Re: OUT with those Nouns!

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 11:13:48 EDT

At 10:36 PM 5/22/97 -0700, Gregory and Carol Yeager wrote:
>Thanks Jonathan Robie for the Deutsch - Arbeit macht frei, as I always
>tell my students!

Sorry to be a kvetsch, but this phrase isn't one that should be tossed
around lightly. "Arbeit macht frei" was posted over the entrance of one of
the concentration camps, and means "work liberates". Fifty years after the
end of World War II, both Germans and Jews are extremely sensitive about
this history, much more sensitive than most Americans might realize. I lived
in Germany for 7 1/2 years, where there is still a very high degree of guilt
and pain regarding this history. In the Jewish community, there is only pain.

Throwing this phrase around might be roughly equivalent to asking an
American "how do you treat your niggers?" Neither blacks nor whites
sensitive to how we've treated blacks through much of our history can read a
phrase like that without being offended.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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