaust museums throughout the country to show the world what happened and what must never happen again. They have not run away from this terrible time in their history but have made sure that the world learns from it.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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I'm not into behind kissing as has been trained into our youth from the late 60s generation. In a way those people DO make me sick, they have no spine and no sense of history.

Maybe, just see and look there are honest people and disregard all those others. Yeah, Germany is o.k., somehow and in a way. I can't stand many of those left young pseudo professional guild bearers. They've go no idea about life.

Anyway, it's not so bad, but I wouldn't want to die here!
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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I love Germany and I like the people very much. The country is really beautiful, with beautiful countryside (esp. in the south), charming towns and exciting cities. So much of the architecture is gorgeous, and the baroque churches are fabulous.

When I'm in Germany, I never feel that I have to watch my purse or be concerned for my personal safety.

One of the things that impressed me was when my sister and I visited Linderhof. Our car did not have a closed trunk, so we had to leave our luggage exposed when we parked. Knowing Germany pretty well, I felt fairly secure with leaving the car in the wooded parking lot, but I thought I'd ask the young guard if he thought it was secure. He looked at me like I was mildly crazy--like, "Sure it's okay. No one will bother it." He was right. No one did.

The people are friendly and helpful. When my sis and I (both obviously past our prime) were hesitating at the bottom of a looong flight of stairs leading out of the Munich train station and up to the street level, a man grabbed my sister's suitcase, and without saying a word, carried it up to the top of the stairs and left it there. A minute later a young woman did the same for my suitcase. Not a word was spoken by either.

I really think the Germans have faced German guilt for WWII and the Holocaust in a way that the Japanese have not. In Schwäbisch Hall, there were several places in the town there were sunk into the sidewalks brass plaques with the names of Jews, their birthdates and date and place of death (usually Auschwitz) and the word "ermordert (murdered)."

On the Bebelplatz, site of the infamous book burning, I saw a group of kids about 13 or 14 years old looking down at the plexiglas sheet that covered the stark memorial of that act--a room of empty shelves. Their teacher was explaining to them about the burning, mentioning names of famous writers with whom they were obviously familiar.

For years, there was a perfomance of somekind--perhaps a cabaret--entitled (translated into English)"It wasn't me; Adolph Hitler did it." In classes I've taken, teachers have dealt with the Holocaust in different ways. One teacher took us to her nearby town and showed us the rebuilt synagogue; om another class we read poetry about people's denial of knowing what was happening to the Jews.

And as Spassvogel said, it was a long time ago--65 years since the end of the war. We will never forget the awful things that happened then, but the vast majority of the people you will see on the streets in Germany were children during the war or were not even born then.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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The first name is Adolf, no "ph". You can also say Adi, it was a common name at the time. Knowing the names of people is good!
It's just a first step, isn't it. I'm really scared about those people that get all the info about the planet end everything from the "History channel".(Not claiming that is you!!).
Now in color...
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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Too much sarcasm for a forum with sooo many americans, right?
Harald Schmidt today did a special on his ARD TV show about Hitlers dog and how this german shephard miserably died in the Bunker.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 04:16 PM
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Every country has and will make mistakes. Once we understand that what happened in Germany can happen anywhere and on larger or smaller scales does happen, then you can deal with it.

I think logos has a point, albeit a little vague. There are the WWII vets of Germany still hail and hearty and I think it's important to understand them and what happened to them. There are plenty of slippery slopes in life. It could be possible that when we understand who those guys were and they were young guys and what happened, we understand ourselves a little more.

So with all that emotion begin your research into what shaped Germany. Think about how you would have reacted if you lived in a small community and how difficult it is to go against the various tides of humanity. Remember too, that Hitler was elected, not by a majority but with a third party split.

That the ways the Jewish people were depicted in the beginning with rat faces etc, they themselves started believing it.

Germany isn't a totally different country than who they were. That's a fantasy, they grew out of this and became the country and people they are today because of this. I'm not saying that is a great thing. It just is a human happening and it happened to Germany.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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You know, LSky it's "just" this thing when you see that people today have no idea about the world and the way things were, that scares me. Nothing has changed maybe except there's now a lefist brainwashed youth in Germany and in other places, where there were Nazis before. The next Hitler could turn them into vicious beasts in no time, they just accept what they're told without questions an feel good about it! I'd love to get some sense about history into their heads, but it's too late and with many, once the crisis worsens, they just will do what they're told to. And yet they still think they are better!
You're just helpless...

Germany hasn't changed, just their brains are washed with a (slightly?) different detergent now. And yes, it could and in fact does happen anywhere. It's not the Germans, it's people.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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Exactly logos. I don't see what the difference is now with the Leftist. Hitler was a Leftist too, correct me please if I'm wrong. On this little micro-community on Fodors, we see on mini scales what can happen in the tides of humanity.

Fortunately or unfortunately, people do except what they are told without question. It's never too late. I recently read someone who was talking about "new age" religion and she said, people want to deal with angels but they never want to deal with demons. You have to deal with the bad and recognize the bad within yourself.

One of the best questions that someone ever asked me was, "who are you prejudiced against?" Of course, I said, "no one. We're all the same" or some such bs.
He said, "naw, everyone has it, so dig deeper."
I dug and dealt with who I was prejudiced against. And now I recognize it. There are times when it creeps in and I have to name it, “that‘s my bigotry.” That‘s my demon and it doesn't have anything to do with them.

When we recognize the demons or whatever term within our own hearts we can speak to help that evil in others. Like you said, “it's not the Germans, it's people.” You understand how much others would like to say, “no, it’s the Germans.” It take courage and truth to stand up. They might ridicule you, they might hurt you.

The one thing I love about going to your country is the people. And hopefully I don't sound like a nutcase here, but I feel like people have a sense of how to deal with the demons. They learned a great lesson about what it is to be human.

There was only one place in the Deutschland where I felt uncomfortable on an inner level. I told my husband, lets get out of here, something bad happened here. He said, "honey this is Germany all kinds of bad has happened here." No, it was different there. It felt as though an evil that had been hidden and unexplored, never let to the light.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 05:21 PM
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sorry for the long diatribe.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Logos, what's with the sarcasm? Have you been hitting the Slivovitz again? It's spelled Adolph in English. Big deal! I spelled it the English way, not the German way.

I lived in Germany for five years--albeit on an American Army post. I speak German, having taken college classes and then attended a total immersion language school (Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik), in Oregon State, several times; and three or four Goethe Institutes. At DSaP we studied German history, politics, economics, literature, poetry, music, culture--the works.

I've also visited Germany numerous times. I read history voraciously. Yes, I watch the history channel, but most of what I know I have learned through reading and through personal experience.

I'm not claiming to have an intimate knowledge of the German character. I just know what my experiences have been.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 10:11 PM
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>I spelled it the English way, not the German way.
What??? Are you not using the roman alphabet in your country. It's a name..., either spelled right or wrong. There is no English or German way of spelling.
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Old Apr 29th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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We could also discuss the riots that will happen tonight in Berlin, everybody knows this but nobody cares. Will people be killed this year? You will see some statistics on how many cars were torched tomorrow in the papers and how many people will be severly injured.
Yeah, thoses anachists are sooooo coool...
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