At dinner the other night, a friend of mine who was in town for Thanksgiving while spending the year studying in Germany, was telling the assembled about the present state of his love life. He explained that he just started seeing a German woman though it wasn’t serious since he had told her that he was leaving the country at the end of the year and that he could only end up with someone Jewish.
Someone at the table asked the inevitable question (at least for Jews)–are there any Nazis in her family?
“Yes,” my friend answered. “Her grandfather was a pretty serious Nazi.” He then went on to explain that she, like many young Germans, was particularly ashamed of her family’s participation in WWII.
“So you’re getting reparation sex,” I said (It actually took me a few minutes to come up with that. I wasn’t as quick on my feet as usual due to the cherry flavored wine and vodka). “Not that there is anything wrong with it. The state of Israel also accepts reparations,” I added, silently noting that the ones that Germany gives the Jewish state are more monetary than physical acts of coitus.
Now while I’m sure that the relationship between my friend and this woman has little to do with Holocaust guilt (my friend is a pretty terrific guy and I’m not just writing that since he is likely to read this post), it is an interesting and morbid notion to ponder–whether collective guilt for crimes your country or nation committed affects the sex you later have with the descendants of the victims.
Ah, guilt and sex. Sometimes one keeps you from having the other (in the case of those raised with some weird religious notions about it), but perhaps it can get you some, too.