Life is hard when people think you’re a nazi

Nein, ich bin kein nazi

Last week I went to collect my post and I was asked if my name was German.

I was tired and flustered so just said it was without thinking. Before I even realised why he asked me, the man then proceeded to give me a very worrying look as if I had just donned the Nazi uniform and drawn a swastika on my forehead.

My name is Amy Eskenazi.

He, like everyone else who sees my last name, was taken aback by the word “nazi” at the end of it.

This was not just a one off experience. I have had people laughing at those four letters at the end of my name before we were even taught about World War Two in school.

Every time I tell someone my name I inevitably get the questionable stare, the quizzical face as they debate whether to ask me or not, and then the eventual very carefully worded “Lol! Your name! So are you, like, a nazi then? Haha”.

Freshers week was a blast.

I can’t put my name in any email accounts or social media usernames as it gets flagged in case they think I’m a particularly passionate neo-Nazi.

When I went to visit the Reichstag in Berlin I gave them my passport and the police stopped me in front of all my classmates, did a double take, and then laughed in my face for a solid half minute as if I was trying to singularly storm the German parliament in Hitler’s name.

There’s also the more obvious tediousness of being blessed with such a name; absolutely no one knows how to spell or pronounce it, even though it’s obviously NOT pronounced esken-atsi as many would hope, and is spelled exactly how it is pronounced, eskena-zee (why would you spell it “Eskanazi”???).

My mum, being a teacher, was adorned with various nicknames from her pupils throughout her career – you can guess the kind of thing.

I consider myself to be generally towards the left of the political spectrum, but if I ever say anything that could be deemed towards the right, my friends do not hesitate to bring out the Goebbels references.

I’m not saying having this name places a particular toll on my day to day life, but it’s particularly grating when the name actually originates from a type of Jewish religion called “Ashkenazi” Jews, meaning I am basically the complete opposite of a Nazi.

It literally means “from Germany”, originating from one of the many times the Jewish people had to flee from the sorts of people whom I am constantly accused of being.

I mean, when someone’s last name is “Green” you don’t think they’re literally green, or if it’s “Campbell” you don’t automatically assume they’re related to soup so, like, leave me the fuck alone and read a book or something.