The Roman, the Greek and the Nazi(s)

How overdue this blog is can easily be defined by the time past between my last publication here (August ’12). But even to a wider extent by the strong urge I have had to write this piece – which dates back many, oh so very many years. It may have first manifested itself inside of me during the school-year 2003/04 that I spent living in Cork, Ireland. Over there, in a overly catholic boys-to-men-school I was first being introduced to the idea of having foreigners tell me what they know – or thought to believe – about Germany and its past. Spoiler alert: it is not a very happy story! Of course not, how could it be?! Well, truth be told: my classmates back then were 15-16 years old and still had a few years of school in front of them. And even I had three more years to go afterwards. But then again, these 3 years – speaking about the history class in particular – were filled with one subject: Ze Zermans.
Okay, now here is, what I remember from all in all 9 years of more or less intense history-learning in various schools:

There once was a German Empire. Then they fought a war, lost it, got blamed. Started a second war, lost it. And rightfully so: got blamed. And then there were two German countries until David Hasselhoff miraculously reunited them, full stop.

Well, this is mind and taking those few weeks in middle school into account, during which the teacher would playfully explain the Romans and the Greeks (and we are talking a few weeks only!) I have absolutely no idea about any other country or historic events. For all I know, Germany could be only 150 years old and the riverbanks from where I am currently typing these words got drawn here like in SimCity. If it was not for the English classes in which we scratched on the surface of history of all major English speaking (and the U.S.) me knowledge would be even more limited.
What is bothering me immensely is my lack of wisdom regarding my own national identity and how this may be perceived elsewhere. I was being “honored” by Estonian nationalists back in 2010 with them telling me that I should be proud of “the” past. Shocking for a person like me, being brought up in a school system that for 9 consecutive years indoctrinated my mind about Germans and Germany being the source of all evil.  That persons’ believe put aside, I wish I could, in that very moment, have been able to explain my knowledge more thoroughly – but nah. I was merely given the tools to accept all blaming and beating for something in the past.
But in today’s day and age, I strongly develop the urge to educate myself about the history of others, coz I want to understand the bigger picture. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me to understand why the German-centric view in school is as it is. For I am still afraid to raise my voice about the international beating I sometimes had to endure abroad. Don’t get me wrong, what happened was the ultimate hate crime – yet the school system still teaches us that it was my personal fault. Mine…?!

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About jlinketraveller

Traveller and Writer - none of 'em uber successful! View all posts by jlinketraveller

3 responses to “The Roman, the Greek and the Nazi(s)

  • ewigfan

    my old friend with the funny cap,

    i enjoyed your post about your experiences with the “german history” abroad and in germany itself. but be sure about something – there is no dogma in german schools to teach you (or any other pupil) about a personal fault!! there is also no dogma to teach you about a “national fault”. but yes, there is a kind of dogma to teach about a responsibility to our history and to take care about that in our times! if any teacher in your school-career was telling about a common-fault, or even a personal-fault, than this person were still living in a “black sphere” and did not clear up their minds to a historcally and ethically point of view that is able to see crime as crime, respomsibility as responsibility, guilt as guilt and evil as evil.

    • jlinketraveller

      Dear Ewig!
      As always, cheers for reading up on my, highly appreciated. As for the post at hand, let me assure you that the blog written does merely reflect my own view I have gathered from both German schools and foreign experiences. I am very certain that, if you were to ask someone within our own and rather small community the answer most likely will be completely/partially different. I don’t think that any teacher I’ve had in that time followed a secret agenda to spread evil thoughts among the pupils, yet I still feel like the spreading of information was one-sided only.

      nägemist!

  • ewigfan

    maybe that you met a bunch of assholes during the days of school! 🙂 the offical way to teach ist surely different to the “individual” reality. but i´m sure that reality will change – at least when people like you take more responsibility in education and historicaL REVIEW:
    take care, old fart!
    see you

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