Freedom of expression is simply great. But when you let people express themselves, they eventually divulge what they really think. The Carnival Monday procession in Düsseldorf shows what’s in the hearts of German revelers. Such an uncensored expression of the German soul was made possible only because Frenchmen, Americans, British and many other non-Germans died in the Second World War. So Rolf from Düsseldorf is allowed to chatter away, and still, I’ll always defend his right to do so!
In the year 2017, the Carnival Monday procession, under the direction of Jacques Tilly, presented the American president, a French presidential candidate and a Dutch Prime Minister candidate as Nazis side by side with Adolph Hitler. The English Prime Minister was portrayed as a suicide victim, the Polish government as a dog. The American President was depicted as a rapist who was then beheaded by the Statue of Liberty holding his head proudly in her hands as if she were an Islamic terrorist.
In the year 2017, the Allied nations, which had liberated Germany, are all Nazi now in the minds of Carnival revelers, just like the Germans actually were not so long ago! This must be the “Endsieg” (final victory) that so many Germans have been longing for. At last, the disgrace of German poets and thinkers being freed by bubble gum chewing and banjo playing Americans can be cast aside.
On Carnival Monday in Dusseldorf the self-conscious German could show himself in all his splendor! What is a self-conscious German, may you ask? Well, a self-conscious German is a self-righteous German who grabs all responsibility for himself. He’s rarely proud of his country, unless he can heap criticism. That’s when he comes forth quite proudly with his Hitler. He says that German history is unique, so unique, that he himself is also unique. He thinks:
„Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone else were just like me.“
He sees himself as the pinnacle of morality. Whoever contradicts him is a Nazi. He particularly likes to call people from countries that liberated Germany from the Nazis as being Nazi. American Presidents, for example, are often suspected of being Nazi.
During his schooling, the self-conscious German sang every year with the school choir at the village monument memorializing the synagogue which was burnt down by the Nazis in 1938. He likes to place “memorial stones” in the sidewalks in front of the homes of murdered Jews. Then he unwittingly tramples on them. He organizes trips to Dachau and Theresienstadt and has the soundtrack of „Schindler’s List“ on his bookshelf. Of course, the self-conscious German loves Klezmer!
For the self-conscious German, Jews are just ghosts from the past, which are imprisoned in memorial monuments. In his school days, he learned about Judaism mainly during history lessons, not so much in the subjects of philosophy, ethics, religion and social science.
In the United States, Jewish theater stands for lively humor in the style of Woody Allen and Neil Simon. When a German says, „Today we’re going to see a Jewish theatrical work“, he makes a serious face and he thinks of Anne Frank, Auschwitz and the Holocaust. Jews are seen as the dead from the past, not the living of today.
He feels personally guilty regarding the Holocaust, as if he had committed crimes with his own hands. When he meets a Jew, a bad conscience always resonates. He sees himself as a debtor. A debtor, however, needs a creditor and, of course, that’s the Jew. Jews thus inevitably trigger a bad conscience in a most Germans, and deep inside they will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.
On the other hand, a lot of Germans get very excited when they can prove their creditors are no better than themselves. They love criticizing Jews, especially when they live in Israel. They know from the past that the Jews in Israel are the Nazis of today. They can’t understand that because Jews should know better, especially since they share the same German history.
The largest monument for a self-conscious German is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder once said that it’s a place „where one likes to go“. The historian Eberhard Jäckel even managed to say: „There are countries in Europe that envy us because of this monument.“ They are just two Germans who are proud of their coming to terms with the past, which of course wouldn’t exist without the past.
The self-conscious German makes a moral teaching lesson out of the Holocaust. Auschwitz has to be good for something. And he has indeed learned something from the Holocaust. He has learned to denounce governments of other countries as Nazi. He is especially proud to denounce Israelis as today’s Nazis.
Yes, a German is seldom more proud than if he can expertly make out new Hitlers. SS officer, Hans Landa, was specialized in locating Jews. Similarly, a lot of Germans are specialized in tracking down Hitlers. For a self-conscious German who’s worth his salt, Trump, Le Pen, Netanyahu, Wilders, Erdogan, Putin are all new Hitlers. It seems that Hitler could only get so far, because at that time there weren’t any self-conscious Germans to liken him with Hitler.