Zvi Rix (צבי רקס) (1909-1981) was an Israeli physian. As Zvi Rex, psychoanalyst he is since 1997 widely but falsely considered the original author of the phrase, made popular by a 1986 book by Henryk M. Broder:
- The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.
The quote is associated with Theodor Adorno's analysis of a "secondary antisemitism", often explained as an antisemitism not despite of but because of Auschwitz. In Der ewige Antisemit (The Eternal Antisemite) Broder wrote in chapter 5, titled The offender as probation officer, or The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz: And for Auschwitz, a sagacious Israeli once said, for Auschwitz the Germans will never forgive us. In 1988, Gunnar Heinsohn identified Broder's sagacious Israeli as Zvi Rix, a friend of his (Heinsohn's), born in Vienna in 1909 and died in Rechovot/Israel in 1981, who had used to concentrate the drive of antizionism in the sentence: »For Auschwitz the Germans will never forgive us!« In 2005, Heinsohn in his book Söhne und Weltmacht (Sons and World-Power) suggested, that Rix had read his Hobbes, and quoted from Leviathan: "To have done more hurt to a man than he can [...] expiate inclineth the doer to hate the sufferer."
But Rix may as well have read the book Post Mortem. The Jews in Germany--now (1968) by Leo Katcher, where the German Jewish journalist Hilde Walter is quoted as follows: "It seems the Germans will never forgive us Auschwitz. That is their sickness and they desperately want a cure. But they want it to be easy, painless. They refuse to go under the knife by facing up to the past and their part in it."
The script for Axel Corti's film Where To and Back Part 2: Santa Fe (winner of a Nymphe d'Or award at the Monte Carlo Festival in February 1986) has the Austrian Jew Treumann who has found refuge in New York during World War II say about his former countrymen: "They'll never forgive us for what they did to us." This caused protests from writers Hans Sahl as well as Stefan Heym, who claimed certain rights to variants of this line, screenwriter Georg Stefan Troller revealed in 2013. But when Troller met with Heym the next time in Paris, Heym generously waived any objections: Jewish jokes are wanderers like the famous punchlines of the comedians. The original author cannot be ascertained any more.
In 1982 a line, which Walter Mehring had sent his fellow refugee from Nazi Germany Hans Sahl in 1948, had been published in Germany:
- They will never forgive us, that we did not accept being slain or gassed a little.
- Andrei S. Markovits, Simon Reich: The German Predicament. Memory and Power in the New Europe, 1997, p. 203
- „Und Auschwitz, sagte mal ein kluger Israeli, 'Auschwitz werden uns die Deutschen nie verzeihen'". Henryk M. Broder: Der ewige Antisemit. Kapitel 5: Der Täter als Bewährungshelfer oder Die Deutschen werden den Juden Auschwitz nie verzeihen. 1st edition Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag Frankfurt/Main 1986, p. 130; edition btb Berlin 2005, p. 158 books.google
- Ein 1909 in Wien geborener und 1981 in Rechovot/Israel gestorbener Freund, Zvi Rix, pflegte den Grund des Antizionismus in der Sentenz zu verdichten: »Auschwitz werden uns die Deutschen niemals verzeihen!«. Gunnar Heinsohn: Was ist Antisemitismus? Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main 1988, p. 115.
- Gunnar Heinsohn: Söhne und Weltmacht. Orell-Füssli 2005. V. Youth bulges im transnationalen Terror. p. 139
- Thomas Hobbes: Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan. Chapter XI: Of the Difference of Manners. bartleby.com
- Leo Katcher: Post Mortem. The Jews in Germany--now. Hamish Hamilton London 1968, p. 87-8, Delacorte Press 1968, p. 89 books.google .
Atina Grossmann: Trauma, Memory and Motherhood, in Archiv für Sozialgeschichte vol. 38 (1998), p. 234   (also in Richard Bessel, Dirk Schumann: Life after Death 2003, p. 120) with reference to Norbert Mühlen: The Return of Germany. A Tale of Two Countries, Chicago 1953, p. 154-5, quotes, Jewish DPs in Germany after the war had joked among themselves: "The Germans will never forgive us for what they did to us." This however can not be found in Mühlen op.cit.
- Alex Corti's Films Explore World War II's Impact by Annette Insdorf. The New York Times July 24, 1988
- „Judenwitze sind wie die berühmten Wanderpointen der Humoristen. Der eigentliche Urheber ist nicht mehr auszumachen. [...].“ Excerpt from Therese Hörnigk (ed.): Ich habe mich immer eingemischt. Erinnerungen an Stefan Heym. Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg 2013, p. 156
- „Man wird uns nie verzeihen, daß wir uns nicht haben erschlagen oder ein bißchen vergasen lassen.“ Christoph Buchwald: Odysseus hat entweder heimzukommen oder umzukommen. Notizen zur Rezeption Walter Mehrings nach 1950, in the quarterly die horen 1982, p. 15