Rooting for Germany

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Were my grandma alive, she would not be rooting for Germany in the World Cup.

Admittedly, she wouldn’t know Germany was playing in the World Cup. Or, for that matter, that a such thing as the World Cup exists. But, as a woman whose mother was killed in a concentration camp, and as a woman who came to America out of fear in the late 1930s, love for her native land did not exist. It died with her hopes and dreams and old life.

I bring this up as I sit here in a coffee shop, watching Germany lead Brazil 6-0 in the World Cup semifinals. I don’t think I’m like Grandma. Years and years have passed. Today’s Germans are not Nazis, and the shame remains from an awful period in history.

And yet …

I have a hard time rooting for Germany. I do. And, as a Jew with family ties to the country, I don’t think I’m alone. I hold no beef against any individual Germans. Truly, zero animosity. I don’t blame modern-day Germans for what happened long ago—even if their relatives were Nazis, or Nazi sympathizes. Those days are over, the world is smaller, etc … etc.

And yet …

And yet …

And yet …

I dunno. Grandma died in 1999. She was 87. Through the end of her life, she couldn’t speak of her mother—or her homeland—without crying. She refused to ever return to Germany, because she knows what was lost, and why it was lost.

So, sitting here in 2014, I don’t wish bad upon Germany.

But I can’t fully get myself to pull for the team.

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