Many thanks to JLH for translating this essay by Matthias Matussek from Henryk Broder’s website Die Achse des Guten:
Why I Am a Nazi
by Matthias Matussek
August 31, 2019
I am a Nazi. God knows I am not proud of it, especially since it would be a grim, indeed the grimmest, hubris to claim that. Yes, I know what the Nazis did. They marched out in columns or hordes and attacked political opponents. They took a gloating pleasure in denunciation. They betrayed friendships and made sure that their friends were loaded onto trucks and taken to camps and murdered.
They bent over articles and books, not for the joy of reading, but to find “evidence” which could bring the authors into conflict with competitors, deprive them of office and make them objects of scorn. Their writings would be burned, because they did not adhere to the prescribed political line.
I have never denounced a human being because he celebrated his birthday with dubious fellows I didn’t know. “Better to turn someone in to the authorities than end up on the wrong side of things” has never been my way.
Nonetheless, I am a Nazi. Henryk Broder advised me to write that. We were at the Zurich summer WorldWeek festival where there were a lot of other Nazis, for instance our colleague, Alex Bauer, who had been beaten by Antifa and put in the hospital. And where there are Antifa, there are Nazis — you know, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
We Nazis are multiplying to stay abreast of things, so those who are eager to extinguish us multiply like a brush fire. You could almost surmise that they start fires themselves, just to have something to do.
It was difficult, learning to be a Nazi. I was recognized as a Nazi for the first time by a young lady with blue hair and multiple piercings. It was when I went to a campaign event held by Mr. Gauland of the AfD, whom I had known until then only from television.
I did not have a clue that he was the chair of a, well… of the Nazi party, which as Messiah Schulz shouted out in the Bundestag, belonged “on the ash heap of history.” He got that formulation from Trotsky, who had dealt harshly with counterrevolutionaries.
“Piss off, you Nazi”
I was making my way to Gauland’s campaign appearance through a cordon of bushwhacking, spitting and swearing Antifa partisans, when a girl pressed a note into my hand. I thought it was one of these messages from a Chinese fortune cookie. Maybe her telephone number.
But no. It said: “Piss off, you Nazi.”
I gave it back and said, “Sorry, I’m not a Nazi.” She looked at me bewildered, as I did her.
The next time, I was standing around among Hamburg citizens on the Jungfernstieg, an upscale shopping avenue on [the banks of] the Alster, to take part in a “Merkel has to go” demonstration. The Hamburg Morgenpost-Online — yes, the one with the ads for call girls — announced that where we were standing, neo-Nazis had gathered while hundreds of peaceful counter-demonstrators were marching.
Neo-Nazis? I was flabbergasted and asked around. Pardon me, are you, er, by chance, a Nazi? Raised eyebrows, shrugs, head shakes. Maybe they lied. That would be the most low key Nazi march in German history.
The lady who had organized the demonstration resigned later, because her house was besmirched and the windows of her children’s rooms broken in. The “peaceful demonstrators”, by the way, were Antifa. Along the way to our meeting, they had occupied the local SPD headquarters and hung out of the windows the banner “Blood on your hands” without the least explanation of what they meant.
The next time, I was asked to speak. At the Hamburg Dammtor railroad station, I climbed onto a beer barrel, as they do in London’s Hyde Park, to speak about an injustice. Which I find a proto-democratic way of doing things.
There were 180 of us. 10,000 Antifa had gathered in a side street, grumbling that we were Nazis. Hundreds of riot police and a water cannon were able to keep them from tearing us to pieces. After our event was over, they caught an elderly gentleman and sent him to the hospital.
A birthday party with old friends and new
The next day, the acting mayor [Greens] gave her thanks to the Antifa for their courageous action against us rightist radicals. The Zeit did not take such a narrow view of it, making fun of my effort in a Christmas riddle.
Then I had an audacious idea. I decided to celebrate my 65th birthday with, as I wrote, “old and new friends.” There were authors, conservative journalists, theologians — our Syrian caterer, who said the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, with his wife.
Just recently, I had been traveling in Syria and had visited the place where ISIS had destroyed a Christian hamlet where Aramaic — the language of Jesus — was still spoken. That interested me deeply. A young man who belonged to the Identitarian movement had invited me on this trip and I did not want to miss the chance. It was the village in which the Apostle Paul had preached. I would even have traveled with the Antifa, if they had come up with this idea.
We became friends on this trip, shared the difficulties and dangers, like the same Netflix series, spoke about “outsiderness,’ I wrote down a Robert Frost poem for him, written to a kindred spirit, that talked of the path followed for a long time, because it was the road less traveled.
He begins with the line: “I shall be telling this with a sigh”… and ends:… “and that has made all the difference…”
Well, this friend was there, also old Spiegel colleagues, some from Stern; Reinhold Beckmann sang me a song about growing old, a Russian pianist sang love songs and others — not the Horst Wessel song. And of course I posted like crazy on Facebook on the festivities and the presents I got. I like to share my happy moments.
Unfortunately, the Organisation Böhmermann recognized my Identitarian friend next to Beckmann. He was talking about his home town; he grew up a mere ten meters away from him. It was like something from the campaign by President Steinmeier “Germany speaks” or “Talking with each other” in the Zeit.
This friend had once defended himself from an attack by Antifas and consequently been convicted of “provoked self-defense.” Böhmermann questioned the Spiegel, Bild screamed “Matussek celebrates birthday with convicted right radical,” and Sigmar Gabriel, the ex-vice chancellor pronounced himself on German Broadcasting “concerned”.
Reinhold Beckmann didn’t know where he was
The reactions to my birthday party were — interesting. Reinhold Beckmann, whose birthday celebration I had attended (without badmouthing it later) distanced himself instantly. He had sung his song (from his first CD) as a “protest song” against me and my new friends. He no longer acknowledged me.
Another very old friend announced that he had always thought I was a “political ditz” and that my speaking from the beer keg “was a case for the loony bin.”
I was more surprised than hurt that the Zeit called my celebration a “Nazi birthday.” At their suggestion, I had, I thought, very plausibly and with considerable intellectual effort described my journey “from left to right.”
I wrote about my Catholic childhood, my hippie-like socialist infatuation in puberty in a Maoist commune (I thought of Mao’s Young Red Guard as the youth revolution and not a brainwashed killer troop). Then I wrote about my disillusion at the dumbing-down and brutalization of the Left in the 1970s, about my turning to disillusioned individuals like Gottfried Benn (“…only two things/The emptiness and the scarred ego”), about Rilke — and about my Catholic faith which was becoming important for me again.
Then there was one of my assistants at the time, who said how much he was indebted to me. Since I wanted to introduce people to my book, “White Rabbit” and the Zeit (unlike with earlier books) had not reacted, I agreed to have him accompany me.
I took him everywhere — to readings, to my home, gave him the telephone numbers of my brothers and friends that he had requested. He smiled and took notes — and then he pounced.
The pills on the desk
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The article was about a former journalist, now disgraced as a Nazi old fogy (noteworthy how many predominantly leftists think of me as “former” — whole cohorts write enthusiastically that I am no longer important). Neither my reporting nor my book was mentioned even indirectly by this assistant.
He did mention suggestively that there were “pills” on my desk (that’s how it is in old age, my young friend; you take all kinds of things for high blood pressure, liver, heart, kidneys, vitamins too). He had an editor from my time as culture editor at the Spiegel say something, who seemed a bit harassed. She said I was immensely well-read, but also a bit “demonic.”
In short , it was a leftist frame-up in a mixed bag of assumptions, pure invention and “attitudinal journalism.”
Later, I asked him if he didn’t think he was kind of shabby to wriggle into my trust and then kill me off (to the applause of the leftist echo chamber). “Yeah, a little,” he said. Well, anyway, that falls into the same category as shame for flying, shame for eating meat, climate shaming and all the other shaming so casually played with by our new young missionaries.
I was not to be free of that birthday, at least as far as the Antifa were concerned. A Hamburg music group re-invented and texted a song: “Leftist radicals, where is your gun?” And followed with a second music video in which the gun actually appears. At great expense, a young contract killer is put on the scene, who climbs onto a roof and gets the party in her crosshairs. Beckmann becomes “Bräkermann,” Fleischhauer [butcher] becomes “tofuhacker” and I become “Matsek,” and again all the birthday presents are trampled in a drunken orgy — the Trump game, the boxing gloves and the dog collar.
Everybody staggers around. That is how Antifa imagines Nazi birthday parties. Then the fatal laser dot from the sharpshooter’s gun appears as a dot on the blouse of a young woman — named for Erika Steinbach — who tries to wipe it off, until she is hit and falls over.
The woman police constable was dumbfounded
Now the dot appears on my chest, moves to my forehead, I fall, red wine spatters the wall, looking like blood. Someone grumbles: “When a rightist falls the howling is loud!”
Since the video was not taken down after a couple of days, in spite of notifications “because of violence” as well as “because of hate speech” (imagine a rightist band satirizing lady-smugglers or Böhmermann), I went to the police and filed a complaint.
The young, blonde and lovely police officer who was “not political” looked the video and said, dumbfounded, “I have never seen anything like it.”
She telephoned state security, got a file number, gave me a phone number. When I had heard nothing after two weeks and the video was still running and, in fact being monetized with ads for sport betting, I called up.
“Hm, yeah, uh, illegal in a sense,” was the comment.
“It is clearly an incitement to murder.”
“Well, then, you have to show that legally.”
“Listen,” I said, “if a sharpshooter were taking aim at a pantsuit like Mrs. Merkel wears, you would have been on the move long ago.”
“Yes, well, I will say that the line between bad taste and freedom of expression or artistic interpretation is often vague.”
“Bad taste? They called me a Nazi.”
I realized at that moment that that was no an argument. I could hear him thinking: Everybody is called that nowadays.
“So, I have looked at it with colleagues, and…”
“Have you at least identified the weapon? I understand it is ‘Arctic Warfare’ by the British firm ‘Accurace.’”
I spell “Accurace.”
“The best thing you can do is call the state’s attorney in a couple of weeks.”
That’s how it is for us Nazis. We are up against creeping exhaustion.
The marvelous multiplication of Nazis
Now I can reveal what I actually agreed with Henryk Broder at the WorldWeek party.
And that is: to describe the miraculous multiplication of Nazis and the absolutely explosive rise in the number of Antifas in our hedonistic welfare state of Germany.
If these seriously bullied conservatives who do not follow the government line are Nazis, then the Nazi era cannot have been so bad, opined Henryk.
And the time of terror, including the Antifascists operating at the risk of their lives, was something like the rumpus room in the Villa Bullerbü.. And most important, the reigning ideology would have been Anti-fascism.
In fact, the Germans have happened on a new strategy to suppress the Nazi terror: belittling it beyond endurance.
Thank you Henryk, for this insight!
The Nazi danger continues to spout up from the poisonous groundwater into the heads of these people. Figuratively speaking, in intellectual history and in the history of mentality, this is an eco-catastrophe of immense proportion.
And so, this weekend, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported: “On the side of the road hangs a placard of the AfD — ‘the East rises.’ It sounds like the Hitler propaganda song: ‘A young people rises, ready for the storm.’”
I don’t know the song. And I didn’t know that placards could sing. As a “Nazi” it never occurred to me!
|1.||This is the same Jan Böhmermann known for his satire of Erdogan and his spoofing of the German media. He is, however, also solidly behind the NGOs rescuing “refugees”, and has contributed to them.|
|2.||CDU member of the Bundestag.|
|3.||From a series of children’s books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.