Those born in Germany before 1925 are now 85+ years old or have died. The framing of this question, directed as it is at masses of people younger than 85, is shallow and a form of intellectual and moral kitsch: "Do you (descendants of those murdered during the Holocaust) forgive 'The Germans' (the descendants of those who perpetrated the Holocaust)?" Or is 'The Germans' supposed to mean those individuals in German history who actually lived then and actually perpetrated the crimes? My father was born in Berlin in 1925 and was drafted at 17 into the Wehrmacht. He fought on the Russian front. I believe he behaved honorably during that time in terms of not violating the rules of warfare or commiting crimes of any kind. He survived and came to America. I grew up in America. I feel a responsibility to be especially aware of what happened and see that antisemitism is always scorned and opposed, but I do not feel guilty. Had I grown up in Germany I think I would feel the same responsibility to be aware etc. and my relationship to this responsibility certainly might be more complex but I do not think I would feel guilty. I would never ever ask or expect Shoah survivors or descendants to forgive anyone. But I think the way this survey question was framed was shallow in the first place. I am not sure a survey of any kind could avoid this kind of crass superficiality. Germany has a special responsibility and always will. But shallow questions that traffic in crude notions of collective guilt and forgiveness illuminate less than they obscure. This profound issue is better handled in in art and literature and in-depth thought than in superficial journalistic surveys. No?
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from the article: Poll: Israeli Jews still don't forgive Germany for the Holocaust