Since I did not get around to writing a post that lives up to the anniversary I will substitute Wren’s because I don’t think I could have written it any better.
It is very easy to demonise Germans for the Shoah and comfort ourselves with the idea that “it” can never happen again; it is a lot harder to start thinking about the idea that the Shoah did not exactly happen in a vacuum.
As a nice lady in Yad vaShem once told me: This is not about finding more people to blame, after 70 years we should really be moving past blame. It is about understanding why it happened so it will not happen again.
‘It seems all the stories we heard about the concentration camps in Germany were almost all true. But the only people in these camps were Jews and political prisoners. We both agreed that the Jews should be exterminated and the political prisoners were just fools.’
Garfield, 2004: 509, Our Hidden Lives, Random House, London.
Yesterday marked 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, to mark the occasion this week’s Wednesday post is going to be an insight into post-war Britain… and it’s probably not what you’re expecting.
I read a book recently about writing historical fiction, the book emphasised the importance of giving your characters era appropriate attitudes. When you’re writing characters that lived many years ago you have to understand and accept that they’re not going to have 21st century attitudes towards equality and discrimination. They’re probably going to be sexist, racist and xenophobic.
After the First World War…
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