Hvis man leter etter en NYTimes-journalist som passer til høyresidens karikatur, så er Chris Hedges et godt utgangspunkt. Han gjorde seg bemerket med antialbanske artikler under Kosovo-krigen, og kom med noen ekstreme synspunkter på George Bush i valgkampen. Han dukker gjerne opp i dokumentarer som skal bevise Bush-administrasjonens perfiditet.

Nå kan han bruke den anerkjente tysk-jødiske-amerikanske historikeren Fritz Stern som sannhetsvitne på at det kristne høyre i USA er farlig. Stern måtte flykte fra Tyskland som 12-åring, i 1938, og har viet sitt liv til å forstå den nasjonalsosialistiske katastrofe. Hans ord veier tungt på begge sider av Atlanteren. Som den første utlending fikk han tale i Forbindsdagen i 1987.

Det skal ha vært under takketalen for tildelingen av Leo Baeck-prisen at Stern advarte mot krefter som undergraver en liberal stat.

Det vil si: Det Hedges utlegger som en advarsel om det kristne høyre i USA gjelder i virkeligheten Weimar-republikken! Det kan ikke en gang Hedges artikkel skjule, hvis man finleser den. Men han kan ikke la være å overføre dem på dagens USA!

FRITZ STERN, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany and a leading scholar of European history, startled several of his listeners when he warned in a speech about the danger posed in this country by the rise of the Christian right. In his address in November, just after he received a prize presented by the German foreign minister, he told his audience that Hitler saw himself as «the instrument of providence» and fused his «racial dogma with a Germanic Christianity.»

«Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics,» he said of prewar Germany, «but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas.»

På Leo Baeck-instituttets hjemmeside ligger hele talen:

Acceptance speech
delivered by
Fritz Stern
upon receiving the
Leo Baeck Medal

Stern har noen gode observasjoner om forholdet mellom tyske jøder og innfødte tyskere:

After their civic emancipation in the nineteenth century, German Jews made an unprecedented leap to achievement, prominence, and wealth within only three generations, but some special insecurity and vulnerability clung to them, as it did to many Germans. I remember finding in an obscure book Disraeli’s confession to young Montefiore: «You and I belong to a race that can do everything but fail.» What a poignant remark, I thought, and mentioned it to my son, who instantly responded, «How hard on the others.»

It probably was hard on the others, but now many Germans regret the absence of that creative complicated element of German Jewry. They recall the inestimable contributions that Jews made to German life and culture in their century of partial emancipation. But their forbears had more complicated feelings on the subject, and even the most successful Jews felt, as Walther Rathenau once said, that «there comes a moment in every Jew’s life when he realizes he is a second-class citizen.»

Perhaps that strange mixture of German hospitality and hostility to Jews evoked the ambivalent response of some of the greatest of German Jews. They were the brilliant diagnosticians of German-European hypocrisy, the memorable breakers of taboos: think of Heine’s mockery of German sentimental pretense, of Karl Marx’s insistence that the cash nexus trumps virtue, or of Sigmund Freud’s exposure of sexual hypocrisy and falsehood. Disturbers of a false peace are indispensable but rarely welcomed. So anti-semitism, which comes in many guises and degrees, existed in pre-1914 Germany, as it did more ferociously in other countries. In Germany, it became an all-consuming political weapon only after the Great War. It is now conventional wisdom that the First World War and its senseless, unimaginable slaughter was the Ur-catastrophe of the last century.

The war radicalized Europe; without it, there would have been no Bolshevism and no Fascism. In the postwar climate and in the defeated and self-deceived Germany, National Socialism flourished and ultimately made it possible for Hitler to establish the most popular, the most murderous, the most seductive, and the most repressive regime of the last century.

But the rise of National Socialism was neither inevitable nor accidental. It did have deep roots, but the most urgent lesson to remember is that it could have been stopped. This is but one of the many lessons contained in modern German history, lessons that should not be squandered in cheap and ignorant analogies. A key lesson is that civic passivity and willed blindness were the preconditions for the triumph of National Socialism, which many clearheaded Germans recognized at the time as a monstrous danger and ultimate nemesis.

Som en utfoldelse av Den hellige ånd

Det er Sterns ord om nasjonalsosialisme og kirken/kristne som har gitt Hedges vann på mølla. Men stikkordet her er kvasireligiøsitet, og anvendt på dagens virkeligheten treffer den både den utvannede liberale kristenforståelsen minst like mye som den høyreorienterte, ortodokse.

German moderates and German elites underestimated Hitler, assuming that most people would not succumb to his Manichean unreason; they didn’t think that his hatred and mendacity could be taken seriously. They were proven wrong. People were enthralled by the Nazis’ cunning transposition of politics into carefully staged pageantry, into flag-waving martial mass. At solemn moments, the National Socialists would shift from the pseudo-religious invocation of Providence to traditional Christian forms: In his first radio address to the German people, twenty-four hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, «The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life.»

Let me cite one example of the acknowledged appeal of unreason. Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker, Nobel-laureate in physics and a philosopher, wrote to me in the mid-1980s saying that he had never believed in Nazi ideology but that he had been tempted by the movement, which seemed to him then like «the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.» On reflection, he thought that National Socialism had been part of a process that the National Socialists themselves hadn’t understood. He may well have been right: the Nazis didn’t realize that they were part of an historic process in which resentment against a disenchanted secular world found deliverance in the ecstatic escape of unreason. German elites proved susceptible to this mystical brew of pseudo- religion and disguised interest. The Christian churches most readily fell into line as well, though with some heroic exceptions.

Utenriksminister Joschka Fischer holdt også en tale, og beviste at han kan noe mer enn å fremsi fraser.

With the expulsion and murder of German Jews, Germany also forever destroyed a major part of its cultural identity, a major part of itself, indeed of its soul. The German state and the majority of the German people at the time were the perpetrators. Those whom they excluded from society, deprived of their rights, humiliated, dispossessed, expelled, and in the end murdered, were Germans, compatriots. Scientists like Albert Einstein, authors like Lion Feuchtwanger, directors like Ernst Lubitsch – their groundbreaking achievements were trampled underfoot by their own compatriots, and they themselves were forced to flee their fatherland.

The expulsion and murder of the German Jews left a human and cultural void that has not been filled. It is a wound that pains us to this day. Especially in Berlin, the former European center of Jewish intellectual life, I can feel that void more than in other German cities. Hitler’s reign of terror, the Second World War, Germany’s self-destruction and the Holocaust, that shameful crime against humanity, were the culmination of this German catastrophe – all of which began with the «lost opportunity.»

Den tapte muligheten Fischer sikter til er at Tyskland ved århundrets begynnelse var den dominerende makt, hva «soft power» angår. Det 20. århundre kunne vært Tysklands, hvis det ikke hadde valgt den militære veien.

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