My Father Was A Nazi Commander(4 Posts)
BBC 4 now. The daughter of Amon Goeth meeting one of his survivors. Almost unbearably sad. Anyone else watching?
Yes, it was powerful stuff and brilliantly made. I confess that I have always harboured a fundamental hostility to the Germans because I was brought up with my family history - my maternal grandfather was a professional soldier who had just come out of the army aged 28, married his sweetheart who had my mother less than nine months later at 17. He was called up to be part of the BEF that went to France and was shot on the retreat to Dunkirk and is buried in France leaving my grandmother a widow at 18 - in Coventry!
I noticed that Jo Rowling too has a similar prejudice in her 'Who do you think you are? programme last night...
Anyway as a result of watching this I have revised my view and understand how the sins of the fathers are not to be visited upon their children. I felt for Monika and Helen in their different but connected tragedies. But most of all it was the scene of Monika being so affectionate to her little grandson that showed me how she was determined to break the mould - as Jo Rowling would herself say - it is our choices that determine who we are.
So many lives were affected by those evil men - I think if only someone could go back in time and snuff them out before they started! But no sooner does that childish thought occur to me then I reason what is past is past and we must learn for the future. There is a war true story documentary this week which promises a happy ending by the way so look out for that!
I hope these powerful programmes are watched - it is easy to avoid them as too disturbing I know. I watch them as I feel it as a sort of duty to my grandparents to try to understand how their lives were affected.
BTW thanks for starting this thread!
I felt that she had perhaps come to terms with what her father had done, but not that her mother had closed her eyes to it. But still, it took great bravery to face someone whose life was torn apart by your own father. Will watch out for any further programmes with interest - and yes I agree that sometimes the most painful programmes are the most valuable lessons!
I thought both of those women - Monika and Helena - were amazingly strong. Imagine having to face a woman who's life your father had completely ruined and imagine meeting up with your tormentor's daughter. Really incredible, but hopefully healing for them both.
I think you are right, Paws. I think Monika had distanced herself from her father (she refused to call him father for a start), but hadn't yet come to terms with the fact that her mother was complicit in what he did (whether that be through fear, loyalty or whatever). I've no doubt it was hard for her to imagine her mother being fully aware of what was going on and doing nothing to stop it - and then, seemingly, lying to Monika about how aware she had been. That must have been an impossible thing to live with for her too.
I do wonder, however, whether if there had been no war, Amon Goeth would have ended up imprisoned for murder anyway. He just seemed to be so fundamentally sadistic. It seemed that Naziism just gave him the excuse to do these things with impunity.
Chilling stuff, but great to see these strong, warm women battling through it all to make better lives for their children. Funny how it always seems to be women picking up the pieces after these horrors...
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