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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Logical Disconnects

Several years ago, a fellow who follows our work emailed me a link to a most bizarre Web site. There's a group of far, far right-wing extremists who decorate people who murder abortion doctors with a White Rose, in honor of Hans and Sophie Scholl. That's what their Web site proclaims, as unbelievable as it sounds.

I've often wondered if those ... people understand what White Rose stood for nearly seventy years ago. They haven't got a clue.

That makes about as much sense as the anti-Semitic Web site (which has since come down) that quoted Mordechai Anielewicz as a good thing. Somewhere, there's a logical disconnect.

In these days of Obama, when the KKK and John Birch Society are seeing their ranks swell with racists who are becoming ever more vocal with their hate speech, it's interesting to see what my daily Google alert for White Rose resistance brings me. Because a growing number of these haters bedeck themselves with the mantle and mantras of the White Rose. It would be funny were it not so sad.

Although the friends we call the White Rose were hardly of one mind in their politics and religious beliefs, and although a few - most notably Professor Kurt Huber - struggled with anti-Semitism till the very end, in general the students and adults we know as the White Rose advocated liberty and justice for all. They abhorred the murders of human beings for whatever reason. They promoted ideals that we associate with tolerance, compassion, and hearts that broke at the crimes their country perpetrated.

The far, far right wing wannabe politicos that wrap themselves in the words of the White Rose take those very words out of context. Instead of working for tikkun olam - repairing the world - they try to marginalize the Other. The very thing the White Rose worked to undo.

Alex Schmorell especially felt like an Other, neither Russian nor German. As did Christoph Probst, whose stepmother had been relegated to a no-class citizen, much as the KKK/JBS does to the Other in our country.

It is a terrible thing when we must rescue the good story of civil disobedience and informed dissent from the hands of those whose lives and words most imitate the oppressors during the dark days we call the Holocaust or Shoah. But rescue it we must.

Freedom and honor. Those concepts were abused for twelve horrible years seventy years ago. We must not allow them to be abused again.

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