Sunday, May 08, 2005

Scandal at German Open Tennis Tournament

Reuters reports on how the German Open tennis tournament, which had attracted the world's top female tennis players, is buried in bad publicity following a pro-Nazi article in the tournament program. Link.
Berlin's Rot Weiss tennis club has apologised for the slur and suspended director Lars Rehmann, who co-authored the text.

In a section of the programme on the club's rich heritage, Luftwaffe (air force) chief Goering is pictured sitting on the club's honorary tribune, with uniformed Nazi officers behind him.

The text describes how Jewish members of the club fled Hitler and continues: "With its membership reduced by half in this way, the club, previously known as a 'Jewish club', opened itself to new members."

"In sporting terms this change brought no interruption for the club and top German tennis. On the contrary, golden times ensued."

The article does not say, but I am very curious to know, the age of the director who co-authored the text. I suspect he is young. A lot has been written about the total amnesia concerning Nazi brutality in general and their treatment of the Jews in particular in German education. Young Germans learn nothing about the horrors of Nazism, unless they make the effort to learn it themselves. This is the result. A young German will see in Goering only a high government official and can see in a statement that "Jewish members of the club fled Hitler" merely a neutral choice to relocate.

Germany has changed enough that I do not think we have to fear the truth of George Santayana's famous statement "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," but knowledge of the past is still one of the best guarantees that we will not have to repeat it.


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