The Atlantic posted a personal essay by a Nazi sympathizer - an American of German "Aryan" origin, as she puts it - married to a Jew. She doesn't understand why Jews make such a fuss about that nice Mr. Hitler, who's only just trying to solve Germany's Jewish problem. Those around her are fascinated by her "interracial" (as she puts it) marriage to a Jew, so she's decided to head to her typewriter and tell the world about her very exotic experience.
-But, but, the author and her husband did argue about Nazi anti-Jewish policy! Evidently someone saw the Nazis for what they were! But here's the thing: Political anti-Semitism wasn't yet associated with death camps, what with that having not happened yet. By 1938, even, it was plenty clear Nazis weren't fond of Jews, but not remotely clear what they were going to do about it. When you read today about a regime with a repressive policy towards gays or Roma, you may disapprove or protest, but you're probably not in all-out panic that gas chambers are being set up. While it would have been a nice gesture for the author to condemn a regime abroad that had it in for her husband, her level of callousness isn't as extreme as it seems, reading the essay today.
-If the essay is about Jewish assimilation in America, it's also, in a more subtle way, about German-American particularity. The author describes a very specific kind of family culture, something about vacationing in the mountains and not having a warm relationship with relatives, as if that's just American, which, no. I can think of plenty of groups, apart from Jews, who'd be more "Jewish" than "German" in this regard. (See: many groups of non-German Catholics.) I venture to say there'd have been culture clash had this woman married into an Italian or a Belgian family.
-While reading the essay is a lesson in avoiding anachronism, it's also a reminder that, well, that there's a reason 'some of my best friends are X' has taken on the meaning it has. It's entirely possible for your best friend or spouse to be X, and for you to be intensely bigoted against that group. While we have no reason to think the author would have supported the Final Solution, there's not much of a sense, either, that being married to a Jew in some way stopped her from holding anti-Semitic views typical of her era. Or even above and beyond. She has quite the deeply-theorized anti-Semitism going, and has clearly given The Jew a lot of thought:
'But look at the matter from the political side,' I advise Ben. 'When a Swede or a Chinese settles down in a foreign land, such as the United States, the Swede makes haste to become a thorough American—at any rate he lets his children become thorough Americans; the Chinese, realizing that this is impossible, lives aloofly in Chinatown, minds his own business, and keeps out of American political affairs. The Jew, however, wants to have his cake and eat it, too. Like the Chinese, he clings to his own race, culture, and tradition; he trains his children to cling to these just as tenaciously. Then, like the Swede, he sets out to annex all the privileges of Americanism. He wants to rise to the top of the Gentile social structure, to wield power in Gentile politics of the community, state and nation. He wants to be left alone, but he also wants the country in which he lives to take good care of him. He wants to have full citizenship in that country, yet retain his citizenship in the Jewish nation.I think the proper response here, the only one that can properly, and in a nuanced way, comment on this is: oy.