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Poppy etiquette for Germans

(301 Posts)
Fanta4 Tue 07-Nov-17 19:55:10

Nc but long time member.

I am German. I have lived in the UK pretty much all my adult life (my choice, not circumstance). Every year I have an internal debate about whether I should/ should not wear a poppy. Mindful also that I work in a formal, customer facing environment and don’t have a noticeably German accent.

Pros:
_Good cause I support
_On a personal level, very grateful for the sacrifice, particularly WW2, which my parents vividly and horribly remember
_Feel fully part of British society, my children are British etc

Cons
_Feels strangely disrespectful to wear a poppy when my quite recent ancestors caused so much death and destruction
_I’ve had an elderly neighbour at the door selling poppies who would only sell to my husband, so feelings obvs strong in that generation and I don’t want to offend

So over to you, wise Mnetters. AIBU to wear a poppy?

Splinterz Tue 07-Nov-17 19:58:43

You have people in this country who refuse to wear a poppy - so do what you think you should do. All of Europe has it's own war remembrance days, so it's not like it's been airbrushed.

Bookridden Tue 07-Nov-17 19:58:55

No, you sound very thoughtful and respectful. I think people like you will help to build bridges. Wear your poppy with pride - you are one of us in every way that matters.

Hoppinggreen Tue 07-Nov-17 20:02:11

As far as I am concerned Poppies are to remember everyone who has died fighting a war. Many ordinary Germans died or lost loved ones in the 2 world wars and if they also what to remember then why shouldn't they wear a poppy to do so

JessFine Tue 07-Nov-17 20:03:24

I'm not aware of official etiquette and it's considerate of you to worry, but I do not think you'd BU to wear one if you feel you should. Poppies are to signify remembrance, why shouldn't you be allowed to remember the Germans who died as well?

Maybe it would have been frowned on 70 years ago but I'm not sure now, and the money goes to the British Legion doesn't it?

LevelHeading Tue 07-Nov-17 20:06:00

I wear a Poppy for everyone that has died fighting in a war. Wear one if you would like to!

Fffion Tue 07-Nov-17 20:06:42

Wear a poppy with pride.

You could also wear a forget-me-not for your German side.

SoupyNorman Tue 07-Nov-17 20:07:07

I thought door to door selling of poppies was forbidden, is that not the case?

TooManyPaws Tue 07-Nov-17 20:08:02

No, wear your poppy. I have paid my respects at German and Austrian memorials.

And not all of the older generation feel that way. One of my father's best friends in the 1950s was former Luftwaffe and my father had survived the Atlantic and Arctic Convoys. I am a former reservist and have only ever known the Germans as allies, and I have had it said to me very many times that is a greater understanding between those who fight on whatever side in war than with those who have never done so.

Wear your poppy - it remembers all who have died in war, not the governments who sent them to war.

Sirzy Tue 07-Nov-17 20:08:35

Your first pro answers hour question.

Ellisandra Tue 07-Nov-17 20:08:48

Poppies are to remember every fallen soldier.

That includes Germans in Afghanistan fighting alongside British soldiers.

Your neighbour should be ashamed of himself!

If you would like to show that you remember the sacrifice of others, and would like to donate to the cause - then wear one with pride!

I think it's wonderful that you would wear one.

Fanta4 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:09:08

All of Europe has it's own war remembrance days, so it's not like it's been airbrushed

I just wanted to highlight this because in Germany they don’t remember the fallen. But that’s another topic entirely.

I was merely thrown by the elderly neighbour who was alive during WW2 and made it clear she thought it would be inappropriate. Perhaps she is not representative or it is a generational thing.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 07-Nov-17 20:11:48

There’s no remembering the fallen in Germany ? sad

Oh that’s really sad. I always pray for all victims of war, so many Germans didn’t have a choice in ww1 and ww2.

PinkFlamingo888 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:12:40

Wear your poppy. It doesn’t matter which side your ancestors may or may not have been on but your poppy symbolises that that particular fued is over and we’re all European, regardless of where we were born.

Sirzy Tue 07-Nov-17 20:13:58

None of the people who died on the front line are the ones who are making the decisions to go to war. Those who died are all victims irrelevant of the nation they are fighting for

Brokenbiscuit Tue 07-Nov-17 20:15:08

Many innocent German citizens died during both world wars. They too should be remembered.

And you are not responsible for any wrongs that may have been perpetrated by your ancestors, any more than I am responsible for all of the horrible things that the British have done in the past.

You should wear a poppy if you choose to do so. It was no more your war than mine.

Fanta4 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:16:37

Well thank you all. I shall wear one, I think (also love the idea of forget me nots). I am a historian and am always deeply affected by the numbers/ stories of all those young men going off to be butchered.

Ellisandra Tue 07-Nov-17 20:17:26

Sorry, she not he.
Even more shameful - anyone who has lived through war should be even more pleased that today we happily have German neighbours.
Ignore her. She's not representative.

Poshindevon Tue 07-Nov-17 20:17:45

There is no poppy "etiquette" Poppies are for rememberance and hope , the money raised from the sale of poppies has helped servicemen, women and their families since 1921. Poppies are not political.
Wear your poppy with pride.

HerOtherHalf Tue 07-Nov-17 20:20:49

I wear a poppy to remember all those that lost their lifes in the world wars and other conflicts. For me, that includes soldiers either side. German, British, American, Italian, French, Canadian, Japanese, Indian, Australian..... regardless of nationality, they were human beings whose lifes were cut needlessly short due to the insanity that is war. The poppy is not political. It is about remembering the terrible, wasteful human cost of armed conflict.

Fanta4 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:21:12

Should have put etiquette in brackets. I just meant what is considered polite and proper so can be quite certain now that the MN demographic at least would not be offended. Thank you all. Sometimes I do feel very foreign (also still don’t understand Cricket. At all).

ChunkyKnitCardigan Tue 07-Nov-17 20:21:32

I am German and wear a poppy every year. I’ve never come across anyone who minded and, if there was, it would not influence my decision.

Foxysoxy01 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:21:36

You should definitely wear the poppy if you would like to.

You will have lost Soldiers from the German side that had little to no choice in fighting.

Every fallen soldier should be remembered whether English, German, or any other nationality.

JustKeepDancing Tue 07-Nov-17 20:22:03

Wear your poppy. I had a similar conversation with a colleague recently who fought for in his home country's army (military service was compulsory when he was a teen) and he wears his poppy every year along with a symbol representing his home Army.

It makes me sad to think that Germany doesn't remember the fallen, but I'm not surprised - I visited a couple of museums there while on holiday and found the difference in perspective fascinating. But realistically, most of those who died in the wars, particularly WW2, had no choice.

Fanta4 Tue 07-Nov-17 20:22:25

Inverted commas, not brackets.

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