A Night at the Cat Club

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German 2

This was how I met Heinrick, the Aryan Fantasy Poster Boy from Berlin. Of course, he was tall, blond and bronzed, with piercing eyes as clear and blue as Nordic skies. He was almost too pretty to be a man, and I found myself incredibly drawn to him. As he flailed around in English, I enjoyed his lilting accent and grammatical missteps, and when “99 Luft Balons” came on, he grabbed my hand and pulled me into the center of the dance floor. Until the last haunting words of the song – “Denk’ an Dich und lass’ihn fliegen” (“I think of you and let it go”) – I let myself pass as German.

I’d never been romantically involved with someone from Germany — as much as I believe that you should never blame the children for the sins of their parents (or in Heinrick’s case, grandparents), I know myself well enough to realize that I’d somehow end up asking (at the most inopportune time imaginable) “so where were Oma and Opa back in 1941 when my relatives were being herded off to Auschwitz?” (Now, wouldn’t that make for a riveting discussion around the dinner table? And I suppose this begs the question, could I even break-bread with Oma and Opa when they might have been Nazis, or at least sympathetic to the regime?) And while forgiving the past is an integral part of healing old wounds, it’s kind of hard to forget that many (certainly not all, but indeed many) Germans were more than willing to wave Auf Wiedersehen to their Jewish friends and neighbors during Hitler’s Final Solution.

But still, Heinrick was hot, and as we danced, I decided that he was coming home with me, Opa’s (possible) membership in the SS be damned! Besides, I rationalized, maybe his family was part of the resistance movement, bravely risking their lives to fight Hitler’s regime! Hey, you never know until you ask. And to be honest, at that point, in a haze of liquor-lust, it didn’t really matter, because I knew that Heinrick was Berlin-bound the next day, and disclosing family history would be more appropriate for the second or third date that we’d never have. I decided to indulge in the fantasy, and skip the existential crisis. I asked him if he wanted to catch a cab with me back to Berkeley, and he grinned and playfully grabbed my ass. Nothing lost in translation there.

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Social media guru of Jewrotica, Sarah Tuttle-Singer is a writer for the Times of Israel and Huffington Post. Sarah lives in Israel with her two children and is - in her own words - quite dangerous when bored.
  • Classic. I identified with the internal conversation you had upon meeting Heinrick. (“So where were Oma and Opa back in 1941 when my relatives were being herded off to Auschwitz?”)

    Like most Ashkenazi Jews, I come from a family of Holocaust survivors and – somewhat to my chagrin – I have found myself subscribing to this same line of internal questioning when meeting and befriending Germans of varied ages.

    I will be visiting Berlin this December on a leisure trip, so it will be interesting to see how that experience feels for me. But, when I lived back in Riverdale, some community members would give my husband flak for driving a “Nazi mobile” (BMW). So if we can be made to feel guilty about a car choice, you better bet that our baggage and guilt will be mighty powerful when it comes to choosing a mate – or even just a hook up buddy.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Sarah!

    • Thank you so much for posting such a great comment — I look forward to hearing about your experience(s) in Berlin 🙂 xoxo

  • What an incredible story, I actually can’t believe that I can relate! I had something similar, minus the gay boyfriend and the hook up. I met Sebastian at an Upper East Side Halloween party and was immediately drawn to him. He, too, was a poster boy for the Aryan Nation and extremely interesting. But, unlike you, the alcohol in me made me question the whereabouts of his Grandparents while my own Grandmother was rotting in a concentration camp in Poland. Let’s just say that that ended our exciting evening, especially when he got all defensive about his Grandparents serving in the SS (as he put it, they were doing what everyone else in the Country was doing and they were no different). Sometimes I wonder, what could have happened if I didn’t actually ask the question…

  • We interrupt extensive #Election2012 coverage in order to give you an extra special glimpse into my (ancient) sexual history. Hi Dad. I hope you’re busy campaigning and not online right now.

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