Observations from the Threshold 3

[I am in Praha/Prague (Praha means “threshold” in Czech) in the Czech Republic. The next few posts are some random observations.]

Today I spend several hours with an official Czech tour guide on an official Czech tour of Prague. I stress “official” because what we were told is the “official” story of Prague that the Czech people want us to know. For example, the close proximity of a synagogue and a church was a sign of the camaraderie of Jews and Christians throughout Prague’s history. The fact that Jews were persecuted from the day we arrived in the 11th century, and 3000 of us were slaughtered in one mass killing frenzy during Passover, and another 80,000 were murdered during the Nazi years is already forgotten, at least officially.

The guide took us to the Jewish cemetery and explained how there was no room to expand the cemetery so the Jews chose to bury their dead on top of one another. She neglected to say that the lack of room was because the Jews were not allowed by the Christians to expand beyond the ghetto. Even dead, Jews were a threat.

And the Golem story she told us was free of its anti-Semitism. The Golem wasn’t built to defend the ghetto from the attacks of Christians driven by their priests to murder Jews, he was built to help out around Rabbi Loew’s home.

Holocaust deniers at least keep the discussion of the Holocaust alive. There is no denial needed here: there is no memory that needs to be denied. Perhaps we should change “never again” to “never forget.”

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