Sunday, October 09, 2011
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

Here, Martin, we have reached the center of the problem.

I was a Nazi. I was - since very young - a dedicated disciple of Martin Heidegger. And the Rektorat Speech (and, possibly even more, the course Introduction to Metaphysics and my, I believe, rigorously and severely directed lectures on Being and Time) made of me a sincere, and even lucid, I dare say, National Socialist. Because I had fundamentals, because I did not think the metaphysical destiny of our people from Mein Kampf nor from The Myth of the Twentieth Century, but instead from Heidegger, and from Nietzsche (read through Heidegger), and from Heraclitus, and originary Greece.

Something, however, was missing.

There wasn't in me, Martin, any hatred.

I don't care about the Jews. I can't say that I like them or not. I didn't even find them disagreeable. If someone told me their last name was Wasserman or Steinberg I lacked (and this, in 1933, in Germany, was tragic) that automatic racism that led to a simple question, from precisely any German: is Wasserman a Jewish last name, or is Steinberg? That, to me, didn't happen. That, to me, kept me from hating. Not only did it impede me from being adequately Nazi. It also impeded my being adequately German.

It coincided, of course, with Hegel: the Absolute had passed through the Jewish people and they had not recognized it. They had forsaken it. For sure: a grave error for which the Jews had been paying almost two thousand years. I didn't believe in the financial monster that bled, to starvation, to scrawniness, the nation's people. Germany overflowed with obscenely rich Aryan magnates. Now, all of them supported the Führer. Was it reasonable that the Führer believed them? Or were they using him to crush the reds and would later destroy him? None of this bothered me. It was politics, and I, my son, dedicate myself to philosophy, to thinking being and to forgetting that giving myself over to the entities. This debilitated me in the community of the strong.

I never could make the Jew the demonic other because the Jew was not substantial to me. I didn't love nor hate him. He was like any other German. Neither could I stand with him when he was attacked without pity. I lamented the barbarity of Crystal Night. But that was part of Jewish, not of German history. The Jews, everywhere, were persecuted. I don't know why. I don't know if the cost of not having recognized the Absolute should be so high, of having forsaken it. But, in any case, it is not my condemnation, nor is it my war.

I was condemned to not being able to hate them. Not hating in a regime that demands the hatred is to be in danger. And so, Martin, I was.


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