Author Topic: Nationalism destroyed all...  (Read 5792 times)

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Offline Keunert

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Nationalism destroyed all...
« on: February 08, 2012, 02:50:11 AM »
Last week i had the opportunity to talk with a german/austrian born in 1938 in Böhmen, today part of the Czech Republic. Listening to him was really scary, he was the first survivor of ww2 i was able to talk in person.

He grew up in a more or less wealthy wine farmer family. his village was a hundred percent german but they had a long partnership with their czech neighbours. at the end of the war his 30y old mother took care of the farm and the three children. they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of their father.

late in the war they were hearing the front coming close. when the russians took over the village they were lucky that the big house was chosen as the quarter of a red army major. one night some soldiers tried to rape the mother. when the major noticed this he pulled out his gun and pointed it on the head of one of those soldiers. from then on they were save from harm.

at some nights the soviet major took the family on the balcony to show and explain them the artillery fire. during the day the villagers digged ditches in the village park. soldiers from both sides were thrown into those. the guy who told me all of this still remembers the destroyed bodies and at burned pilot that were buried there. when the war moved away the red army exhumed the bodies with with excavators for registration. again the boy was witnessing destroyed and burned bodies.

one night in 1946 an official informed them that all german had to leave the country. they had to pack up within 24 hours and assemble on the village square. 20kg per person was allowed for transport. his young mother had to organise packing and took care of three kids and a grandmother. they were brought to München via Prague. there they lived very poor for the first years. the place where they were brought too was less evolved than the village they were deported from. but as they had almost nothing to bring with them, they were looked as poor poeple. they did not have shoes but harsh winters. when confirmation came the priest organised his first pair of shoes in the west. nevertheless the guy told me that the integration of half a million refugees in a war torn Bayern was an incredible achievement.

after some years their father was released from prison in Belgrade. with some luck he was able to locate his family and to reunite. during the nineties the family recieved 15'000 mark for their big farm and land. the village now is almost ruined. the czechoslovaks forced gypsies to settle there. they did not have the knowledge to produce wine so this culture died there.

Germany and the czech republic still aren't able to discuss this topic. this guy does not want to go back, nor does he want the 'new' inhabitans to leave the place they were forced to live in. he told me that only time will solve this: when all witnesses and claims are gone. he feels for the palestinians that still remember the places they grew up.

listening to him, the way he discribed the pain of loss, the mass of killed soldiers made me a think about my hobby..
« Last Edit: February 08, 2012, 06:35:59 AM by Keunert »
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Offline Greybriar

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 05:13:39 AM »
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Keunert.
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Offline twitter3

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 07:11:46 AM »
Yes, thank you for sharing.  It definitely brings up the saying that 'every action has a reaction.'  My mother's family (both parents) are from Poland and while I was born and raised in America, my grandmother tells me stories of how her grandparents went through much of the same during/after WWI.

Offline LongBlade

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 07:17:13 AM »
Thanks for sharing that, Keunert. Yes, our hobby has a dark history. But it's like going to see a movie - just because you see a vampire movie doesn't mean you want to be one (well, most of us anyway).

Learning the history is good. We stand a better chance of not repeating it.

Offline Gusington

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 08:31:18 AM »
I wouldn't mind being a vampire. My existence wouldn't change much.

But at least I exist. I thank my Great Grandparents for emigrating to the US. If they didn't, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that I would not exist at all. Not great odds.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2012, 10:33:22 AM »
I wouldn't mind being a vampire. My existence wouldn't change much.

But at least I exist. I thank my Great Grandparents for emigrating to the US. If they didn't, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that I would not exist at all. Not great odds.

There's a guy at my local game store who has a similar history. He refuses to play anything German or German-esque. I can't say I blame him. He probably wonders a bit about me because I'm playing the Germans in Flames of War and the Prussians in Dystopian Wars (yes, I know, I'll get you some pics here soon).

The ability to separate the horrors of the past from a pastime is the key, though for some I certainly can respect why they would avoid taking the Germans' side.

Offline Gusington

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 10:40:54 AM »
^It gets more complicated for me since I am partially German ethnically. There are many things I like about what is perceived as 'German-ness.' But of course looming over it all is, well you know.

I have no problem playing as Germans or Austrians in games til around 1932 or so. Then it gets...difficult. Maybe that's why I am fascinated by WWI so much. Less evil than what came after.
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Offline MIGMaster

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 01:30:22 PM »
You are one complex guy Gus - technically you're an ethnically German vampire who likes WWI wargames .....as Sheldon would say "fascinating"

Offline Centurion40

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 02:05:11 PM »
I wouldn't mind being a vampire. My existence wouldn't change much.

But at least I exist. I thank my Great Grandparents for emigrating to the US. If they didn't, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that I would not exist at all. Not great odds.

There's a guy at my local game store who has a similar history. He refuses to play anything German or German-esque. I can't say I blame him. He probably wonders a bit about me because I'm playing the Germans in Flames of War and the Prussians in Dystopian Wars (yes, I know, I'll get you some pics here soon).

The ability to separate the horrors of the past from a pastime is the key, though for some I certainly can respect why they would avoid taking the Germans' side.

I've known European immigrants who refuse to buy Volkswagens, BMWs, etc.  A guy I knew in university was almost disowned by his parents when he bought a 2nd hand Jetta.
Any time is a good time for pie.

Offline Gusington

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2012, 06:36:08 PM »
I've owned two VWs and loved them both. My Grandfather owned a Beetle! But he was hesitant to buy a Japanese car and he didn't have any experience in the Pacific. Everyone's different.

MIGMaster - you're telling me. Let me tell you about my relationship with my Dad one day :)
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Offline Centurion40

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 07:14:56 AM »
I've owned two VWs and loved them both. My Grandfather owned a Beetle! But he was hesitant to buy a Japanese car and he didn't have any experience in the Pacific. Everyone's different.

MIGMaster - you're telling me. Let me tell you about my relationship with my Dad one day :)

Only if you let Migsy tell you about his dad!!!  ::)
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Offline MIGMaster

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 08:29:27 AM »
Yeah, my Old Man is sort of a study in conflict theory ! He worked in Corrections for 30 years. He started back when they used to strap inmates down and "paddle" them with a big wooden oar-like device. He also used to work on a K-9 unit at a big old max security stone prison called Dorchester - now as a result he hates both inmates and dogs. He is so far right he makes the staunchest conservative look like a pinko dope smokin' commie. 

Offline Gusington

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 08:37:17 AM »
Didn't Dorchester have a massive riot in the early 1980s? What kind of dogs did your Dad work with Migs?
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2012, 08:37:56 AM »
Who you callin' a pinko dope smokin' commie?

Offline MIGMaster

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Re: Nationalism destroyed all...
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 10:03:16 AM »
Yeah Gus there were some serious riots there from the 1960's into the 80's. The Old Man transferred out to Springhill
(where we live - the Town, not in the prison  ;) ) in '68 or '69 I believe. The Springhill Penn didn't open until 1966. But there were some very disturbing events that happened in Dorchester during and after his time there. 

When I got out of university I worked as a museum tour guide and one of the older ladies that worked there had a husband that was taken hostage in the last riot there. The inmates let on they were going to kill them multiple times putting knives to their throats, etc...He made it out ok, but he was became totally unwired afterwords. He couldnt function at all - even years later he was still just like a zombie. The other hostage was killed when a SWAT team blew in the barricades the inmates had put up during a recsue attempt.

For dogs they generally only had German Shepards. The dogs were rained as search dogs for escape and riot control. The Correctional Service shut-down all their dog teams in the early 70's and used RCMP K-9 units instead.

So once again we've come full circle to the German thing !  :)