Saturday, April 26, 2014


Mark and I have spent the last few nights watching the German miniseries Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter ("Our Mothers, Our Fathers") which will air (or has aired) in the U.S. as "Generation War." It tells the story of WWII from the point of view of five twenty-something friends in Germany, one of them Jewish, and their experiences 1941-1945. One of the characters was a nurse on the Russian front; I couldn't even imagine being in her shoes. It was anxiety-inducing to watch this miniseries, to say the least; why not be consistent with the tone of the week? 

I know I missed many subtleties watching it in German with no subtitles, although Mark helped significantly. I am waiting for it to come out on DVD with English subtitles on May 6th, and then maybe I will have the courage to watch it again. I have to concentrate so very hard to catch what is said, and I know I missed a great deal. My German is not fabulous. The boys watched some of it with us and had excellent questions. They, of course, understood nearly all of the dialogue. I am completely envious of their German skills.

Apparently Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter was both popular and controversial in Germany. The war generation is almost all gone; people still argue much about complicity in war crimes. Who did anything; could they do anything? What did they feel about it? This is another attempt in the culture to come to terms with what happened. 

Mark's father fought on the Russian front and is going to be 90 this year, and he has only recently opened up about what he went through. He survived in the end because he was shot in the arm, was still fit enough to leave Russia, beat the Russians on their push westward, and was taken prisoner by the British. It is strange to think that my husband and sons are here because of the actions of a Russian soldier, 69 years ago. If that soldier had had a more accurate shot, Mark, Callum, and Tobey wouldn't be here.

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