View Full Version : O.T. Forgiveness and History

07-08-2007, 08:01 AM
Ok, I detest revisionism but have a couple of RL stories from friends.

One is from Belgrade, his father joined the Partisans and after only one month was captured by collaborators and turned over to the Germans who shipped him off to Germany to work as at a forced labour camp. He was nearly shot after another inmate committed an infraction and several were selected to be shot as examples, but as his name day was the same as the commandant he survived. Another time he and other inmates were not allowed to enter the air-raid shelter during an Allied air raid. There was a direct hit on the shelter killing all those inside, and no this is not a tribute to US or British precision. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Was released after the war, returned to become a successful engineer in Yugoslavia and went to work overseas often for his state firm. Once he was posted for some years to Dresden, where this friend of mine finished his high school (still speaks prefect German today). Among people whose relatives possibly had imprisoned and mistreated his father or who had occupied Yugoslavia. Even if this was also the "Good Germany" (socialist) for other communist countries back in the day. Didn't matter, he loved the city and the Saxons and still goes back to keep in touch with high school buddies and sweethearts. Still is annoyed about recent trends to revisionism but nevertheless knows what is what.

Another friend and former colleague, from the Philippines, whose father was a well-known and respected diplomat (served a long time at the UN and the non-aligned movements, and was of high integrity and was asked to stay on after Marcos was overthrown). I guess he was in politics before the war (btw he had 10 children) and involved in the Anti-Japanese resistance, and was captured and brought home to his wife and 3 or 4 kids...after he was forced to kneel in front of his wife they were forced to watch as a domestic was doused with gasoline and burnt. The Japanese sergeant threatened to shoot her if she didn't follow her husband into camp...they ended up interned and the husband as forced labour which caused health problems years later.

After the war, after postings in the US, he and his family were posted to Japan. The wife was reluctant but eventually accepted and it turned out very well. Well enough that this friend went back to teach English (he was brought up in the States when the family went back to NYC at the UN only later posted to Geneva) in Japan and ended up loving the place and people. Even told me where to find the good Japanese restaurants here in Geneva (not many) http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/disagree.gif

Neither of them play Il-2 though. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

07-08-2007, 08:39 AM
This has nothing to do with the topic, but I suppose it is worth mentioning. My mother told me this story. I'm a horrible story teller / type so here goes...

My mother's father, Alexander Baer, was a German Jew who was imprisoned in Dachau in 1939 and only escaped due to the intervention of his former work colleagues who arranged for him to make it across to the Netherlands legally and unto a ship heading towards the Philippines where he got a job with General Motors if memory serves me right.

All went well until the Japanese invaded and my mother's father soon found himself unemployed and under threat from the Japanese. He was soon arrested because the local Japanese soldiers thought the "J" in his passport meant he was anti-Japanese (it actually meant "Jude" [Jew]) and suspected him of anti-Japanese activities (which wasn't true). He was beaten and brutally mishandled and brought to the local garrison to be imprisoned.

Here, a very interesting thing happened. A Japanese colonel saw how my father was treated, stopped the abuse and had him brought to his office. I suppose my grandfather was expecting the worst, but the Japanese colonel told my grandfather in perfect English that he has nothing to fear. The colonel then went on to reveal how he had been studying in the United States and only went back to Japan because his family were of Samurai descent and it was his duty to go home and fight for his country. He also told my grandfather that he knew that "J" stood for Jew and had nothing to do with being anti-Japanese. Then he went on to tell my grandfather that he had read Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and thought it was garbage basically and that he had nothing against the Jews. The colonel arranged for food to brought to his office where my grandfather could eat something. Then, the kind colonel gave him some Japanese glue and some money and told him to sell the glue. A few moments later, my grandfather was released and survived the war unharassed and unharmed (just hungry!).

After the war, he tried finding the kind colonel but reached only dead ends. He never found out what happened to him or if he was posted somewhere else.

Off topic, but I guess it sorta fit in here. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

07-08-2007, 08:48 AM
people get caught in situations that aren't of their making all throughout history. The ones that are exceptional are the ones that manage to get through it with their morals and dignity intact..

read the story about this guy. He didn't want to war with the USA having studied there but was forced into a situation not of his making..


07-08-2007, 08:54 AM
This is a very interesting topic I have thought a bit about lately......Take the Falklands for example-although theres probably better ones(I dont think this war was notorious for its atrocities/war crimes).You see former mortal enemies of 25 years in pictures ,on tv etc heartily shaking hands like old friends almost nostalgically.
It invokes a sense of the futility of it all....
Does it suggest a 'brotherhood of man' whose inherent purity governments destroy.Or are people naturally that 'good'?There are plenty of cases where the government might preach tolerance and humanity while the citizens are racist/biggotted etc
Maybe its like a respect between (former )sporting opponents eg boxing
Whatever ,it does seem strange that in some cases differences can be forgotten so quickly while in others wounds linger into centuries or even millenia....

07-08-2007, 05:12 PM
Bump. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif

07-09-2007, 03:07 AM
Yes almost anything can be forgiven.

I still speak to my ex wife.


07-09-2007, 03:23 AM
one of my grandfathers freinds died hating the japanese to his very core - they were sub-human scum (to him)

never forgive , never forget!

look at the balkans & chechnya, so much blood-letting during the 90's . another example is Israel & Palestine - they have 40 years of wrongs that have been covered over with more wrongs . you would have to remove all the people for a couple on generations before they could live together there in peace

nationalist pride , racial hatred - more alive than ever

07-09-2007, 05:32 AM
some people might find these words to be poison...
But I don't mean them to be dogma or law...just something to thing about.
Humans are suppose to forget. Memories and pain are ment to fade away...
To hold on to them (rehashing/re-living anger and pain) only hurts the one harboring the pain...
Learn from the past-but don't keep it alive...let it die.

[I had this in, then took it out, and now its back]

I had family that was on both sides of the war (remember/involved) and a step family that where Spanish /communist/Jews that had to leave Spain in the 30's. I have heard views and feeling on fighting Nazis as an American Jew, Fighting Nazis and Japanese as American midwestern (Scotch-Irish) student/farmers, the war against the allies and life in Japan during WW2 and post war, having communist family members in 1950' America, loosing people in Nazi concentration camps, life in America as a Japanese in post war USA, and being American solder (and wife) in occupied Japan and Germany.

and I still never know what to think about anything.

07-09-2007, 07:09 AM
In my research work i've stumbled across one simple fact - no forgiveness is possible untill warring parties generation does not die out... But by the time it does another war is very likely to begin...

07-09-2007, 12:34 PM
It depends an awful lot on the people and the circumstances.

My grandfather fought in the Anglo-Irish War, and the Irish Civil War. He HATED Churchill, and thought most of the British government wasn't worth the gunpowder it would take to blow them away.

When he came to the U.S., the boarding house he lived in was run by a little old lady from England, who wasn't exactly thrilled with him living there at first. When she retired later and grew ill, my grandfather was the only one of her former boarders that came back to help her. He took care of her till she passed away.

He never hated the English per se, just the government and what they did. In fact he forgave and forgot the English a hell of a lot faster than he did the DeValera supporters (he was a Collins man himself), including my great-uncle.

You can find cases on all sides where someone did the right thing, and were decent human beings, and on the flip side, you can find cases on both sides where there were monstrous things done.

War, and people, are never black and white. But you certainly can find both good and evil in any society, and at any time.

I was privileged in college to be part of a oral history project, and my part was to interview a lot of veterans. In the majority of the interviewees, there was not a lot of animosity towards their former foes. Of the WW2 vets I interviewed, there were only two that I can distinctly recall as still having serious antagonism to their former opponents. One was a Navy crewman who had been captured and made a POW by the Japanese. To this day he still hates Japan and the Japanese, to the point that he wont buy anything made in Japan.

The other gentleman was a quiet old guy who had been in the Patton's Third Army in Europe, and had liberated some of the concentration camps. He said he still had nightmares about the camp and what they found. He had some interesting stories to tell about what happened to the SS guards (pretty chilling stuff) and he still doesn't thing much of Germans or Germany to this day.

I actually saw more antipathy from the veterans of Korea and Vietnam than from WW2. It might be the time, or it might be the conditions, or it might be the people involved.

But I agree with FPSOLKOR, in most cases, those old hurts and recriminations don't die out till the generation involved does.

07-09-2007, 01:49 PM
Interesting that the last poster mentions Irish history....At the moment two former MORTAL enemies, Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley(very old now by political standards maybe well into his 70s) are powersharing in government in Northern Ireland.Most people were very sceptical about this but by all accounts they are getting on practically like old school friends!