Re: letter to zoli

From: Steve (
Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 16:01:30 PDT

I like very much reading about your family history.

Describing something terrible that happened in the past doesn't

have to mean anything.

It can be just a straight description of the past and the people in it.

People who fear what they say means something about themselves

are likely to reveal more about themselves by talking about that

than they would if they just talked without thinking about the problem.

I like best what you say about what happened.

When people are victims of the mind, rather than real ones,

they ignore what happened.

and dwell on the present state of victimness.

The world sucks. I hate people who are "victims." I hate talking

about it.

Who is the victim?

> well... first of all, my experience with my ah, jewness is not al all
> what you describe. my parents did not, as you say, get out in the
> nick of time... my mother survived auschwitz, my father a camp at the
> front... my father's survival is what prompted my first trip to
> romania, do you remember? i went to find the guy who saved him. in
> fact i would not exist at all were they to have gotten out... my
> father was married and had a kid but they were both killed. as well
> as his parents, brothers, and all of my mother's family. fuck... i
> don't wanna talk about this again, i think i have in the past and i
> do hate people who are ah, howshouldiputit, overly attached to their
> tragedies.
> secondly, re culture. oddly, i have no so called jewish culture...
> few hungarian jews do. the hungarian jews were, and still are, very
> assimilated. i know no jewish language, only hungarian. the customs
> of which you speak were not in evidence at our home as whatever my
> parents religiousities were before the war were lost in consequence.
> they ceased to make any sense. my mothers family upheld certain
> traditions but she lost her faith in gods and such bigtime. she
> would, however, light a candle on fridays, but as she said, it was
> only in their memory. and she would try to fast on that holiday when
> you are supposed to pray for the dead.... but then she'd say, i think
> i have starved enough in my life and then she'd eat something.
> my father did go to the synagogue every saturday... it was odd, he
> had some sort of faith in a benevolent god. i never could fathom it
> but thought it kinda sweet, nevertheless. according to him, i passed
> my highschool exams cause he prayed.
> economically, i guess we could have been classified as well, poor. in
> hungary, my father was a truckdriver... i have a picture of him with
> a prize, he is proudly standing beside a truck with his name painted
> on it, he had gotten first prize for a scrapmetal drive. i love that
> picture.
> from 1956 to 1961 we were refugees, ekeing out survival in several
> countries. and then, montreal. where my father sold zippers from his
> car to little tailorshops. the little tailors were
> french/italian/greek and other sundry nationalitie, and they all
> loved my father, papa fischer they called him. though he never
> learned any other language than hungarian, he enthusiastically spoke
> with hands and feet, great fun for them... they liked him so much
> they would invite him to family weddings. after he died, my mother
> would still be getting phonecalls asking for papa. then she'd tell
> them and they would be very sad.
> myself, i became, or perhaps always was, well, odd. of no discernible
> culture other than that sort of hybrid, inescapable hungarianness -
> which i only realized after going to hungary as an adult and
> realizing that i felt weirdly at home, though not a home in which i'd
> care to live - blended into the inescapable hybrid mixture of all the
> cultures of all the countries i had lived in.
> i too knew the kinda jewish kids you mention in highschool, that is,
> they were around, but i had nothing in common with them. after
> highschool i went to a french artschool, i did learn french
> -languages are easy for me, having learned so many - but i had
> nothing in common with them either. i did overhear one girl saying to
> another, les maudit juifs. damned jews. of course, she had no idea
> about me, i guess i just don't look the part. silly people hear
> "hungarian", see a darkhaired person and think "gypsy". the result of
> many bad movies with bad restaurant music in them, i suspect. so they
> thought me that, instead of "jew". but i still remember that so it
> must have hurt me. and i did get out of quebec, even though i kinda
> like quebecois culture. but i hate the xenophobia that is all too
> evident in quebec, i am way too sensitive to it i guess.
> one thing i need to say is that i don't ascribe to the "culture of
> victim" that is so prevalent in people who have historically endured
> persecution. i understand it, but i do not accept it. i want nothing
> to do with those people. a victim i ain't. i am a fighter for what i
> believe, that is, that all people are equally prey to their own
> natures. we're all a buncha shits. it takes will to do better.
> something like that, i may have said all this better before.
> as far as racism, lexie... i know i confound racism at times with
> xenophobia. but fuck... it is much the same. the effect, the affect,
> is the same. perhaps we need a new word to encompass both.
> i do what i can for the gypsies because, you see, i know what it's
> like. to be them. i am not them yet i am them. i know what it feels
> like, when that kid gets spat on, i know what it's like. he says
> nothing, keeps playing with the broken plastic horse, but then his
> eyes dart. and i know what it feels like.
> -e

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Sun Nov 18 2001 - 12:13:00 PST