Tag Archives: israel

Today, my body was a TV-ed massacre… Gaza explained to all English speakers, with German translation below

I know that after reading this blog many will ask me to imitate Otto Weininger. Even more will offer to help me with this. Those people don’t even have to listen to this, they know it already, anyway.

For all the others: Please listen to the poem of Rafeef Ziadah: “We teach life, Sir”.

And for those who understand German, read also the poem below. Especially Israelis with European origins. – They should have been taught this poem anyway,  and repeated it on every Holocaust Remembrance Day – for it describes the essence of the Holocaust: the routine of daily cruelty… This poem describes all that Raul Hilberg said in his 1000 pages long book “The Destruction Of European Jews”. The most fundamental history book about the Holocaust.

This book and the brilliant “movie” Claude Lanzmann made of it are considered as the most fundamental works about the Holocaust. The never ending rail-road sounds in this movie and the unbelievably precise statistics in this book describe perfectly well the rhythm of the Holocaust. I saw it and can only say that “Sho’a” is as brilliant as it is said. You can hear the “sound bytes” of the Holocaust machinery. By hearing them you can imagine a little how this unbelievable suffering must have felt. The rhythm of the generators which pumped the gas into the room make you imagine a little how you would have felt in this closed room. You can also hear the scream of the human who is shoved alive into the oven. You can hear it by its absence in both the movie and the book. “Sho’a” describes the routine of the killing. The normality of the “work” that has to be done. The normality of the daily work the ‘administrators’ of the German Railway society, who sold a ticket to each deportee, with reductions for groups. The normality of evil.

-One must find a final solution to the Palestinian problem (e.g. Jewish Question) , and we must sit together and talk and talk, endless and useless talks, but in the meantime, to ensure the security of our people, we must continue to do our daily “work”. Kill “the other”, to ensure the security of “our” people (Israelis now/Germans then) . We could be infected by the filth of the heartless Arabs who are, after all, like rats, a dirty, symbol of crime and evil (e.g. Jews in Germany).-

“Arabs should be exterminated  like ants, just sprayed upon” (with White Phosphorus, maybe?) this nice lady in the shop told me one day, when chatting with her, I asked her how best to get rid of the ants that invaded my kitchen.

I did not insult her. I’ve known her for more than ten years and she’s intelligent (and proved it a few days later when she told me she felt that “we were losing our state” at the UN in September).

I tried to find myself and my words quickly, while I continued to smile and while I tried find a way to tell her that she just used the word “exterminate” in relation to human beings.

I did not find the right words back then. Like Rafeef, I’m finding them only now, weeks later.

Listening to Rafeefs poem reminded me of the day when I was asked, not long after my immigration to read Paul Celan’s poem “Todesfuge” out loud to an audience of English speakers, so that they would hear the rhythm of the Extermination Machine in his words expressing unspeakable suffering. It is known, too, that holocaust survivers re-live this place called death-camp every night again and again.

And that’s what Rafeef says: “I will hear the bombs until the end of my life”

And we all heard the bombs.. in the “sound bytes” of the videos transmitted from Gaza, live. Every day, we witnessed dozens of death “live” on every TV on Earth. We have seen the body parts, like we saw mountains of bodies in Buchenwald. We saw them but we didn’t notice that these weird bleeding things were kids, women, grandfathers. We didn’t SEE it. We had all the ‘sound bytes’, we had the ‘images’, but we did neither hear nor see.

We teach LIFE, Sir. We try to survive EVERY day, Sir, in the Ghetto of Warsaw, under conditions impossible to describe, with no medication, no food, no water sometimes. We woke up every day and taught our children LIFE, Sir. We survived in Ghettos, concentration camps – we survived in closed in Areas over the centuries, in the “Pale of Settlement” in Russia (nowadays called “Area A”).

We had to ask for a permit to go to Moskow (“tasrikh” in Arabic and “ishour” in Hebrew) – the capital of the Russian empire. If we received a permit, we could go, if not, then not.

Everybody knew that it was cruelty to have to ask for permits and that the attribution of them was random; it depends on the mood of the officer, on the amount of vodka in his stomach and the question if or if not he was worried about his estate at home, or that his wife may have a lover… If one was lucky, one could go…

I remember all this because I studied the Holocaust in all its expressions. I studied the facts, I read and translated tons of administrative letters from “LTI”(“Lingua Terzio Imperio” = Nazi-speak) into English. I heard the songs, and loved them. The songs from the Ghetto, and I love them still now. They made me love being Jewish – the songs of survival, the songs of pain. I read Shalom Ash and so many other books.

As a teacher in Europe, I “forced” my students to read a few pages from Elie Wiesel‘s “The Night” so that they would understand and not look awaynext time!!.

 Didn’t we say: Never again?

Auschwitz was the worst of humanity. It was. It was, for sure. But even if Gaza is “not the same” (“History repeats itself” – but never  identically), it may be “only” similar. I hope NOT. I sincerely do. I hope it for us Jews, Israelis, and I hope it for ‘them”, Gazans. I hope, I wish that we wouldn’t find body parts all over the place. But I’m afraid that we already do… The body parts are there, the dying has been seen “live” on TV, and the ‘sound bytes’ are confined in the videos. Maybe one day they will get out again to testify at the trial of War Criminals like the recorded videos of Nuremberg and the Eichmann Trial do.

I wish it was not true.

Listen to Rafeef Ziadah:


Paul Celan – Todesfuge (English version of the poem below)

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken sie abends
wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts
wir trinken und trinken
wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rüden herbei
er pfeift seine Juden hervor läßt schaufeln ein Grab in der Erde
er befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum Tanz

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich morgens und mittags wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng

Er ruft stecht tiefer ins Erdreich ihr einen ihr andern singet und spielt
er greift nach dem Eisen im Gurt er schwingts seine Augen sind blau
stecht tiefer die Spaten ihr einen ihr andern spielt weiter zum Tanz auf

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags und morgens wir trinken dich abends
wir trinken und trinken
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith er spielt mit den Schlangen
Er ruft spielt süßer den Tod der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
er ruft streicht dunkler die Geigen dann steigt ihr als Rauch in die Luft
dann habt ihr ein Grab in den Wolken da liegt man nicht eng

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken dich nachts
wir trinken dich mittags der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland
wir trinken dich abends und morgens wir trinken und trinken
der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland sein Auge ist blau
er trifft dich mit bleierner Kugel er trifft dich genau
ein Mann wohnt im Haus dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er hetzt seine Rüden auf uns er schenkt uns ein Grab in der Luft
er spielt mit den Schlangen und träumet der Tod ist ein Meister aus Deutschland

dein goldenes Haar Margarete
dein aschenes Haar Sulamith


Paul Celan: Death Fugue

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink it and drink it
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
he writes it ans steps out of doors and the stars are flashing he whistles his pack out
he whistles his Jews out in earth has them dig for a grave
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you in the morning at noon we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Sulamith we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined

He calls out jab deeper into the earth you lot you others sing now and play
he grabs at teh iron in his belt he waves it his eyes are blue
jab deper you lot with your spades you others play on for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at at noon in the morning we drink you at sundown
we drink and we drink you
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Sulamith he plays with the serpents
He calls out more sweetly play death death is a master from Germany
he calls out more darkly now stroke your strings then as smoke you will rise into air
then a grave you will have in the clouds there one lies unconfined

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death is a master from Germany
we drink you at sundown and in the morning we drink and we drink you
death is a master from Germany his eyes are blue
he strikes you with leaden bullets his aim is true
a man lives in the house your golden hair Margarete
he sets his pack on to us he grants us a grave in the air
He plays with the serpents and daydreams death is a master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith