Linus interviews his Grandmother

Do you have any memories of the War?

No, dear Linus, I do not because I was born exactly four weeks after the War ended. So I myself was born in times of peace, but I have shared in a lot of my parents’ and grandparents’ memories, so war was still part of my own experience in some way.

What do you think of first when you hear the word "war"?

Complete destruction, not only of houses and neighbourhoods, but also of the values you used to believe in, and of all that was beautiful. Family, friends, everything gets torn apart. Endless suffering and no comfort. There is no comfort in all the senselessness. It is the worst thing that can happen to a human being. To go through that.

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Knabenchor Hannover © Imme Henrike Wolters

Encounter between two countries - a project across generations

The boys of the Boys' Choir Hanover as well as of the Liverpool Cathedral Choir interviewed their Grandparents or other elderly relatives about their memories and associations on the subject war. mehr

Do you know how your parents got through the war?

Yes. My mother was lucky to have a close network of people who supported her because she was all alone. My father did not fare so well, but it could have been worse. He got out of it alive. He went though some very hard times when he was taken prisoner of war by the Americans. That was very hard, but he did get out, and that was really good. He did not tell me any more about it. That’s what I know from him, that they almost starved. Almost, though, not quite.

Has your family had any particular experiences in connection with the war?

The worst thing is still that our family no longer has a home. It is a horrible experience, and you would not believe how many people were affected in this way, and how long the consequences continued. To know where you belong, where your home is. You ask yourself: Who am I? And the answer is determined by where you are and where you feel at home. So if all that suddenly changes, it’s a really hard blow.

What happened after the War?

After the War things were really looking up because the country got strong support in its reconstruction, and the people were very optimistic. They could see things were getting better every year, and it stayed that way even to this day. The fear of another war breaking out was never fulfilled. In a way, the war still hung around, but then again, we’ve had peace for 70 years now, which is extraordinary. And economically speaking, we've been the most well-off generation ever. That’s the way it is. So that's nice.

Do you believe something could be done to prevent wars from happening?

That is the question of all questions. Some say: Turn swords into ploughshares. Others say: If you want to prevent war, get ready for war. Make sure you are so strong nobody dares to attack you. This is a problem humanity has not yet solved. The Chinese say: Walk around your own house nine times if you want to improve things. You have to start with yourself. Make peace: with your neighbour, with the person walking towards you, with the person making things difficult for you. I believe if you do that, that’s all you can do in your immediate surroundings. And if everybody did this, things would not be too bad. That's all I can come up with.

 

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