A year or so ago, I watched the video Hitler's Children. I thought it was an interesting movie. It's all about the ancestors of Nazi war criminals and how they deal with their past. In the movie one of these individuals along with the reporter Eldud Beck visited Auschwitz. I thought to myself what an odd pair. So when I saw that Beck had written a book entitled Germany, At Odds, I wanted to read it and review it.
This book is a non-fiction book that looks at the current relationship between Germans and the Jewish community. Beck is an Israeli reporter who has lived in Europe for several years. He provides the reader with observations and conclusions based on his years living in Germany. At the beginning of the book he states that there are many who may not agree with what he has to say, but he writes what he has observed. He discusses how Germany has a unique history with Jews due to the Holocaust. And this is really the focus of the book. Is Germany just playing lip service to the past? Has the nation truly come to terms with what happened? And are the underlying attitudes that caused so much suffering still present in that society?
What I Liked And Disliked
The first reason I liked this book is probably not what the author intended. He didn't blame America for all of the problems. As an American I get so tired of being blamed for all the problems in the world. And it feels like in many discussions America gets the blame. Now I'm sure there are people who will say this is so self-centered. Let me go with it so I can make my point.
The author stayed on topic. Yes, there were other countries named in the book. But it all related to Germany and its relationship with Jews. He tells how Germans were involved in setting up the intelligence agencies in some countries outside of Germany of World War II. He also discusses the very real problem of German Nationalist groups today.
As I read this book, I also thought that if I am relieved that the author isn't blaming me and my country for all of the problems in the world, how do Germans feel about constantly hearing about the Holocaust? I would imagine many individuals feel bad, and they decide just not to deal with it. And this is what the author points out as a problem in the relationship between Israel and Germany.
There was one chapter in the book that I didn't like. As I stated in the beginning of the review, I was drawn to the book because the author was involved in a movie I saw. The author devotes an entire chapter to his relationship with the connection between himself and the grandson of the commandant of Auschwitz. The guy doesn't sound like a very nice guy. And people do need to know that he is preying on individuals. But devoting a whole chapter to that relationship just felt like the author was trying to get even with the guy for something. I did feel like the author was telling the truth about the individual, but did it need to take up so much space in the book?
Who Should Read This Book?
Individuals who are interested in international affairs will definitely want to take a look at this book. The author points out many issues from the perspective of an Israeli. He tells things a little different than the way we often see them on the news. Individuals who are interested in World War II and the fall out of that war will also find this book interesting. I've always wondered how an entire nation just went kind of crazy for a dozen years. The book doesn't really answer the question flat out, but it did give me a little better understanding of how it might have happened.
Disclaimer: I did receive a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. But I did tell you what I think of the book.