We want to step out of the Shoah shadow, but we run into obstacles

As the Holocaust goes from memory to history, Jews have tried to move forward. But the deniers haul us back again

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday January 25, 2006
The Guardian

I am writing these words on a train, travelling through Germany. And yet, it hardly feels strange at all. There was a time when a journey like this would have felt like the breaking of a taboo: the associations with the wartime past – trains, Germany – were too obvious to ignore.

I remember my first trip to this country, as a student nearly 20 years ago. Some relatives wished me luck, as if I was entering a danger zone; others wondered if it was right to go at all, as if my mere presence in Germany was an act of unwarranted, premature forgiveness. The emotions behind those sentiments were alive in me, too: I found myself looking at every white-haired man or aged matron, wondering what secrets they concealed. The language itself was abrasive to my ears: I heard not German, but Nazi.

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | We want to step out of the Shoah shadow, but we run into obstacles> MORE.