Tuesday, July 7, 2009

overheard at a restaurant in Colmar

At a cafe in the square of the Ancienne Douane, my son and I were enjoying a meal that was more German than French. Will ate a chunk of ham with sauerkraut, and I ate a pot of melted cheese, potatoes, and ham. Seated next to us was a German couple in their forties. He was physically imposing and with a tattoo on his arm, she blond and friendly. They spoke German. As I sat there enjoying my dinner, I caught bits and pieces of their conversation.

"My father was SS," he said in German. His words peaked my interest, and so I listened more closely. "He was stationed in France, but I know little of his history." The conversation moved on.

Most of us with fathers who fought in the Second World War know little of their wartime activities. War is a harsh thing and not always suitable for sharing with children. Sometimes, it is better not to know.

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