November 11, 2005


Katrin's choice: how do I tell my son about great-uncle Heinrich. . .? (Roger Boyes, 11/11/05, Times of London)

KATRIN HIMMLER’S son is a bright, curious six-year-old. “I’m dreading the moment,” she says, “when I have to tell him that one half of his family tried to kill the other half.”

Frau Himmler, a political scientist, is the great-niece of Heinrich Himmler, head of Hitler’s SS and mastermind of the concentration camp system that murdered millions of Jews.

She is married to an Israeli whose family was confined to the Warsaw ghetto, which was burned to the ground by troopers acting on her great-uncle’s orders.

Sometime soon her son will have to be told of the 20th-century tragedy that is part of his heritage.

Many years ago my Jewish Father-in-Law was unsuccessfully trying to get me to go to the beach and asked: when you have kids aren't you going to take them in the water? To which I responded: Only for their baptisms.

I was kidding, but the sad reality is that our acceptance and assimilation of Jews spells the doom of Judaism more surely than anti-Semitism ever did, unless Judaism takes on an evangelical aspect that is foreign to its traditions and history.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2005 8:17 AM

Did she keep the Himmler name after marriage?

Posted by: RC at November 11, 2005 10:00 AM

So OJ, are you saying that the Wife should dump you?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 11, 2005 11:09 AM

RC: I thought the same thing. If her name was Levy (or whatever her husband's name is), would she even have to explain anything?

The only answer I think is is that she is kind of proud of the notoriety.

Posted by: Bob at November 11, 2005 12:27 PM

oj wrote: "the sad reality is that our acceptance and assimilation of Jews spells the doom of Judaism"

Perhaps, but maybe the purpose of Judaism's survival for thousands of years was to become an important ingredient in America's melting pot. As such, some essence of Judaism will live on as long as American ideals do.

Posted by: Bret at November 11, 2005 12:37 PM


No, that the Chosen accept Christians.

Posted by: oj at November 11, 2005 12:41 PM

Did anyone see the documentary "Shanghai Ghetto" from a few years ago? It was the story of how Shanghai, as an "open city", was one of the last places that Jews could escape to, until it was closed by the Japanese. Fascinating and powerful stuff. Towards the very end one of the survivors makes the point that assimilation means that Hitler might as well have finished the job himself. It sounded outrageous at first, but upon reflection not quite so much so...

Posted by: b at November 11, 2005 1:15 PM

OJ is an optimist; this, too, shall pass.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 12, 2005 12:23 AM

oh i think the world's greatest faith will be able to survive the allure of the shiksa (sp?) and keep going for a couple more millinia

Posted by: King David at November 12, 2005 12:26 AM