Saturday, 5 May 2012

A question of perspective

Today is VE Day in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Perhaps understandably it isn't marked in any special manner in Germany, but that may be changing. Today the German President, Joachim Gauck, took part in ceremonies in the Netherlands and made what is probably a ground breaking speech. He acknowledged the suffering Germany had inflicted on Europe and, in particular, it's Jewish populations and then went on to say something I noted on this blog some years ago - that D-Day had marked the start of a liberation of Europe and the German people themselves from the scourge of National Socialism.

Today Hr. Gauck declared that VE Day marked the final liberation of the German people from that terrible abberation called Nazi-ism, a declaration I don't think any previous post war German head of state could have made. But Hr. Gauck knows what it is like to live under an oppresive dictatorship - he lived in the former GDR and is still the man the successors of the former ruling Party love to hate. "Die Linke" as they now call themselves, they love to portray the GDR as a "workers paradise" but Hr. Gauck never fails to remind them of its restrictions and oppression.

It is all a question of perspective, Germany has moved on. Europe has moved on, Hr. Gauck's declaration and his attendance at the Dutch celebration is timeous and an acknowledgement of the oppression the Nazis imposed on everyone.

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