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Family dynamics

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My father, the shrewd businessman
Uri Avnery Social activist
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אחרי המלחמה אבי חשב מה לעשות ואז סבי בא אליו עם עצה: "למה שלא תחזור לבקום, תפתח שם בנק קטן, האיכרים, אנשי העיירה והאיכרים בכפרים מסביב זקוקים לעסקי לעסקי בנקאות, אתה בן המקום ובך הם מאמינים”. אי-אפשר היה לא להאמין באבא שלי. אבא שלי היה ישר כמו סרגל. וכך היה: אבא שלי פתח בנק קטן. לימים, כשהייתי בבקום, כל מיני אנשים הביאו לי תעודות, כל מיני מכתבים, בכתב-יד, של כל מיני עסקי מניות או דברים כאלה.

ב-1923 פרצה בגרמניה האינפלציה. האינפלציה הגדולה, כשכיכר לחם עלתה כ-300 מיליון מארק, דברים כאלה, בדיוק בזמן שנולדתי. נולדתי לתוך האינפלציה. האינפלציה, שהיא אירוע טראומטי בגרמניה עד עצם היום הזה. כל מה שגרמניה עושה עכשיו (הכוונה ל-2014) במשבר היווני, הדרישה לצנע, זה הכל בא מהטראומה הנוראה הזאת של האינפלציה. אנשים היו מקבלים כל יום משכורת בבוקר, עם המשכורת היו רצים מהר לחנויות המכולת, לקנות דברים וממשיכים לעבוד. מפני שאותה כיכר לחם אחרי הצהריים כבר הייתה עולה פי עשרה. אני לא יודע כמה עלתה הלידה שלי. בטח הרבה מיליונים. מקווה שזה היה שווה. ומכיוון שאבי היה מומחה לכספים, הוא התעשר באינפלציה הזאת. הוא ידע שצריכים לקנות ולמכור כל הזמן. והפכנו למשפחה, לא יודע אם להגיד עשירה, אבל אמידה מאוד. נגיד ככה. אני גדלתי למעשה במשפחה אמידה מאוד. לא חסר שום דבר. מה שביקשתי - קיבלתי.‏

After the war my father was thinking about what he should do and then my grandfather gave him some advice: 'Why don't you go back to Beckum and open a small bank? The peasants, the townspeople and farmers in the surrounding villages need banking services. You are a local boy and they will trust you'. It was impossible not to trust my father. My father was a straight as an arrow. So that is was he did: he opened a small bank. Later, when I was in Beckum, all kinds of people brought me certificates, all sorts of letters, handwritten, pertaining to all kinds of share transactions and things like that. In 1923, inflation hit Germany, the 'hyperinflation' when a loaf of bread cost about 300 million marks, things like that, exactly at the time I was born. I was born into inflation. That inflation has remained a traumatic event in Germany's history until this very day and everything that Germany is doing now [2014] during the Greek crisis, the demand for austerity, all stem from the terrible trauma of inflation.  People received their wages every morning and they would rush to the shops with it to the grocery store, to buy things, and then they went back to work.  That was because that very same loaf of bread would be ten times more expensive by the afternoon. I don't know how much my birth cost, probably many millions. I hope it was worth it. And because my father was an expert with money he grew rich during that inflation. He knew that one must continually buy and sell. We became a family that was, I don't know whether to say rich but, put it this way, very affluent. Let's say that. I actually grew up in an affluent family. We were never short of anything. I got whatever I asked for.

Born in 1923, Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, HaOlam HaZeh from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery is the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Germany, Beckum

Duration: 2 minutes, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017