Saturday, March 30, 2013


Superman is not a good translation, because it has (or has acquired) a positive connotation. For the Germans, it meant "Superior man", and in plural "superior people". The belief that Germans were THE superior people led them to conquer a good part of Europe (all of Europe, and even the world, was planned) and to endeavour to exterminate "inferior races" -- Jews, Gypsies, Slavs... By the same token, Germanic peoples -- the Scandinavians, the Dutch -- were accorded preferential treatment, as they, too, were "ubermentschen", a part of the "herrenfolk", the master people.

Marek Boym,
Raanana, Israel

This rehash of court history is pretty rich coming from a resident of the Chosen People's (nothing superior about that terminology!) apartheid state, don't you think? Ever ask a Palestinian whether he has his own ideas about "superior people" hell-bent on exterminating "inferior races"? You may get a wildly conflicting account. 

Master people? On the contrary, Germans are untermentschen. You can defame them in polite company with impunity. You just did. 

Anti-German bigotry won't see you banished to re-education camps. No, instead you'll be celebrated for your hip and sophisticated derring-do! You may even be published on A Word A Day!


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