July 23, 2006

Stefan's Urgent Message on Austria's "sick people"

It is very important to me to spread this aspect of Austria all over the world.

Thus, my beloved friend Stefan concluded his email to me yesterday. The complete email follows. But first, a bit about this gentle peace-seeking Austrian

From 2002 through 2003, Stefan served in an Austrian military service alternative program. At Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, in Jerusalem, he archived documents — drawing on his multilingual and research skills. We met that year and quickly became fast friends. Stefan, who is not Jewish and does not identify with any religion, is a political scientist and researcher in his native city, Vienna. 

I had a most terrible experience today. I went to an orthopedist … I expect help, I entrust my body and health to another person's hands. I want to get checked to feel better, sane. I expect a doctor to aid my recovery.

I came in, sat down. He asked me what my profession was, and I told him that I work at the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism. His unbelievable question was, "Who are the victims of national socialism?" (with a kind of smirk, sneer on his face.) I was so perplexed. Stunned. I answered, "Well those who were persecuted by the Nazis." He: "Aha. Not only the Jews." I told him that ANY victim of the Nazis is entitled to file an application at our Fund (to make clear that not only the "greedy Jews" that he obviously phantazises about).

He said that in his opinion also his father was a victim of National Socialism because he lost a leg as a soldier in the War. I told him that I see that differently, which he did not accept, of course. He started to talk about his views on history, that "Hitler just made a naive assessment of the situation." The doctor added, "With money of the Jews -- because THEY have the money -- Hitler wanted to rebuild the German state." The doctor went on, "This worked out pretty well at the beginning." The rest of the shit coming out of his mouth I cannot remember. But there was more.

I was petrified. Stunned. Scared. Unable to move, to run out, to leave. I came to see him because I expected help against the pain I have. But he gave me even more pain! I am upset with myself for not calling him what he deserves and rushing out. I even allowed this pig to treat me. When I was out of the surgery on the way to work I started crying.

It was hard to calm down the whole day. Friends around me cheer me up. But still, I cannot get rid of the feeling that this place is very hard for me to live because of these sick people.

It is very important to me to spread this aspect of Austria all over the world.

Shabbat shalom


James said...

In all of this God is trying to teach us all something.

Peace to Stefen and the world,


Tamar said...

james, my brother/friend/teammate/chief storyteller;-)

thanks for your incisive comment. i would love it if you would please share a bit on the "something" that "God is trying to teach us all."


Tamar said...

Penelope, a blogger, sent me this email message: "stefan's story is not a snapshot of austria, it's a snapshot of everywhere. we have that here [USA], too."

My thoughts: True, of course. And scary.