"I'm the only Nazi Jew I know. Macabre, do not you think? "| Culture



When the Germans capitulated to the allies, the young Josef Perjell wept defeat. He did not put on his uniform again to fight in the front or wear the swastika as a member of the Hitler Youth. Gone was his conviction in the superiority of the race and the dream of a strong Germany that would dominate Europe. Until then, logical. But the scheme breaks down when we learn that the real name of that vanquished teenager was Solomon Perel. And the astonishment increases even more when he tells us that the last time he saw his parents was in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz (Poland), where he fled after having recorded in his memory the order that his mother gave him: "You you have to survive! "

I believed the indoctrination absolutely. He trusted in the superiority of the race, in the selection of the species. I was ashamed of my origins "

When this Wednesday, at 93, he remembered that in Madrid, the conclusion about his behavior is clear: "It was a defense mechanism ...". He comments after having given several talks invited by the german schools Y Swiss. There he told the story of that kid who entered the monster's clutches in order not to be annihilated as a Jew and that Agnieszka Holland took to the movies in his movie Europe Europe, based on his memories.

He had fled Germany with his family. They decided to move to Poland. Error. When that became a mousetrap, he and his older brother escaped further east, towards the Soviet Union. But the Wehrmacht did not cease the harassment of Jews on any front. Near Minsk, after a wild chase - "I have not seen anything like it in my life", confesses now-, they were lined up to identify them before sending them to the common grave with a shot. "An officer asked me if I was a Jew and I said no. I do not know where that voice came from, with that conviction. But he believed it and I was saved. " Soon after he was back in Germany, tucked into the classroom of a school in Brunswick. There they formed the savage spirit of the Hitler Youth and there they remained internal until they were recruited to the front.

Perel could have told his story by feigning interpretation skills, like a masterpiece of dissimulation. But when in the eighties he confessed it in his book You have to live (Xorki) chose the same frankness he adopts now: "I was a convinced Nazi. The only Nazi Jew I've ever met ... Macabre, do not you think? I was overcome with sadness with defeat, I believed in indoctrination absolutely. He trusted in the superiority of the race, in the selection of species, in that the world should belong to the strongest and that the destiny of the weak was to fall. I felt like one of them and they considered me as such. I was even ashamed of my origins. "

During the day he was a Hitlerian pup. At night, when she undressed and had to disguise her circumcision before others, in the silence of the bedroom, she went to bed with the conscience and the ghost of her true identity under the sheets. Do you feel a traitor? "Never. I obeyed my mother's order. I swore to him that I would survive and I'm still here. "

When the war ended, the return to Solomon was natural. He spent two years in Germany until in 1948 he decided to emigrate to Israel, where he lives. "I hid my story for 40 years. I did not tell my wife or my two children. But they had to operate on my heart and before I decided to tell it. " Few people said to him: "Neither moderate nor orthodox," he says. They understood him and even today they know him well in his country. "Someone left saying that before he let himself kill a swastika. It is very easy to think like that when you are not in danger, but if they had put themselves in my place, what would they have done? " Even so, somehow it feels strange: "When I go to meetings of survivors, I see myself as a outsider. I can not share memories of a concentration camp with anyone, no similar experience. Nor do I know anyone who has gone through something similar, nor do I feel the sense of guilt of the survivor of the ovens told by Primo Levi. I think I'm the only one. "

Someone left saying that before he allowed himself to be killed carrying a swastika. It is very easy to think like that when you are not in danger, but if they had put themselves in my place, what would they have done?

Today he considers himself free of that delirium, although sometimes his Hitlerian training weighs him on the inside. "Even today, deep down, I notice the remains of those years. I hear echoes of young Josef. " Enough to worry about the alarming signals he sees in Europe and around the world. "There are many similarities with that era. Populisms appeal to the despair of the people. Also, at first, most thought that the followers of that eccentric named Hitler would never reach power. They considered it as we see many right-wing leaders in the world today, a madman. And look…". Nor does he believe that the recipe to combat it is ambiguity. "Not the center. What is the center? Nothing. You can only fight fascism from a leftist commitment. But without violence. "

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