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Author Shahak Shapira
Author Shahak Shapira

BERLIN — Shahak Shapira is the Israeli-born son of a Holocaust survivor and Munich Olympic victim. But he's also a proud Berliner, even though he's been beaten up and insulted by neo-Nazis. Now he's published a book that is more or less serious.

How I Became the Most German Jew in the World is a title that might surprise someone browsing the bookstore shelves. But Shahak Shapira, author of Wie ich der deutscheste Jude der Welt wurde, is a surprising kind of Jew — and German.

Recounting his story recently to the German news agency DPA, Shapira tells about how one of his grandfathers escaped Auschwitz, while the other was murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. In spite of that, his mother decided to move from Israel to a small German town with her German boyfriend when Shapira was 14. The town also happened to be a stronghold for neo-Nazi groups, and so insults such as "Jewish pig" were a part of his growing up, Shapira recalls. Finally, after moving to Berlin at 19, the Israeli immigrant was beaten up in the capital's subway when he yelled back at a group screaming anti-Semitic slogans.

This personal history has led him to a rather simple conclusion: Racism against anyone, of any background, is "stupid." He sums it up this way: "No religion in this world orders you to be an asshole," he says. "That is a decision that each and every person is allowed to make themselves."

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Source: Rowohlt Polaris

Shapira's German-language autobiography is just as dry and succinct. The formerly chubby and acne-laden boy who struggled with the German language became an advertizing industry creative director, musician and DJ. In his book, he does not only describe his experiences with neo-nationalism but also dating via Tinder, and bares all. The poor woman he once met via Tinder and her "absurd Jewish fetish" is just as ruthlessly described as his opinion that "I cannot believe in a God that forbids bacon."

But his sense of humor gets biting when someone focuses on his not very Jewish blonde hair and light skin tone a little too much. "Well, they pumped hydrogen into the gas chambers back then instead of Zyklon B." There you go.

Shapira is critical of Israel, especially of its current government, though he still loves his native country. As for Germany, he sees the refugees coming from the Middle East as a true chance for creating "a better relationship between Muslims and Jews. And having some seriously good hummus in Germany, a win-win situation for all."

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