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Monday, November 29, 2004



Franz Auerbach
April 2002
From: Auerbach, Franz. 2002. No Single Loyalty, Many strands One Design: A South African Teachers Life. Waxmann. Münster
More than ten years ago I became strongly convinced that as a person I did not have a single but a multiple identity. At the time I wrote, “Some people feel a passionate loyalty to a single cause and look upon themselves as belonging to a single human group to the exclusion of all others. I am not one of those.”

And then I explained what follows. But before I do that I want to suggest that of most human beings accepted the real they that they actually have a multiple identity, this would prevent many conflicts small and large. Of course this does not prevent us from supporting specific causes that we come to see as important.

I am a human male, Franz Auerbach, born in 1923. Like everyone else I am also a “child of my time” with experiences and perceptions a little different from those of people born before and after me; that’s why I added my year of birth.

But beyond that I have many roots and have developed strong links with various groups of people. I was born in Germany of Jewish parents and I value both my German and my Jewish roots. Since 1937 I have lived in Johannesburg, South Africa. I love my country and identify with all my fellow citizens. I also care about the welfare of this, “my city”. These are two other links I regard as important. For most of my life I have been a teacher: I value my profession and feel links with my colleagues.

All these strands, and quite a number of others are in me, as this book will show. I value them all. I have tried to fuse them into what I hope is a harmonious whole. I have lived one life, mine. To the best of my ability I have tried-with lapses-to cherish and practice humane moral values and to be involved in “my” world in many ways. I am a single human being , but I have NO SINGLE LOYALTY.


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