Perfect "Aryan" was Jewish


Wasn’t this one of the gags in the first part of “Life is Beautiful” - Roberto Benigni crashed a Fascist rally and got held up as the specimen of perfect Italian manhood? That movie had lots and lots of problems (Benigni himself chief among them) but ain’t it funny how historical scholarship imitates art?

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There is also the movie from 2001, the Believer, which is about a neo-Nazi who is part Jewish… which was apparently based on a true story about a guy in the KKK.

Sometimes good art can lead us to some good truths…Not always in a way that would be useful for scholarship, but sometimes it does.

There’s an Ethiopian in the fuel supply.

I think it was Studs Terkel who interviewed a German Jew about WW2 who had good forged papers and was able to travel around passing himself as a Nazi official. He said he would sleep with German women and then tell them they’d slept with a Jew. I guess blackmail was part of his scheme. Anyway, there were a good many Jews that passed as Nazis, but also third generation Christians that were swept up by the Nuremberg laws.

I was reading The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, and the Nazis had a sort of prudish double standard, Even the top level people would try to gain Hitler’s favor by knocking out their political rivals with accusations of sexual improprieties.

I guess I am being reminded of Karl Popper’s observation that oppressive regimes always make exravagent claims of purity and conquering hypocrisy so they can do the opposite. Ban pornography, but build death camps.

But in contrast to this official prudishness, there were also plenty of non-Aryans with political connections who got a pass, Like any repressive culture, rules are for the little people and people who need to be accused of something.

Holocaust notwithstanding, I think it’s okay for this story to be delightful. Laughter is not a bad weapon against Fascism.


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