Thursday, 28 June 2018

Even I talk about Football

The small number of people who, last night, came to a lecture, held at a university in Berlin, were upset. Germany had just lost to South Korea and was thus out of the world cup. What worried those I spoke with was not having lost, but rather what they expect this loss will do to the national mood.

According to my interlocutors, losing at football, will increase the popularity of Germany’s extreme right, the AfD. The theory being that the football team’s weakness would be considered to reflect the country’s weakness. One more proof, for those who seek it, that Mrs. Merkel must go.

Sounds like a lose-lose situation: if you win at football, you increase nationalistic fervour and if you lose at ball, you increase it too.

I can but hope that they are wrong.

Unclassy Germans travelling 1st Class

This is what I found waiting on my 1st class seat, when I boarded the train today. Being able to afford 1st class travel is evidently no indication of class.  

German rail offers free papers in their 1st class carriages. These include the not so classy BILD Zeitung.

Making money out of other people’s tragedies.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

In a recent conversation with Mrs. dW, the 87-year-old former housekeeper of friends of mine in Germany, she mentioned the many refugees, who have recently arrived in Germany. Having been one herself, she added, she well understands their plight. She continued and made some statements about there being too many refugees for the country to cope with and that other solutions will have to be found. But she seemed to have true empathy with the current wave of homeless people.

Her family had originally come from Silesia, after it had become part of Poland in 1945. I asked her to recount her story and how she ended up in Southern Germany. She was 14 when her mother, with three children, was forced to give up their farm in Silesia and forced to leave and move to Germany. She and her siblings went to school and her mother started working as a farm hand for a local farmer in the community to which they were assigned in (East) Germany. In 1951, as a 19-year-old, she fled the DDR and moved West, bringing her mother over sometime later. There are, of course, hundreds of thousands, millions in fact, of such stories all over Europe.

She was 15 years old, in the summer of 1946, food was scarce at the time and one of the girls in her school had invited all her classmates to pick and eat berries in her parents’ farm. Only that refugee children were told that they were not included in the invitation. More than 70 years have passed and this hurt of being excluded has not been forgotten.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

In Freiburg and in Berlin

If you happen to be in Freiburg on 21 June or in Berlin on 27 June, or if you know anyone who might be interested:
two events with my book “Muslimischer Antisemitismus: Eine Gefahr für den gesellschaftlichen Frieden in Deutschland?”

On 21 June, at 7:00 pm, I will be talking about the book and discuss it with the Editor in Chief of the Badische Zeitung.

The event will take place at the Humboldtsaal, Humboldtstr. 2, Freiburg. Tickets reservation necessary: 0800-2224 22431.

On 27 June, at 6:00 pm, I will be discussing my book with Professor Micha Brumlik. Moderator: Professor Rainer Kampling.

The event will take place at the Selma Stern Zentrum für jüdische Studien, Sophienstr. 22a, Berlin.

Please come and feel free to pass the information to others.

Babies at Weddings

Last week, I went to a rather beautiful church in London, for the wedding ceremony of a friend’s son. Not surprisingly, many of the guests were young people, including couples, who – as has become customary – brought their babies with them.

The babies and very young children, understandably, became restless after some time. What I fail to understand is why parents do not take a crying baby and go out, to enable everybody else to concentrate of the religious ceremony. Instead, the young parents seem to just sit there and look at their loud offspring with doting admiring eyes. And let’s face it, a parent admiring his or her one-year-old child, is basically admiring him/herself.

The people who sat in front of me not only played with their two small children throughout the wedding ceremony, they also – evidently incapable of managing two hours without reaching for hydro-oral satisfaction – regularly sipped from the water bottles which they brought with them.