If you look for articles, you can find them almost every week. The Germans are knocking down another monument, digging up another grave, demolishing an hotel, doing everything except expunging the historical record itself. And who knows, they may do that next.
What is all this negative activity about? Germans are divesting themselves of every last remnant of the Third Reich and Hitler. They want to pretend he never happened and he wasn’t part of it.
It’s understandably human, considering how much grief the Third Reich cost the Germans, now only one generation removed from the Second World War that shaped the world in which we now live. They were invaded by foreign powers. The Russians claimed half of their capital in East Berlin and what became known as East Germany. In addition all sorts of Anglo-American news media, politicians, Hollywood movies, TV, and people in the street call them all sorts of horrible names all the time. Anyone who speaks German has been a stock villain for decades. I am just a German American, and I was asked in college if I felt guilty because I was German.
But Germans have to draw a line somewhere. And I think the line’s been reached. I read in an article in Spiegel Online that the grave of Rudolph Hess was being exhumed and Hess’s remains being cremated and sent to sea. Hess was part of history. Whether you like it or not, you can’t erase the past. And by trying to destroy monuments, you make sure that future generations will not have all the information they need to figure out what helped to create the present.