Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Breaking Bad Karma

How the cancer victim at the center of the AMC series justifies my skepticism of Holocaust survivors

Print Email
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in AMC’s Breaking Bad (Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

Since I was 12 I’ve had an unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the extreme will to live. My father’s parents were Holocaust survivors, and in grade school I received the de rigueur exposure to the horror—visiting geriatric men and women with numbers tattooed on their arms, completing assigned reading like The Diary of Anne Frank and Night. But the more information I received, the less sympathy the survivors elicited from me. Each time we clapped for the old Hungarian lady who spoke about Dachau, each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous anecdote of betrayal onto a page, I eyed it askance, thinking What did you do that you’re not talking about? I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary), felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like “triumph of the human spirit.”

I wondered if anyone had alerted Hitler that in the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking. My grandparents were not excluded from this suspicion. The same year, during a family dinner conversation about Terri Schiavo, my father made the serious request that should he fall into a vegetative state, he would like for us to keep him on life support indefinitely. Today he and I are estranged for a number of other reasons that are all somehow the same reason.

***

Before Breaking Bad—the fifth season of the show, about a schoolteacher-turned-cancer-patient-turned-meth cook, premieres Sunday on AMC—the tragedy (and black comedy) inherent in the idea of people intentionally making villainous choices without the promise of redemption was pretty foreign. Even in The Sopranos, Tony and company had simply normalized the violent culture they’d grown up with. American viewers are largely uncomfortable with this sort of ambiguity, which is the reason why you’ll see a disproportionate number of widowed single mothers rather than divorceés in your average romantic comedy. If a man up and died on her, it makes her a more “likable” and “sympathetic” heroine than a character who actively made the choice to marry the wrong person.

From world wars to breaking hearts, we cling to the destruction done to us in the past as a justification for the destruction we will cause in the future.

In all the critical discussion of the show, it is surprising how infrequently the main character’s cancer is referenced anymore, probably because Walt’s disease has gone so far beyond its first-season gimmick that it feels irrelevant. But it isn’t, of course, since nothing is in the version of Albuquerque made by Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator. If you have ever had cancer, or been kitty corner to cancer, you know there is a lot of waiting and pleasantries and HMO negotiation and the same bad jokes (and some good ones; my aunt who had a double mastectomy recently offered me the use of her $2,000 silicon falsies for a date). When you tell someone a relative has cancer, their immediate response is never shock but often, “Oh, my [insert X loved one here] had cancer” as if this knowledge is a comfort of some kind. Walter White looks this one-size-fits-all mortality square in the face, and his first instinct is to swim against its current:

These doctors, talking about surviving. One year, two years, like it’s the only thing that matters. But what good is it, to just survive if I am too sick to work, to enjoy a meal, to make love? For what time I have left, I want to live in my own house. I want to sleep in my own bed. I don’t wanna choke down 30 or 40 pills every single day, lose my hair, and lie around too tired to get up, so nauseated that I can’t even move my head. And you cleaning up after me?

He ultimately elects to do it, because his wife and son love him, and because there would be no show if he didn’t. But the words “I’ll do it” represent the game-changer that stymies and eludes so many critics. Walt doesn’t change by degrees: He changes at the very moment he accepts the loss of dignity that he so wanted to avoid, and so begins the second, cursed life that he would not have chosen for himself. Later, of course, it emerges just how sociopathically important dignity and pride have become to Walt. The rituals, routines, and various institutional, dehumanizing elements of chemo left their mark, their mundanity the primary reason why Walt “breaks bad” with the level of intent displayed in later seasons of the show.

Evil, as Jean Améry says, overlays and exceeds banality. There is no “banality” of evil. In At the Mind’s Limits, Améry—a Holocaust survivor—discusses “concentration camp syndrome”: “The character traits that make out our personality are distorted. Nervous restlessness, hostile withdrawal into one’s own self. … It is said that we are ‘warped.’ ” He goes on to describe how the option of forgiveness is obsolete for him, and yet the acknowledgement that it would be moral and fair to forgive (a step that he felt unable to take because of this very emotional “sickness,” thrust on him by the very people he should forgive) created an impossible duality, one that doubtless led to his 1978 suicide.

Being a man of science, Walt doesn’t have Améry’s impulse to question his gut instincts and realize they’re his direct emotional response to what he’s gone through. All he has is indignation at the memory of his illness and the determination to flip the script: He suffered, now others will suffer. Walt and Breaking Bad express one of our most inherent psychological fallacies: the ability to do any number of consciously reprehensible things while persisting in considering ourselves the protagonist at all times. From world wars to breaking hearts, we cling to the destruction done to us in the past as a justification for the destruction we will cause in the future.

As Walt tells his worried wife Skyler in the third season, “I am not in danger, I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No, I am the one who knocks.”

***

Like this article? Sign up for our Daily Digest to get Tablet Magazine’s new content in your inbox each morning.

Print Email

Anna Breslaw is comparing a real historical person
Jean Améry to a fictional character. She then draws conclusions about Holocaust “survivors” from this comparison which validates her disgust with survivors.

Sorry, Anna i grew up among many survivors and no they all didn’t “survive by any means necessary.” In any massacre, unless it murders all the people it sets out to murder a few will survive. They will survive by chance, they will survive because they thought ahead and took a few precautions like running away before round ups, or by some very few fighting back.

Your view that they are all guilty of something “What didyou do that you’re not talking about? ”

Is overly cynical and automatically turns all survivors into villains. This is a kind of “hermeneutics of suspicion” gone mad

“I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary),….”

You must have learned this in some college deconstruction course.

Moreover how do you know that all survivors thought they ” had earned the right to be heroes”?

I suggest you review your assumptions since your view isn’t that different from the view of antisemites who blame Jews for whatever happens to them.

Whether they are murdered or manage to survive such massacres: they are at fault and guilty of some unspecified crime. This is how survivors were viewed when camps were first liberated. However since then we have hundreds of studies showed the logical and historical fallacy of such thinking.

    M Brody says:

    I thought this could be an interesting exploration of the discomfort we felt around the pain of others particularly the parents aunts uncles and so forth. When i was a kid in the 1950’s very few of the adults spoke about what happened. Hushed tones and furtive looks were the order of those times. thankfully people have been able to speak up and out about what happened to them and to others. This is exemplified by your poorly chosen way of getting reader attention. Twenty years ago you would have had a difficult time publishing this kind of silliness. But it appears here, you’re not censored (thankfully) and a thinly disguised headline to get a person to click on the column got over. Good for you, good for us!
    One more thought
    The discomfort I have felt around gangsters that hug and love their children is not quite the same as the discomfort caused by my aunts and uncles with the sad faces and tattoos on the arms.

    reader says:

    No need to raise the level of discourse for this one – it’s pure garbage. If you look at her other “articles,” it’s more of the same juvenile crap. Tablet, you blew it with this one.

    norman eisler says:

    Anna… i think it you have certain unresolved issues which may or not be a derivative of your own personal upbringing and family history. But the main issue i have is that you seem to confuse your personal issues with the issue of survivorship, let alone the ambiguous and stereotypical comparative of a cancer victim in a “show” and the holocaust. That is not to say that of all those who survived were exemplary(there were many Kapos, jews who policed other jews, who survived because of their status and perhaps evil. But to rationalize that everyone who survived the horror of the holocaust or any extreme survivor event is somehow only there by evil and conniving is borderline absurd.
    The fact of the matter is that people survive by sheer numbers and probabilities. If you try to destroy a people (whether it is jews, cambodians, darfur etc.) there will be surviviors. They survive by pure luck aided by a sort of Darwinian approach (and not by virtue of evil or doing something wrong) in that they were younger, healthier, acclimated better, etc. For example, as a first generation child of survivors, I have heard firsthand tales of surviving by pure luck of the draw. For example, my mother wanted to join her mother in another line but was somehow instinctively pulled to another line by her close friends. Had she gone on that line she would not be alive today. As a second example, I know of someone who by sheer irony, was actually taken out of a line by Dr. Mengele at the concentration camp line up. Had that person stayed on the line, she would of died. I suppose they survived by their own EVIL acts!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I find your notions offensive to all who survive!!!!! and i suggest if you already have a therapist, you change to a new one…..

I hate this article and I hate this writer. I am the first generation child of survivors. Four of my cousins are Mengele twins (that’s two pairs from the surviving 100 or so). Nobody in my family who got out asked for a dime or a tear for what they went through. I bury survivors weekly through my Chevra Kadisha and in most cases few, if anyone else, shows up. You’d think it wouldn’t be so difficult to find a Minyan for them but articles like this just help explain it.
If you want to do a TV review, do so, but not at the expense of what my family of origin went though. Yes, there are some people in every community who milk their tragedies for some type of gain, but it’s often at the insistence of others who profit and gain at the survivors expense . . . like you.

    Rob26 says:

    I’d only add that many made it through thanks to the goodwill and caring of their fellow human beings. Those included the German soldiers Sergeant Anton Schmid and Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. And they’re only two of the many thousands of compassionate human beings who are honored as Righteous Among The Nations for saving Jews.

    Nothing else to add except to pile on and call this piece of utter dreck what it is: utter dreck.

Oudtshoorn says:

A sickening article. Those who survived the Shoah were “conniving, indestructible, taking and taking”? Nonsense. Unutterable rubbish. No doubt there were a few crooks amongst survivors, but by and large the reasons for survival were many and varied – too many to count or name here. And Anna Breslaw knows it. Some, like Philip Müller, simply knew they had to survive – as witnesses. Same with Primo Levi. And numberless others.

Why, exactly why, does this appalling writer think and write as she does? Just to make her own people miserable, to make the few, very old survivors feel even worse than they do? It seems to me that while these old people are alive – those whose lives have been far worse than Ms Breslaw can begin to imagine – it is disgusting and insulting to write – and publish – an article like this one. And the fact that her “skeptism” is “justified” by something that sounds like a soap opera? In this way you turn this magazine into garbage.

Enough. I am unsubscribing right now.

Woman ofLaMancha says:

The author believes that survival requires immoral behavior. Since self-preservation is a basic instinct, ergo everyone alive must be despicable. Psych 101 teaches us that people project their own motives onto others. Moreover, the traits which we most despise (and deny) in ourselves, are those which we hate most in others.

Being a child of two Holocaust survivors who never thought if themselves as heroes, I am shocked that Anna Breslow writes with such disdain and mistrust of people she really does not know; any historian who studied this period will condemn her words against survivors of the Nazi terror. She should learn the truth first hand and visit the camps, the Holocaust museums and listen to Shoah memoirs before she continues to believe her own demons that has made her numb and ignorant if the truth. She sounds like those Holocaust deniers who try to portray the victims as the perpetrators. Shame in her and her publishers for her comparing Holocaust survivors to a fictional crime boss who justifies his behavior because it’s due to him.

Ms. Breslaw, You are a sick, pathetic excuse for a human being. Were you trying to be witty, satirical or humorous? I don’t know. To desecrate the memory of those who were ruthlessly slaughtered by the Nazis is an abomination. The proprietors of the Tablet should be ashamed for publishing such dreck.

I don’t think this is a very good article. My father never had the urge to tell his story publicly nor did he claim he and the others were heroes. This is also true for all the other survivors I personally knew. All went bravely into their deaths at late age, many though had a strong will to live.
The quote of Amery seems to try to intellectualise the thoughts raised.
To talk about survivors only wish to talk about Judenscheisse is nothing
but shit itself. The point of the article is hardly made. In fact
those who did survive the shoa or cancer are able to appreciate
different things from making love and work. It is the sun, the little
bird, the intensity of smells and flower sin the spring and the relative goodness of life that was before.

    Hillel Dichtwald says:

    I am the child of holocaust survivors and grew up in a survivor
    community in Montreal. Until recently, almost none of the survivors that
    I know, including my parents, was willing to speak about their traumas,
    their anguish, their PTSD. Most were mere kids when the war broke out
    and survived by sheer luck, their wits and sometimes – not often –
    furtive and grudging assistance. Survivors uniformly believed after liberation that they were the last remaining Jews on earth. Unimaginable. After roaming
    around Europe with nowhere to call home or living in squalid DP camps,
    they finally arrived in North America, Australia, Britain and Israel.
    Their anguish was expressed when they cried in their sleep, but by day
    they built new lives, created new families and communities. Without the
    survivors, the Jewish communities would be shadows of what they are now.
    I don’t know who Anna Breslaw is, but this article shows that not only
    does she understand zero about the attempted extermination of Europe’s
    Jewish communities, she is smug about it. Please do not feature such
    willfully ignorant trash on your website as you will alienate all of
    your readers. All I can say is “Am Yisrael Chai”.

brynababy says:

This article is disgusting. This woman is disgusting. Can you imagine what she must be like? No wonder she’s estranged from her father. The “de rigueur exposure to the horror”?? To trivialize this event and the discovery of all that went on, is beyond the pale. “Moral and fair” to forgive?! Never, never, never!!
Oh, and by the way, her analysis of “Breaking Bad” is way off the mark and a contrived ridiculousness that displays a complete lack of artistic and creative ability. This is not a writer.

Rachel Lavine says:

This article is so disturbing, offensive and vapid for reasons that many of the other commentators have noted. Beyond my initial personal reaction – which is that Anna Breslaw clearly needs serious psychological support to address the issues that she, like so many other relatives of survivors, has as a result of having her own family & childhood distorted by the Holocaust, I am incredibly offended that Tablet chose to run this article.
I obviously do not agree with Ms. Breslaw’s basic (and fundamentally majority culture) premise that all survivors are morally corrupted by their survival, and I suspect that she herself would not apply that analysis to survivors in Darfur, raped, mutiliated and forced to watch the brutal extermination of family and friends. But I can imagine why she feels the need to see her parents and grandparents as somehow more powerful than their brutalizers. What I can’t understand is why Tablet would allow such ahistorical and vicious dreck to be run as some kind of supposedly provocative thought piece. And if the author were not the grandchild of survivors, or if the subject was not the Holocaust but another 20th century genocide, I feel quite certain that this article, with the same thesis, would not have run. Which makes me think that Anna Breslaw isn’t the only one with parent issues: Tablet may think it is challenging the dictums and verities of the Jewish intellectual and political establishment – whatever and whoever they are – but this sounds like the insipid posturings of a Gawker or Huffington Post piece. I don’t always agree with Tablet’s articles, of course, but I’ve always respected the thoughtfulness and intellectual integrity of the writers and editors. But this article would be simply ridiculous, if its premise wasn’t so dangerous, and so close to what most people want to believe about the usually powerless victims of violence and history.

Jacky&Steve CeleMcFaddencki says:

In rendering the discussion about the emotional landscape and motives of survivors who feel compelled to share their stories rather trite, you have pretty much dimished your credibility whilst attempting to legitemize your right to speak as the grandchild of survivors. Plus, the cultural studies-esque attempt at mixing pop culture and history is pretty weak. Hey why not share this article with your parents or grandparents if they are still alive? I am sure that they would shepp some nachus from it. NOT.

Doctor Bucephalus says:

Good god, I definitely don’t feel the same way as the writer but just because something’s disturbing or even morally problematic doesn’t warrant a condemnation of someone’s honest and clearly formulated views. She’s speaking what’s true to her, and maybe some of you sanctimonious types should consider that when thinking about Holocaust education. What reasoning person can’t conceive of how Holocaust education can go wrong and scar someone, make them feel guilty for surviving? People get nightmares reading survivor accounts and that’s the way it should be. If you want students to respect the Holocaust you shouldn’t push too hard. Oudtshoorn, you really think that Levi only survived to be a witness? You didn’t read it right! The concentration camp is a place where meaning goes to die with the victims as well. Hier is keine warum! YOUR narrative might be that the witnessing was important enough to justify survival, but inside the camps there exists no need or time or space for justification. There’s only survival. There’s the guilt Levi experiences at the hanging of the saboteur who pleads for an insurrection to start then and there, there’s the guilt in Drowned and the Saved of not *truly* knowing the depths because that necessarily means death and madness, and remaining as a witness makes him privileged as well as a minority. Many of you don’t understand *how* far the Shoah goes and that’s partly, I’m gonna bet, because you fit it into other narratives of Jewish identity. The Holocaust means this and that, when to the victims it can’t be encompassed or equated to anything. So by all means, continue to misread the thing in itself as something you can actually grasp, to declare your consternation at something you find so perverse, and refuse to acknowledge that this topic is so terrible and important it can scar kids awfully, and that hurts the student as well as Holocaust studies. There’s so much well-intended fallacious crap in these comments I’m more ashamed for you guys than I am for her.

    Dr B: ”
    She’s speaking what’s true to her,…”

    Sorry but she has no private truth any more than I or you have private truths. She is making a universal claim which is supposed to be universally true and it isn’t. Hence she is either mistaken or lying. Take your pick.

      Doctor Bucephalus says:

      Norman, sorry to confound you but no one’s talking about her right to speak and everyone else’s right to criticize. That’s a very easy debate to resolve. See, in Federal law, it’s a yes or no issue, as it should be, and, I should add, totally inapplicable here unless the government decides it’s censoring this article or its comments section. I was discussing whether the violent dismissals were appropriate or not–whether that was good for education on the Holocaust or not. You see there’s free speech as an unbending principal and free speech as a value, ie the free exchange of ideas and how much good it does for us, individual and society alike. It’s not your passion I’m criticizing, but your fervent desire to not read, to shut out ideas. I’ll admit there are times when all I can say is “free speech gives you the right,” in the case of views so ill-informed and dangerous that that’s all I can say. People bust that one out like crazy these days though, as if they were really expressing a desire to muzzle someone but instead say they are much too piously American (read: better than their opponents) to ever want that. Sentiments like “how can you publish this” and “what total garbage of no value whatsoever” are all ways of devaluing the piece to the point it has no legitimacy and therefor justify you in not giving it an inch.

      I on the other hand am reading you quite clearly. You bring up free speech when I didn’t even mention it and you do it as a black and white issue with only two sides, hers and yours. You say more than once I’m defending her when right off the bat I say I can’t possibly agree with her. You ignore any substantive claims I make about the Holocaust as a traumatizing subject that must be taught gently if we don’t want some kids to crack and then jump right to my negative reaction to the comments–me against everyone else. Then you accuse me of having no position for lack of taking a side.

      You’re consistently painting this as a black and white issue. In the case of real survivors and the Holocaust itself, I do believe in distinguishing between victim and aggressor. That’s essential to approaching it and to do otherwise is perilous indeed. But you’re not defending survivors from being insulted, but interpretation rights of first and second generation children, of whom Anna is one. We do not inherit the clarity of an issue like the Holocaust through our parents’ or grandparents’ experiences. The Holocaust remains the Holocaust. It demands moral clarity, not us, but the event (or anti-event) itself. That’s not the same as us demanding moral clarity, and we’d do well to keep those two things straight.

      Arnon, first of all I’m not Dr B, and second, the belief that personal truth somehow doesn’t exist in matters of FICTION and something as completely inscrutable as the Holocaust, that’s just plain idiocy. You’re spouting complete nonsense in order to claim there’s one side or the other on this issue and that’s it.

      All I said what that the Holocaust is a dangerous topic that can scar kids, and that if you’re heavy handed with it, if you haven’t learned a little wisdom and humility in what you’re teaching them, you will do more harm than good. What do you think, guys?

    norman eisler says:

    if your point is that Anna B. has a right to express her views as to the effect of the holocaust on her family and her personality, then it is a point well taken. But you have by virtue of your defense of Anna, actually criticized those many more people of whom many are also first and second generation children of survivors, for being passionate in their notions that Anna’s comments and analogies are somewhat absurd. to be more of ashamed of “you guys” is a very telling statement. i dont agree with Anna but do defend her rights to speak. and i also defend the rights of others, myself included, to react passionately in reaction to her nonsense.
    so rather than defend Anna, you add to her defense by criticizing her criticizers. you lose any point or standing in the process……

    mouskatel says:

    Clearly formulated views? Which article did you read? Not this one.

      Guest says:

      That’s not a response that’s an insult. A response needs substance where an insult

      Doctor Bucephalus says:

      That’s not a response that’s an insult. A response needs substance. Speaking of reading, no mentioning the article itself and only mention of three words from my comment on it. Did you read the thing?

        mouskatel says:

        Yes, I read it and commented already. Read the comments.

          Doctor Bucephalus says:

          There are over 200 comments on this article and counting. You want to respond to me then it’s on you to formulate it in a substantive way. Don’t ask me to do leg work for an opinion you yourself can’t be bothered to state.

Christopher Reiger says:

While I agree with the other assessments of this piece (in sum, it’s WAY too presumptuous and too broad a brush), I don’t think Tablet should be criticized for publishing it. After all, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard such a perspective put forward in the Jewish community, nor will it be the last. If Tablet wishes to represent a spectrum of Jewish voices in order to create some semblance of klal Yisrael, hearing out perspectives that may be (grossly) different from our own is part of the process.

    Tablet shouldn’t have published it not because the ideas are controversial (and if you ask me, wrong) but because it doesn’t appear that the author thought them out. In the comments she says she stands by it, but contradicts herself, then says she’ll have a dialogue with people, then… deletes her Twitter account? If her ideas were thoughtful and she were confident in them, wouldn’t she be tweeting like crazy to educate people about them?

    So, the responsible thing that a Tablet editor would have done, would be to email her and say “heeeey you just pretty much said the only Jews who survived the Holocaust were awful. Just wanted to make sure you really, really meant that because it’s going attract a lot of negative attention, and a lot of that will be focused on you more than us as a publication or the idea by itself. Also that picture of you dressed up as Anne Frank for Halloween is prooobably going to resurface since it’s one of the top Google results for your name. Just FYI. Because we care and have a reputation to uphold and whatnot.”

Dr.B says:

The comments above demonstrate the kind of one sided thinking the author critiques in her article. The author does not minimize the atrocities of the holocaust, instead she illuminates the complexity of the experience in the most reflective way possible. Our unwillingness to exercise this kind of critical self examination, and further, our assertions of “us” and “them” otherizing and drawing arbitrary distinctions among people is disheartening. The oversimplification of the human experience of the holocaust demonstrated by these comments stifles our self examination and disallows for full humanity, perpetuating the cycle of dehumanization which allows for systemic oppression to occur. We must accept and encourage the depth, complexity, beauty, and ugliness of all living people.

    Dr. B. I don’t what you are a Dr. of but reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit.

    I suggest you re-read my comment above which wasn’t one sided: it was critique of paranoid thinking about Holocaust survivors.

    btw: are you by chance Anna B. (Breslaw?). Your post seems so defensive that I assume you have a stake in this thread.

      No, it’s not me.

        Anna learning about “critical thinking” without first learning about history is an exercise in wishful thinking.

        Much of what you say about “victims” is how humanity has perceived them for centuries. Victims were always under suspicion and Holocaust survivors were treated pretty badly at first.

        In Russia, citizens who were in concentration camps (especially soldiers) were treated as the enemy: they were asked “how did you survive if you didn’t do something wrong.” “Why are you alive.’

        It’s pretty ironic that the most advanced educational methodology (critical thought) should lead otherwise bright people to think the uneducated people think habitually.

        Jews in general were viewed under suspicion because they were viewed as a remnant of an ancient nation which used underhanded tricks to survive.

        We are going back to this old mythic way of thinking and it’s not going to be any fun being a Jew. Your children if you have any, will suffer the consequences of your “critical thought.”

    btw: has Anna Breslaw (aka Dr. B) offered even one piece of actual evidence that any Holocaust survivor she knew had survived by killing or causing the death of any other person Jew or non Jew who had been a prisoner of the Nazis?

    In fact she does minimize the atrocities of the Holocaust when she writes

    “. . . I received the de rigueur exposure to the
    horror—visiting geriatric men and women with numbers tattooed on their
    arms, completing assigned reading like The Diary of Anne Frank and Night.
    But the more information I received, the less sympathy the survivors
    elicited from me. Each time we clapped for the old Hungarian lady who
    spoke about Dachau, each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous
    anecdote of betrayal onto a page . . . I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims
    who, solely by virtue of surviving . . . felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their
    basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like
    “triumph of the human spirit.””

    If it can be said that the one of Holocaust’s atrocities is what it did to people who lived through it.

      “…., each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous
      anecdote of betrayal onto a page . . . I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims
      who, solely by virtue of surviving . . . felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their
      basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like
      “triumph of the human spirit.””

      Does, Anna Breslaw know that Elie Wiesel was a boy (born 1928) when he was sent to Auschwitz?

      This is what is maddening about Anna’s screed: she talks in wild generalities based on no documented evidence, and she thinks she is the only one to have studied “critical thinking.”

      No Anna just because you graduate yesterday doesn’t mean that you are smarter better educated than the rest of us.

Kumquatbeer1 says:

Viktor Frankl did say “The worst of us survived.”

    I think the quote was, “The best of us did not survive”, but that came to my mind too.

    daized79 says:

    You must know (I am trying so hard not to judge you because I don’t know you and this has no context) that was not a condemnation of those who survived, G-d forbid, but a humility and recognition of what was lost. You can’t be that daft. I hope?

    the other Bob says:

    You don’t understnd what he meant by that.

blackparrot says:

We created Anna Breslaw, just as we’ve created the tens of thousands of other Jewish monsters we call our Evil Sons and Daughters. Now they’re doing what twisted, narcissistic kids always do: they are turning on their own people. And we, because we have developed ‘dithering’ to an art-form, refuse to ‘kill the monster’ we made!

Unless we figure a way to “silence” these self-referencing Jewish children, they’ll cause more harm to us, and to Israel, than the Arabs and Iranians and Europeans ever could! The Evil Son, the Rasha, is not a “self-hating” Jew, as the rabbis would have us believe. He/she is not just someone who “separates himself from the tzibbur,” but seeks to bring harm to the k’lal, even to his/her own family, to bring dishonor and even contempt to their doorstep! Nothing is so dangerous to our people today, as are these Evil Sons and Daughters. And so, just as we do what we must to our non-Jewish assassins, we must somehow deal effectively with our Jewish assassins as well.

Look at the twisted, sneering, glibness of this writer, Anna Breslaw! What are we, that we have produced such a child? And she is hardly alone. There are today many tens of thousands of twisted, sneering, glib Jewish kids—of all ages—doing everything they can to tarnish and even topple the customs, beliefs, laws and boundaries of every people they live among. Why don’t the rest of us—the vast majority of Jews—put a stop to it? Do we imagine there will be no reaction from non-Jews to this outrage? Are we that deep into denial?

To be fair to Ms. Breslaw, I am also no fan of the Holocaust “industry.” In fact, I am certain that it has been a terrible mistake to build Holocaust museums, in order to “remind the goyim what they did to us 1936-1945.” In fact, the task of “remembering” was supposed to be ours, not theirs. That was supposed to be the point of Never Again, to live as men must live—not as rabbis tell us to live—so that there would never be a Next Time! But in characteristic fashion for us, we deflected the “remembering” onto the sons and daughters of the murderers, instead of onto our own sons and daughters. And so, Never Again has, predictably, morphed into Once Again. As if on cue, we now have kids like Anna Breslaw coming out of the woodwork—and this is a direct result of our not facing that our passivity during the Holocaust was one of its principal causes! We will do anything not to face that, including building those shameful museums, leading anti-war movements, showing sympathy for the Palestinians, expressing extreme dislike of Israel—and now this monstrosity by Anna Breslaw, a “cute little piece” attacking the most vulnerable Jews of all, Holocaust survivors.

But this is not Anna Breslaw’s fault. It is ours. Who are her parents? What did they raise her to be? Who exposed this young woman to the notion that, what counts above all in life are the qualities of honor, loyalty, bravery, honesty and love of one’s family and land? I guarantee you Anna Breslaw was not raised to be—a heroine! She was raised to be what she is: a too-clever-by-half Jewish intellectual, whose “ideas” are twisted, cynical, lacking all deep moral intelligence and feeling for the common good of the Jewish people—and probably the American and Israeli people as well! Anna Breslaw was not raised to be anything but what she is: one of our many Evil Daughters. We created her. Now, what do we propose to do with her? Nothing?

    You make some excellent points, “blackparrot” but you over reach yourself. Like Anne B you give us too many generalities and not enough specifics.

    I did btw agree that the aim or Holocaust remembrance is our task. It’s not about others remembering (they won’t) but it’s about ourselves remembering.

    I think it was much easier for us to ask others to accept that what they did to us was evil than for us to to accept that we were the ones to whom it was done. Somehow our narcissism didn’t allow us to do that.

    Pamela says:

    Sorry dearie but you don’t have to be Jewish to be self-loathing. The generation coming up and in the work ranks now was raised a narcissistic generation. Parents doting on their children produced kids who can self-love and expect nothing but the best as long as someone else pays for it. That’s an over generalization too and not deserving for those who appreciate the sacrifices their parents made for them, and honor their parents and the generations that came before. That is neither Jewish or non-Jewish. That goes back to how we raise our children and the culturization of the times we’re living in. The “me” generation that puts ourselves before others, that fails to appreciate or comprehend the suffering of the generations that came before, or the shared responsibility we have to others and society.

      blackparrot says:

      Re: the narcissism of our bunch of kids, you’re right of course. But no other “kids” in America have had the clout our bunch has. We make a ton of money, we succeed in every profession imaginable, from medicine to the movies. Now, however, the game has shifted, big-time, to include politics. Jews are, in essence, the ‘face’ of the Obama administration, just as Jewish “neo-cons” were associated with the Bush adventures in the Moslem world.
      Among other things, I am a big fan of the medieval poet and rabbi, Shmuel HaNagid. He was the greatest Jew of his time. His responsa are still quoted on the yeshiva websites where arcana of Jewish law are debated and discussed. HaNagid had the distinction of being the only Jew to ever lead the armies of a Moslem power, in this case the Berber king of Grenada in the 11th century. I find his poems gorgeous, almost stupendous. They were written in medieval Hebrew, but translations reveal how remarkable his sense of what it means to “be a Jew” were, even back then. Here’s my point: Shmuel HaNagid was not just a “mouth,” which is what characterizes all too many of our people, especially the millions of narcissists we currently have. He was one of the greatest men in Moorish Spain. When he died, however, that’s when it got interesting: the Moslem mob, no longer cowed by Ha Nagid’s power, took revenge on his son—who wound up being crucified on the gates of Grenada.
      There is no night where one can tune in the news and not see a Jewish spokesman or woman for the Obama campaign. Jewish leftists of all ages and types essentially serve as the Grand Viziers of Obama’s “rule.” They advise him, finance his campaign, speak on his behalf, plan his strategy and execute it, and vote for him at an alarming rate. Do you think mainstream America doesn’t know this, that it fails to recognize the Rosenbergs, Feinbergs, Weinsteins, Cohens, etc., that appear on ever tv screen every night of the year? If Obama winds up causing serious harm to this country, which is what many suspect he will do, who are Americans gonna “call” in that case? They’re going to punish us for what we’ve done. It is the way history works, and we’re the last people on earth who can expect a “pardon” for what we’ve done.
      So when 80% of one’s people vote for a man who, in the opinion of the “core” of the American people is not acting in the nation’s best interests and treats the mainstream with contempt, what is the point of stating that this is overall a “narcissistic generation?” We’re not worried about the other kids. We’re only worried about ours—Jewish kids, of all ages, who behave and speak in ways that are destructive, insensitive, arrogant and also ignorant—of history. We are not like others, and it’s a good thing. But we are part of the American whole, and it’s time we stopped imagining we have a right to do whatever we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want to do it! We have built a bubble of imagined invulnerability around ourselves here in America, and it’s a mistake just as it was in 1930s Germany—when Jews insisted they were “Germans, like everyone else.” We have an outsized presence and influence in the US. And now we have crossed the line—into politics, i.e., how this nation is governed. We are only 2-3% of the population, however, and if history is correct—which it always is—translating our narcissism into political action is, at best, “a bad idea.”
      The platitudes you write are simply that—platitudes. You may not like to see self-loathing as a Jewish thing, but there is no other people on the earth who manages to breed so many Evil Sons and Daughters, children (of all ages) who take pleasure in bashing their own. They don’t bash themselves, which is why I find the term “self-loathing” all wrong. They don’t hate themselves. They hate us They don’t want to be us, they want to be “them.” And this is what is meant by a Rasha, the Evil Son—a disloyal, treacherous member of one’s “tribe,” who acts to undermine and if possible bring serious harm to his tribe’s members, including his own parents. But there, we stray into Freudian realms, and I try to avoid them. These kids have to be silenced, and how we go about it is far less important—to me—than that we show them and the rest of the world that it is not open-season on Jews once again. If we fail to act, my belief is that we will soon wish we had. God forbid.

Peripateti says:

I wish I could write this well. Not as well as Anna Breslaw, as I write far better, but as well as Rachel Lavine who shredded this piece in the comments section (second main comment). Tablet should let her write (and no cynical ones, I have no clue who she is!). If an article in Tablet is a valuable piece of cybernet real estate, this article by Beslaw is its toxic waste dump.

sticks says:

i think one of the most interesting things about breaking bad is how walt subverts the typical idea of the sufferer as somehow made noble/untouchable by virtue of an experience outside of their control. walt is not merely an object of pity and veneration but is complex: both victim and punisher, likeable and unlikeable simultaneously. his suffering transforms him; he rages against his circumstances but also the people who attempt to flatten his experience into an acceptable narrative. i don’t think ms. breslaw is arguing that her grandparents were self-aggrandizing/self-pitying/fakers; i think she is resisting the impulse to glaze over the complexity of the truth, which is that her grandparents were likeable/unlikeable people, not merely “survivors.” i don’t know what’s so wrong with reacting to a one-sided narrative with a grain of skepticism

    sticks says:

    ah shit hit enter before i was done. it just seems that the idea of “survival” is kind of innately disgusting and empowering. plus there is a certain amount of “impossibility of explanation,” here – how can anyone but the sufferer understand the experience (whether cancer, like walt, or the holocaust)? how can you avoid reactions of trite understanding/sympathy, confusion, or (like ms breslaw) skepticism? it’s kind of innately impossible, and ms. breslaw’s skepticism is merely an acknowledgement of that impossibility. i wish this article were longer, or better/more cogently argued, but it raises some fascinating questions

    daized79 says:

    But she does say that her grandparents (and every other survivor) must have done terrible things to survive that makes them undeserving of surviving. That they were villains hiding their villainy. How do you read this any other way? You can wish that she wriote what you said, but she didn’t.

      sticks says:

      maybe i am taking too generous an interpretation of ms. breslaw’s argument. even so, again i draw your attention to the idea that there is something distasteful/depraved about the idea of “survival” – obviously not simply with regard to the shoah but in a broader sense (hence why ms. breslaw also discusses cancer patients and her father’s desire to be kept on life support ‘indefinitely.’) should there maybe be some events so horrendous we shouldn’t want survive them? should we accept the indignity of diminished/negatively impacted life instead of dying in a dignified, honorable way (though arguably there is no such thing as an honorable death, just as there might not be any such thing as a ‘triumph of the human spirit’)? these are the fascinating and difficult questions i think she struggles (and fails) to address in the weird format of a pop culture article. maybe what’s so didactic about her argument is the assumption that all ‘survivors’ of any horrible experience must necessarily lead a diminished life, a kind of ghost life (as walter expresses in the fly episode of season 3 when he mentions that after a certain point he simply should not have lived one moment longer). i could relate some anecdotal experience of my own about relatives who died of cancer or grandparents who survived the holocaust  but it’s hardly indisputable as any argument about this kind of stuff is going to be highly subjective. i don’t know that ms. breslaw articulates her point very well, or with very much grace, but i don’t think she’s a hideous person/self-hating jew/etc. plus i still stand by the idea of impossible communication; i can’t fault her for viewing the platitudes/’glazing over’ of experience with vaguenesses like ‘triumph of the human spirit’ with instinctual distaste. i think it takes some guts to admit such an ‘unappealing’ perspective – and it’s much more refreshing than some of the trite/shallow/uncomplex/sentimental understandings of history/human experience i’ve seen???

        daized79 says:

        So why is she getting published instead of you? Because she’s young and lacks wisdom (I hope I’m no old fogey at 32 — my wife is only two or three years older than her)? I think she’s hideous because of her views of her own family and her public airing of them. I think that she does treat Jews differently in her article and had not bothered to edit it. She also does not say that surely some of the survivors had to do immoral things to survive — something unnecessarily unkind, but doubtless true. Instead she wrote what she wrote. I can’t imagine a published piece is published so unthinkingly and is not corrected after publication when the mistakes are pointed out unless she agrees with the words the way she wrote them.

        daized79 says:

        As for the questions you raise — these are ageless questions. Certainly the Romans and the Norsemen would agree with you in some sense. Stoicism, Valhalla and all that. Judaism clearly states that life is all-important (though your life is not more important than others’) because each moment contains the possibility to create positive change (religious Judaism of course speaks of the opportunities to fulfill G-d’s will). People at the end of their lives are in a different position than both those in a vegetative state and those who are still able to bear children who would not endure what they have and be able to live better lives. How many tens of thousands (if not more — one survivor had 2,500 descendants alone when she died) of Jews are alive today carrying on the culture because the survivors did not just go quietly into the night?

          sticks says:

          haha you’re no old fogey but i’m not sure age has much to do with it anyway (i’m 21). i know these are age-old questions but i’ve never seen them framed through this particular lens, historical and pop cultural. i don’t think ms. breslaw talks about the jewish experience much differently than she talks about her father’s wishes or walt’s survival; there’s a healthy dose of disdain in all three. & i’m sure she gets published because she’s willing to own up to her unappealing truths, which some people might dismiss as sensationalist but i think is complex and sincere even if it’s ugly. it’s definitely one of the more thought-provoking pieces i’ve read in awhile; i don’t usually take the time to write essay-length comments on the internet. that being said i can’t claim to speak for the author so my interpretation might be wrong and she could actually be awful? who knows.

          daized79 says:

          Haha. I almost feel bad that she has been the catalyst of your provoked thoughts, but you never know where inspiration comes from. It seems to me she was only your use in this case, but keep it up — you definitely have talent.

          daized79 says:

          By the way, I do not share your disdain for triumph of the human spirit. Triumph of the human spirit isn’t surviving, which is animal, but its surviving as an intact moral human being and performing acts of service to man and G-d in the worst of circumstances. Perhaps what bothers her is seeming pointlessness of life — so why keep it going. Obviously religion would have a response to that question. So maybe it bothers her to meet secular survivors who fought and survived for something more difficult to explain — the religious ones certainly have a different attitude. I wonder if her grandparents were religious before and/or after the War. But you can’t fault them for “surviving” morally any more than you can fault Ms. Breslaw for trudging through her days on this planet.

          sticks says:

          i dunno, it’s always seemed like a generality to me. is it really all that triumphant? what exactly do you mean by “moral” or “acts of service to man or G-d,” versus just being an okay human being? the “human spirit” also sounds vague, too abstract to be relatable. maybe i’m just soured on the concept because it’s been used to market so many ghostwritten inspirational books to midwestern housewives at b&n/wherever and so the idea of it has been watered down/cheapened.

          i’m not quite sure what you mean to imply about the connection between religion and moral triumph. it’s just as presumptive to believe anna breslaw is just unhappily “trudging” through life as it is for her to believe that all survivors are in some way morally tainted by their experience (maybe so but it’s impossible to speculate. besides, i’m inclined to believe that most everyone is trudging no matter their faith/lack thereof – especially plebe internet commenters like us, who clearly have nothing better/more ‘triumphant’ to do). and i don’t know too much about inspiration, i’m just trying to defend this lost-cause article against 100-some-odd outraged commenters who are enjoying their fleeting and anonymous moment of moral superiority.

          daized79 says:

          Well “acts of service” is very specific to me, being a Jew, but on a secular level it means going through the trauma and still thinking of and giving to others — not just wallowing in your own animal survival and self-need. Of which there was a lot, granted (and again, if that’s all a person did, as long as she remained relatively moral [e.g. no giving up other people to die or murdering innocents herself], we are in no place to judge). “Morality” changes to some extent based on culture, but I mean whatever basic basic almost-universal morality there is (stealing food from other starving people to save yourself, snitching to save yourself, murdering to save yourself).

          That is how I am defining “human spirit.” Because animals don’t have a choice act generously — people do. I am sure tat the phrase is overused. But it doesn’t mean it’s never true. And I’ll be happy never to use it in a sentence again. Ms. Breslaw has definitely spent way too much time enveloped in the Holocaust and this is one way it can twist you. Another way is to make you bitter and pessimistic and paranoid. I’ve seen both. Healthy balance would be good.

          I know I wasn’t so clear with the religion comment (and I’m also trying not to be pedantic or irrelevant because I don’t know where you’re coming from religiously or irreligiously). But what I meant to say was that it seems to me that Ms. Breslaw is struggling with the idea of why survive? And I just meant that question is as relevant in a horrorfest as it is day-to-day. I didn’t mean she’s “unhappy” — but certainly that will lead to ennui in most people. And religion has an answer to the question — and many Jews who survived the Holocaust had that religion to tell them to survive for the reason I stated (performance of mitsvot, continuity of Jewish people). Without religion it’s much harder to answer the question and even harder to explain why it’s important to preserve “Jewish” people in particular.

          Ms. Breslaw’s answer seems to be don’t, but I think she has written contradictory things and her personal beliefs can’t be that simple. But she has written something horrid.

          So are you just an ivri — standing on the opposite side of whatever public opinion is? I don’t enjoy being morally superior and hope that Ms. Breslaw regrets having written this, regrets having such attitudes toward her elders, her, father, and her grandparents, changes her behavior in that respect, fixes whatever else she needs to to rocket past me (not too much, I dare say), and spends the rest of her life morally superior to me.

          And I really don’t have so much time for this, but I’m rather enjoying our dialogue. Anonymous though it may be. If you wish to shed anonymity, you can find out more at daized79-at-hotmail.

Hershl says:

Anna Breslaw is an untalented hack who will do anything, write anything, say anything to get noticed.

She is pure garbage, a pathetic, little, whiney brat who is using the internet to substitute for a life.

Sad.

Outrageous article. Why would Tablet publish such an offensive and baseless article is beyond understanding. She writes about the “Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking.” She will be a star in any antisemitic site.

Leaving aside people who escaped by preparation (getting out early), chance (the Nazis missed your house in a roundup because the SS man woke up late and forgot to go down a street) or guile (forging passports), I have wondered about what she implies but shrinks from exploring–that survival in Auschwitz required collaboration with your jailors and selling out fellow prisoners. While I’m sure a lot of it also relied on forming networks with fellow prisoners and relatively sympathetic guards, some degree of immoral activity wouldn’t surprise me. You can’t have scruples in a place with a 90% kill rate if you want to survive.

I wouldn’t really morally judge anyone in that situation–if you force 20 people to fight to the death and set free the winner, do you judge the survivor who killed the people who didn’t make it or the one who’s forced them to fight? Does anyone with actual experience of the camps (or anyone who knows someone with experience of the camps) care to comment?

    There is a vast literature describing how prisoners managed to survive and in 90 plus percent of the time it was because of luck of one sort or another.

    The remaining ten percent was mostly do as you say prisoner organization and help. It was also due to individual ingenuity such as the prisoner who was forced to shlep a cart full of shit outside the camp and was able to get some food inside by concealing it among the refuse. The guards didn’t think that anyone would conceal food in shit.

    Read also Primo Levi’s account of how people managed in Auschwitz..

I find this article utterly revolting and anti-semitic. Also “anti” any people who survived genocide.
I think of my aunt Serena Abraham. Her husband and kids were murdered at Auschwitz. She wanted to die but didnt. As the Russian approached, the Nazis put her and others on a forced march to get away. She stumbled, fell, a German shot her and left her for dead.
She woke up in a Soviet army hospital, made her way to Israel, and was “adopted” by a young survivor and they became like mother and daughter.
The younger woman married, had kids, and my Aunt Serena become a “grandma” and “great grandma.”
She seemed totally normal til the day she died except at night when she sobbed in her sleep, calling out the names of her children.
One other thing, she could not call me by my name, Michael, because that is the English version of her murdered son’s name, Miklos.
This article makes me puke.

    JordanIspalestine says:

    Every article you’ve ever written makes me puke. Glad it’s your turn.

    Save us your crocodile tears, Rosenberg. You spread antisemitism with every piece of lunacy that you write. Or have you forgotten your inchoate rant about the provision of kosher food at a White House reception? No-one here is fooled by your charade, and Anna Breslaw deserves a sordid, bitter little man like you as her comrade. Not so much J-date as J-hate.

Martha Nudel says:

It’s almost impossible to know where to start criticizing this essay: It’s absurd so I won’t even waste my time analyzing. This is drivel, non sequitur after non sequitur. The result of shoddy thinking, words masquerading as logic. One recommendation: how about if this writer gets outside of her sheltered surroundings and learns empathy for people whose lives and safety are threatened by evil forces they cannot control or overcome. Empathy is hard to learn: General Patton certainly had none of it for Holocaust victims. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/07/AR2010060702583.html) Looks to me like Breslaw has the same qualities that Patton showed. I rarely read Tablet: This abhorrent “essay” gives me — the offspring of two Holocaust survivors — a solid reason never to look at this website again. Now, give me a piece of writing with solid thinking and accurate facts that will make me come back here.

If any of you have read this as “anti-Semitic” in any way, I think you’ve read it wrong. This could apply to any genocide in history, any group of people in a vacuum. Human beings are varied: bad, good, cutthroat and moral, and after a lifetime of one-size-fits-all Holocaust education it would give anybody with the capacity for critical thinking the wont to pause.

Say what you’d like, but I stand by this. It’s not meant as a one-fits-all condemnation, but if you’re all Holocaust descendants as well, you know that you’re lucky–and not just because you were spared by the Nazis, but by the will of certain other Jews’ (and human beings, really) need to survive. I certainly feel lucky.

    Anne your apologia is as contradictory as your original article.

    i know that you get your views from “critical thinking’ courses which means that these courses were really critical in real sense of the word. (look it up in Kant).

    Moreover, not writing solely about Jews doesn’t make your screed any more palatable or truer.

    Finally, children of Holocaust survivors are not “lucky to be here.” They are just here like any other child. They were born because their parents conceived them. Had not been conceived they wouldn’t be here to know about it.

    Survivors are lucky children of survivors are just children.

    The fact that you can’t tell the difference speaks volumes about you.

    One can use “critical thinking” and still be wrong as your writing proves.

    Your reasoning is more than a bit specious.

    mouskatel says:

    So, humans are bad, good, cutthroat and moral, but Holocaust survivors are all villains? Which one is it Anna?

    This piece is one of the shoddiest pieces of thinking and writing I’ve seen in quite a while, and that’s saying a lot for Tablet, which seems to revel in this kind of crap as “encouraging dialogue”. What a garbled mess- single mothers in movies, your own emotional baggage, the Holocaust and Breaking Bad? Are you above editing your own work?

    There is simply no redeeming value in any of your thinking, any of your comparisons and any of the conclusions that you’ve drawn. Yes, it was hard growing up the grandchild of survivors. I went through it to, but it doesn’t cause me to post crap with misguided philosophical aspirations on the internet. Tablet readers are not a replacement for decent therapy.

    I almost feel sorry for you. You sound like a pathetic self-hating Jew.

    You contradict yourself from one paragraph to the next. You first say that your article applies universally: “this could apply to any genocide in history, any group of people in a vacuum (people in a vacuum?). A few sentences later you say your article is not meant to condemn all genocides: “not meant as a one-fits-all condemnation.” Which is it? Your writing is almost incomprehensible.

    daized79 says:

    You wrote: I wondered if anyone had alerted Hitler that in
    the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of
    Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking. Well the final

      John Podhoretz has written a response to this article in Commentary Magazine..calling this the most Antisemitic article he has seen in years. The reality is that I believe that you, Ms. Breslaw, you either do not have the experience nor the educational background capable to write on this subject or you have strong Antisemitic beliefs that have been exposed. You were born in 1987. You graduated from college in 2009. Quite frankly, I believe you are ignorant. You are simply spewing crap that you heard in the classrooms at NYU and you are not thinking for yourself. If you do not fully retract yourself from this, you will be branded. You are too young and inexperienced to put yourself in this position. Don’t be a tool of the left. Think for yourself.

        Tool of the left? I think the left would find her rhetoric the most offensive. I’m not Jewish but am quite liberal and my jaw literally dropped when I read this disgusting, poorly written, anti-semitic garbage. I don’t think the “left” shares her bratty, narcissistic viewpoint, at all.

    Anna, would you describe yourself as a “Shit Jew” as you described others? What makes you a better human being than those you call “Shit Jew”? Let’s dialogue.

    daized79 says:

    On a totally unrelated note, seriously, what’s up with the name Jezebel? She was a mass murderer. Like a mens magazine name Genghis or Attila. I know you didn’t name it, but you’re an editor/ I am really interested in a response — not just ranting for my own benefit.

    Dave4321 says:

    “If any of you have read this as “anti-Semitic” in any way, I think you’ve read it wrong.”

    “only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse(because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking.

    Seriously, get some help from a mental health professional. Unless you really are a sociopath, years of therapy might help.

    The wont to pause? what does that even mean?

      mouskatel says:

      It means Anna is too pretentious to figure out how to use archaic terms properly.

    Anti-Semitic? No. Ignorant? Foolish? Small-minded? Stupid and idiotic, even? Yes. When I read this tripe, I imagine a bunch of young, urban Jews sitting in a cool bar, clucking and rolling their eyes about the older generation of Jews. About how irrelevant their concerns are. About how we’re past the sins of previous generations. About how enlightened society is now. About how Jews are now part of the fabric of our nation, assimilated and accepted. Unfortunately, that bar I imagine happens to be in 1920’s Germany.

    Breslaw is a uniquely bad choice to write on such subjects because she has no idea of — and cannot imagine — the breadth and pain of the Jewish experience or the human condition. What a privileged, protected and limited upbringing she must have had to have such an outsized lack of empathy.

Feel free to email me to discuss this further, if you’re actually interested in a dialogue: annabreslaw @ gmail.

    Chris Ar says:

    You’re not intellectually worthy of being engaged in a “dialogue.”

    daized79 says:

    You should be able to pick out the comments worthy of reply and do so publicly. Lord knows you published this piece publicly. What good is it if you defend yourself in private? Or admit that the piece needed soem more proofreading in private?

    daized79 says:

    Obviously you’re not going to respond to my calling you a “brat” — but you can respond to my (and others’) substantive critiques of your piece and exdplain if you really meant what you said in the more offensive sentences.

    liquidflorian says:

    …you also got Walt waaaaaay wrong. Just sayin.

For the record, although I hated this article, I have liked everything else the author has written. She’s really good, and funny. This piece was not very representative.

It’s almost impressive how many dubious assumptions and assertions this author can combine in a single sentence or single rhetorical gesture.

From the first she invites us to find her attitude “unappealing” (not sure what she means by “didactic”), and many of us do and will. It’s unappealing yet again that she would put her own trivial self-abuse, and her apparently never very seriously considered assumptions and conclusions, next to a set of questions whose moral and historical dimensions clearly beyond her level of interest and engagement – as is already obvious from the mere fact of their presentation in this trivializing context.

WIthout compunction she shares her suspicion that the survivors are “villains masquerading as victims,” but she never considers whether the identical suspicion could not be addressed to her, especially if we were somehow moved to judge the entirety of her life on the basis of our “gut instinct.” She invites us to let gut instinct guide interpretation of the first sentence of the second paragraph, especially its conclusion that “only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few)… remain[-ed] to carry on the Jewish race.” Taken literally: The Holocaust reduced the Jews to Scheiss. Implicit in this shockingly abhorrent assertion is the assumption that anyone, any human being, no matter his or her crime or character, could be reduced to Scheiss, that the term Judenscheisse could ever be justified speech.This perspective on humanity is a Nazi perspective. The Nazis determined that their scheisse-humans were the Jews, and that, in order to protect the others against this human Scheiss, it was necessary to dispose of them without a second thought, an act which in the author’s view they failed to complete, but which she is happy to finish for them symbolically.

And then we’re supposed to give a Scheiss about what she thinks about Breaking Bad.

This is journalism?

This is journalism?

This is journalism?

As much as this piece upsets me the level of discussion is heartening. I’d like to see more intelligent, nuanced philo Semitic pieces on this site in the future.

Natan79 says:

Anna Breslaw, I grew up in a Communist, oppressive and murderous country. I know violence and evil first-hand. Here is my heartfelt, sincere and very personal wish to you: may it happen to you to be put in a concentration camp, and may all that befell them happen to yourself.

To the Tablet editors: until now you had dolts like Marc Tracy and Rachel Shukert. Now you decided to bring some anti-Semites too? Anna Breslaw is similar to the kind of anti-Semitic Jew Daniel Burros who activated in the Ku Klux Klan, and who, happily, was discovered by A. M. Rosenthal, the New York Times journalist. Rosenthal outed him and Burros killed himself (yes, there *are* happy endings to this kind of story).

Reading Anna Breslaw’s other articles (just search on the web and you’ll see what she secretes) makes is impossible to miss her stupidity and ambition, a deadly combination that will make us hear more about her. She’s a graphomaniac who likes to write about pop culture (what else?), and who hates Jews.

Hey Tablet editors, you’ve had Norman Finkelstein, now Anna Breslaw, who’s next? Let me put your future list right here: Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappe, Gil Atzmon, Shlomo Sand, Judith Butler, Neve Gordon, Richard Falk.

d.hochhauser says:

There’s little point in engaging with a repulsive writer whose only motivation is to to seek offence. Comments relating to Holocaust survivors such as
‘Since I was 12 I’ve had an unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the extreme will to live. My father’s parents were Holocaust survivors, and in grade school I received the de rigueur exposure to the horror’
and
‘But the more information I received, the less sympathy the survivors elicited from me’
need not be answered. The important issue is not to argue against the opinion of this attention-seeking mediocrity but why the Tablet chose to publish them. That is the real scandal of this piece.

I agree with most of the critics of this appalling article, but I’m surprised no one has mentioned how poorly written it is. Take the first sentence. Why “unappealing”? “Didactic”: the word is clearly misused. “Distrust of people with the extreme will to live”? That would include nearly everybody. The piece is lame in thought and lame in expression.

    mouskatel says:

    How about this zinger from her response down below: give people the wont to pause. ????? All of her writing is like screechy chalk on a blackboard. Just wrong.

    neils60 says:

    I believe that most individuals were so disgusted with the article’s contents, that most overlooked that it was so poorly written. Perhaps, it’s equivalent to a grade eight (8) student’s work in a non-college bound English class.

RonL says:

A hussy who writes for Jezebel hates Holocaust survivors.
Self-hating b—-

    daized79 says:

    Jezebel also committed mass murder of Jews. Perhaps the author approves of mass murderers (of Jews) generally.

I see that everyone is angry but wasn’t a lot of this tongue and cheek – inotherwords comedy.

The Terry Schiavo part sure seems like a joke to me.

EvanMax says:

This is some weird strain of survivor’s guilt. Anna, I recommend that you seek help for dealign with these feelings.

Why would Tablet publish this? The author needs therapy, not a readership.

what a heinous, disturbed viewpoint. Unworthy of publication.

What swill. The author insults people fighting cancer, Holocaust survivors, and Breaking Bad.

    she didn’t even really explore the mother of the show and her careerist goals that lead her to be a slut… ooooh… wait till she thinks that one over

I was unaware that Holocaust survivors themselves became Nazis and murdered 6 million people. If I only knew the secret history that Ms. Breslaw alone has discovered. But something tells me it only exists inside her head and that she is at war with her own identity. She seems to feel as though she should feel guilty for existing. Well, it is true that it’s only because her grandparents survived that she exists, you know. But perhaps I’m being too harsh. Surely we should be able to consider her unique insights and perspective? For example, the gall of her grandfather not wanting to be put down like a dog if he became incapacitated! Does he realize what kind of inconvenience he would be causing people like the special Ms. Breslaw – who has important things to do with her time? You know, things like write sophisticated drivel comparing some fictional cable TV anti-hero to many thousands of real people who she’s never met. People who could tell us more about life, in their sleep, than she can when she’s fully awake. No matter. Being thus blessed with ignorance and arrogance, she can besmirch their names anyway. Hey, it’s an easy way to sell copy and get a reaction. (Especially since she seems to have had a hard enough time writing anything of much length.) And maybe she’ll make a name for herself as “provocative.” PLUS she can even lecture us on morality while doing it! Cool, huh? Yup, she’s definitely a deep thinker, all right. So I’m sure she would never give in to creating any crass stereotypes or hideous generalizations. Still, I was not aware before now that unrepentant mass murderers and torturers SHOULD be forgiven and that’s it’s such a terrible thing if they’re not. But that’s just me. I’m probably simple-minded.

    did you expect any different from a feminist?

      sg77 says:

      OK, I am a feminist and I’m offended by this article and also by your ugly comment.

        Whatever, everything offends a feminist.

          I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that misogynistic slapfights are a little beyond the scope of this article (which is easily the worst thing I’ve ever read on this site, worse than that creepy guy writing about how he met Natalie Portman one time)

          I concur with @facebook-563047582:disqus

          “misogynistic slapfights are a little beyond the scope of this article”

          we have a person whose world view is about one sided victimization who is skeptical about victims.

          thinking is beyond the scope of insanity. we are giving the author here way too much credit and time with our comments

          the other Bob says:

          Not really. Just stupid misogynistic comments from ignorant little boys like you.

          like to see you say that to her face, psychopathic coward?

          No, everything does not offend a feminist, but men like you who are offended by feminists reveal only their own profound insecurity in their own masculine identities. Shame on you!

        resolving women’s issues with feminism is like resolving race issues with racism …and now resolving the Holocaust and Cancer by blaming the victim apparently. There is a reason that the majority of academic feminists now consider themselves “Post-Feminist”. There is a segment of the population who still enjoys the finger pointing of the movement, but the vast majority of responsible human beings do not want to be associated. I’m related to the feminist Emma Lazarus who wrote the poem on the statue of Liberty. I am more then certain that if she saw what had become of her movement she would of been aghast. It’s disgusting.

      tdpwells says:

      Or someone who dressed up as Anne Frank for Halloween in 2010.

      SeriousPlay says:

      way to bring the ignorance, noah.

      the other Bob says:

      You’re almost as sickly twisted as she is. You should be ashamed of yourself. But, one needs a conscience and sense of right & wrong to feel shame for stupid hateful behavior/commentary. Apparently, you’re blissfully free of such human qualities that seperate human beings from bigots & sociopaths.

      you think that if you insult her, you’ll wake up with a bigger one tomorrow? Dream on, coward.

    Mad that people actually dont buy into an incident in history that is becoming more to be a lie evey day? or the fact that you cant use it to gain more from it?

Anna must be estranged from a lot of people, not just her father. Her discussion of Holocaust survivors is incredibly revolting and deranged. I could not really think about “Breaking Bad” after reading this post – only that Anna needs much therapy.

Mark Rothman says:

I have no opprobrium to add that has not already been said. I do want to thank all the thoughtful readers who nailed this article for what it is decently and accurately. You have proven my hope that in the free market place of ideas truth and right will win out.

Mark A. Rothman
Executive Director
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
http://www.lamoth.org @Mark_at_LAMOTH

    If you have nothing to add, why the fuck are you wasting precious internet bits with rambling bullshit?

    Praelium says:

    I support LA Museum of the Holocaust near LACMA. It is sad that Ms. Breslaw wonders if anyone “alerted Hitler” of a slim possibility while ignoring the huge possibility of Europe’s corruption. Sheesh. And Mr. MacAllen is rude to use foul language in a public setting. Here’s a prayer for Mr. MacAllen: “Sancta Maria Magdalena, ora pro nobis, nunc. Amen.”

this is both insane and crappy.

Extremely offensive article from a woman without empathy. No more to be said.

Im_Rick_James says:

Wow

Chris Ar says:

Whoever greenlighted this for publication should be fired. It’s beyond offensive. It’s ignorant.

    and sophomoric. Reads like a high-school English paper authored by an
    upper-West side, over-analyzed, perpetually dramatic teen.

      Jack Rice says:

      Yes! I was thinking the same thing. This is a precocious sixteen-year-old holding forth on things she has no competence judge Which would be forgivable in a child, but reprehensible in a nominal adult. And yes, that this was “greenlighted” says as much about Tablet as the author.

      It’s rich that she speaks of the Soprano’s normalized violence, since, as a product of provincial, self-referential, neurotic, dystopian Brooklyn, New York, she seems to believe, as apparently does Tablet, that her sophomoric world view amounts to wisdom.

      How can distrust be didactic? Does Ms. Breslaw intend to do to the English Language what Hitler failed to do to the Jews

        Targa3141 says:

        Thankfully, he failed. Unfortunately, she has succeeded.
        This is very poorly written anti-Semitism. A new nadir has been reached, both morally and grammatically.

          Anti-semetism because it actually questions something that have been mostly lies? Hurry cover the truth ! Its offensive !!

          Another idiot…. don’t worry you and yours will always clean my house, fix my car, and unplug my sink. Leave the debating to those that know how to argue relevant points. John my friend, go back to work …. you don’t want to be docked an hour off your paycheck

          Don’t worry John you and yours will always clean my house,
          fix my car, and unplug my sink. Leave the debating to those that know
          how to argue relevant points and make arguments based on fact not emotion and fiction. John my friend, go back to work …. you
          don’t want to be docked an hour off your paycheck. How will you afford your fast food and beer this weekend. STFU bigot

    So is your lack of knowledge….

Who in the hell is this Anna Breslaw and what exactly makes her mental vomit worthy of publication? Somebody please feed her a prozac but don’t give her a venue to spew this excrement.

spacecoastconservative says:

She seeems incapable of telling the difference between a scripted character and reality. The Holocaust was reality; this stupid television show is NOT. Television shows never justify reality. The distrust she feels of Holocaust survivors is her mental problem, not justified by a television show.
Warped.

Ms Breslaw, the only time you will get it is when you ring the nurse’s bell for a bedpan and no one comes to your aid. Sometimes the human gene skips a generation and we are left with horrid people like you. The most proudest I ever was of my children was when they help care for their bedbound grandmother for 3 years without one bit of complaint. They were teenagers at the time. I am glad they never had you for a friend as your selfish narcissism may have rubbed off on them. Your heart is two sizes two small.

PurpAv says:

Woman, seek professional help, FAST.

daized79 says:

I can’t imagine the pain of having a child or grandchild like this. I can’t imagine there is anything her father or grandparents did to deserve this brat of an offspring (well I guess I can imagine, but she would doubtless have mentioned that). That she is named after a woman who gave everything to have a son only deepens the pain.

Dave4321 says:


I wondered if anyone had alerted Hitler that in the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse(because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking.”

How could something like this be published. Anna Breslaw needs to crawl back under the rock she came from.

Anna Breslaw, you have written a traitorous piece of anti-Semitic trash. I can’t believe they publish your hallucinations!

sg77 says:

OMG why did you publish this tripe?

    kathryn marusich says:

    Because they agree with it.

    It’s just more nuanced if they can get a young Jewish girl to say it for them–that way they can wash their hands of it.

    This girl probably wouldn’t get “published” any other way.

    She’s a sellout getting paid to soil her family and her heritage.

    I

tdpwells says:

This is so grossly offensive that I hardly no where to begin, so I’m just going to walk away and restore my faith in humanity.

The author’s narcissism has no bounds. Her “skepticism” of Holocaust survivors? Wow, so counter-intuitive, edgy and outside the box!

“Walt and Breaking Bad express one of our most inherent psychological fallacies: the ability to do any number of consciously reprehensible things while persisting in considering ourselves the protagonist at all times. From world wars to breaking hearts, we cling to the destruction done to us in the past as a justification for the destruction we will cause in the future.”

What a repulsive essay.

The thing about Holocaust survivors – the many I know, anyway, starting with my grandparents – is that they are real people with all different kinds of personalities, and went into the war as such. These informed their methods of survival (in cases where there was any choice in the matter), how they dealt with the trauma afterwards (or didn’t), how they engaged future generations with what they went through (or didn’t), and what tragedy demands of us (or entitles us to)…etc. It appears that the writer comes from the exact opposite kind of people that I come from. She had the bad luck of getting the trauma passed down without any sense of meaning, heritage, or triumph attached. Or at least that’s what it sounds like here. I know it’s hip to eviscerate meaning and attach pop culture analysis in its place. But sometimes that practice – of replacing spirit with wit – is just an intoxicating cocktail with which to gain cheap profit, pander to the LCD, and get high on one’s own crackling neurons. Like meth. And it also stinks.

Hey Anna, pray I never find your address… if you libs care for such things.

I hope that your grandparents never read the anti-Semitic, evil things you have said about them. “…only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking. My grandparents were not excluded from this suspicion.”
You believe that today’s Jews are all descendants of Judenscheisse?
You ridicule your father for not wanting to be euthanized?
You sound like a very twisted person. You are disgraceful.

    daized79 says:

    Only descendants of Holocaust survivors are Judenscheisse. So I’m good since none of my family are survivors. Woo-hoo! I’m the Judenshizzle!

    Daniel Barron says:

    There are a few examples of Judenscheisse. Anna Breslaw is certainly at the forefront.

    Pamela says:

    My father died from a botched biopsy after he lost so much blood internally within 12 hours he was brain dead. My brothers had to make that decision to pull the plug on my father. If I’d been present I would have cried for even two more days to spend with my dad. That was twelve years ago already and it still makes me cry.

Doc_Samson says:

Sociopathic…

Dookie LaFlair says:

Excellent troll 10/10.

I don’t know who the author is, but as long as she slings ugly stereotypes of Jews, I’ll assume that she is Jewish and I’ll thus stereotype her as a self-hating, self-loathing non-practicing Jew who doesn’t believe in G-d or any aspect of Jewish theology and who substitutes superficial intellectual output and social justice for practice and belief in Judaism.

Major_Bong says:

If there were a Nobel Prize in antisemitism, you would give a million skinheads an aneurysm. Like that’s just ONE MORE THING you’re better at rrrrrrRRR *pop*

Ha ha, way to jump right up your own posterior, madam. Your “degree” has obviously served you well. But seriously, learn something about microprocessor design or aerospace science and nuclear physics.

Israel is important to ALL civilized MEN.

kathryn marusich says:

The only reason you get paid is because your editors agree with you–they just really can’t say it–so you conveniently say it for them.

You get paid to soil your heritage.

“Cheap” work if you can get it.

The thing about Holocaust survivors – the many I know, anyway, starting with my grandparents – is that they are real people with all different kinds of personalities, and went into the war as such. These informed their methods of survival (in cases where there was any choice in the matter), how they dealt with the trauma afterwards (or didn’t), how they engaged future generations with what they went through (or didn’t), and what tragedy demands of us (or entitles us to)…etc. It appears that the writer comes from the exact opposite kind of people that I come from. She had the bad luck of getting the trauma passed down without any sense of meaning attached. I know it’s hip to eviscerate meaning and attach pop culture analysis in its place. But sometimes that practice – of replacing spirit with wit – is just an intoxicating cocktail with which to gain cheap profit, pander to the LCD, and get high. Like meth. And it also stinks.

soniccharmer says:

In addition to everything else, might I just point out that the analysis of Breaking Bad here is bizarrely skewed and one-dimensional?

Walter White’s bitterness/resentment/sociopathy doesn’t stem from the single fight-for-life decision to undergo humiliating cancer treatments, it traces to his entire (pre-cancer) life situation, involving countless little humiliations and instances of bad-luck that are familiar to anyone who watched seasons 1-2. The career failure and missing out on the biotech success of his friends; the son stricken with cerebral palsy; the second job…the cancer is just the ‘last straw’, and he ‘breaks bad’ not after undergoing cancer treatment or because of the decision to do so, but so that he can pay for it in a way that preserves his (warped sense of) pride, independence, and breadwinning.

It does seem that this misunderstanding of Breaking Bad mirrors that of Holocaust victims though, so in a way the show still an apt metaphor for the same underlying muddled thinking, I guess.

Burn_the_Witch says:

Web traffic whoring and liberal Jewish self-loathing. There’s a winning combination.

    Makabit says:

    Not sure I can find much that’s liberal about this. Liberals are generally not that into trashing people who’ve been targeted by violent racists. It’s one of our better qualities.

      rulierose says:

      but–you have to admit that liberal Jews are far more likely to be self-hating Jews than are conservative ones. I think that was, perhaps, the point. compare Tikkun and Commentary, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Makabit says:

    But strike that word, and I couldn’t agree more.

Anne Frank’s whole family died–except her father. I guess he was the evil one in that family.

Also, I’m sure many people have pointed this out, but it can’t be said too often that in real life, most meth cooks don’t turn out to be cancer-stricken high school chemistry teachers.

suecredeur says:

That’s the stupidest thing I ever read.

gekkobear says:

Good, I feel the same way about Gabrielle Giffords; why didn’t she DIE when she was shot, how DARE SHE live and inflict the smug liberal condescension on us… SHE SHOULD BE DEAD… right?

Or do only you get to call for the death of people who survived a horrible ordeal?

And no, I don’t feel the same way… I’m impressed with Ms. Giffords’ will to survive and wish her the best.. but the shock you felt when I called for the death of a liberal politician who you love and respect who lived; that is what your article did to everyone reading it.

Offensive doesn’t even begin to cover the idiocy you have on display here; and I hope it follows you long enough for you to grow up and realize the disgust most people feel reading this.

Or maybe I should hope you die the first time something comes close to killing you… but that seems overly harsh doesn’t it? … Yes? then why do you feel comfortable wishing death on others for your comfort?

I can’t imagine why you believe this drivel is worthy of publication. A student publication would have higher standards.

What would be your reaction to an article saying that “rape victims must have done something to deserve it. What aren’t they telling us?” That is precisely what you’ve published while targeting a different, less PC, and therefore not untouchable, group.

Ms. Breslaw should be ashamed of herself and should seek therapy for her self-hate, and Tablet should be more ashamed for allowing her a forum.

I think the next time I’m talking to a survivor I’ll tell them about this “edgy” “brave” blogger who had the guts, the real inner strength to sit in front of a computer and type out how awful survivors are and dress up as Anne Frank for Halloween and write about it to promote herself. Can’t you see? When she denigrates people who experienced Holocaust it’s insightful, the rest of us are just too shallow to understand what *really* had to happen for someone to survive the Holocaust. /sarcasm

Gordon says:

Ms. Breslaw is either deeply wounded or is trying to produce something for shock value. Either way, I feel sorry for her. To the folks at Tablet; if you published this to produce traffic. It worked – once. I will never be back.

    Trish94903 says:

    Ditto on the I will never be back. Tablet, you’ve gained some quick traffic and lost your integrity, which means I will read elsewhere, but never here again.

A disturbed person (and bad writer) let us know what she carries inside. Maybe some therapist could help her? Obviously she is in pain.
BUT The Tablet should NOT try to get traffic in this way.
This is the second time recently The Tablet publishes less than perfect writing, both in content and form (previous article was around Dieudonné).

CygnusA81 says:

Who’s next on your disgusting Jewish-antisemitism list, Gilad Atzmon? How low can you go?

‘A new read on Jewish life,’ my a$$. If this is the ‘new’ read on Jewish life, and Judaism, then Jewish culture is dead.

Who decided that this was worthy of publication here? This is offensive provocation disguised as thoughtful pondering. While I would never say that Ms. Breslaw had no right to write these words, I wonder at the judgement of the people who would willingly give her a platform.

Michael Stora says:

I’m not Jewish but my wife happened to be. She also survived Stage 4 adenocarcinoma for more than 4 years and to this day I cherish every extra day. I’m not sure what is more wrong the the author, here world view or her seeming unawareness of it would be received.

The most disgusting thing said here is in the comments when that one person called Breaking Bad a stupid TV show.

Dan_Daoust says:

Everything that needs to be said about Anna Breslaw has been said repeatedly by now. The only question left is why Tablet should exist past today.

SeriousPlay says:

Wow, nothing like some old fashioned blind hatred of jews to bring the pageviews, huh Tabletmag?

I can’t think of any other reason they would choose to publish something this hateful.

Tom Simon says:

Other commenters have suggested that the editors of TABLET commissioned and published this venomous spew in a pathetic attempt to troll for hits and stir up controversy from which they could profit. I speak only for myself, but I cannot imagine I am the only person who could truthfully say this: I never heard of TABLET before today, and after seeing this appalling example of its utter lack of journalistic standards, concern for truth, or even minimal common decency, I shall not visit this site again. You have turned someone who happened not to have read TABLET yet into someone who never will read it.

Ms. Breslaw can answer for her own toxic combination of ignorance, narcissism, and incapacity for empathy. The editors and publishers of TABLET have something far graver to answer for; and I hope they will answer for it in the most appropriate way possible — by losing their business and their reputation, and that promptly. To those editors and publishers, in case any happen to read this, I say: May G-d have mercy on your souls; which is as much as to say, may the troubles you are so assiduously courting come upon you, and may G-d turn them to good purpose as a way of testing and refining your souls so that they become more fit to receive that mercy.

The main reason I’m here is because of a link on Twitter that mentioned Breaking Bad. But WOW, what a crock of garbage this article was, starting with the headline. Walter White’s situation “justifies” your skepticism of Holocaust survivors? What in the Stuttering Blue F*ck does one thing have to do with the other? This is the kind of pointlessly deconstructive drivel that could only come from an unbearably smug writer trying to link her own lack of empathy with a current pop culture Hot Topic in a desperate bid for attention and relevancy. Not being Jewish myself I’ll refrain from addressing the
issue of self loathing and just say you haven’t done anyone any favors with this myopic wankfest that succeeds neither as social commentary nor as a TV review.

    daized79 says:

    Okay, i know this inapproopriate, but can I quote that Stuittering Blue line? Love it.

      Go for it. I honestly can’t remember if I came up with it on my own or appropriated it from somewhere else.

      rulierose says:

      that’s too funny, I was about to write and ask the same thing. that’s a fab-tastic line and I am definitely stealing it!

    With the benefit of a few minutes hindsight I can see how there’s a point to be made about empathy fading over successive generations as Tragedy becomes History. How growing up someone might become resentful, being told they have to bear the suffering of events that didn’t happen to them personally. But the baffling attempt to tie real life genocide to unrelated fictional events of a much smaller scale can’t help but make attempts at analysis seem glib and trivial. As a non-Jew the stuff about judenscheisse was uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how it would feel to be Jewish and read that.

I already commented on this piece a couple of days ago, but on further consideration I hold the TABLET editors more responsible for this embarrassment than Breslaw. There was the kernel in this piece of an original, perhaps painful, but worthwhile confrontation with these dangerous subject matters, but the editors failed in their responsibility to protect their magazine, its readership, and the author herself from her immaturity.

    daized79 says:

    Your right — I have been in conversation with someone below (who is 21 and younger than Ms. Breslaw), and he has been trying to parse out the interesting points she might have had had she written something less offensive and more nuanced. It is ultimately an editorial problem as well. But she isn’t as young as you might think.

this is a great article really enjoyed reading, I think it outlines a lot of truths and highlights areas that are all too easily overlooked. Well done Anna keep up the good work

    CygnusA81 says:

    Great work Tablet, now the gentile anti-Semites are crawling out of the sewers.

      Lots of us gentiles “crawled out of the sewers” to criticize this article, too. Be nice…lol.

      This is beyond offensive writing. Beyond that, it is just awful writing. The first sentence is nonsensical. She turns the phrase “a unappealing, didactic distrust.” She clearly has no idea what the word didactic means. More importantly, she compares every survivor of the holocaust to an antihero on a television series. Then, in comments she blames her poor writing her critical thinking classes in college, apparently. I’m sure her professors want no part of the credit for these piece of work.

By far the most offensive part of this article is where the author mistakenly credits the “I am the one who knocks” quote as season 3 when it’s ACTUALLY FROM SEASON 4

    rulierose says:

    this one made me chuckle. thanks for lightening the mood a little; I needed it.

blogagog says:

I always wondered what a truly terrible person might sound like. Now I know.

Brandon Refter says:

Editors — If you are going to publish a morally reprehensible article, at least pick one that is coherent.

i guess we’ll all ignore her valid point and just thrash about.

To the editors of Tablet Magazine:

I really, really hope to discover that Ms. Breslaw penned her piece “Breaking Bad Karma” as a parody of some well-known article. Then I’d bang my head against the wall out of frustration for missing such an obvious allusion. At least, in that case, it would be the head-to-wall contact—and not Ms. Breslaw’s words—giving me the throbbing headache I’m experiencing right now.

Otherwise, I feel sorry for Ms. Breslaw. I feel sorry that her education in Holocaust studies failed her. I feel sorry that “the old Hungarian lady who spoke about Dachau” didn’t evoke tears. I feel sorry that her relationship with her father turned sour. I feel sorry that her mind contains such a sadistic, perverted, twisted, perverse, depraved, repugnant, evil thought, the “[wonder] if anyone had alerted Hitler that in the event that the final solution didn’t pan out, only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse (because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking.” I feel sorry that Ms. Breslaw’s moral compass was too weak to crush this thought, too cowardly to obstruct its path from mind to keyboard.

But I don’t feel sorry for the Tablet Magazine, a publication I used to respect and enjoy. A magazine that gave a voice to this revolting piece, that lends its “Like this article?” plug to the bottom of this article.

Like this article?
Like this article?

Would you ask that to a survivor’s face, a survivor who watched the bullet pierce his father’s skin, the body of his mother wither away, the blood of his sister splatter on the already-reddened snow? The survivor who had pleaded with the Nazi officer to be killed instead, who promised to do anything just to end the horrific curse of life?

I am a strong supporter of free speech, and, in cases of inflammatory rhetoric, I always prefer to err on the side of too much liberty than censorship. I support Ms. Breslaw’s right to produce such vomit, and to regurgitate it as many times as she sees fit.

My trust of the general public and media allow me to support such a liberal stance on free speech—I trust them to air fair statements and to denounce abhorrent ones. Today, my trust was broken by Tablet Magazine.

I hope your decision to publish Ms. Breslaw’s article was an oversight, and not evidence of a policy to publish such garbage just because truly disgusting content drives attention and “clicks.”

This article was not only an affront to Holocaust survivors, but to all victims and survivors of tragedy and human cruelty. An affront to the Jewish People and the entire world.

And this mockery of Jewish life finds itself a home in a magazine that presents itself as a “new read on Jewish Life”?

You don’t have to go down this path.
Please, please hold on to your integrity.
Please remove the article and post an apology.
Please. My head hurts.

Respectfully yours,

Joshua Stadlan

    Naphtali says:

    Well what do you expect with a magazine that aligns itself with the reconstruction movement. Why should we get get so upset about this article when we can express any and everything we want without the nessessity that anything remains to answer for.

      Naphtali, I like Reconstructionist Judaism, a vibrant branch of Judaism that has NOTHING in common with Anna Breslaw’s anti-Semitic self hatred. Shame on you!

Daniel Barron says:

Anna Breslaw is a vile and disgusting piece of ugly merde. Anyone who published this deserves to be condemned. Tablet is no different than StormFront or David Duke. Except the latter are at least honest about their hatred.

Daniel Barron says:

To respond to this article with decency would be the equivalent of a rape victim apologizing to her attacker for not being receptive enough. The publishers of this racist hate-speech drivel deserve nothing but scorn.

HealthyAmerican says:

The appalling lack of intelligence combined with the almost deliberately wrong assessment of ‘Breaking Bad’ is astonishing only in the light that someone actually chose to publish this horribly written and badly expressed article. Others have dealt with the idiotic antisemitism that is the purpose of the article, I will merely point out where Ms. Breslaw gets ‘Breaking Bad so completely and utterly wrong.

I’ll limit my points to just two, though there are many more.

1) Ms. Breslaw writes: ” All [Walt from Breaking Bad] has is indignation at the memory of
his illness and the determination to flip the script: He suffered, now
others will suffer.”

Um…no…not even close. What floors me is how the actual plot points from ‘Breaking Bad’ have been deliberately twisted to fit Ms Breslaw’s obviously raging bigotry. Walt is not out for revenge or some sort of “pay-it-forward” retaliation for the fact that he has cancer. He is desperate to leave his family in a comfortable position once he passes on. The choice borne of desperation leads to Walt getting in even deeper and deeper holes, some of which he is unable to dig himself out of.

2) Breslaw misses another salient point: ” it is surprising how infrequently the main
character’s cancer is referenced anymore, probably because Walt’s
disease has gone so far beyond its first-season gimmick that it feels
irrelevant.”

Again…Walt believed he was going to die. Then his cancer went into remission. Recall the episode where his doctor informs him that somehow – against all odds – his cancer is retreating. Walt pretends to be happy, but goes into a men’s room alone and bangs his fist against a paper towel dispenser in anger and frustration. Walt is now likely going to live, but he’s buried deep in his criminal activities…so deep he cannot extricate himself from them. This is where the show has progressed and it is a major point that Breslaw either deliberately misses or again twists to suit her bigoted rant.

Ms. Breslaw has some seriously deep-seeded prejudice that needs to be worked out – possibly through therapy – and certainly has some perception issues that would also stand to be tweaked. I’m not the least bit surprised she is estranged from her father (especially considering her implication that she’s angry with him because he wants to live and she doesn’t want to bear his potential burden.)

The last line of the article says the Ms. Breslaw is a “writer” living in Brooklyn. I’m more of the opinion that she is a fool, living in her own reality.

DoomsdayPicnic says:

Great piece. Remind me to share my thoughts about that episode of ‘Tenspeed and Brown Shoe’ that totally justifies how I think rape victims should just shut their crying fucking mouths.

rmill2k says:

Actually, I think Anne has it wrong. It’s not her grandparents that are ‘judenscheisse’, believe me. Of course someone getting her kicks dressing as Anne Frank for Halloween couldn’t be expected to understand that in the least.

I can’t imagine why Tablet printed this, or what they were thinking. How soon we forget…

I hope the author gets some serious therapy, or at least, stops referring to herself as ‘Jewish’.

midwest norwegian says:

The writer fits the definition of a psychopath.

Oh dear. Poor silly woman. I was outraged when I read the article; heartened when I read the comments (some, there are too many to read them all); & chuckling after about 20 comments … that most people’s ‘common sense & decency’-o-meter works so well is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

JRapp says:

I can’t say that this is the vilest piece of Anti-Semitism ever
posted in an Internet awash with such filth, but it’s surely the biggest blast
of Jew hatred ever published by Tablet, or any other nominally “Jewish” publication. Tablet should be ashamed of itself and the editors
need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves where they went
wrong because this pierce goes beyond the
normally factitious Jewish dialogue to outright loathing of the Jewish self and
people.

Poor anna. Like Jon Leibowitz, forced to go through life a wretched jew with their only comfort being that they can slander their people without being exposed to charges of antisemitism. The girl writes for Jezebel; this should tell you all you need to know.

poppycoppymcgee says:

So this woman bears her soul and discloses that she is skeptical of people who flaunt or allow others to flaunt their victim status and the collective internet steps in to tell her its “offensive”?

No, that’s not offensive. What’s offensive is that the word “holocaust” followed by anything but the standard script immediately causes everyone’s brain to shutdown. If you can’t engage critically with what the author wants to discuss, shut up. No one is impressed that you can show the most moral outrage.

ssilverstein says:

“Since I was 12 I’ve had an unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the extreme will to live.”
I feel sad that a suuposedly respectable publication would allow a disturbed person to humiliate themselves by publishing a rant as perverse as this.

Why is this trash still online, let alone on Tablet’s homepage?

    Naphtali says:

    Look at the amount of comments it is generating. Isn’t that what counts. Who cares what the article is about. It is hardly understandable in anycase. Either that or a simply mind like mine can’t comprehend what the Stuttering Blue F*ck it is talking about. (did I use that expression correctly)

Larry says:

If it wasn’t bad enough to depict the survivors as transgressors but then to compare it to a fictional TV series is beyond explanation.
I would be interested in her thoughts on Prof. Lipstadt’s article, “Jewish Blood is Cheap”—-who knows, maybe she could juxtapose that story into some other fictional TV series.
Shame on the Tablet!!!!! You probably got what you wanted–publicity—but at what expense?

Craig Wendelbaum says:

I find it hilarious and sad how none of those who commented realized this is not a serious article, but sophisticated trolling. I guess jewish people really aren’t as smart as they always purport. That and the ‘outraged’ gentiles trying to score points. Wow.

    I clicked on a link on Twitter that mentioned Breaking Bad and saw this article. I had a negative reaction which I attempted to articulate in the comments section. I am not a scholar or professional critic, I am willing to admit that my opinion on this matter may not be particularly well informed or insightful. But it was an honest reaction. Attempting to dismiss me and others like me as ” ‘outraged’ gentiles trying to score points” is just snarky, reductive, small minded bullshit. It’s akin to the behavior of sexist assholes who harass women for daring to have an opinion online. They try to paint any man who speaks out in support of that woman as a “White Knight” who comes to the aid of Damsels In Distress cause he wants to screw them. Who exactly do you think I’m trying to score points with anyway? A bunch of strangers on a website I’ve never been to before? That in all honesty I’ll probably never read again after my interest in this discussion dies out? I’m so sorry for daring to have an opinion that differs from yours. Clearly there’s no way I, nor anyone like me, could actually mean what we’re saying. How could anyone who’s not Jewish POSSIBLY be offended by an article that implies Holocaust survivors are weaselly “Shit Jews” who only survived by being conniving villains, without having an ulterior motive? By the way, even if you’re right and this whole thing is just an example of “Sophisticated Trolling”? An unsophisticated troll is just an asshole being honestly ignorant. A sophisticated troll is a smug asshole too sure of their own intelligence, who acts in a disingenuous, cynical, and dickish manner because it amuses them and helps feed their ego.

      Thank you Ms.Gaudette,
      My reaction to that smug, asshole is the same. Some how Craig believes that he alone has his finger on the pulse of this “sophisticated lady” and her revelations which unfortunately are as deep and murky as a kiddy pool after the dog has had his way with it. In stating that gentiles who comment here are trying to score points, is nothing more than hostile cynicism. It appears that Craig is attached to the proposition that Anna’s point of view has some mystical undercurrent that could, maybe, some how, if we try hard enough, ring true and redeem her. He wants to be the devil’s advocate. Well, Ms. Breslaw, as I mentioned before sounds “possessed,” nothing a good exorcist can’t fix. Mr. Craig would do us all a favor by donating his brain to science as a new and never used organ.

    Dave4321 says:

    So do you think the publisher and editors of the Tablet are trolling their own website? Because they had to agree to publish this mess.

Beatrix17 says:

Of course some Holocaust survivors lucked out and others
sold out. Welcome to the real world.

It’s interesting that the author relies so much on TV
shows and other people’s experiences in discussing suffering. I get
the impression that Breslaw has had a pretty secure passage so far
and fears her own response when facing evil and sickness. She’s not
talking about the ugliness of suffering, but how ugly suffering makes
people. It’s worse than being seen without your makeup. Ick! And
what right do people who come from abuse and poverty have to make
things hard for her?

The only purpose of forgiveness is to remove yourself
from allowing others to cause you suffering. You forgive them to get
free of them. It has nothing to do with goodness or G-d. I think
G-d has his own plans.

THis vulgar piece is so beneath the usual abysmal standards kept by the Tablet..it really is in a (contemptible)class all by itself in a long list of contemptible articles by the Tablet. I’d say teh lucky one here is Ms. Breslaw’s estranged father (no doubt her choice)- he doesn’t avhe to see or speak to this self-hating person who detests him for his principles and practices.

Hilariously bad–even funnier that the editors are so smitten with the smug, self-aware offensiveness of this piece that they failed to note how poorly written this is. I suppose reaching a new low is an achievement of sorts. Congratulations.

Allan Clare says:

Chris Ar deserves repetition:

‘Whoever greenlighted this for publication should be fired. It’s beyond offensive. It’s ignorant.’

Do you need me to repeat it again?

ATC, Bristol, UK.

God you are sick! What a complete piece of anti-Semitic trash that certainly should never have seen the light of day. Absolute garbage!

portle44 says:

This author’s principal connection to the Holocaust is not her grandparents but her obvious sorrow that she was unable to be a Kapo.Degenerates worry about such things.

Doug Santo says:

This is vile anti-semitism. Hard to believe it was published.
“Each time we clapped for the old Hungarian lady who spoke about Dachau, each time Elie Wiesel threw another anonymous anecdote of betrayal onto a page, I eyed it askance, thinking What did you do that you’re not talking about? I had the gut instinct that these were villains masquerading as victims who, solely by virtue of surviving (very likely by any means necessary), felt that they had earned the right to be heroes, their basic, animal self-interest dressed up with glorified phrases like ‘triumph of the human spirit.’”
These crackpot sentences say all one needs to know about this article. Disgusting.
Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

Gypsy Boots says:

Shame on you, Tablet, for publishing this. No excuse.

What a terrible, profane article.

I see the “author” and I use that word lightly here, writes for “Jezebel”. How appropriate!

I was shocked by the German term that was used. Probably because I grew up speaking German. It is so vulgar and demeaning. How could any publication allow it? Of course, we all have mixed feelings about tragic events in our families. As people whose families were treated inhumanly we sometimes wish we had come from circumstances that were more normal. Some seek to distance and insulate themselves by castigating their family members who suffered the brutality. That shows a lack of humanity and a lack of basic decency.

The people who suffered under the Nazi genocide were human beings just like us. Few survived. All, the dead and the survivors, deserve the greatest kindness in thought and deed that we can give to another person. Someday, if she is fortunate, Anna Breslaw will be mortified as she realizes the outrage she committed with her awful, cavalierly-delivered words. Then she can find a way to make amends.

What is most disturbing is that clearly Miss Breslaw considers herself to be a righteous, morally correct person. She’s utterly unaware of what a reprobate, monster she’s become.

Well, look on the bright side…I now have something to speak about on Yom Kippur!

Ariela says:

To the author: first, have you actually ever visited a concentration camp? I think that might clear some things up for you in regards to what Jews DID to result in the Holocaust. I feel sad for you, to be this self-hating. Btw, you do realize that you too, if you had been alive then, would have been picked off for extermination, no matter your sympathy with the Nazis. In fact, since you hate Jews so much, why don’t you try moving to Saudi Arabia, I’m sure they’ll make a special exception and let you in, and enjoy your life Judenfrei, while wearing a burka, not driving, and enjoying all the other perks there’d.

To the editors: I’m truly shocked that you would allow this extraordinarily and blatant ly anti-Semitic article to be published in your “Jewish” magazine. You should be ashamed. I hope you think about the six million Jews who were killed and feel remorse; may G-d forgive you for spreading more hate.

nglaer says:

Anna, Hang in there. This piece is nervy and funny. I wouldn’t write such a thing, as a gentile–and there are things I don’t like about it. But it’s well within the spirit of Jewish criticism and humor that has brought a lot to America. I suspect the attacks are depressing, and impossible to ignore. But don’t take them too seriously, and keep pushing the envelope–on all your subjects.

I think the disgust that I have read in all the comments here and from other web sites stems from a bit of the truth that takes away from the Jewish belief that they are the chosen people and are divine in nature,finally coming to rest even above heaven.

We are animals and we have an animal instinct to survive.It is a drive even stronger than sex.The author is correct,there is nothing heroic about survival at any costs.We as animals are expected to survive or die.We humans are nothing special among the biological species.We are supposed to be the rational animals but look at our behaviors.We are better shown as the irrational among all living things..

I enjoyed this article,.does that make me an anti-Semite?I think not.I am a realist who finds no use for philosophical thinking.Look at the turmoil most of you are experiencing.Do you think the field mouse is highly agitated because the cat is thinking about lunch?

    Ariela says:

    This has nothing to do with a Jewish belief that we are a chosen people. First, this merely means we were chosen to receive the Torah and required to live by its commandments, not that we are better than any other group. Why do you believe people survived at any cost? There was a plan to exterminate the Jewish race, and some people, very strong brave people, survived despite horrors we can’t even imagine. That is heroic.

    mouskatel says:

    Except that Jews have no such belief that we are divine in nature and above even heaven. We believe we were chosen to do God’s commandments. Try again.

Mrs. Breslow clearly intended to shock, which she has. She dislikes her relatives. As Oscar Wilde said,”relatives are people who have no idea how to live or when to die.” But the Holocaust is no laughing matter. It remains that greatest crime in the history of the human race. Those who died in the camps and those who survived are constant reminders of this. The point is not whether all those in the camps were good people. Some people ended up in the camps who were not. All Jews are not saints. But Hitler was the personification of evil and what he did must never be forgotten. Ms. Breslow’s analysis of Breaking Bad is a stretch. It in no way supports her point-that simply by surviving does not make a survivor worthy of admiration if that person is hateful in her own right. I cannot conclude that the article is anti-Semitic. It is just wrong and she needs to rethink it and apologize for offending people in the insensitive way she has. The article is simply immature, a mistake by someone trying to call attention to herself and by breaking the last taboo by making light of the Holocaust. Rwanda was also a holocaust and genocide goes on today in various parts of the world. To Elie Wiesel’s credit, he spoke out about Rwanda. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are crimes against humanity and must be seen as such. Those who survived the Holocaust may not be heroes simply because they survived. But they bear witness to what happened which must never be forgotten. Breslow’s analysis of Breaking Bad in support of her contention is totally misguided. If she is saying that suffering can make a person evil as well as good, then she is suggesting that a Holocaust survivor could become evil. But this is simply beside the point. What Hitler did was monstrous and must never be forgotten, not by the Jews, not by the Germans, not by anyone. Rwanda happened because people like Ms. Breslow stood by silent because she thought the Holocaust was no big deal.

Vivien Orbach-Smith says:

Not a “Breaking
Bad” viewer, so I found all that stuff rather opaque, but as a child of
survivors/writer on Holocaust issues, I got the rest the rest loud and clear. Folks,
don’t get too worked up about the political implications of this writer’s
bitter indictment. Because this
treatise, at its core, isn’t at all about “the political,” i.e. a scathing intellectual
deconstruction of the mythologies surrounding Holocaust survivorship (in the
eyes of Ms. Breslau and her supporters: so courageous, so taboo-busting!), one that
requires repudiation from outraged commenters crying blasphemy, self-hating Jew,
yada yada. In fact, it’s ALL about “the
personal,” with the most important word in the entire piece being “estranged.” Ms. Breslau foolishly – but c’mon, she is
awfully young, and green – equates survivorship with shitty, grasping, unlovable
and unloving people, because, as she herself acknowledges (or I’d have no right
to extrapolate), that’s the toxic dynamic she’s experienced in her own family.

I’ve witnessed this over and over, especially
in the world of radical politics: a wide spectrum of deep-seated hatreds and
extremist views, a hodge-podge of stereotyping and racism, an attraction to
fringy political thought/ movements that – when you peel away the rhetoric – that
have far less to do with carefully reasoned and researched convictions, than
with unhealed childhood wounds, unmet needs for love/attention/affection,
outright abuse or family violence. Many
years ago I got to know a group of short-fused young men who were active in the
Jewish Defense League. Regardless of one’s take on the organization or the
controversial Reb Kahane, the fact is, it was quickly apparent that most of
them possessed little geopolitical knowledge beyond the posturing and
sloganeering, and that the guys most eager to break and blow up stuff were,
without exception, the victims of serious physical abuse in their homes and
schools (mostly yeshivas, sorry to say).

Read the
fascinating story of Ingo Hasselbach (“How Nazis are Made”) – charismatic
German youth rising in the neo-Nazis ranks during 1980s, even touted as the
future “leader of the Fourth Reich,” until he jumped ship and became an
informant. Hasselbach readily acknowledges
that his extremism and hatred of Jews (he’d never actually laid eyes on one)
wasn’t born of political conviction or extensive study. He was the latchkey kid
of a single mother in a bleak section of East Berlin; a group of older
students, skinheads, happened to live in an apartment down the hall. They took
in the lonely young teen, introduced him to weed and sex, their music and their
politics. Thus a Nazi was made: extremist politics gave him the family and the
status he craved.

Some psychologists
have even wondered whether Hitler’s murderous hatred towards the Jews and other
“undesirables” might have been dulled/deflected somewhat, if only, as one wrote
(though I cannot find the source), “he’d
had a couple of strapping sons” to beat the crap out of.

Not equating Ms.
Breslau with extremists, neo-Nazis or, Lord knows, Hitler. Nor am I averse to
writing about the Holocaust that is truly courageous and taboo-busting writing
about the Holocaust. Just saying, there are times that you scratch a rage-filled,
highly politicized adult, and underneath you discover little more than a broken,
powerless child.

neurodoc001 says:

Congratulations to Anna Breslaw. It isn’t easy to distinguish yourself in the way she has with this piece, making a place for herself alongside such loathsome young Jewish women as Jennifer Peto and Judy Rebick http://www.jewishpressads.com/pageroute.do/46946/, and being praised by MJ Rosenberg.

My parents were Holocaust survivors and I grew up in a community of Holocaust survivors. I do not remember one instance of my relationship to that community that comports with any of the horrors of survivors about which she speaks. Just the opposite in fact.The divorce rate among Holocaust survivors was in the low single digits. I only knew of one instance of divorce.

So this is how a child of Holocaust survivors rebels against her parents?! Appalling.

I’m trying to understand this, and I’m concluding that this antisemitism represents the psychological distress of the second generation after Holocaust survivors, and is part of the Holocaust’s enduring damage to the Jewish people.

EvenSteven11 says:

What an ignorant sl*t this dope Breslaw is. She should read WWII history books to see how Jews really survived. Whether survivors of Auschwitz or other camps, death camps or work camps, or hiding, or living as an Aryan, or fighting as partisans, or running away to other countries. This person is just plain stupid, not shocking. Her writing career (after all, she is just writing this way to get noticed and paid, the sl*t) will likely be a non-event.

    I’m willing to bet it would never have occurred to you to cast aspersions on the sex life of a male writer who expressed the exact same opinions, so why bother to do it at all? Don’t drag the argument down to that level, that kind of thing happens all to often on the internet as it is.

Harry Kanigel says:

This is is pretentious dreck from someone who is actually stupid but who has persuaded herself that she has something insightful to say.

“When you tell someone a relative has cancer, their immediate response is never shock but often, ‘Oh, my [insert X loved one here] had cancer’ as if this knowledge is a comfort of some kind.”

What happened to the concept of grace? When did it become acceptable to generalize and criticize peoples’ responses to terrible news? Your callousness and carelessness toward everyday people reflects a serious, DEFCON 1 level of immaturity.

Mundus611 says:

I have never read this rag before, now, but at the recommendation by Commentary’s Mr. Podhoretz , whom I have often found trustworthy, I read it.
When one reads a writer, one gains insights into the mind behind the work. What is evidenced ,here, is an expository expression of a highly disturbed mind, devoid of objectivity and knowledge of elementary rules and best practices of writing. I feel badly for her grandparents and parents after all they have done to survive and enable her to live in a country which permits freedom to worship, to write, and to speak as a Jew.
This publication is not worth one’s time. Life is too short.

shimon russo says:

Obscene tripe, and not even well-written tripe. Damn, I hate having to cross publications off my reading list, but allowing this to “go to press” was beyond the pale.
I don’t watch Mel Gibson, and I’ll not be reading Tablet anymore.

Immature self-absorbed rubbish! It is poorly written, it has no purpose than to show how supremely clever and sophisticated the author thinks she is… In fact it’s just a load of juvenile musings of a self-absorbed indulged individual lacking either compassion or decency. Unsubscribing now!

    You almost perfectly described most of liberal thought: “juvenile musings of a self-absorbed indulged individual lacking either compassion or decency”

David David says:

I’m aghast at Anna’s perspective. I am also a grandchild of a survivor and harbor none of these ill or angry feelings to my relatives. I think this is more about personal daddy issues than any true meaningful dialogue. There is some opening to talk about how to remember the Holocaust but Anna is not the one qualified to lead this discussion. I did some digging and looks like she is from NYU class of 2009.

If there is not an apology for printing such a disgusting trashy hateful diatrribe I personally will unsubscribe to Tablet .

andrea brenner says:

This woman has some serious mental health issues….she is dealing with her own demons and needs psychiatric help!

Ms. Breslaw,
Knowing that you contribute to New York Magazine, certainly explains the cheap, pretentious tone of your review. Still, you really hit bottom. So low, very low. Such preposterous thoughts make no sense to me, but that is my problem. What is yours? Disrespectful, of the very people who rebuilt a community so that you can prosper and carry forward your life against all odds. Clueless, ignorant as others have stated. You scare me.I think you’re “possessed,” that’s a simple minded Catholic diagnosis. I think you need to spend the rest of your life in Catholic School. You just haven’t suffered enough or learned what Grace is.

Our Lady of Perfect Understanding

I like how you went from being anti-Semitic and denying that there was anything wrong with killing 8 million people to just talking about TV. Without making any connection between those two things. Also, you’re a moron.

AnonCritic says:

Are you serious?? This is borderline libelous crap that also has the misfortune of being terribly written. Surely, there must be a better place (e.g. therapy office) wherein Breslaw can spew her nonsense than on Tablet Magazine.

Anna Breslaw grew up in America. She never experienced Jew-hatred on her own skin. She was never called “Dirty Yid full of s–t,” she never heard “Satan sperm” or “Hitler was right” addressed directly to her, she was not stalked, beaten, spat on, urinated on, etc.

For almost 2000 years, this is what every Jew on the planet went through. Often it was worse.

The result of growing up without all that — she has grown up utter filth.

This is one of those very rare times when I feel that blatant Jew-hatred (antisemitism) would actually do good. To her, anyway.

Pamela says:

Very bad form, and a disgrace to the survivors of the Holocaust, their families, and also to all those who died at the hands of the Gestapo. This article represents an utter disregard and contempt for the memory of these people, and their families. I lost family in the Holocaust, and I owe it to them to honor their memory, and all those who died trying to save them. Anne Breslaw, you may have a degree in journalism but you are no suffragette, and you need to go back to school to study compassion and empathy. And I so disagree the survivors are not heroes. They are ALL heroes, living and dead, because they lived and died as martyrs for nothing other than being born Jewish.

YOU F__G BITCH. THE REASON THERE WERE SURVIVORS WAS AND IS BECAUSE THE WAR WAS ENDING, GERMANY LOST, AND CAMPS WERE BEING LIBERATED!!!

YOU ARE PATHETIC!!

olga

EvenSteven11 says:

What an ignorant fool this dope Breslaw is. She should read WWII history books to see how Jews really survived. Whether survivors of Auschwitz or other camps, death camps or work camps, or hiding, or living as an Aryan, or fighting as partisans, or running away to other countries. This person is just plain stupid, not shocking. Her writing career (after all, she is just writing this way to get noticed and paid, the fool) will likely be a non-event.

ONE MORE THING, BITCH: SURVIVORS NEVER FORGOT THEIR RESCUERS AND THEIR NAMES ARE IN YAD VASHEM!

o

Very poor writing at the least. The connection she is trying to make between sociopathic behavior of Breaking Bad and Holocaust survivors is empty, disgusting and sociopathic in its self. The writer has lots of “issues.” Hates her parents and her grandparents? Fine. I recommend a good psychiatrist and an apology to the many you have offended and to the many (including myself) who have wasted two precious minutes of valuable time to read this piece of crap. Tablet magazine, really??

One of the worst things I’ve ever read.

CranberryDreams says:

Anna, maybe you didn’t realize because you are too young and have experienced nothing about life (no real love and no real pain) and certainly nothing about being a Jew other than maybe some pastrami sandwiches growing up sheltered in Princeton, and you were too busy holding contempt for our dear elders that survived these atrocities to hear and understand their life experiences, too impressionable by pop culture hashtags instead of the human experience, or maybe too busy guzzling PBRs in Williamsburg and penning mindless glamour.com pieces on how to have one night stands with boys and other quasi-feminist garbage that doesn’t produce anything of value nor help anyone. But, this Holocaust thing that seems to bore you and makes you perversely hate the victims and ridicule their stories and memories? You know, the Holocaust thing were men, women, children, and babies were raped, killed, burned, that thing… whole villages murdered… no, not the lovely preppy town of Princeton, NJ but towns called Kolomea, Warsaw, and the like … you know, towns like where your grandparents are from whom you disgrace publically in your own article. This old story that you vapidly compare to a tv series… IT ISN’T OVER – there are still people that need to pay – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-19/worlds-most-wanted-nazi-arrested-in-hungary/4140540

Maybe you are proof that the lessons have not been taught fully and there is more work/education to be done, that your empty heart is an example of how screwed up your generation of young Jews are. Or maybe you just have serious problems and needed to vent to the whole world why you hate your parents and would rather not be a Jew. You know that empty feeling you have about all of this, that contempt that you hold for victims where you view them as villians? The lack of empathy… that’s either severe mental illness, you have some tunnelvision, deranged, outlier attitude where you think this is ironic and funny, or you’re just evil. I don’t know what it is.
This is what I think .. I think you hate yourself more than your parents, because you’re the one who has the problem. You hate that you are Jewish, look Jewish, have a Jewish name, and can’t escape that. You cannot pass, everyone you meet knows your a Jew by your name and appearance and that pisses you off. You hate that the Holocaust and its memory has been thrust upon you. It’s such a bother, those people should have just died and been done with the whole thing. You’d rather live somewhere where you can pass as gentile… just be “white” and have “white people problems” and ieverything is all funny, dandy, ironic, and nobody really gets upset about anything or has to feel empathy for others. You don’t like the reality of being an American Jew whose grandparents almost died (and you wouldn’t be here). But really, this piece is beyond anti-Jewish, this piece is anti-human. Sin verguenza.

    As a young Jew I resent the implication that I am screwed up and sociopathic like Anna Breslaw. Also, as a young suburbanite who grew up in Princeton, NJ I would like to point out that the town repudiates any association with Ms. Breslaw. In the future, please do not generalize Ms. Breslaw’s twistedness to actual members of the human race.

      CranberryDreams says:

      Jillian, I sincerely am glad to read what you wrote and meant no offense to you in particular… I should not generalize. I do not mean to attack you or your town, nor do I think all young Jews feel that way. My comment was meant to be biting so I wanted to get personal because I feel she has gotten very personal with so many people by virtue of her foul article. Thanks for your thoughts, sincerely.

I’m an occasional reader – hence delay in reading this… well I saw the title in the email digest and passed it by – till today… no point duplicating the other comments people have posted… it isn’t a question of causing offence [though it does] but more a question of “why on earth”! Freedom of speech doesn’t make the stupid true, relevant, or publishable! If you search the web you can find plenty of teenage neo-nazi skinhead websites, freedom of speech lets them publish but I doubt Tablet would be inviting one of them in to do an article!

Creating controversy in lieu of challenging shibboleths demonstrates nothing but the intellectual ennui of the commissioning editor!

One of the most shameful pieces you’ve published. And another reason why I don’t follow through on your request that I submit story suggestions!

Dov Simen says:

Dear Anna Breslaw,
Why? What drove you to write this piece? Why do you feel such a loathing for those with a strong will to survive? Why do you describe survivors as “Jew-shit”? Why do you seem to think that choosing to live, choosing to fight, is evil? Certainly I can understand the notion of not wanting to put someone who is brain-dead on indefinite life-support. Why, though, do you seem to consider choosing to try to live with cancer, choosing to try to survive in the concentration and death camps of the Nazis as equivalent to asking for your body to be kept alive even when your mind has died? Why is it not then wrong to live at all, when we are all living with the terminal condition of life? Why do you seem to hate Jews and Judaism? Why did you write such an abhorrent piece? Why why why?
Dear Tablet Mag Editors,Why did you allow this to be published? Certainly, free speech is a good thing, but there is such a thing as editorial restraint. Such an ill-advised, disturbed, and offensive piece did not deserve publication. As a liberal Jew, I’ve often enjoyed your articles, but this one just makes me sad – sad for the author and sad for you, who were so misguided as to approve such a thing. It’s one thing to publish a controversial piece, it’s another to publish something as vile as this. I think you owe your readership an apology for this.
Dear Tablet Commentators,Please, let’s not make Anna out to be the voice of the “majority culture”, or “Jewish youth”, or “liberal thought”. As a young Jewish liberal, I found this article to be in horrible taste, poorly-written, offensive, depressing, and distressing. I have no doubt that most people, young or old, conservative or liberal, will agree that the viewpoint expressed here is repulsive, disgusting, and just plain awful. We might not agree on a great number of matters, but I think we all know that this is an awful piece, expressing an awful opinion in an awful way.

herbcaen says:

Terri Schiavo, my father made the serious request that should he fall into a vegetative state,…it seems that Anna Breslaw is in a vegetative state.

Aaron Manson says:

“only the handful of Jews who actually fulfilled the stereotype of the Judenscheisse(because every group has a few) would remain to carry on the Jewish race—conniving, indestructible, taking and taking.”

This is recycled Nazi Jew hatred. It is important to recognize it and shine a bright light on it, wherever it appears.

As horrible as the thoughts you describe are, I don’t begrudge you for having them. However, I deplore you for printing them, especially without qualification. You’d really be better served discussing your feelings in therapy rather than mindlessly and heartlessly throwing them in people’s faces and fancying yourself a deep writer by doing so. Not everything that goes through your mind should be broadcast to the world.

herbcaen says:

I think Anna Breslaw and Jerry Sandusky would make an excellent couple.

Isaiah Friedman says:

This is probably the most amateurish article I have ever read in a reputable publication. Aside from the parts that don’t make any sense (what exactly is a “didactic distrust”?), the author’s ideas are astoundingly stupid. Upon hearing the stories of survivors of genocide, she asks herself, “What did you do that you’re not talking about?” What an imbecile…

DaBkr says:

other then the contempt she must have for herself and other Jews-her premise is so absurd as to be beyond ridiculous and childish. She may as well have written a treatise on how the interplay of the characters on Gilligan’s Island explains why peace has been illusive in the middle east.

Sarah Kelly says:

FYI, that quote is from the 4th season…not the third.

Melanie Zimmerman says:

Obviously, the author of this article has many deep personal issues with her identity as an American Jew. I googled her and came across many bizarre, self- hating items, including this unfortunate article about how she dressed up like Anne Frank for Halloween.

http://heebmagazine.com/i-was-anne-frank-for-halloween/20467

It saddens me that her personal exploration, struggles with identity, and self- loathing have taken on such a large and public audience. As if the internet didn’t already contain enough anti- Jewish garbage…

Melanie Zimmerman says:

Obviously, the author of this article has many deep personal issues with her identity as an American Jew. I googled her and came across many bizarre, self- hating items, including this unfortunate article about how she dressed up like Anne Frank for Halloween.

http://heebmagazine.com/i-was-anne-frank-for-halloween/20467

It saddens me that her personal exploration, struggles with identity, and self- loathing have taken on such a large and public audience. As if the internet didn’t already contain enough anti- Jewish garbage…

gvanderleun says:

Anna Breslaw why don’t you leave the Holocaust and the Jewish people out of it and just write out the details of what happened to you on that long ago night when you looked into his eyes and said, like Tank Girl, “Daddy, are you sure what we’re doing is right?”

What a spoiled little brat. Too bad she can’t be transported back to 1942 for just 5 minutes.

Bobbi says:

We experience self-hatred.

I hate the word “survivor.”

Did you know cancer patients also get tattooed?

You are right about Breaking
Bad: they dropped the ball on cancer. That’s the major

fantasy. That Walter White has cancer and chemo actually
works with IIIA non-small cell lung cancer; it actually makes him stronger.
That he’s a bad guy for making Meth illegally but The FDA isn’t more guilty for
giving METH legally as a drug for weight loss. There are many legal FDA drugs
which cause blindness as a side effect. My son is one who experiences this
through Stevens Johnson TEN: a side effect of a LEGAL drug. And The FDA and The
Cancer Industry make trillions, while effective treatments are destroyed, due
to greed.

Primo Levi was one Holocaust “survivor” who killed himself
AFTER the Holocaust. There is this romantic notion that once he wrote what he
witnessed of human cruelty in the Holocaust, he could leave this planet filled
with decent people who would supposedly read his work and act as if they’re
decent. I think, personally, that he committed suicide because human cruelty never ends.

Yes. The author’s words are harsh. And the most Jewish
quality in the world is to be self-hating, self-deprecating. How else in a
world where we are seen as The Demon? Lots of Jews did willingly die in The Holocaust because they
didn’t want to live in a world where they’re not wanted.

Lots of cancer patients want out of the dehumanization they
experience. Walter White is the ultimate cancer patient fantasy. I wonder if
Vince Gilligan even researched cancer. All I know is when you watch late night
AMC, most of the commercials are either for FDA drugs or lawyers who sue due to
side effects from FDA drugs.

No one wants to talk to a cancer patient. It’s uncomfortable.
It’s embarrassing. They’re like “Holocaust Survivors”: they smell of Death.

For a few years, the world was willing to open their hearts
to those who ENDURED the Holocaust. Israel could only have been voted in by the
U.N. for a very short opening in time (months?). Anti-Semitism is such a strong
part of this world it still exists in places in Europe where no more Jews exist.
The lack of belief in A Savior is equal to being sick of survivors, of
“surviving” when people are so cold and so harsh in their judgments, when we
are so alone we mistake television for reality and go into movie theaters and
open fire on any body that moves?

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2010/07/bobbi-lurie-hope-for-noah.html

Its easy to see now why Anna Breslaw is such a pro-abortion fanatic: she presumably eyes them askance, thinking What did the fetuses do that they’re not talking about? I imagine she has the gut instinct that the fetuses are villains masquerading as innocents.

Bobbi says:

We experience self-hatred. I hate the word
“survivor.” You are right about Breaking Bad: they dropped the ball on cancer.
That’s the major fantasy. That Walter White has cancer and chemo actually works
with IIIA non-small cell lung cancer; it actually makes him stronger. That he’s
a bad guy for making Meth illegally but The FDA isn’t more guilty for giving
METH legally as a drug for weight loss. There are many legal FDA drugs which
cause blindness as a side effect. My son is one who experiences this through
Stevens Johnson TEN: a side effect of a LEGAL drug. And The FDA and The Cancer
Industry make trillions, while effective treatments are destroyed, due to
greed. Primo Levi was one Holocaust “survivor” who killed himself AFTER the
Holocaust. There is this romantic notion that once he wrote what he witnessed
of human cruelty in the Holocaust, he could leave this planet filled with
decent people who would supposedly read his work and act as if they’re decent.
I think, personally, that he committed suicide because human cruelty never
ends. Yes. The author’s words are harsh. Many Jews are self-hating,
self-deprecating. How else in a world where we are seen as The Demon? Lots of
Jews did willingly die in The Holocaust because they didn’t want to live in a
world where they’re not wanted. Lots of cancer patients want out of the
dehumanization they experience. Walter White is the ultimate cancer patient
fantasy. I wonder if Vince Gilligan even researched cancer. Many are
uncomfortable talking to a cancer patient. It’s uncomfortable. It’s
embarrassing. They’re like “Holocaust Survivors”: they smell of Death. For a
few years, the world was willing to open their hearts to those who ENDURED the
Holocaust. Israel could only have been voted in by the U.N. for a very short
opening in time (months?). Anti-Semitism is such a strong part of this world it
still exists in places in Europe where the Jewish population has been
completely wiped out.

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2010/07/bobbi-lurie-hope-for-noah.html

Bobbi says:

We experience self-hatred. I hate the word
“survivor.” You are right about Breaking Bad: they dropped the ball on cancer.
That’s the major fantasy. That Walter White has cancer and chemo actually works
with IIIA non-small cell lung cancer; it actually makes him stronger. That he’s
a bad guy for making Meth illegally but The FDA isn’t more guilty for giving
METH legally as a drug for weight loss. There are many legal FDA drugs which
cause blindness as a side effect. My son is one who experiences this through
Stevens Johnson TEN: a side effect of a LEGAL drug. And The FDA and The Cancer
Industry make trillions, while effective treatments are destroyed, due to
greed. Primo Levi was one Holocaust “survivor” who killed himself AFTER the
Holocaust. There is this romantic notion that once he wrote what he witnessed
of human cruelty in the Holocaust, he could leave this planet filled with
decent people who would supposedly read his work and act as if they’re decent.
I think, personally, that he committed suicide because human cruelty never
ends. Yes. The author’s words are harsh. Many Jews are self-hating,
self-deprecating. How else in a world where we are seen as The Demon? Lots of
Jews did willingly die in The Holocaust because they didn’t want to live in a
world where they’re not wanted. Lots of cancer patients want out of the
dehumanization they experience. Walter White is the ultimate cancer patient
fantasy. I wonder if Vince Gilligan even researched cancer. Many are
uncomfortable talking to a cancer patient. It’s uncomfortable. It’s
embarrassing. They’re like “Holocaust Survivors”: they smell of Death. For a
few years, the world was willing to open their hearts to those who ENDURED the
Holocaust. Israel could only have been voted in by the U.N. for a very short
opening in time (months?). Anti-Semitism is such a strong part of this world it
still exists in places in Europe where the Jewish population has been
completely wiped out.

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2010/07/bobbi-lurie-hope-for-noah.html

Bobbi says:

We experience self-hatred. I hate the word
“survivor.” You are right about Breaking Bad: they dropped the ball on cancer.
That’s the major fantasy. That Walter White has cancer and chemo actually works
with IIIA non-small cell lung cancer; it actually makes him stronger. That he’s
a bad guy for making Meth illegally but The FDA isn’t more guilty for giving
METH legally as a drug for weight loss. There are many legal FDA drugs which
cause blindness as a side effect. My son is one who experiences this through
Stevens Johnson TEN: a side effect of a LEGAL drug. And The FDA and The Cancer
Industry make trillions, while effective treatments are destroyed, due to
greed. Primo Levi was one Holocaust “survivor” who killed himself AFTER the
Holocaust. There is this romantic notion that once he wrote what he witnessed
of human cruelty in the Holocaust, he could leave this planet filled with
decent people who would supposedly read his work and act as if they’re decent.
I think, personally, that he committed suicide because human cruelty never
ends. Yes. The author’s words are harsh. Many Jews are self-hating,
self-deprecating. How else in a world where we are seen as The Demon? Lots of
Jews did willingly die in The Holocaust because they didn’t want to live in a
world where they’re not wanted. Lots of cancer patients want out of the
dehumanization they experience. Walter White is the ultimate cancer patient
fantasy. I wonder if Vince Gilligan even researched cancer. Many are
uncomfortable talking to a cancer patient. It’s uncomfortable. It’s
embarrassing. They’re like “Holocaust Survivors”: they smell of Death. For a
few years, the world was willing to open their hearts to those who ENDURED the
Holocaust. Israel could only have been voted in by the U.N. for a very short
opening in time (months?). Anti-Semitism is such a strong part of this world it
still exists in places in Europe where the Jewish population has been
completely wiped out.

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

http://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2010/07/bobbi-lurie-hope-for-noah.html

Bobbi says:


You are right about Breaking Bad: they dropped the
ball on cancer. That’s the major fantasy: that chemo with IIIA non-small cell
lung cancer= actually makes him stronger. That he’s a bad guy for making Meth
illegally but there’s no mention that METH is made legally (under another name)
as a “pharmaceutical” for weight loss.

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

    SqueakyRat says:

    Breaking Bad isn’t about cancer. So the writers got rid of it by granting Walt a remission.

crella says:

‘ Her “skepticism” of Holocaust survivors? Wow, so counter-intuitive, edgy and outside the box!’

Justified by a character in a TV program, no less. The mind boggles…….the actions of a TV series character, the actions and speech of which are scripted by a team of writers to have maximum impact to keep the series in the viewing rankings, with no guarantee that the motivations and actions of the character are realistic or accurate, true to how most people react to a diagnosis of cancer; there can’t be a less logical basis on which to found an opinion. It’s even less of a base on which to build an opinion of the suffering of Holocaust survivors, never mind cancer patients.

My father died of a fast-moving (as well as discovered too late) cancer a few years ago. Yes, he accepted treatment, he wanted to see even a bit more of his children’s lives, to see my son graduate….he would be overjoyed to see him married and a father now. He’d love to hold his great-granddaughter. Sadly, he never could or will. Ms. Breslaw would resent him for trying.

Her lack of value on human life is shocking, her lack of empathy frightening.

    When you tell someone a relative has cancer, their immediate response is never shock but often, “Oh, my [̶ i̶n̶s̶e̶r̶t̶ ̶X̶ ̶l̶o̶v̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ father ] had cancer” as if this knowledge ̶i̶s̶ ̶ a̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶f̶o̶r̶t̶ [gives you superior insight] of some kind [to issue your judgements].

    Fixed.

    Not everyone reacts the in the same time frame or manner. Get over yourself. She didn’t belittle the value of human life.

    O, the irony about your empathy statement:

    empanty: “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
    try it sometime.

This is nothing short of giving in to Holocaust denial by a Jew who is embarrassed by her Jewishness. Shame on her, and NYMagazine should find another writer. She is not even that talented. This was an offensive article and she is a just a sad confused young lady. Your magazine can do better.

So can we please get a donation campaign going for the author to spend some time in a North Korean concentration camp?

Why is this article still on this website? Why haven’t the publishers issued an apology for publishing such rot?

    Chloe Blue says:

    It’s CALLED FREEDOM OF SPEECH. There are lots of things that I have to look at everyday that I do not like. Get over it!

johnathan blaze says:

Thank you, Anna Breslaw, for not being afraid to speak your mind. Ignore all these whiny simpletons who are raising ire toward you and your words.

I applaud the Tablet for posting this and I will be following it closely in the future.

KFerrer says:

Sadly anti-semitism of this kind is becoming hip. I’m afraid we can expect to see more of it.

Abominable reading. It’s like Holocaust survivors should be better than other people or they are not worthy of Ms Breslau’s sympathy. There is nothing in psychological science that says you become a better human being from being treated brutally, having your whole family killed and yourself barely surviving. But there seems to be a market for this kind of idiotic and un-feeling drivel. Tablet made a huge mistake publishing the article. Makes me sick.

Your insensitivity, myopia, perverse ethical inversions, lack of generosity, lack of humanity, lack of empathy, self-centeredness, immaturity and authorial irresponsibility ought to get you a place on Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World.

Jonathan Dresner says:

This is one of the most thoughtless, ahistorical, offensive pieces of self-righteous psychobabble I’ve ever read.

Tell the Truth……Someone gave a Chimp a Keyboard and waited?
j jmt

The editor must have had the week off when this ridiculous nonsense was published.

She’s uncomfortable around death or those who have confronted it, and from her experience it seems it doesn’t make them better people, just warped.
I think probably the next of kin gets warped more.

The ugly comments say more about the writers than Breslaw. At least she’s honest.

As Targa wrote, this is some very poorly written self-hating anti-semitic content..
You are an ungrateful, insensitive, attention-seeker whose lack of respect for victims of genocide is only matched by the lack of respect for your own family. To write this from the comforts of the Jewish American home your holocaust-surviving family gave you, I can only wish that you would have perished at Auschwitz instead of the millions of innocent victims whose suffering is the very reason you’re alive. Theres a special place in hell for Animals of your caliber that spew such elementary-level hatred against genocide victim. Shame on you!

JamesGarbarzewich says:

What a job for tablet magazine to get readers. Shame on you. This woman is sick, belongs to a mental institution. It is a danger she is loose on the street. Then we wonder that mass murderers act the way they do. Well she did not use a machine gun. She used a pen to spell her deep hatred.

Mike Lumish says:

Well, I’m guessing Tablet Magazine got a little bump in their readership from the vile contribution.

It has also earned the sincere contempt of its readership for it.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Nevertheless, Israel Thrives

http://israel-thrives.blogspot.com/

Howard Rosenberg says:

It would be perfectly understandable If the author’s parents sat shiva when it became apparent to them that their daughter was a vile, despicable sadist consumed with self-loathing.

bobbilurie says:

What does “unappealing, didactic distrust of people with the
extreme will to live.” mean?

And why is this so?

You do not reveal yourself in the least in this personal
essay. So what type of essay is this? Why should anyone care what you say?

Why would anyone publish this?

It’s astounding what you write in this piece.

I do agree with your criticism of Breaking Bad, in terms of
cancer. That’s how I found your essay: I wanted to see if anyone else had
something to say about the (not) cancer in this show. For me, that is the main
point: Vince Gilligan, the creator of the show, totally ignores cancer. Here is
the essay I wrote which led me to your essay. And in here is also the reason I
still love Breaking Bad: because it’s a Television Show.

http://www.berfrois.com/2012/07/bobbi-lurie-walter-white-and-i/

But The Holocaust wasn’t a television show. Isn’t. Never
will be.

You might be asking for more “reality” in terms of cancer
and this show, but I am pretty certain, from reading your work and getting an
idea of what turns you off, that
you would find cancer patients as unacceptable as Holocaust victims.

http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/novack_lurie.shtml

Michael McGuinness says:

When someone says something offensive, it is a good thing and not a bad thing, because they identify themselves as an intolerant or ignorant person, and can be shown the error of their ways. If these are her genuine thoughts and feelings, then she ought to be allowed to express them. Calls for censorship are absolutely self-defeating, as is using fallacious arguments from emotion to justify them.

Truly revolting. The author does not need therapy as one reader suggested; she needs a slap in the face. Shame on Tablet for printing this.

stacy seashore says:

There is something so WRONG with this. (And I barely know were to begin.) Breaking Bad is TV, for one thing. The holocaust on the other hand was real. To imply that to survive somehow makes people “evil” also suggests that the only way to be assumed “good” is too be dead. ( And that is dangerously close to the sentiment that fueled the autrosities)

The opening paragraphs of this article are among the most offensive I have ever read as a proud Jewish feminist. Shame on her, and how unfortunate that her paternal grandparents ended up with her as their granddaughter. They deserve much better!

Seth Bookey says:

So many great comments in reaction to this ridiculous article. Of course, there were Jews who collaborated, and Jews who survived, but not all collaborators survived, and not all survivors collaborated. I wonder how she views the children who survived. And not every Holocaust victim was in a camp or detained, either.

Her logic reminds me of a line from an existential work, where someone concludes, “Men are mortal, cats are mortal. Therefore, men are cats.”

One thing is clear just reading the horrible intro… her cat probably has more sensitivity. Of course she is entitled to her opinion. Not sure how she became so screwed up by age 12–her shrink’s sessions transcripts should be offered for publication!

Matthew Graybosch says:

The teachers responsible for teaching this harpy to write should be driven from the profession for incompetence.

For the folks and yes jews who are bashing their fellow jew who doesnt buy into the lies of the holocaust, what is your excuse for the bolshivek revolution and how jews started and ran communism, and were responsible for the deaths of not only 35+ million christians in russia, but marxism mindset in asia, responsible for another 100+ million. Or is that anti-semetic to mention your evils as well?

Ocharles_martelO says:

thank you anna for having the balls to write this. my respect for you just skyrocketed….im sure you already know of professor Norman G. Finkelstein ,his parents were unfortunately lost in the holocaust. He too questions the historical record on the basis that it is exploited as an industry. His term ,and title of one of his books, “holocaust industry” is quite apt imo. He feels and has spearheaded the movement that to make money,or to use for political favor from the holocaust, in any way, cheapens the legitimate suffering that occured…sounds pretty moderate and sensible to me.. good luck to you:)

Calm down Jews. Your beloved Holocaust™ lie couldn’t hold water forever. The time is quickly approaching when the Goyim again get sick of your evil ways and eject you from their lands.

Your kind should be used to it by now of course. It’s happened over one hundred times.

Jews = Parasites.

dfsdfds says:

Reprehensible and juvenile at best. I just removed “The Tablet” from my bookmarks.
Any publication that deems itself to be affiliated with Jewish Culture should think twice before providing a platform for this sort of nonsense. The publication of this article will only serve to evaporate a large portion of their readership and ultimately their profits. Good luck when advertisers don’t want to pay to advertise on your site. I’m sure they will receive much financial support from the community at large.

Stacey Johnson Donovan says:

I know one Holocaust survivor. Her mom could have left Poland before they started taking Jews to the camps, but she couldn’t bear to leave her husband. Was that self-interest?

She was fourteen years old when her family got taken to the camps. Her father and brother died in them. Guards dragged away her mother to die in front of her eyes. Perhaps you’d like to read a little more about her? http://www.mchekc.org/resources/survivor_testimony/from_the_heart_profiles/sonia_warshawski.aspx Does she exemplify someone who is “conniving” and “taking and taking”?

What in the world is wrong with you, Anna Breslaw? This post is an absolute disgrace.

shabby_chic_chick says:

The author of this essay sounds like a very disturbed person; I don’t know what the hell her problem is, but she definitely needs some help. I realise articles like this are click-through bait, but this is just totally wrong.

GhostDad says:

I’d suggest that Ms. Breslaw spend some time with holocaust survivors who are suffering from dementia and alhzeimers and watch the horror and pain they experience as they continually re-experience their trauma the next time she wants to “distrust” survivors.

leeada47 says:

Why is the Tablet publishing hate material? Breslaw is no one I want to know. She thinks she can judge Holocaust survivors? Is her guilt that great, that she despises them? Or was she born this way? And the Tablet supports this?

judith Schraemli says:

The issues brought up in the article “Breaking Bad Karma” are inextricably tied up in the American Psyche. The speaks with forked tongue American dream that says the American dream is nothing more than a dream. Defying the reality that to make the dream real a price has to be paid.
American has taught itself to market the suffering of the Native Indians, African slaves, white indentured servants and early union workers, Chinese rail workers etc. It has created a legendary other reality about how the nation’a good and moral ethics stated in the Constitution, Declaration of Independance and other early writings sought to capture and define an ethicas it of a new government that was going to be somehow different than what it came from. But would do what was necessary to survive. The moral ambiguity of the main Character Walt who draws his entire family into his “bad behavior” with absolutely no redeeming value. The financial and criminal business and profits that become lifelines for other people who have no idea of the connection of thier daily job to the blood and murderous deeds of Walt and company are an indictment of how we need look at ourselves in the mirror. How do our overseas businesses, manufacturing, mining etc. Profit at the expense of other human beings seeking to live the dream of food,clothing and shelter. Would we go on a national strike if we said that many of the items we call “necessary” are bad for the individual.That they are made and shipped to us at a price. A deadly, corrupting, corrosive price. The reason I think we are drawn to Breaking Bad and the apt title of the article Breaking Bad Karma
is because somewhere in what is left functioning of our collective and individual conscious is we see Walt,Jesse, Skylar in ourselves. We are not all bad. But how far will we go to be breaking good?

You sick, sad, sorry excuse for a human being. Get some professional help.

Samuel says:

Thank you for having published this article, I would like to comment not on the parallel that can be drawn between the surviours of the Holocaust and Breaking Bad but rather on a point made by Anna on why Frank does not trust his gut feeling; I don’t think it’s him being a scientist. Science is not technique. If you happen to read and look at the scientific journals of People within the German research programs at Dachau, it is anything but ethical on the basis that is it there to promote the good of the Volk (or German people). That is perhaps arguably a veiw held from a social science background but it can also be verified through this link (http://archive.adl.org/braun/dim_14_1_nazi_med.html) which states that nazis did only pursue such experiments because they felt that the Jews were a threat and that the Aryans were superior which is frankly an ‘abomination’ to any Darwinist who will argue that cooperation rather than Malthusian competition is the driving force in most cases behind natural selection. Thank you again.

tecumseh says:

what in god’s name is this woman talking about? Survivors must actually be villains? This is literally psychotic.

I cant blame her for being psychotic; it’s an illness. But what excuse have the editors of this esteemed website?

The article is meaningless, literally. That it was published means something I dont want to consider.

The worst kind of ignoramus: One with a large vocabulary and friends in Manhattan.

Patricia Parent says:

that’s BEYOND anything I’ever read. I can’t even find the words…I mean…freedom of speech, all right, but this article is antisemite and does the author really think it’s a brillant idea to compare holocaust survivors to a fictional character?

And EVERY HUMAN, in the worse circumstances ever, would do anything to survive. That’s the whole point of LIVING! Anyway…I can’t believe this site published this worthless article.

Alex says:

ur fucking crazy

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Be a Mensch. Support Tablet.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Breaking Bad Karma

How the cancer victim at the center of the AMC series justifies my skepticism of Holocaust survivors

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.