Letter to The Editor
TO THE AGE
Juliet Samuel in her thoughtful reflection on the right of today's Germans to reappraise the history of Nazism ('Germans must learn from Hitler to escape him', 7/1) correctly observes that 'to Angela Merkel and her peers, the greater the threat to liberalism, the more inflexibly and dogmatically it must be defended.'
Alas, that German government stance is itself fundamentally illiberal.
Yes, Germans need to be able to review their history without being 'blinded' by excessive guilt and need to atone; but laughing at Hitler is hardly a better response. Whether or not the heavy annotation of the new edition of 'Mein Kampf' is helpful or too blemished by hostile prejudice remains to be seen; but public commentary on the Nazi period needs to be freed from the shackles of political censorship.
Remembrance of (not 'reverence for') past horrors must be tempered by the freedom to review and revise historical accounts where necessary. Nazism occupies only thirteen years of German national history; and Germans are as entitled as any other people to celebrate their past glories.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic