Extracts from the Dec 2012 Journal
Sir - Hatred of the once all-conquering, arrogant Germans was, of course, justified. A Dutch friend born at the end of the war told me about the after-effects of the utter desolation, starvation and famine besetting the Netherlands at that time. (There were no Jews left, with the possible exception of a few who had been hidden.)
This, of course, applied to many occupied countries. ‘There’s no such person as a good German!’ was the saying. It took some courage to say you came from Germany, even as a Jew. The attitude of some members of Anglo-Jewry towards Continentals survives even to this day.
It is unfortunate that in many instances the brutalities endured by the ethnic Germans affected many innocent people, including defenceless children. Wasn’t it always thus?
Many years ago I accompanied my husband to the German embassy for his annual Lebensbestätigung (life certificate). A woman started talking to us in a certain German dialect, complaining how long she was having to wait for her German passport. Luckily we had no problem and were soon on our way. But just as we were leaving, a gentleman in orthodox Jewish garb entered. I saw the woman look at him with utter disdain. Then I heard ‘Zyklon gas once again!’ My husband missed it as did everyone else. Outside I told him what she had said and he explained that she was Volksdeutsch - with all that implied.