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Historians have noticed that when Germans are asked about the uncomfortable issue of the Holocaust, many quickly bring up the war. ‘The Jewish war,’ as some Germans described it is remembered as a disaster for the German people as victims. The bombings stood out as the German civilian war experience. This is not the place to analyze how their self-image as victims might have alleviated German responsibility, embarrassment, or guilt regarding the genocide, nor how much serious damage was actually wrought. Kaplan, Marion A. Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life In Nazi Germany
I have reflected elsewhere on my own experiences as a child being introduced to the mysterious forbidden world of sexuality by predatory grown up men. (“Truth Telling” April 13, 2010) I might well be described as a “victim” of these adults who abused their position of privilege and power in my life. I have no doubt that I suffered a complex emotional wounding from these experiences in my pre-teen years.
But, as I think about those adult males in my past who took advantage of the positions entrusted to them, I have no doubt that they acted out of the wounds, brokenness and unresolved hurts of their own early experiences of childhood and youth. No doubt the same could be said for those who perpetrated monstrous violence against the Jews in Europe and presumably even Hitler himself.
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