Friday, March 29, 2013

A German Museum Displays LIve Jewish Folks in A Glass Box

It must be uncomfortable being Jewish in Germany, given the fact that the Nazis in Germany once tried to kill every Jew in Europe.

A "Jewish" Museum in Germany seems to suggest that contemporary Germans, who had nothing to do with the Holocaust, might feel uncomfortable or uncertain about how to speak to Jewish people, in light of the fact that previous Germans engaged in horrible and inhumane action toward the Jews (and others) in Europe in the 30s and 40s.  Therefore, the museum has invited Jewish people to sit in a glass box and to answer questions for visitors.

The article:

If the above link doesn't work try this one:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

ire - anger

folks - people

to raise interest and ire - people are becoming both interested and angry

postwar - after the war (World War II)

a slaughter, to slaughter - a butcher usually slaughters animals (kills them and cuts them up) so that people can buy the meat and eat it.  To slaughter a group of people or a person means to kill someone who cannot defend him/herself easily.

to orchestrate a slaughter - to design or coordinate a mass killing. An orchestra is a collection of musicians who play classical music.

to feel cozy - to feel comfortable.  This Jewish leader is using sarcasm - he is suggesting something that, obviously, won't be done because it is ridiculous.  But he makes this ridiculous suggestion to make a point: the Jewish person is being treated like some type of animal or object in his opinion.

to be reminiscent of something - if something is reminiscent of something else, it reminds people of something else.  Eichmann was a Nazi war criminal who was arrested and put on trial after WWII.  He was kept in a glass box in the courtroom in Israel because the authorities thought someone might try to kill him during the trial.

an execution - when the state kills a criminal

provocative - if something is provocative, it makes a person think about a difficult topic.  These days an actress is sleeping in a glass box at a NY City museum.

horrified - shocked

degrading - if a person feels he has been degraded, he feels humiliated or ashamed. To degrade someone is to make the person seem less than human.

inevitable - there is no choice, it has to happen

a curator - someone who develops museum shows

a barrier - something that blocks progress, something that prevents movement

objectionable - if you object to something you feel it is wrong

a stereotype - a stereotype of a group is the way most people think people in the group generally act. A stereotype of Asian students is that they are all good at math.  A stereotype of African Americans is that they are all good dancers. etc.

a placard - a large piece of white board on which text is presented

yarmulke - this is the little round 'hat' that some Jewish men wear on their heads (pronounced: YAH muh kah)

business savvy - really smart at business.

a feeling of insecurity - if you are insecure, you are not confident about something

a Shabbat dinner - a dinner on a Jewish holy day/day of rest

1) This exhibit seems to have been created by a "Jewish" museum.  Do you think this makes the exhibit more acceptable?  What if a "non" Jewish museum had done this?  Would you feel differently about the exhibit?

2)  Why do you think the museum is doing this?

3)  Will this help Germans develop a greater tolerance for Jewish people,
or is this exhibit just treating Jewish people as "others" and strangers?

4) Is this exhibit making fun of Germans or trying to help them become more aware?
Yes, I'm the guy who wrote the very funny ESL book: New York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway.

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.
Yes, I'm also the guy who created the scandal in Asia two years ago :P

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