Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wednesday: wandersday

ß β & B, ä ö, בן–אדם &c

ß Yesterday’s exploring that brilliant image of the cross coming out from the sun going down at the horizon conjured in my mind Sonnenuntergang, Germans like to string words together, literally sun-under-going, something like an idiomized word like sunset. A noun, capitalized, I think that’s still the German rule, and looking it up online also found some single and some double, ssonnenuntergang. So wandering then, would that be Ssonnenuntergang? Or, surely not, ßonnenuntergang, not least because (a) ß has no uppercase form, and (b) ß never initiates, is only inside a word and following diphthongs and long vowels but not short vowels.

Reportedly some linguists have tried to get rid of ß over the decades, and it’s been abolished in the rest of Europe, even for German-speaking Swiss, but retained in Germany and Austria. Me, I like ß and wouldn’t want to see it lost. Also the umlaut as in Wäller that was anglicized Weller when Andreas arrived in the 1700s. How long it took Andreas and his children to go from pronouncing “Vayler” as “Weller” IDK. ß looks like the English uppercase letter B or the Greek lowercase β except that ß is never closed at the bottom and β is always closed and starts below the line. Except in careless handwriting, where no rules hold in any event. 

Wandering, reading on, I chanced across a 2014 article about descendants of Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Höss the commandant of Auscwicz, Hermann Göring and other Nazis who struggle with, inescapably haunted by, the unspeakable crimes for which their family name still stands to this day, soon three-quarters of a century on. Being a child in that era, reading, knowing, and seeing in newsreels therefore witnessing, the atrocities sanctioned and committed by the German nation and Volk during that time, and then, appalled, finding out decades later that my own ancestry is German not English as I’d always been told, I understand and identify with the blood guilt that caused, for example, relatives of Hermann Göring to have themselves sterilized in order at least to cut the bloodline. I know full well that Andreas Wäller emigrated to America two centuries earlier, but I know too that he left relatives, there were cousins, are cousins who … And I realize that modern Germans profess horror at what their countrymen did, but watching Die Deutsche Wochenschau and other films and photographs of the day that depict, the camera does not lie, fanatical loyalty and frenzied enthusiasm for the administration in that generation of German history, is not arguable. There are no innocent and can be no forgiveness except from each of the millions upon millions in the mass graves, and their generations of eternally unborn; and GOK who, Coming Again, was crucified in that Night. One day, and only then, will they, we, even I, in time and space blood-related, be released, ἐδικαιώθη. Bizarre conscience of blood-guilt, twisted theology of original sin. But בן–אדם. Inhumanity of man in my own generation, who and what we are. Genesis 6:5-7 again.

Evolving: a nice day.


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