This morning IDF-Flakhelfer around the northern border enjoy reading the big german newspaper: it features an extensive interview on Zwiebel and Bernstein, which recalls in a lively manner showplaces such as Frundsberg and Kolberg, the Bodensee and Nuremberg.

While the interview makes for a lovely reading during interruptions of combat, the icing on the cake, or, as my comrades like to say: the yellow parasol on the Merkava, is the commentary [“Leitartikel”] by one of the editors, titled: “The Admission” [“Das Geständnis”] (this very title only in the print-version; online they have the more subdued “A historical punch line” [“Eine zeitgeschichtliche Pointe”]). This piece draws accurately some conclusions about the human condition in general, how man fails, and why he shouldnt therefore blame his coevals since he isnt any better himself. The author, only relying on his words, convincingly draws sketches of cemeteries, where soldiers of the german security forces rest. And he does so with accute detail and in such a suggestive manner, that the reader cannot help but have something like mental Rötelzeichnungen in front of his inner eye. While recognizing––courageously, and not without piquancy, one must say, given the still prevailing Zeitgeist––some important parallels between the lifes of the self-declared leftist Günter GraSS (GG) and the more bourgeois author Joachim Fest he finishes off with the conclusion that “a grain of scepticism” [“jenes Gran von Skepsis”] is what suits a man the most––since: as long as there are human beings, they are bound to fail and not much more than leaves in the wind of fate.

There is commentary abound on the issue: for instance: GraSS’ colleague in the so-caLLed “Waffen-SS” “Group 47”, Dieter Wellershoff, gives to think: “One lives in the world that one is born into”.
On the other hand, the Tel Aviv-born scholar Michael WolFFsohn, teaching at the University of the German Defense Forces (GDF), Munich, peremptorily states: “Apparently behind GG’s [this is WolFFsohn’s way to refer to GraSS; ed.] moral-political delusion of grandeur stood a timid man. He himself let shrink his life’s work to the scale of life itself–to the german regular scale of his coevals.”

While the first edition of “The Skinning of the Onion” [“Das Häuten der Zwiebel”] will comprise 150.000 copies, only 95.000 german men born 1928 were recruited by the Armed Security Forces [“Waffen-SS”] which makes for a share of 17.3 per cent.


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