Laughing and Crying About the Second World War

Remembering the war in Russia, Germany and Britain should involve reflecting on the groups that are demonized today

My existence represents peace. I am born of a post-war Anglo-German union, my elder uncles having fought on both sides. My German grandfather served first in France and then in the East. After the war, perhaps by conscious or unconscious compensation, my uncle worked with the Russian-German refugees in his small Rhineland town. His learning of Russian later encouraged my own, and his godson, who lives in the closed city of Seversk which is attached to Tomsk, visits me regularly in London. How all so inconceivable in 1945.

As I write, we are living through the last phase of live memories of killing, injuring, and being injured.


The Second World War is less commemorated in Britain than the First, not just despite but because of the fact that the First is less a source of celebration. The First World War’s large, prominent and ubiquitous public monuments both acknowledge the large loss of life and try to justify it, whilst t

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