Jerry Stahl was mistaken for “Kramer” in Auschwitz
Author Jerry Stahl didn’t know what his visit to Auschwitz would be like, but taking selfies with foreign teenagers who mistook him for the actor who played Cosmo “Kramer” in “Seinfeld” certainly wasn’t on the line. listing. Of course, that was the very first thing that happened when he arrived.
“I just let them think I was Michael Richards,” he told Molly Jong-Fast in this bonus episode of The new abnormal podcast. “Meanwhile, it’s my first day with this group of people that I’m touring with and they’re looking at me like, what’s wrong with this guy? I’m here taking selfies with teenage girls. In my defense, I didn’t pretend to be Kramer, but it would be more of a drama to try to explain.”
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This is one of the anecdotes he talks about in his book Nein, Nein, Nein: One Man’s Story of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Holocaust Bus Tourwho approaches his entire visit with, as Molly puts it, “a little dash of humour.”
Stahl explains that the humor simply comes from being real about how he feels and what he saw.
“One of the questions I have about these camps is how long after a regular Joe or Yosef arrives at camp [does this] stuff, my ambition, my marriage, my kids, the money, the success, you know, how long does that go away? he says. “I think one feels compelled to have these deep, kind of soul-destroying reactions. And what I felt was nothing that I feel or think I feel that’s worthy of that. what really happened here.There was such a disconnect between not just how I felt but how I thought I should feel and the reality on the ground with these other tourists heading for the post room pizza nachos .
(He told Molly earlier in the episode that he saw a gift shop with magnets and people eating concessions there. “It’s not like there’s a dress code, but I mean, people walk around like a family fun day at Orlando Disney World,” he says.)
But all of that, Stahl says, is what led him to his main takeaway.
“It just occurred to me that they should just close the thing off and people can walk by and watch from afar because my instinct was [saying] “You dishonor the dead by being here, buying fridge magnets. But on the other hand, who am I to judge?
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