tisdag 21 mars 2017

The Time Has Come

- My granddaughter is doing military service in Israel, a friend told me in the synagogue and added, we are all so proud.
They can not take in my stories about the ghetto in Budapest. I understand them. The distance between driving a
Merkava tank and to sit imprisoned in the ghetto is gigantic. How could they possibly understand?

- They have to understand, I said.

- Understand what? he asked with a shrug.

- Let me return to what we, the generations after you, have to understand, I said. - People have forgotten that
the coin has two sides and the other side has, until now been hidden, obstructed by the first side, the victim side.

- I don’t understand, he said.

- Let me tell you what I think, I said. And I continued:
- You were survivors and you were very young. Your outer as well as your inner lives were shattered. Your choice was to either start over, to escape into mental illness - or to kill yourselves. Many chose the first option. Many of you tried to move on. The strongest did this. Some were successful, others not. But you did it. The shadows kept chasing you and you tried to hide from them by building new life, starting families, getting higher educations and climbing career ladders. But the shadows continued to chase you. The anxiety was ever present together with all the questions of why and where did they all go and we have to move on, but how? And you were silent. You fought yourself inside your silence. You never got any answers to your questions. No one asked you anything and you did not want to burden your children - the children who should never have been born.

When we escaped from Egypt 3 000 years ago we had to remain in the desert for 40 years. Many don’t understand why but it takes 40 years - a generation - to get over the slave mentality and acquire proper guidance on how to proceed. And after 40 years in the desert we managed to do just that and started to move on.

You were silent for 40 years, but then you were ready to talk - without guidance. Some began to speak, write and shout
out your despair. To your surprise, the world started to listen. They listened and listened, and you were restored by
those who listened to you. You spoke about the Holocaust and everyone saw you as you were - the actual victims.

Israel has not been different. Israel was busy with survival and the building of a new state, a country of proud Jews, not victims. Many of you went there and you fought together against the invading Arabs in 1948, but then you disappeared
again and you were silent there too, for the shadows look the same and they keep chasing you, no matter where you go, no matter where you live.

Then Yad vaShem was built and Auschwitz/Birkenau became a symbol of humanity's absolute low point.

I was in Israel during Yom haShoa last year. It really is powerful when all society stops and all bow their heads in unison, in rememberance and respect. All this is thanks to you.

- The other side then? my friend said, What do you mean?

- The other side of the coin, I said, is the neglected but crucial side, and it is still hidden.

- Hidden?

- Yes, I said. The side that tells us that you are not only surviving but also survivors.

- You survived the worst genocide in the history of mankind, and yet managed to pick up the fallen banner and you continued on your way. You saw to it that our story continues, you have shown us that whatever happens, we continue to build, we continue to live on. You have shown us, the generation who came after you, that you are unique in your unbending will to not ever give up. You are characterised by your history, and you have told it to us, but now it's up to us to lift this formerly hidden side about how you continued onward to much higher levels.

We must pass on the story of how you, like when we rose after the exodus from Egypt, lifted and carried this history to become the foundation of our entire existence. What you have done is at this level. We are all a result of your will to live, all of us who live in the generations after you. You must be remembered and you will be remembered as the most
important Jews in our history.

We must erect memorials in honour of your heroism, your courage and strength to carry on. We must change our approach to you as victims - in a context over which you had no power - to the giants that you all are, to the survivors that you all are - and we all need to see this and embrace this and be guided by this. You cannot do that, but we have to do it. We need to show and promote the other side of the coin - the survivors and how you did it, how you survived - you, the lonely and abandoned by us who did not know any better. But now is the time - now it's time to let our children and grandchildren understand the width of the unprecedented struggle you have fought and still fight every day.

We must study and we must learn from you. We must incorporate this into our religious ceremonies and we have to
raise this issue on all levels - that it is impossible to be a Jew in the shadow of the Holocaust - but that you are the proof that it actually is possible, and that the feat you have accomplished is outstanding!

This is the other side of the coin - the one that is our cursed and sacred duty to lift and carry forward.

The time has come. The time is now.

söndag 19 mars 2017

Tiden är inne

Tiden är inne

- Mitt barnbarn gör militärtjänst i Israel, sa min vän, vi är alla så stolta.
De kan inte ta till sig mina berättelser. Jag förstår dem. Avståndet mellan att köra en Merkava stridsvagn och att sitta inspärrad i ghettot är gigantiskt. Hur skulle de kunna förstå?

- De måste förstå, sa jag.

- Förstå vad?

- Låt mig återkomma till vad och vad vi, generationerna efter er måste förstå, sa jag. - Det har glömts bort att myntet har två sidor och den andra sidan har fram tills nu skymts av den första sidan, offersidan.

- Jag förstår inte, sa han.

- Låt mig få berätta hur jag tänker, sa jag.

- Ni var överlevande och mycket unga. Era yttre och inre liv var krossade. Era val var att antingen börja om från början, eller att gå in i psykisk sjukdom - eller ta livet av er. Många valde de första alternativen. Många av er försökte gå vidare. De starkaste gjorde detta. En del lyckades bra, andra inte. Men ni gjorde det. Skuggorna jagade er alltid och ni försökte gömma er i från dem genom att bygga nya liv, med familjer, utbildningar och karriärer. Men skuggorna fortsatte att jaga er. Ångesten fanns där och frågorna om varför och vart tog alla vägen och vi måste gå vidare men hur? Men ni var tysta. Ni kämpade i er tystnad. Ingen frågade någonting och ni ville inte belasta era barn - de barn som aldrig skulle ha fötts.

När vi flydde ifrån Egypten för 3000 år sedan så tvingades vi bo 40 år i öknen - 40 år för att komma över slavmentaliteten och få vägledning om hur vi skulle kunna gå vidare. Först efter 40 år klarade vi av att göra just det.

Ni var tysta i 40 år, men sedan var ni mogna - utan vägledning. En del började tala, skriva och skrika ut er förtvivlan. Till er stora förvåning började världen lyssna. De lyssnade och lyssnade och ni blev upprättade av dem som lyssnade på er. Ni talade om Förintelsen och alla såg er som de offer ni faktiskt var.
Israel har inte varit annorlunda. Israel var upptaget med att överleva och att bygga ett nytt land, ett land med stolta judar, inte offer. Många av er åkte dit och ni kämpade tillsammans mot de invaderande araberna 1948, men sedan försvann ni igen och ni var tysta där också, för skuggorna ser likadana ut och de fortsätter att jaga en, var man än bor. Så ni var tysta där också.
Så byggdes Yad vaShem och Auschwitz/Birkenau blev en symbol på mänsklighetens absoluta bottenläge.
Jag var i Israel under Yom haShoa förra året. Det är mäktigt när samhället stannar upp och alla böjer sina huvuden i påminnelse och respekt. Allt detta är er förtjänst.

- Den andra sidan då? Vad menar du?

- Den andra sidan av myntet, sa jag, är den bortglömda men den avgörande och den är fortfarande dold.

- Dold?

- Ja sa jag. Den sidan som berättar om att ni inte bara är överlevande utan även överlevare.

- Ni överlevde den största katastrofen i mänsklighetens historia och ni tog upp den fallna fanan och ni fortsatte. Ni såg till att vår historia fortsätter, ni har visat oss alla att vad som än händer så bygger vi vidare, vi lever vidare. Ni har visat oss, vi som kommer efter er, att ni är enastående i er oböjliga vilja att inte ge upp. Ni är präglade av er historia och ni har berättat den för oss men nu är det upp till oss att lyfta denna sida om hur ni fortsatt till mycket högre nivåer.
Vi måste föra vidare berättelsen om hur ni, liksom när vi reste oss efter uttåget ur Egypten, lyfte denna historia till att bli basen för vår hela existens. Det ni har gjort är på denna nivå. Vi är alla ett resultat av er livsvilja, alla vi som lever i generationerna efter er. Ni måste bli ihågkomna och ni kommer att bli ihågkomna som de viktigaste judarna i vår historia.
Vi måste resa minnesstenar över era hjältedåd, modet och kraften att gå vidare. Vi måste ändra vår inställning till er som offer - för ett sammanhang ni inte rådde över - till de giganter ni alla är, till de överlevare ni alla är - och att vi alla måste se detta och ta till oss detta och låta oss vägledas av detta. Ni kan inte göra det, men vi måste göra det. Vi måste visa och uppmärksamma den andra sidan av myntet - överlevarna och hur ni bar er åt - ni, de ensamma och övergivna av oss som inte förstod bättre. Men nu är tiden inne - nu är det dags att få våra barn och barnbarn att förstå vidden av den exempellösa kamp ni har fört och fortfarande för.

Vi måste studera och vi måste lära oss av er. Vi måste införliva detta i våra religiösa ceremonier och vi måste lyfta frågan på alla plan - att det egentligen är omöjligt att vara jude i skuggan av Förintelsen - men att ni, ni är beviset på att det faktiskt går och att den bragd ni har åstadkommit är enastående!

Det är den andra sidan av myntet - den som det är vår förbannade och vår heliga plikt att lyfta.

Tiden är inne för det. Tiden är nu.

måndag 6 mars 2017

Our names carry our history

- But Stefan Lindmark is not a Jewish name, she said, my Christian friend.
- So what is a Jewish name then? I asked her.
- Well, she said, Braun, Weiss, Goldstein, Einstein, Levin, you know, names like that? she replied.
- Yes, and Cohen, she added, the priest name. And first names of course - like Moses, Aaron, Isaac and David - yes, names like that.

- So how did the names become Jewish names then? I asked her, - Do you know? I mean names such as Gold, Braun, Weiss and so on. They are no biblical names, right!?
- Oh, I really don’t know, she admitted. She looked questioningly at me, perhaps realising that she had not thought of it earlier. - How did they do it? How did they become Jewish names?
- The authorities of Austria-Hungary once decided that all Jews should have a last name, and not just their Hebrew names. They had to pay money for the nice names of course, and those who could not pay enough or were too poor were given the names that were left over; simple names, like Weiss for example, which was my grandmother's maiden name - or offensive names, like Einstein, ”one testicle”.
She looked at me, a little surprised and seemed unsure if she wanted to giggle or be dismayed. I continued:
- After a few generations you now associate those names with being Jewish - but the purpose was the exact opposite. Einstein is not exactly a name with negative connotations nowadays - don’t you agree? She nodded.
- But the origin tells a story, for those who want to know.
- Yeah - but what about ”Lindmark” then? she said. Many thousands of Swedes are named Lindmark. It’s a very Swedish name! And "Stefan" is as Swedish as it gets! she exclaimed.
- That's right, I said, and that's exactly the point!
- Really!? she said in surprise, - There is a point?

- I, like all Jews, have a Hebrew name, I said. It’s ”Shaul ben Itzhak". Saul, the son of Isaac. Isaac was my grandfather.
- But what about Lindmark? she asked.
- I could have taken my mother's maiden name, which is more Jewish-sounding, but I kept the name Lindmark, which was my father's name, I said.
- Why? she asked.

- Well, this is how it is, I said. - I am the son of a survivor from Auschwitz-Birkenau. My mother arrived in Sweden as a 23-year old human wreck after 14 months of captivity on planet Hell. Her whole life was destroyed. Everyone and everything she ever knew was gone. My mother, the daughter of a Hasidic mother and father. My mother, who witnessed several hundred thousand Hungarian Jews executed in the gas chambers located 30 meters from her, where she kept sorting clothes belonging those who who were being exterminated, while she day in and day out could hear their desperate screams. My mother, who Dr Mengele experimented on and my mother, who one day arrived on planet Sweden, where everyone was nice to her, but no one understood or knew anything about the hell of planet Auschwitz-Birkenau. How could they? Sweden was the country that stayed out of the war, which saved the barely 8000 Jews who lived here. Although the list was drawn upp and ready; the Swedish Nazis had everything prepared for deportation when the war ended.

- So, what choice had the young girls who came here? I said. - The survivors of hell had now ended up in what may have been perceived as Paradise, at least on earth. How would they continue to live on now? How could they? After what they had witnessed, the horrors they had lived through and somehow miraculously survived. How?
Many killed themselves and many others became psychological wrecks - but some of them did manage to start over. They built up a new map of life, in order to orient themselves forward in the new life they had been given on this new planet where there was peace and prosperity. They slowly began to go from surviving to being survivors. Life must go on.

- Finding a young Jewish man was not easy and for many of them impossible - and some of them found a decent Swedish boy. - So it was for my mother. Ingemar Lindmark came from the most northern parts of Sweden - so far north that even he had never even seen tomatoes in his entire life before - that’s how far.
Eventually they moved to a small town in central Sweden and together they built a new life. They had no relatives nearby; they were on their own. Then came the children. I, who should never have been born. And my siblings came; and with us, a new generation. And they protected us by making us as Swedish as possible and thus hide us - if the hunt for Jews were to start all over again. It was effective up to a certain limit! I grew up full of questions about all the things about our family I couldn’t understand. And there was a lot. For who can forever hide their appearance, their depressions, their headaches or the tattooed numbers on your arm?

- To make a very very long story short:
When I was in my 30’s I had finally seen through my parent's clever scheme and decided to start living a traditional Jewish life, and thereby my name became an issue. Some of my contemporaries - who had also Swedish names like me - chose to take their relatives' names.
- However, I felt that my last name is too part of the Holocaust, or rather the way back to life  after the Holocaust. I have all my life felt that the Nazis did not want to kill my mother for what she had done, but for who she was. If the jewishness died in just one generation, the Nazis would have had succeeded - and I did not intend to let that happen.

- So - what you ask is exactly what I want the Jews (and others) to do in future generations, to ask: - How did Lindmark become a Jewish name? Then my answer would be the following.
- Of the children of the survivors about 10-15% have been diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) due to being raised by severely traumatised parents. The road back to a vibrant Jewish life was sometimes lifelong. They had to work hard for it and fight for it, in order to dare to be Jews and to dare to raise their children to be Jews. History and experience show that it takes about seven generations before the shadows from the past are gone.

- Today, the name Lindmark - and Svensson and Pettersson and Karlsson - are also Jewish names, as a reminder of the struggles people who bore them - and still do - lived through, in order to carry the banner forward. If they could, then we can also do it. Each generation must struggle in order to find their own identity. And keeps it. All generations must struggle with Anti-Semitism when it once again rears its ugly head - and it always does - and everyone has to decide for themselves - am I brave enough, do I have the strength to live a traditional Jewish life - or should I not?

Then our names will remain there as a monument for those who protested by safeguarding life and who resumed the life that existed before the Holocaust wiped out 1500 years of European Jewish life and culture. Those who fought against the Nazis by standing up for the values ​​that made us, and made us even more a living people, 4000 years after we became a living nation.
- Those who struggled to restore all the victims of the attempted and nearly complete extermination of our people. Those who refused to give up, talking and shouting to us through their names, that we also have to take responsibility - that is my wish and my hope.

- Oops! she said then, my Christian friend. You are a stubborn lot, you are.
- Yes, we are, I said. - We protest by being there, I said, and we live in our history. - We are a part of our history and we have taken our place there again.

tisdag 7 februari 2017

Nyårsfest bevakad av k-pistbeväpnade poliser

2016 gick mot 2017 och min dotter åkte till Köpenhamn för att träffa ett hundratal andra unga vuxna judar för att umgås, äta, dricka och dansa medan de firade in det nya året - och kanske hitta någon att titta djupt in i ögonen.
Själv har jag just deltagit en en övning för att träna hur vi ska agera om, Gud förbjude, ett terroristattentat skulle ske i Sverige - alltså hur vi inom judiska församlingen kan bistå samhällsaktörerna.

Efter attentatet i Köpenhamn för ett år sedan är säkerhetstänkandet högre än någonsin. Det kunde ha blivit en massaker eftersom terroristen efter att ha skjutit vakten tänkte ta sig in till den pågående judiska  ungdomsfesten.
- Varför är du förvånad? hade Sarah på judiska äldreboendet sagt till mig, när jag, med ångesten farande runt i mig efter attentatet, var upprörd och ängslig.
- Vad skiljer denna generation mot tidigare, sa hon retoriskt - hon som har suttit hela sin ungdomstid, 6 år  - i nazirikets dödsläger.

- Ingenting! svarade hon sig själv. - Antisemitism ät alltid antisemitism, men ni måste proteserna på samma sätt som vi alltid har gjort. Älska livet. Det gjorde vi, sa hon, överlevande och överlevare. Vi började om, men vi var och vi är skadade. Hon fortsatte:
- Men Stefan - ni har någonting vi inte hade. Ni har Israel! Glöm inte det. Glöm aldrig det!

- Hur har du det? frågade jag oroligt min dotter över telefonen.
- Jättebra! svarade hon. Jättefint hotell, sanslöst god mat och det är så skoj att träffa alla mina gamla kompisar från det judiska sommarlägret, fotbollen och våra resor till Israel tillsammans! Sååå kul!
Men en fråga hängde i luften, en fråga hon inte berörde.
- Säkerheten? frågade jag. - Hur är det med den?
- Det är lugnt, pappa, det finns k-pist beväpnade poliser på varje hotellplan och de står där dygnet runt. De säger till de andra hotellgästerna att det är statsbesök, sa hon och skrattade.

Jag berättade för min arbetskamrat dagen efter, mest för att testa hur pass medvetna svenskar är om hur omvärlden har ändrats - och min kollega bara öppnade munnen och tittade på mig. Mållös.
- K-pist beväpnade poliser!? frågade hon med en min som förrådde hennes upprördhet och chock.
- För att ungdomar ska kunna träffas och ha skoj tillsammans!? Jag vet inte vad jag ska säga... jag är chockad!

- Jo, tänkte jag, men våra barn är vana. Det finns alltid säkerhet runt judiska arrangemang. Det är en självklarhet för dem och en nödvändighet. Det är alltid så, för det måste vara så - och de har blivit vana vid det.
De förstår att vi aldrig kommer att låta det som hände Sarah ske igen och att vi måste aktivt arbeta för en trygg vardag.

- Det ÄR statsbesök sa jag. Ni är viktiga och Danmark tycker att ni är viktiga. Poliserna är beredda att försvara er med sina liv om det skulle behövas. Jag är glad att de vill försvara oss och demokratin, sa jag.
- Ni gör det som judar alltid har gjort, ni protesterar genom att håller livet heligt. Ni protesterar genom att träffas och ha skoj tillsammans, ni står för att livet måste fortsätta och att ni inte låter dem som vill polarisera vårt samhälle, lyckas med det. Vi slåss mot dem genom att fortsätta det liv som vi tror på och detta hatar de och detta vill de förstöra. Men vi låter dem inte. Vi tänker leva.

- Ha det skoj, sa jag, men kunde låta bli att tillägga: - Men var försiktiga.
- Det är lugnt pappa, svarade hon, min dotter. - Det är lugnt.

söndag 29 januari 2017

You, the surviving survivors - this is for you

On 27 January 1945 Auschwitz/Birkenau was finally liberated. There were a few thousand people left in the camp, but many had been driven out, to die on roads and in ditches during death marches. The ashes of the 1.5 million who had been murdered were scattered over the fields and the waters surrounding the gigantic camp complex.

Europe was forever changed. The vibrant, energising European Jews were no more. 1000 years of culture, songs, music, schools and cities were gone, never to be seen again - they are gone forever.

The next generations of Europeans will read about it in history books but soon it will be forgotten. Again.

Why did God let it happen - and how can anyone possibly survive as a Jew after all those horrors?

Those of you who came here to Sweden - including the young woman who would one day become my mother, after six months in Auschwitz/Birkenau and eight months in other camps and death marches - you are the survivors. But how to keep on living, what was to become of you?

I have worked at a Jewish retirement home as a registered nurse and I am also a psychotherapist. This retirement home is today home to many of those who came to Sweden as a human wrecks in May 1945 from the Nazi death camps of Europe. Emaciated and poor, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, handouts from the Red Cross.  Planet Sweden was definitely something quite different from the planet Auschwitz.

You were between 20 0ch 30 years and you survived. You were - and you are - survivors.

You were survivors because you were the right age, basically healthy, with no families of your own and you were strong - and this is why you survived. And yes, I know you do not wish to be regarded as heroes - but my friends, you are. You are not only surviving, you are also survivors, and you are an example to all of us - we who were miraculously born after the Holocaust. We, the generation that was never supposed to exist.

You came to a country that had managed to remain outside of the war and here you met people unaware of the evil doings in it. The 8 000 Jews who lived here were stunned when they began to understand the magnitude of it. To start over, to begin living a Jewish life as a survivor, was very difficult.

You, whom I meet in your homes at the the retirement home, are now between 90 and 100 years old, some even older. It is now 72 years since you arrived in this country.

How have you successfully managed to survive and live on? How did you do it?

Well, God knows that you are still suffering. Most of you are still being hunted prey by Nazis at night, you still miss your families who are long gone, most of you miss the security of your childhood that you once had - I dare say that you are all suffering - yes, everyone suffers in one way or another. The conversations I have had with you are countless - endless. You tell the most horrific stories and every one of you talk about how you miraculously were rescued; how you were found by the Americans on piles of corpses, how you were shot but when morning came the Germans were gone and you were somehow still alive - and when train cars were opened you suddenly found yourself in Heaven - Heaven in Denmark, without having a clue as to where you were. And so on.

- If I could have a night without the Nazis persecuting me, I would be so happy. Just one night!

I listen, I distribute tranquilizers and the night staff sit with you. By day, some of you are angry and some almost vicious. The haunting dreams of the night before, and those before that, live on in everyday life. The anxiety takes over.

The staff huffs and puffs but keep up a good face. They smile as they go through their daily chores, and when they take your hand and sit with you. They know why some of you are the way you are, even if they know they can never even begin to imagine the horrors you have been through. They don’t take it personally when you snap at them. What a fantastic job they do, the staff, but they never really hear it. When was the last time someone took the time to say thank you for all the hard work you do, and for all the love you lavish on these brittle human beings that you care for? I ask you, readers - when? But my friends, you really are amazing, you are angels, you are so professional, the Creator lives through you. You who sit with them, and I as a nurse try to support you, the residents and the relatives who get anxious because of their anxiety. You guards, who behind several locked gates will stop those who still to this day want to hurt these people. You policemen, who in the past years on several occasions with your submachine guns have been guarding us against external threats.

All of you there, who stand by our side, and especially now as that hatred against us is clawing its way back and rearing its ugly head - thank you.

And then again: YOU are the survivors.

And although God let it happen - the extermination of the Jews of Europe - you still refused to turn your back on the Creator.

You started over. Some of you went to Israel in 1948 and participated in the defence of the newly formed Jewish state. Thank you for that. Where did you find the strength and the motivation!? After all that you had been through. You built new lives. You educated yourselves, you fell in love, you started families, you had children and your children inherited the Jewish way of life - despite all the great, great hardship that entails. Since we are the children of survivors, we also live in anxiety - 20 percent of us, according to surveys, have developed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Many have lived religious lives, others have not, but most people have with their way of life done what Jews have always done. YOU have done what Jews have always done. You have protested by consecrating life! You have protested by sanctifying life and made it our - we who were born later - sworn duty to do the same.

You protest by sanctifying life - it bears repeating one more time! You protest by safeguarding life; you are all different, some of you are wonderful people, some less pleasant to be around - for that is how we humans are and different people handle life and experiences in different ways. But you all have shown us, your children and grandchildren and future generations that the way back to life is to with tremendous power refuse to abandon our God and Creator by stubbornly sticking to the Jewish way of life - that all people have equal value and the right to a life of dignity, that there is a higher morality and the sanctity of life is sacred and inviolable.

You have shown us that even though God sometimes has seemingly turned his back on us, we do not turn our backs on him. But please God - can you not give these people a single quiet night, now 72 years after the liberation? A night of peaceful sleep? Just one single night! They are so worth it, every one of them. It hurts so much to see them haunted by these demons - the Nazis and their collaborators.

May it never happen again - we must continue to protest evil by sanctifying life and carry this with us wherever we go - we will, I promise you.

The author and his mother, an Auschwitz/Birkenau survivor

Ni överlevande och överlevare - detta är till er

Den 27 januari 1945 befriades Auschwitz/Birkenau. Det fanns några tusen människor kvar. De levande hade drivits på flykt och askan av de 1,5 miljoner som mördats låg utspridd på åkrarna och i vattendragen runt det gigantiska lägerkomplexet.
Europa var för evig förändrat. Det levande, energigivande och det för Europa judiska folket fanns inte mer. 1000 år av kultur, sånger, musik, skolor och städer var borta och kommer aldrig att återuppstå.
De kommande generationerna européer kommer att läsa om det i historieböckerna men ganska snart förpassa det bak i minnet.
Varför lät Gud det ske och hur kan man leva vidare som jude efter detta?

Ni som kom hit till Sverige - bland andra min blivande mamma, efter sex månader i Auschwitz/Birkenau och åtta månader i andra läger - är överlevande - men vad gjorde ni av detta?
Jag har jobbat på ett judiskt äldreboende som sjuksköterska. Här bor idag många av dem som kom till Sverige som mänskliga vrak i maj 1945 från nazieuropas dödsläger. Utarmade till kropp och själ. Planeten Sverige var någonting annat än planeten Auschwitz.
Ni var mellan 20 0ch 30 år och ni var överlevande.
Ni var överlevande. Ni hade rätt ålder, friska, utan familj och ni var starka - därför överlevde ni. Och ja, jag vet att ni inte vill ses som hjältar - men mina vänner, ni är inte bara överlevande, ni  är också överlevare och ni är föredömen för oss alla - vi som mirakulöst föddes efter Förintelsen. Vi, som tillhör den generation som aldrig skulle finnas.

Ni kom till ett land som stått utanför kriget och ni träffade människor som var omedvetna om ondskan. De 8000 judar som då bodde här i landet var förstummade. Att börja leva ett judiskt liv var mycket svårt.
Ni som jag träffar på hemmet är nu mellan 90 och 100 år gamla. Det är nu 72 år sedan ni kom hit.
Hur har ni lyckats leva vidare?

Jo, Gud ska veta att ni fortfarande lider. De flesta av er är jagade av nazisterna på nätterna, ni saknar er familj, de flesta av er saknar er barndoms trygghet - jag vågar påstå att alla lider - jo, alla lider. De samtal jag har haft med er är otaliga - otaliga. Ni  berättar de mest fasansfulla historier och varenda en av er berättar om hur ni mirakulöst räddades; ni hittades av amerikanare på likhögar, ni skulle skjutas men just den morgonen kom ryssarna och tyskarna hade stuckit och när tågvagnarna öppnades var ni himlen - i himlen i Danmark utan att ha en aning om var ni var. Och så vidare.

- Om jag fick en natt utan att nazisterna förföljde mig, så skulle jag vara glad. Bara en natt!

Jag lyssnar, delar ut lugnade tabletter och nattpersonalen sitter hos er. På dagarna är den del arga och nästan elaka. Nattens drömmar hänger med in i vardagen. Ångesten tar över.
Personalen pustar och håller god min. Åh, vilket fantastiskt jobb de gör, personalen, utan att få höra det. När tackade någon er? Jag frågar er som läser - när? Men mina vänner, ni är fantastiska, ni är änglarna på jorden, ni är så proffsiga, genom er lever Skaparen. Ni som sitter hos dem, och jag som sjuksköterska försöker stötta er, de boende och de släktingar som får ångest av deras ångest. Ni vakter, som bakom flera grindar stoppar dem som vill de överlevande illa. Ni poliser, som det senaste åren vid flera tillfällen med era k-pistar har vaktat oss mot hot utifrån.
Alla finns ni där nu när hatet mot oss är på väg tillbaks.
Å andra sidan: NI är överlevare.

Trots att Gud lät det ske - utrotandet av judarna i Europa - så vägrade ni att vända ryggen åt Skaparen.
Ni  började om. En del av er har varit i Israel 1948 och deltagit i försvaret av den nybildade judiska staten. Tack för det. Var hittade ni styrkan och motivationen!? Ni byggde upp nya liv. Ni utbildade er, ni bildade familj, ni fick barn, de barn som av er fick ärva det judiska sättet att leva - trots stora, stora umbäranden. Eftersom vi som är barn till er överlevande också lever i ångest - 20 procent av oss har enligt undersökningar utvecklat PTSD (posttraumatiskt stressyndrom).

Många har levt religiösa liv, andra inte, men de flesta har med sitt sätt att leva gjort det som judar alltid har gjort. Ni har gjort det som judar alltid har gjort! Ni har protesterat genom att helga livet! Ni protesterade genom att helga livet och det gör att det är vår, vi som är födda senare, förbannade skyldighet att göra detsamma.

Ni protesterar genom att helga livet - det tål att upprepas en gång till! Ni protesterar genom att värna livet; ni  är alla olika, en del av er är underbara människor, andra mindre trevliga - för det är så vi människor är och olika människor hanterar livet och erfarenheterna i det på olika sätt. Men ni har  alla visat oss, era barn och barnbarn och kommande generationer, att vägen tillbaks är att med obändig kraft vägra att överge Gud och Skaparen genom att envist hålla fast vid det judiska sättet att leva - att alla människor har ett lika värde, att det finns en högre moral och att livet är heligt.

Ni har visat oss att även om Gud till synes har vänt oss ryggen så vänder vi inte ryggen åt honom. Men snälla Gud - kan du inte ge dem en enda lugn natt, nu 72 år efter befrielsen? Bara en enda natt! De är så värda det, varenda en av dem. Det gör så ont att se dem jagade av sina demoner, av nazisterna och deras medlöpare.

Aldrig får det hända igen och vi ska protestera genom att helga livet - det bär vi alla med oss vidare - det lovar jag er.

söndag 15 januari 2017

Reply from Minister Wallström. Or rather, one of her minions.

Hello Stefan,
Thank you for your e-mail to Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. I work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister's Office and has been asked to respond. Ministry and Ministers receives every year large volumes of letters and e-mails, making the answer might be. I'm sorry you had to wait for a response.
First of all, I regret that your family suffered during World War II. The heinous acts carried out against Jews must never be repeated.
The foreign minister do not feel bad about Jews or Israel, it is a wrong idea. Margot Wallström has since she first made a visit to Israel, worked against anti-Semitism and some of her oldest and closest friends are Jews. The government pursues an open, free and inclusive society where all people can feel welcome and safe. The government takes clear distance from anti-Semitism and will continue to tirelessly fight its manifestations and grounds, as well as other forms of xenophobia and intolerance. Something such as Foreign Minister, together with Interior Minister Anders Ygeman underscored earlier this year in the following debate article, http://www.regeringen.se/debattartiklar/2016/01/kampen-mot-antisemitism-och-rasism-ar-standigt-aktuell/.
Anti-Semitism is in direct contradiction to the fundamental values ​​on which our democracy is based and therefore is basically a threat to the democratic society in which all people have equal value.
Thank you for your dedication.
Sincerely,
Michael Nordenberg
Desk Officer
MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
————————————————————————————
Hello Michael,
Thanks for your reply.
I assume that the Foreign Minister is behind your answer.

Adolf Hitler's mother was regularly treated by a Jewish doctor, Dr Eduard Bloch. A doctor who Adolf Hitler regarded as a highly skilled and trusted physician. He was what Hitler described as an ”Edeljude”, in other words a ”noble Jew”. Hitler helped this doctor move from Austria to the United States during the war. Dr Eduard Bloch was even  protected by the Gestapo until he left the country.

Can we thus conclude that Adolf Hitler was not an anti-Semite? But this is of course an absurd notion!

What you do is what you are responsible for - at least in the Jewish world.
To build your arguments on which friends you have, as evidence of your way of thinking or acting, is really not very mature - and if this is the level that the Foreign Minister and the State Department have as a base for their decisions, then our country, Sweden, is in even more danger than I first thought when I initially wrote to you, Mrs Minister.

Anti-Semitism is changing over time. Using racial theories is not politically correct today, nor are the religious arguments Martin Luther used meaningful in this day and age - well, that's not entirely correct as replacement theological thoughts of course are no small part of the Christian world.
In Swedish society today however, it is entirely politically correct to use the same old stale anti-Semitic stereotypes but nowadays in disguise as criticism of the state of Israel. This tiny democracy in a sea of ​​dictatorships - dictatorships that have nothing in common with each other except the ambition that we Jews will again be exposed to a Holocaust during the destruction of the country we have built. This is a tragedy since Israel could function as an injection of development in the entire region in a number of areas, from medicine, nursing, irrigation, freedom of religion, protection of minority rights; for example, gay people’s self-evident right to a life on the same terms as heterosexual people, and so on.

I was in Tel-Aviv during the Pride festival last summer and watched as 150,000 participants from around the world marched through the city and fill its streets, squares and beaches with life and joy - all in harmony with us heterosexuals, permanent residents as well as tourists, without contradictions, without violence, without hate.

But to describe the state of Israel in the above terms is just not done in Sweden, especially since there is a greater value in blowing up a single religious person's attempt to murder a homosexual in Jerusalem, during the same period. The fact that this person was and is severely mentally ill and has been treated for long periods in psychiatric care and is also convicted of attempted murder in a psychotic state is, of course, ignored.
What on earth makes this newsworthy in Sweden?

Well, it is an attempt to discredit and reinforce the perception of Israel as a country where extremism is the basis for coexistence between people - not a country where people coexist and all have equal value. It is precisely this type of selective writing of what is to be lifted politically, that our foreign minister is so good at. Generalisations and reinforcement of an Israel that is based on the classic anti-Jewish stereotypes.

Or it can also be described: straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
The Foreign Ministry does not have the ability or the will to realise the modern antisemitic expressions and see its consequences, scares me. The Foreign Minister's view of Israel is absurd and completely wrong. If she were really as positive as you claim, it would be nice if she could actually show it.

The consequences of her actions result in - apart from the improbability that she actually managed to unite the whole land of Israel, both Jews and Arabs, from the extreme left to the extreme right, with her absurd statement on extrajudicial killings, while she simultaneously celebrates the Swedish police who shot the terrorist killer in Trollhättan - the hateful tone and the threats against Jews intensifies.
There are always people who are willing to convert the spoken words into action and it is these actions we must guard against.

It is with mixed feelings I have greeted and thanked the young Swedish policemen and women armed with submachine guns, that on many occasions during the past years have guarded Jewish institutions in Sweden.

I lecture as often as I can about the Holocaust and its consequences, and about my love for the state of Israel. I am ready at any moment to come to you in order to develop my thinking in these areas, thus highlighting a different perspective on the situation than the Foreign Ministry supports.

Best regards
Stefan Lindmark

This was originally posted on this blog on March 12, 2016