“Germans are not as patriotic as you Americans,” reported a young Rotary exchange student from Germany recently.”
His impressions later prompted a discussion among those who had heard him give his impressions of America. One woman said, “I think Germans are still atoning for their past. No wonder they aren’t patriotic.”
Perhaps that is true because a woman from Washington State has been requested by sons of former SS men to come to Germany to help them reconcile their Nazi past.
This blog has pointed out that since WWII has ended, Germany has been giving one-time outright payments to holocaust survivors and then continuing to send them monthly compensations, as well as maintaining museums and providing education about the Nazi era to German students as well as others.
In fact, we were in Dachau when a class of German high school students were in tour. We learned from their teacher that the German need for extreme order existed even in the death camps. If even a speck of straw were found on the floor, the entire building was put outside to stand for 24-hours at attention.
In a recent Associated Press report, an international news story points out that the German special prosecutors’ office, which pursues Nazi-era crimes, reports it has recommended charges be filed against an 87-year-old man on the allegations that he served as an SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp.
The case has been turned over to prosecutors in Weiden, Bavaria, who will determine whether or not to file charges against the man who was thought to live there and return him to Germany for trial.
One of the top Nazi hunters at the Simon Wiesenthal Center said that although he welcomed the news of the Bavarian investigation, he cautioned that even if the suspect were charged, bringing him to Germany for trial could present challenges.
He noted that the Australian high court just last week ruled that a 90-year-old man could not be extradited to Hungary to face accusations that he tortured and killed a Jewish teenager during WWII.
“A lot will depend on whether or not his country of residence has the political will to extradite him to Germany.”
The pain of Nazi-era atoning continues to haunt history and to remind Americans to stand up and protect our Constitution and freedoms.