First you rev up. You open YouTube, open the commercial, hit Play, look closely at the crash tests, not the flailing arms, legs, chests that smash steering wheels. You look closely at the eyes, open and dead, and see they’re just dummies. Then the close-up of that three-lined logo, regally circled. The commercial ends, The Safety of Mercedes, Germans always good with lines, straight lines, this-way, that-way lines. You see Mengele or some other efficient Herr Doctor apportioning a certain number for crash tests. After all, there were plenty of Jews to go around, to cover those medical experiments, so important, so necessary, like burning flesh, like operating on twins, like submerging bodies in ice water. Sometimes you’ll draw a cold bath in winter, open the window and sit past shivering, until your fingers blue, until the freezing, so freezing it's more solid than liquid, slices your balls, until you have to get out. You watch other commercials with pop-song soundtracks: Volkswagen’s free-spirited drivers. Audis and Porsches shamelessly schussing, so much fun on the Autobahn. If only some Rich Jew, the kind they tried exterminating, would buy that precious air time, make their own commercials, show these same cars driving past ovens, smokestacks, bulldozed bodies.
Never Forget: an easy slogan.
Like: Drivers Wanted.
You do what you can. Sometimes you take your keys, scrape swastikas on German hoods, Rat Jew that you are. Sometimes, when you hear two tourists speaking German, you goose-step around them, a circle, two legs pointing, two straight lines, right arm raised, one straight line. Sometimes you dance the Hora.
About the author:
Adam Berlin is the author of the novels Both Members of the Club (Texas Review Press/winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize), The Number of Missing (Spuyten Duyvil), Belmondo Style (St. Martin’s Press/winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award) and Headlock (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill). He teaches writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.