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Old 18-08-20, 11:43
Hanno Spoelstra's Avatar
Hanno Spoelstra Hanno Spoelstra is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 13,403
Default Lest we forget

Hi Tony, thanks for sharing that story.

WW2 - and other wars - are horrific and leaves deep scars in societies, both with those who serve in the forces, as well as civilians.

After enduring the hardships in the Japanese camps, my Father's family returned to Holland with very little posessions. They were given some clothes suitable for the Dutch weather, and then had to make ends meet themsleves. My Grandfather got a government job to go into Germany and find back and reclaim Dutch assets (the Germans had robbed the country clean), like factory equipment but also an elephant which had been stolen from a zoo.

Everyone tried to pick up their lives, there was very little compassion as everyone had endured hardships and lost relatives and friends. If it wasn't fighting as a soldier or in the resistance, it were the German and Japanese concentration camps. Or the hunger winter in Holland. Or forced labour on the Burma railroad, in German factories being bombed by the Allies - and the list goes on.

Both my parent's families survived the war relatively unscathed, albeit with some losses. My Father's family was lucky in that they all survived the Japanese camps, although my grandmother came out very weakened - she never fully recovered and passed away a few years after the war. My father could talk about his experiences and did not hold a grudge against the Japanese. Though when we went to see the movie "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" in 1983, it did bring back some bad memories. So there was more than he told us. Despite his experiences, my Father never felt a real hate towards his former oppressor. But never wanting it to happen again, he always emphasized the importance of international peace and stability.

Like Bruce said, we should not blame current generations for the sins of their ancestors. AND we should never wipe out history as we can learn so much from it. Even more, we must learn from the bloodshed of our ancestors and do better ourselves - we owe it to them, otherwise their sacrifices would have been in vain.
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