Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Jewish hockey player - whose family suffered from Nazis - plays for Germany -

A hockey jersey hung in each player’s locker. It bore Germany’s national colors, black trimmed in red and gold. The front was emblazoned with an eagle above the word Deutschland. This would be Evan Kaufmann’s first time wearing the jersey. He removed it from the hanger and turned it around to see his family name spelled in capital letters. 

He would recall feeling a tingle of excitement. He felt something else, too, emotions that crisscrossed like the laces of his skates. He was proud to wear the jersey but also solemn about what history had done to the name on the back. His great-grandfather starved to death by the Nazis. His great-grandmother herded to extermination on a train to Auschwitz. His grandfather shuttled between ghettos and concentration camps, surviving somehow, finding a displaced sister after the war, pushing her from a hospital in a wheelbarrow after her lower left leg was amputated because of frostbite. 

On Feb. 10, Kaufmann finished dressing and skated onto the ice at a tournament in Belarus. With his initial shift, he became one of the few Jews to represent Germany in elite international sports since World War II, the first in ice hockey since the 1930s and perhaps the most visible to have had family members murdered in the Holocaust, according to sports historians and Jewish officials.


  1. I remember how shocked I always was to see German luxury cars in almost every Sephardic driveway on Ocean Parkway as well as German appliances in the heart of Boro Park.

  2. I've never really been bothered by this kind of stuff. Today's Germans can be three generations removed fron the holocaust so there's no reason they should be held accountable for it. This has nothing to do with forgiving the Nazi's- the point is they have nothing to do with the Nazi's. Should we still blame today's Spaniards for the Inquisition? Don't forget that that the Jews were expelled from England too.

  3. Shaul: I've been hearing those exact words for over 40 years. I disagree with you totally -- the sin of the Holocaust is so great that every German should be fasting weekly and at thevery least being 100% supportive of Israel as a sort of atonement. Meanwhile, I read the other day that just 12 short years after the Nazi era, West Germany had just FOUR(!!!) Nazis in their jails. And I think that says it all.

    And how in the world do you compare expulsion, even with torture, to the horrirs of the Holocaust???

  4. Dovy- You might want to read up on the inquisition and tach ve'tat. There was nothing essentially new about the holocaust. (Which is why R Hutner was against inventing a new word- 'shoah'- for it) It just happens to be fresher in our collective memories. Also we have some videos of the Nazi's YMS engaging in their evil. People who saw Churban Bayis sheini were pretty traumatized too.

    Bottom line: Eisav sonei leyaakov is nothing new, and we do no one any good by harping on their ancectors' evil. It doesn't endear us to them and it's counterproductive.


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