Causes of the Holocaust: Abraham
It is the summer of 1933, and a sad event is about to take place in my life. For fifteen years, my best friend has been Karl Kristoffson, a German, beginning from when we met in a soup kitchen line in 1920. Since then, we have acquired families and moved to different parts of Berlin, but visit each other often. One rainy Tuesday night, the following conversation takes place by telephone.
Karl: “Hello? Is this the Rosen household? This is Karl Kristoffson.”
Abraham: “Hello Karl it’s Abraham. How are you? Why are you so formal? We’re best-friends.
Karl: “I am not calling for a chat. I have called to say that as of today, please do not associate with me.”
Abraham: “Why? What have I done to offend you?”
Karl: “Your very presence offends me. You are a Jew, a dog, a slave, and I am an Aryan, one of the great races destined to rule the world!”
Abraham: “But we were jobless together after the Great War of 1914-1918. We had common experiences of despair and hunger. My religion didn’t matter then.”
Karl: “But then, I was ignorant. You Jews were responsible for my unemployment anyway. It’s your fault, your race’s, that we lost the war!”
Abraham: “But we’ve been best friends for fifteen years. You can’t just forget about that now
that you suddenly hate me.”
Karl: As Heinrich Himmler says, ‘every German has a favorite Jew.’ We Aryans must
learn to overlook that ‘attachment,’ if we are to enlighten and rule the world one day.”
Abraham: “Oh, I see. Who ‘enlightened’ you of this?”
Karl: “It was our Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler himself. I walked into a crowded cathedral about 8 o’clock tonight, took a seat near the back, and was immediately captivated. What he said gave me hope. He told me that we would rule the world one day, and our humiliating loss in the Great War would be forgotten as we conquer all the lands that were stripped from us! We are to be a master race of all peoples, and reign over the lesser races of Poles, Slavs, and especially Jews. It made me so proud to be German!”
Abraham: “I’m sorry that you were brainwashed. I wish I could say I forgive you, but you have wronged me, my friend. I will not contact you again to change your mind, but will instead remember you as you were before today, a dear partner and confidant in every experience. Goodbye.”
After this, I heard a click on the line to note that the phone was hung up. I walked over to the fireplace, grabbed photographs of our two families and lit a match. Esther woke up, and stared at me as I sank despairingly into my chair. “Husband, what is wrong, and what are you burning?” she asked.
I glanced at her and said, “I am cremating a lost friend,” and began to cry. Karl was the first of many former acquaintances who forgot us, but none hurt me more.
Image of Jew on ground courtesy Daniel Kren, sent via email.
Image of blackboard courtesy http://www.ushmm.org