Identity, Mishegas, Religion

So, I Married an SS Dog Handler…

LA Times reports on Elfriede Lina Rinkel, age 83, a former dog handler at the Ravensbruck slave labor camp for women between 1944 and 1945. Shortly aftershe married Fred William Rinkel, a German Jewish refugee from the war, and relocated to the States, particularly San Francisco.
And never told her husband about it.
Now, I’m in an interfaith/interacial marriage, and yeahm there’s some things we keep from one another. But I kind of doubt this would be one of them.
Apparently, the Justice Department agrees. Especially Agency Director Eli Rosenbaum, who said “her presence in the United States nevertheless was an affront to surviving Holocaust victims who have made new homes in this country.”
Alison Dixon, her attorney, counters, “”She was trying to atone for actions in the past… she married a Jewish man, and she gave to Jewish charities.”
I can’t call it. As the High Holy Days approach and we’re all sort of tested for the merits of our character, how do we judge such a situation? What kind of punishment do you mete? Should there even be punishment, given the bulk of her life spent with her Juden love?

3 thoughts on “So, I Married an SS Dog Handler…

  1. The Sunflower by Simon Weisenthal has a lot to say about this. It’s Weisanthal’s story of being asked to pardon a remorseful, dying Nazi on behalf of the Jewish people… and a lot of the world’s great thinkers weighing in on what they think he should have done. They don’t all agree.
    Interestingly, the Jews tend to weigh in on the side of “there are some things you can’t forigive” while other folks (the Dalai Lama comes to mind) try to push for compassion and forgiveness.
    Whatever you think the right answer may be, it’s a good place to go for the questions.

  2. Plus, she moved to SAN FRANCISCO, a place where people move specifically to reinvent themselves. Most of the Jews here are Buddhists, so I don’t see why we can’t buy a Nazi (or at least, a Nazi employee) coming here to become a Jew-lover? Typical.
    Still, I think the action taken was correct. We can’t go around picking and choosing who we extradite and who we let off the hook. I agree it’s a bummer.

  3. The question remains did her 60-some years “atone” for the year she handled dogs that I imagine at best terrified at worst savaged Jewish women inmates of Ravensbruck?
    And what about the Jew she married? He knew nothing about “what she did in the war?”
    Was he complicit in her keeping her KZ past secret? If so, he had a lot to atone for.
    As for, should she be pardoned, that is “forgiven?” Forgiven by whom? By Justice’s Eli Rosenbaum, who said “her presence in the United States nevertheless was an affront to surviving Holocaust victims who have made new homes in this country?”
    My feelings about this? No forgiving, no forgetting.* No more nice Jews. been nice too many centuries now. (I got nothing against goyim per se–I married one [a female–you know what they’re called.] She was neither a Nazi nor a Jew-hater)
    *What makes me such an expert? I was THERE, got out one step ahead of the Gestapo in 1938. And goyim were involved in that succesful escape, so . . . that’s why . . . no rancor against all of their kind. But the ones who actively tormented Jews or worse–I find no forgiveness in my heart for them. (Most of my family didn’t make it. Ended at Treblinka and in the Lodz ghetto. Names inscribed at Yad Vashem.]

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