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Tell me again, why do I need one of these things?

I was just talking to my father. When my granddad last holidayed in…

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ckr: fear is negotiable
I was just talking to my father. When my granddad last holidayed in Germany, he was translating for somebody from English into German.

[One of things I remember most is my grandfather talking fluently in German]

While translating into German, my grandfather had to pause and think before he said anything.

So he was thinking to put the person he was helping's words into German. The locals assumed he was pausing to translate into English. They thought he was from Prussia.

My grandfather was from Yorkshire.

He spent most of the War as a prisoner-of-war in Germany. My grandfather loved Germany and German people and went on holidays there.

There are a lot of people out there who are still angry and embittered about things that ended sixty eight years ago. They still carry this burden of hate and anger and (when I was at school, we had a disastrous assembly with a man from the burma star organisation -- who stated that it was god who forgives people so he can keep on hating people who mostly hadn't even been born) and it makes me very sad.

My grandfather spent five years locked away, malnourished and forced into labour, and he didn't let it matter a single thing.

And this is why I miss my grandfather so much.
  • Your grandfather sounds like he was an amazing man. *hugs you*

    I wish I'd had a relationship with my grandparents when I was more adult - unfortunately most died while I was a child other than my Dad's father, and he had moved down south when I was 11 or so. We did have one conversation though that I particularly remember when I was a teenager not long before he died: he had apparently played bagpipes when he was in the army as a young man (which I had no idea he ever played anything) and used to practice in the graveyard since his neighbours in the tenements were not appreciative of the noise - except for when there were funerals and then he went and played in the golf course instead!

    As far as I know, he never talked much about WWII. After he died, the family found a medal in the attic and that he'd been a motorcycle courier in France. My Dad had had no idea; and I wish we could have known more about it.
    • That's just so sad. Meep.

      I don't know a lot about my maternal grandfather (he died when my mother was small-ish) and it is a bit random whatever and whenever something emerges. It's a real struggle to put things together (especially if you have the generation that tries to burn papers or a serious regime change at home) and sometimes it comes out in really strange ways. I was talking to one of my co-workers and he mentioned he worked with the RAC at the docks (pre ro-ro ferries, the only way to get a car into a boat was a crane, a winch and a man to fill in all the paper work) and then I just asked whether he knew a man called [blank blank] and he was/did and that was actually my grand-father.

      My mum has got very into family trees and geneaolrogy (and can spell it) so a lot of this stuff is now coming out of the wood-work as it were, but there's nobody left to tell us first-hand, just a bunch of vague childhood memories. :-(

      p.s. a ro-ro is a roll-on/roll-off ferry. the kind of ferry you drive into at one end (on one side of the channel) and roll out of the other end (on the other side of the channel). I need to remember that not everyone has an economy based on large boats and epic air/traffic pollution.

      p.p.s. If my grand-father had been a piper, the residents of the grave-yard would complain. We are not a musical family.
      • Yeah, it is random how stuff comes out. I think if you are lucky enough to have someone in the family who is a storyteller it is different - not sure how much that is a generational thing.

        My Dad did the genealogy stuff for a while, but there is only so far back you can get without help from the BBC research team! (Or a degree in it.)
        • wip

          Mum actually tried that, she went to the Who Do You Think You Are event last month. She had an expert consult; it was along the lines of "have you tried
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