Snyder, George L Snyder, Lenore Snyder, God, ethics, morals, religion

The Elephant Speaks
One Man’s Elephant book II

Ich Habe Keine Angst für Dich

            In the movie: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ there is a scene where two opposing soldiers are fighting. The German overcomes the American, and just before forcing the knife into the American soldier’s chest, the German soldier looks with sadness, and possibly even tenderness at the American. “Ich habe keine angst für dich.”

And, God speaks to me:

          “Do not lose your humanity

            He was limited in his choices. He had to kill or be killed. There was no other choice as the fight was obviously a fight to the death. In the next scene, the German soldier stumbles down the stairs, past where another American soldier is helpless with panic, ignores him, and goes on out of the scene. The horror of killing the first made him unable to kill the second. It may have made him unable to kill later in the war. I am sure it haunted him the rest of his life. I know this was a scripted movie scene, but we all know that similar incidents are sure to have happened more than once in this war. Similar incidents occurred on all sides.

            What did he say? “Ich habe keine angst für dich.” “I have no angst for you.” Angst here is used as the dark animosity, hate, fear, evil feelings. “I have no hate for you. I have no personal reason to kill you. But for the positions you and I are in, I am you and you are me. We are both the same. I am sorry. I have to do this. I don’t really want to do this.”

            The word keine in German is more definitive than the word no or none in English.

            In German the word angst is used much more commonly than the English angst.

            Also, in German, the word for ‘you’ is different for different uses. The word: dich is the one you would use to talk to a loved one, a member of your family, your wife, your child. This word would be used with one you loved, one for whom you had compassion, not one you hated.

            The script writers did an excellent job here showing that those on both sides of this war were human. It is a shame that most of those who viewed this scene did not understand German enough to get the full impact of this scene. It is to the credit of the actors that the message of humanity and empathy did come through.

The elephant is like a spear

it pierces me to my heart

‘Saving Private Ryan’ starts with an extremely intensive, horrible and accurate depiction of the invasion of Normandy on D-day. It goes on to show how an eight-man squad risked their lives to save one man who’s three brothers all had been killed. In 1998, this movie was the top grossing film and won five Academy Awards.

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