Some years back, I found myself at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, giving a tour to a group of tourists.
I was not a guide however. And it was only my first time at the museum.
But, as a Jewish girl, I could speak to those tourists like no other Jew there, because I could speak German.
Yes. I gave a group of non-Jewish Germans a tour through the Holocaust, in a way they had never seen, in a way many would not imagine.
I have always pitied Germans. Not the Nazis, not the Jew-haters, but the ones who are ashamed of their country’s past and work in stridence and vain to make up for it. They have inherited something that is not rightly theirs; yet, something they can never renounce.
So, understand my anger when I read about a German charity, Stille Hilfe (Silent Aid), that strives to help the Third Reich’s most evil criminals escape justice.
My mother was born in Austria shortly after World War II. Her parents both survived the Holocaust – physically. Mentally and emotionally they were both casualties.
The Holocaust is a scar that runs deep in my family, as it does in any family who experienced it somewhere in its line.
I am first-generation Canadian on my mother’s side. And, fortunately, I’ve enjoyed all the unique freedoms that come as a citizen of Canada. Unfortunately, I’ve also been haunted by the Holocaust.
It is through its scars that I look at the world.
In the past, Germany has made efforts to “show” support to Israel. Moral considerations have certainly been a reason for its obligation to do so.
Germany ranks as Israel’s second largest bi-lateral trading partner, and is a long-standing partner in defence and science cooperation. It has provided financial aid to the minuscule Mediterranean country, only second to the United States, both in Holocaust restitution and outside that realm. It has also helped with humanitarian aid.
But, with all of Germany’s efforts to “show” its support to Israel, there have been blemishes surfacing in its actions – or non-actions – that resurrect images of the past and of the inhumane.
In recent years, especially, there have been questions as to Germany’s true affiliations.
Last year, then-German president Horst Köhler issued one of the country’s most prestigious awards, the Federal Merit Cross, to Israeli lawyer Felicia Langer. How is that questionable? She may be Israeli, but is an Israeli who has equated Israel with Nazi Germany and the former South African apartheid regime.
Last month, the mayor of Frankfurt, Petra Roth, invited hardcore anti-Israeli academic Alfred Grosser to deliver the keynote speech at the commemoration of Kristallnacht, an act of state-sponsored violence against German Jews on November 9, 1938.
These are but two examples of an ever-increasing tendency in Germany to reward and profile anti-Israel Jews, in a way that can only be seen as backhanded anti-Semitism.
And despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s declaration that, "A president who questions Israel's right to exist, a president who denies the Holocaust, cannot expect to receive any tolerance from Germany," she remained rather tolerant with such an individual.
Until its latest sanctions on Iran, Germany was its most important trading partner in the European Union. Iran, a country led by a president who denies the Holocaust, and openly aims for the annihilation of Israel and the Jews.
And though prior to the current sanctions, Merkel would ask businesses to limit trade with Iran, she would never implement any strict laws to prevent it as other countries did.
Today, with the news of Stille Hilfe and its quasi-support from the Germany government, I cannot remain stille.
In 2002, although it was long overdue, Germany banned the Al-Aqsa charity, an organization of fundraising for the terrorist group Hamas.
So, why has it not banned Stille Hilfe?
As the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, Heinrich Himmler helped to organize the extermination of more than six million Jews, and hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, homosexuals, and others deemed undesirable by Hitler.
Himmler would have his daughter, Gudrun, join him at the concentration camps, exposing her to the smell of the burning human flesh.
The little girl worshipped her father for this.
Decades later, Gudrun Himmler continues to devote her life to the death of Jews. The 81-year-old, mother of two, is a leading member of Stille Hilfe.
The “charity” is currently helping Klaas Faber, an 88-year-old Dutch Nazi. He is wanted by Holland to resume his life sentence, for killing Jews and resistance fighters in the war.
Whether bankrolling legal fights, or hiding convicted killers of hundreds of thousands of Jews, it has supported countless fugitive SS members.
Most notably perhaps, Stille Hilfe coordinated the escape of Adolf Eichmann and Joseph Mengele to South America.
The organization began operating in 1946, and became overt in 1951, registering with German authorities so it could raise funds. It is estimated to have about 25 members, but receives funding and support from hundreds of sympathizers.
Even though the opposition German Social Democratic Party has called for a probe into the group’s charitable status, Berlin still refuses to take any action against it.
Now, imagine if no one would have taken action against Adolf Hitler when he began his attempt to rid the world of the Jews.
No one did.