Sunday, August 28, 2005

Holocaust survivors, second generation (12)

Contemplating now, I consider the following as the awakening of my mistrust when it comes to hidden anti-Semitism.

I must have been 9 years old.

A nanny of whom my parents were really content looked after us, my little brother and me. Once when I wanted to kiss her, just as a little boy expresses his affection for an aunt, she repelled scornfully saying: “Bah, I don’t want no jodenlijm to my face”.

Jodenlijm: literally translated means “Jew glue” and is Dutch derogatory slang for “spittle”.

I never mentioned this to my parents. I felt something between shame and the need to shield them; I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I did see this incident for a long time as example of the hypocrisy of the people around us; friendly to our faces but behind our back contemptuously referring to us as “those Jews”.

What did upset me the most though, was not the anti-Semitism, that I had experienced already enough (verbally and physically) at school and in the street. I couldn’t understand that my parents were blind to the fact that they had taken someone “like that” in our house...

It just did not feel safe anymore.

To the next post in the "second generation" sequence.

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