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A funny thing happened the other day.

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I was reading a book I’ve just reviewed:

which is about a Red Army correspondent Vasily Grossman. He covered the conduct of the war against Nazi Germany including Stalingrad.

I had bought the book as a companion read to Anthony Beevor’s Stalingrad – you know when Amazon recommends books often bought with others - which I have also reviewed:

Anyway I had just read a very disturbing but sensitive account by Grossman of the system for murder they developed at Treblinka concentration camp in Poland. He had gathered the information, including the names of the perpetrators, from the few witnesses that were either released or caught and interrogated by the Red Army.

Musing on the horrors of the account, I decided to take my dog out for an afternoon stroll around the green. As I walked onto the street the borders the green, I saw three lads of indeterminate age wandering between the cars parked there. They were pausing by windows and looking in, and I thought it certain they were sizing up a motor to steal, or some valuables to snatch from the seats.

The dog paused for a pee, and so I took the opportunity to wait for the three lads to come closer, as I was concerned about my neighbours’ property. They continued to wander towards me, pausing and looking in at the windows. “They’re being a bit brazen about it”, I thought as they approached me.

They were laughing and commenting to each other, and I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. I was just about to make some comment when I finally caught what I thought was a comedy German voice.

They got right up to the car next to me and the still peeing dog, and I saw they were all wearing little moustaches. They were holding onto their top lips, imitation Hitler moustaches and talking in mock German voices, and looking at their reflections in the car windows.

I was taken aback to say the least given what I had, not five minutes before, been reading. Little Hitler moustaches and comedy German voices saying things like:

“Stop or I vill shoot!”.

Wandering round the green I thought about what they were doing. It is 65 years since the fall of the murderous Nazi regime and, though they are probably aware of WW2, due to all the references to it in films and newspapers, let alone their education, I wondered if this was what the memory of the Nazis had come to – a caricature of the horror they perpetuated on Europe.

Although it is good to be aware of history and the causes of conflict, and all the information is there if you wish to find it, perhaps the final humiliation of such a ridiculous yet terrifying regime is this caricature of its mad architect, by teenage boys with false moustaches and silly voices.


  1. qimissung's Avatar
    What an interesting and surreal experience, Paul! I'll be checking out your book reviews shortly.
  2. Paulclem's Avatar
    Thanks qimi. It was wierd. I usually post on blog projects I make for myself, but this just tied in with what I was reading and thinking.