Standing before the people who demanded honesty, it soon became very clear that my staunchest critics assailed the book without actually reading it.
Happily, other critics took a closer look at the book and published glorious reviews. Tens of thousands bought the book, sending it to the top 10 of Spiegel magazine’s best sellers list (equivalent to the New York Times best sellers list in the U.S.), and thousands of the book’s fans attended public readings across Germany.
At its conclusion, I ended my journey into Germany having many more friends than when I started it.
This makes me happy, as having new friends is always good, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not worried. I am, and much more than I ever was.
Germany is a wonderful, beautiful country, its society one of the more sophisticated of our time. Germany’s cultural institutions, such as museums, theater and journalism, are the most advanced in the Western world — which probably explains why its society’s stars are not movie actors but intellectuals.
To me, and as far as I could witness, most of those intellectuals are pseudo intellectuals: they are brainy beyond repair, full of themselves, have a very narrow view of the world, lack a healthy sense of reality and, worse yet, suffer from acute anti-Semitism. Again and again, history teaches us where this senseless hate will lead.
Before WWII, just as now, Germany was very advanced for its time, proudly holding one of the best human rights records. But then as now, the people had hate inside their hearts at the same time their mouths were uttering the loveliest words of freedom.
It was Adolf Hitler who knew to their deeper thoughts and he turned them into the most sadistic known to humanity.
If today Germany doesn’t wake up to its inner hate, a more sophisticated Adolf will appear and nobody will be powerful enough to stop him.
It is time to tell Germany, in the clearest of words: People who suffer from cancer can’t afford to ignore it. Germany must wake up to its cancer, before it will be fatally consumed by it.
Telling Germans the truth is not hate but the purest form of love. I deeply love them, and therefore I deeply care.
Tuvia Tenenbom is a Spiegel bestselling author and columnist for Die Zeit, Germany‘s prestigious weekly newspaper. He is the author of “I Sleep in Hitler’s Room: An American Jew Visits Germany”which was published in Germany as “Allein Unter Deutschen.” In addition to his work for Die Zeit, his writings have been published in newspapers such as Corriere della Sera of Italy and Yedioth Ahronoth of Israel. He holds advanced degrees in both fine arts and science and is the founder and artistic director of The Jewish Theater of New York.