Lonely Man of Cake

March 29, 2007

Israel-German Relations in the Wake of the Holocaust

Filed under: Automotive,History,Israel,Judaism,Transportation — lonelymanofcake @ 5:12 pm

I was looking to get the contact information for Volkswagen Israel (to file a complaint about the abhorrent service at their Jerusalem garage), and I came across a short article from TIME Magazine, dated April 11, 1969 regarding relations between Israel and (West) Germany almost 25 years after the Holocaust.  Here is a poignant excerpt:

Two numbers tell much about the life and times of Chaim Serna, 43, a power-company foreman in Jerusalem. One of them, 108342, is tattooed on his left forearm, a souvenir of Auschwitz. The other is 612214 on the license of his blue Volkswagen.

The article indicates that it was stipulated that much of $900,000,000 in reparations paid by West Germany to Israel between 1953 and 1965 had to be spent on German goods.   Thus the rumor which I had debunked regarding why many Israeli taxis are of German manufacture may be founded on the memories of older generations.

(Does anyone else find it insensitive that the author refers to the survivor’s tattoo a “souvenir of Auschwitz”?)

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