Religion & Beliefs

The Nazis I’ve Known

This essay in Moment Magazine is not an especially impressive piece of writing.  The author himself states that he's past his days as an intrepid reporter, that he has set limits for himself on risk-taking, and so his foray into … Read More

By / April 5, 2007

This essay in Moment Magazine is not an especially impressive piece of writing.  The author himself states that he's past his days as an intrepid reporter, that he has set limits for himself on risk-taking, and so his foray into the world of the Nazi web-world, accompanied by a plate of cholocalate chip cookies,  is less than compelling.

The most chilling thing about the article is this bit of awfullness, a quote from a Nazi-site:

… according to the Talmud, Jews believe that “only Jews are humans… a Gentile girl who is three years old can be violated… A Jew is permitted to rape cheat and perjure himself—so long as he is not found out… Jews may not give fair evidence in a court of law against another Jew.”

But the article, however bland, did get me thinking…

About my high school experience.  About some of the people I knew when I was a bitchy little teenager, hanging around the fringes of the Baltimore hardcore scene.  Because there were white-power kids in the mix.  Tossed in among the skaters and the ex-metalheads and the straight-edge vegan skins. 

But that isn't the weird part. The weird part is that they didn't scare me. Much.  I partied with them.  My Jewish friend "Tova" dated one such starter-Nazi, and explained to me that he "didn't mean it".  She said it was just a "style."  The color of the laces in his ox-blood boots.  His suspenders. The patches on his bomber.

He went to a prep school, a good one.  Graduated with honors and went on to a fine college.  The last time I saw him he looked like every other kid you went to college with.  I have no idea what happened to him after that, or to the other punks he ran with.  I'll never know how much of a Nazi he really was in those years, or wasn't.  I'll never know whether he loved "Tova". 

Though it's pretty fucked up that she loved him.

But even that isn't what concerns me. 

My thought today… is about how an article like this one makes the Nazis in our world all seem to be rednecks living in the rural south somewhere. Caricatures. Ignorant asshats with thick accents and pickups, people you'd never know in your world. People you'd never work with. People who didn't go to your college. People who don't date your friends.

And I thought I'd ask you guys what your experiences have been?  Because I have a hard time accepting that I'm the only Jewish girl who ever drank Boon's Farm with a punk rock boy, and then realized what his white laces meant. 

So I want to know what you've bumped into… and how you reacted. 

Whether you think there's really, as "Tova" suggested, a "style" to it, that sucks in youngsters before they really have racist ideas and politics.   When they're still young and dumb enought to date a Jewish girl, spout Nazi bullshit, and think that makes a kind of sense…

We have to be able to do better than the author of the above article.  At understanding this messed-up culture.