Monday, November 11, 2013

Slovak, Slav, Slave ...



Ethnically, I am a Slovak; see:

1. "The Slovaks and Slovenes are the only current Slavic nations that have preserved the old name of the Slavs." [wikipedia]

2. "[Slav,] Spelled Slave c.1788-1866, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective from 1876."[etymonline.com]

3. "slave (n.) late 13c., "person who is the chattel or property of another," from Old French esclave (13c.), from Medieval Latin Sclavus "slave" (source also of Italian schiavo, French esclave, Spanish esclavo), originally "Slav" (see Slav); so used in this secondary sense because of the many Slavs sold into slavery by conquering peoples." [etymonline.com]

4. "Untermensch (German for under man, sub-man, sub-human; plural: Untermenschen) is a term that became infamous when the Nazi racial ideology used it to describe "inferior people"[1] especially "the masses from the East," that is Jews, Gypsies, and Slavic peoples ..." [wikipedia]

5. "For Nazis the sub-humans were classified into different types and while Jews were to be exterminated as priority, Slavs could be exploited as slaves." [wikipedia]

6. Perhaps, read this by Robert Pinsky: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/243354


Also:

My father on Hitler, "I'd dig him up and chew his bones."
I believe he would. And I would join him. Side by side: two Slavs; two subhumans; one the offspring of the other.
Cracking asphalt in the yellow headlight haze of my Jeep (a 2002 german Daimler, actually). Gripping the fuehrer's brittle, dirty femurs in our stubby slave fingers.
Gnawing to dry marrow with our tough slave teeth.
Could they arrest us for it? Or commend us?
Or say, finally, those slavs fulfilled their destiny?
Focused their inherent barbarism, to realize the centuries-old birthright.
The slaves have feasted on the greatest of the classifiers. The truest of the masters.