Religion & Beliefs

How Hate Begets Hate

A friend asked the other day if I had ever been angry enough to want to kill someone. The answer brought back an experience that I hereby share with you. The Grand Lobby of the Krasnapolsky hotel in Amsterdam was … Read More

By / February 12, 2009

A friend asked the other day if I had ever been angry enough to want to kill someone. The answer brought back an experience that I hereby share with you.

The Grand Lobby of the Krasnapolsky hotel in Amsterdam was both large and ornate. The clientele sipping cocktails and champagne that particular noon exuded an air of gentility. At 34 years of age, I was the youngest by far. The mood was jarred by the entrance of a bald heavyset man of military bearing, his voice commanding instant attention. On each arm was a heavily made-up young blonde, obviously being paid for her favors. They were seated not far from my table. His fingers snapped for service after which I heard, in guttural German-accented English, "Hitler didn’t kill enough of them! If I had been in power…" I stormed out before he completed his sentence.

Later in the day, I was back in the lobby, this time to meet a fellow guest who had invited me to dinner. I had arrived early and unfortunately, seated diagonally across from me was the same man. He had two different girls now in tow, still holding court. He was obviously drunk. His rants became more anti-Semitic, obnoxious, and aggressive. Others in the lobby, most with eyes fastened on the floor, were clearly disturbed, but neither they nor management took steps to quiet him down.

My date had just arrived and counseled me to ignore him. I was having none of it. I walked over and, as politely as a I could under the circumstances, stood directly in front of him and said, "Excuse me, sir. Could you please lower your voice? I am trying to have a conversation with a friend but your voice is so loud I have trouble hearing what he has to say." With that, the ugly, by this time unkempt, fat pig jumped to attention, looked down at me with a repulsive expression on his face and said, "Are you a Jew? How dare you talk to me that way! Of course you are Jewish. Look at your nose!" And then, with seemingly no forethought, he spat at me. That disgusting, revolting, horrible son-of-a-bitch Nazi actually spat at me! His spittle landed on my left shoulder. I WANTED TO KILL HIM! The son-of-a-bitch bastard! Everything moved so quickly after that. Next I knew, my date was behind me grabbing my right arm which I had pulled back, ready to strike in an attack position. Me, who abhorred violence. Had there been a butcher knife on the table, I would have stabbed him on the spot!

I remember three things about that evening:

  1. His screaming "Jew Bitch" repeatedly in German and English as two managers finally led him away.
  2. The other guests politely applauding me once he was out of sight. "And why didn’t any of you speak up?" I asked.
  3. Looking in the mirror on my way out and seeing the reflection of a person I hardly recognized. A person who, for the first time in her life, had wanted to kill another human being, who was almost ready to kill another human being. I remember thinking "what has become of me?"

 

Tania Grossinger, author of Growing Up at Grossinger’s, is guest blogging on Jewcy, and she’ll be here all week. Stay tuned.

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