From “What Occurred at Linz: A Memoir of Forgetting“, by Robert Hahn, is this telling description of Linz today, the city that Hitler was born in:
Heading away from the square, I turn left at Graben, meaning “moat”—I have passed the limit of medieval and Renaissance Linz and entered the newer part of the city, where it becomes raw and charmless. Seemingly idle men, mostly African and Turkish—signs of the city’s growing immigrant population—linger on the sidewalks.
The article’s final paragraphs provide an (ironically) effective picture of the those unlucky post-war-generation Germans forever harangued by the likes of Hahn, part and parcel of our Jewish Century’s expectation of 24/7 ‘remembrance’:
Having retreated into Austria and Germany, having lost any hope of victory, the Nazis had paradoxically begun what Goebbels called “total war,” a last-ditch effort that demanded every remaining resource, including the labor of millions of slaves. And yet, as if trapped in the involution of their dementia, the Nazis conceived an endgame that called for killing their slaves as quickly as possible—for example, through death marches in winter weather from one camp to another. At Ebensee, SS guards competed to see how quickly they could kill their charges through exhaustion and starvation—three weeks was the record. At the end, piles of corpses were stacked beside the bunks where naked survivors still lay, barely alive, unable to move.
“Is that Ebensee over there,” I ask, “where the Nazis wanted to build their rockets?”
“Yes,” our friend answers, “it is.”
I want to ask if we can detour to visit the site. But we are on our way to have lunch at a lakeside restaurant, promised to be special, scenic, echt-Austrian, and we are already behind schedule. Our friend’s wife and his two daughters are waiting for us there, he is eager for us to meet them, so a delay would make him unhappy. And I hear something in the way he answers my question—polite as always, but terse, concealing his impatience but just barely—a tone that says, enough is enough. You are always asking about the Nazis, it says, but let us have done with the subject for now. We are on a family outing, we’re driving through some of the most beautiful countryside in Austria, as anyone can see, and we have a nice day ahead of us.
If Austria were my home, would I feel the same way? Would I have the same will to live in the present? Maybe. I’m not sure.
But I say nothing, and we drive on.