Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Never Know Where Reading Will Take Me

I Like To Read! Always have.

As I sit here in my armchair to write this I am surrounded by reading materials. The newspaper which I just finished reading is now lying on the arm of the love seat, waiting for Heidi to get home and do the puzzles. In the shelf between my chair and Heidi's perch are a Quest Study Bible and a couple of Devotional Booklets. On the shelf below that are Brian Mulrooney's autobiography, a John Grisham novel and another similar novel by an author I've never heard of before. Then there's my digital Complete Collection of National Geographic.

My laptop sits on a TV table in front of me and it contains a wealth of reading material. I downloaded and installed Kindle for PC several months ago and it contains a ridiculous number of free ebooks.

To the left of my chair there are 3 stacks of paperbacks with the odd hardcover book. I don't know what all is in that pile. Above these stacks I have more books sitting on another TV tray which include my Chronological Bible, Bonhoeffer's 'Cost of Discipleship', and an 'Armchair Reader' entitled "Vitally Useless Facts". Then I have a non-fiction book entitled, "The Temple Bombing" by Melissa Fay Greene. (I'll get back to that book in a bit). There's another 3 faith related books under all that and two German language magazines that my mom thought I would be interested in reading. As I look across the room to our dining room I see three books of "Classics" that we purchased last Saturday.

Our bedroom is at the end of the hall and I know there are two, possibly three books on my dresser. Our second bedroom which is currently serving as an office/storage room in which there are many more books.

As you may have gathered by now, I read all sorts of stuff. In addition to my bibles and faith related books, I have history books, a variety of non-fiction books and a fairly wide range of fiction books. I especially like historical novels, but I have everything from books addressing social issues, fantasy books, mysteries, adventure, classical literature and comedy. I still have some German language books including the books my mom used to teach me to read German almost fifty years ago. The only books I don't want let into our home are westerns, science fiction and harlequin romances.

I almost forgot; I enjoy reading Stephen King - his mind is so wonderfully twisted. 

Over the years I have given away more books than I can count. In fact, I had seriously downsized my library nine months ago prior to us moving into our current home. Somehow books keep showing up here. I have access to many more books because there are bookshelves on seven of the eight floors in our building. Tenants place books they are done with into these shelves for others to grab and read. I've helped myself to quite a few of these books already. I've returned more books to those shelves than I've taken.

Last weekend Heidi and I took our daughter and son-in-law out for dinner. We visited for a while and then wandered over to a bookstore just across the parking lot. That was a costly venture because all four of us enjoy reading and it was like being in a candy store. I'm not sure how many books came home with us but there were at least six or seven.

In the past I used to make regular trips to the public library to load up on books but I have discontinued that practice since I learned that the library has found bedbugs in its books. I'd rather not import any of those creatures into our home.

But we have come across another source of books. We have been driving by an interesting looking coffee shop and used book store for months. Two weeks ago I stopped the car instead of driving by again and we went in to check it out.  The first thing we saw upon walking in was a 30 inch wide floor to ceiling shelf crammed with books. The best part was there was a little sign on the shelf informing us that all the books in the unit were available for fifty cents each. As I was looking through the books Heidi started pulling books saying, "you'll like this , and this, and this..." I pulled out a few and when Heidi finally found a book for herself we headed to the checkout. We left with fifteen books of a variety of genres.

When I'm reading I often encounter supposedly factual information that I find questionable or suspicious as to its accuracy. Other times I just want to learn more. In those cases, which happen fairly often, I open my computer and begin researching.  Sometimes I find information that affirms my questions and suspicions and gives me reliable facts. (I never just check one source, I always look for at least four or five independent websites. (Wikepedia does not count as an authority on anything). I frequently get sidetracked for hours as I expand my knowledge base.

Back to "The Temple Bombing". This primary focus of this book is the bombing of a Reformed Jewish Temple in Atlanta, Georgia in 1958. On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that States could not lawfully segregate schoolchildren by race. The South exploded in violence. Schools, homes and places of worship were blown up. People were abducted and brutally murdered. White supremacists rampaged. According to the flyleaf of the book it was a pivotal point in the Civil Rights movement in the US.

Not just blacks were targeted; everyone seen as non-white was at risk, including Jews.

I have only read about fifty pages but I came across information that stopped me from reading further and spurred me to do some research before I read any further.

The flame of the violence against the Jews was fed by a manuscript entitled "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". The manuscript was a hoax invented by the czarist secret police near the end of the 19th century. It was presented as evidence of a Jewish plot to dominate the world in all ways, especially through accumulating all the wealth in the world. The book goes into far more detail but it's not my intention to detail these events and circumstances. What struck me was that these Jewish conspiracy accusations spread throughout Europe, and were even spread across North America by Henry Ford. By 1920's this conspiracy had expanded  to blame the Jews for all calamities; political upheavals, financial chaos, etc. The author maintains that the accusations in this document were used by Hitler and the Nazis to convince the German people that they were in danger from the Jews.

As I read this information a light went on for me. It had nothing to do with Hitler, the Nazis, or the holocaust. It involved my maternal grandfather. All of a sudden I understood the source of some of the things I repeatedly heard my grandfather say; especially when he had a few beers under his belt.

I studied in Germany from March 1973 to end of February 1974. During my Semester break I stayed with my maternal grandparents in Hamburg where my grandfather had arranged a job for me with the Post Office. I spent many evenings sitting with my grandparents, listening to their stories. I was taken aback when I heard Opa begin to spew this nonsense about an ongoing Jewish conspiracy. I though I wasn't hearing right.

I had observed that there seemed to be four distinct positions taken by German citizens with regard to their nation's Nazi history and the holocaust. One group denied any knowledge of what had gone on stating that a person was at risk of being killed if they dared to raise questions. A second group of Germans bore the burden of national shame and guilt. The third group was busy justifying what had gone on. The fourth wanted to forget and just move on.

I was stunned when I heard Opa spout this anti-semitic nonsense. And he was so agitated about it. He went on and on about Jewish bankers and businessmen who were monopolizing the market in whatever endeavour they were involved in. There was nothing I or anyone else could say that would change his belief in this conspiracy. I kept asking myself, "where is this coming from?"

This book had just answered my question from almost 40 years ago. I needed to explore this further so I googled "Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. The search results boggle the mind. There were 552,000 results!

The manuscript is available all over the web in book format. You can buy it at  There are websites that put forth detailed evidence that this document is a fraud, a hoax. There are far too many websites that preach these protocols as authentic evidence of this Jewish conspiracy. There are incredibly extreme websites that use this argument to proclaim that the Jews were responsible for 9/11. The level of anti-semitism and hatred is frightening. The conflicting arguments for and against cross all racial lines. There is so much more going on in this world than what I'm aware of.

Lord God, have mercy. Protect us! Save your people!

If you want to see a video exposing details of how this fraudulent document plays out in our world today, follow the link below.

Be warned. It's not easy to watch. It's roughly an hour in length.


1 comment:

  1. A helpful post, Horst. Thanks for sharing!

    - Clinton