Wednesday, 22 July 2015

In praise of the Jews

If there is something that Baron von Trotta has always struggled to understand is anti-Semitism.

Many a long afternoon, in his study, the Baron tried, when going through the pages of books often quoted but rarely read, to find a reason for the hate of Jews throughout European history.

The Baron is particularly fond of Jewish artists and intellectuals, who illuminate his life with their intelligence, wit and sensitivity.

Theirs is often a peculiar outlook on the world, that of the outsider, of the individual rarely fully accepted, and who, by virtue of that, can see deeper and further away than others.

And the Baron, looking back at his own experiences across the continent, cannot help but think that the only reason for anti-Semitism is that wish for uniformity that the mighty inspired in the rabble. The hate for what is different, for what cannot be understood. And the jealousy that the cultivated polyglot cosmopolitan always awakes in those who were brought up to be  brutti, sporchi e cattivi.

For the Baron, the Jews are perhaps the most authentic Europeans of all.

And he continues reading "Professor Berhardi" (1912), from Arthur Schnitzler, a delightfully beholder of the depths of human soul. And a Jew.

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