By Toby Levy | The Holocaust Stole My Youth. Covid-19 Is Stealing My Last Years – The New York Times

Ms. Levy is a retired accountant and a volunteer docent for the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

“These days, I’m a little bored.

The boardwalk is my lifesaver. I’m two blocks from the boardwalk. I can walk to Coney Island if I want to. I go alone. I have some friends here. We used to play canasta once a week. But when Covid arrived, my daughter insisted, “You can’t sit in one room!” So I talk on the phone. I read. The grandkids call in by Zoom. I also do a little bit of Zoom lecturing for the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

I keep very busy, and it helps me a lot. I am trying not to give up. But what is getting me down is that I am losing a year. And this bothers me terribly. I’m 87 years old, and I lost almost a full year.

I’m doing everything I can to stay connected, to make an impact. So even now, amid Covid, I tell my story to schools and to audiences the museum organizes for me, by Zoom.

Here’s what I say: I was born in 1933 in a small town called Chodorow, now Khodoriv, about 30 minutes by car from Lvov, now Lviv, in what was then Poland and is now Ukraine. We lived in the center of town in my grandfather’s house. The Russians occupied the town from 1939 to 1941, then the Germans from 1941 to 1944. My father was well liked in town by Jews and non-Jews. One day in early 1942, one of the guys came to him and said, “Moshe, it’s going to be a big killing. Better find a hiding place.” So my father built a place to hide in the cellar. My grandfather didn’t want to go. He was shot in the kitchen; we heard it.”

Opinion | 1918 Germany Has a Warning for America – By Jochen Bittner – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Getty Images

“HAMBURG, Germany — It may well be that Germans have a special inclination to panic at specters from the past, and I admit that this alarmism annoys me at times. Yet watching President Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign since Election Day, I can’t help but see a parallel to one of the most dreadful episodes from Germany’s history.

One hundred years ago, amid the implosions of Imperial Germany, powerful conservatives who led the country into war refused to accept that they had lost. Their denial gave birth to arguably the most potent and disastrous political lie of the 20th century — the Dolchstosslegende, or stab-in-the-back myth.

Its core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I. Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but not warranted. It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation — a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation. That the claim was palpably false didn’t matter. Among a sizable number of Germans, it stirred resentment, humiliation and anger. And the one figure who knew best how to exploit their frustration was Adolf Hitler.

Don’t get me wrong: This is not about comparing Mr. Trump to Hitler, which would be absurd. But the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. It’s tempting to dismiss Mr. Trump’s irrational claim that the election was “rigged” as a laughable last convulsion of his reign or a cynical bid to heighten the market value for the TV personality he might once again intend to become, especially as he appears to be giving up on his effort to overturn the election result.”

David Lindsay:
What do Jochen Bittner and my sister Elly Lindsay have in common. It is at least an interest in history. I graduated from high school in three years complicated by anti Vietnam war activities and drugs. My parents supported me in a gap year, where I lived in Cambridge MA with my sister Elly. I worked as a volunteer stage carpenter and electrician at the Harvard Loeb Drama Center, while Elly finished her senior year at Radcliff College at Harvard. Elly was the president of the Harvard Dramat at the Loeb Theater, and acting in shows, while studying history and literature. She was particularly proud of one of her major papers for the history department, where she examined how Germany fell into fascism, and she wrote in her conclusions, that Americans would not have been immune to the forces at work in Germany. We could in similar circumstances, be just as horrible as the Germans were in World War II.
Bret Stephens wrote about Dolchstosslegende in a piece I posted last week. This piece adds a great deal to the discussion, or better put, to the warning. Trump insisting that the election was stolen, is dangerous. Republicans of any patriotic worth, should quickly disavow it.

Germany’s Far Right Complicates Life for Merkel and the E.U. – by Steven Erlanger – NYT

“BERLIN — Angela Merkel’s re-election as chancellor of Germany was supposed to be the ceremonial capstone of a year in which Europe did better than anticipated in holding off a populist surge, especially after the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, won so decisively over the National Front of Marine Le Pen.

Instead, the election results on Sunday showed that the alienation with mainstream consensus politics has hardly gone away. Support for centrist parties, including Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, eroded badly, as the far-right Alternative for Germany party received 12.6 percent of the vote.

Even if the far right was contained this year, it broke significant barriers in Europe’s core, making it to the final round of the presidential elections in France and now shattering a post-World War II taboo in Germany by entering the parliament.It has gained a powerful place from which to alter the agenda of European politics. The far right’s gains in Germany will now complicate not only the calculations of Ms. Merkel, the de facto leader of the European Union, but by extension the path ahead for the entire bloc.”

DL: The article also reports that these changes will hurt the chances that Macron of France will be able to create a stronger central European government, that collects and dispenses money more federally. Merkel’s support of these improvements will be hampered by the gains of the far right in Germany.

Germany, Refugee Nation – The New York Times

“There’s a new can-do nation. It’s called Germany. The United States, fear-ridden, has passed the torch.From Our AdvertisersThroughout the extraordinary process that has seen roughly one million refugees arrive in Germany this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel has had a consistent refrain: “Wir schaffen das” — “We can do this.” The gesture in question is the most extraordinary redemptive act by any European nation in many years.Germans on the whole have understood. They have understood that to flee Syria through Islamic State checkpoints, place your family in flimsy boats on stormy waters and trudge across Europe in search of a home is not a desperate decision. It is a reasonable decision if the alternative is to see your children blown up by a barrel bomb or your daughter raped by a jihadist. Postwar Germans are reasonable people.Roger CohenInternational affairs and diplomacy. The Assassination in Israel That Worked Trump’s Weimar America The Evil That Cannot Be Left Unanswered Terror From Europe’s Future Street Young Lives InterruptedSee More »The United States would have had to admit about 4 million refugees this year to take in a similar proportion of its population. It has fallen more than 3.9 million short of that mark.”

Source: Germany, Refugee Nation – The New York Times

When I get beat in tennis, I say to my worthy opponent, thank you for the tennis lesson.Thank you Roger Cohen, for an extraordinary piece of writing.  I predicted a month ago that the Germans would turn on Angela Merkel for her leadership and generosity and Christian behavior. I hope that you are right that the majority of Germans will stay by this bold leadership. I agree with you that the fear-mongering of our Republican leaders is base, and embarrassing.
Your points are well expressed and argued. But what about the waves of refugees coming year after year. Some of us just learned that Iran is running out of water. The world just grew in 70 years from 2 to 7 billion, and greenhouse gas emissions have risen in the exact same curve, or graph, a backwards L. __| .  When sea level rises 1 or 2 meters, how many refugees will there be?
And last, Paul Krugman has written that the Germans have been too hard on Greece. Please expand on your piece, and explain how she opened Germany’s coffers too them, contrary to what others have written.

An Unreliable Germany and the Volkswagen Debacle – Roger Cohen,The New York Times

“Germany’s leading company has toyed with the air people breathe. That’s shocking. In historical context, it’s devastating.The Volkswagen scandal elicits more than dismay. It is one of those moments when the entire culture of a nation — in this case one of scrupulous honesty, acceptance of rules, reliability, environmental sensitivity and atoning dedication to the common good — is called into question.Germany is never quite what it seems. There is a strain between its order and its urges. Formality may mask frenzy. When things go wrong, they tend to go wrong in a big way.”

This is an interesting piece, persuasive and subtle, but the commentators rip it to shreds for unfairness. I have collected the piece at my blog, LindsayOnVietnam.wordpress.com as an example of persuasive journalism, that might be terrible over-reaching. The commentators argue that it is absurd to take one corporate miscreant, and draw conclusions about an entire nation. As an analyst, I sometimes feel like a ping pong ball, going from one strong argument to its critique. Though I was captivated by his critics, I suggest that Roger Cohen is on to something sad and profound, though he didn’t throw out enough caveats. It is hard to discuss complex grey matter in 800 words.

The only exciting thing about the horrible Volkswagon story, is that it makes a gigantic case for strong government regulation and criminal penalties to protect the public from corporate malfeasance. So, one might argue that Roger missed mentioning the hottest part of the story. Cohen might be right however, that there might be something German about the size and scope of this epic-sized fraud. It is hard to believe in a free country, that there would be no whistleblowers over such a huge scam, that hurt the public’s health so seriously.

Source: An Unreliable Germany and the Volkswagen Debacle – The New York Times