Brexiteers’ abuse of Germans as we remembered war dead was shameful – Kenny MacAskill

A handful of survivors from the 150 refugees who left Lodz in Poland two months earlier, headed for Berlin, arrive in the devastated German capital in December 1945. They are following railway lines on the outskirts of the city in the hope of being picked up by a British train. (Picture: Fred Ramage/Getty Images)
A handful of survivors from the 150 refugees who left Lodz in Poland two months earlier, headed for Berlin, arrive in the devastated German capital in December 1945. They are following railway lines on the outskirts of the city in the hope of being picked up by a British train. (Picture: Fred Ramage/Getty Images)
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Another Armistice Day has passed. But as well as remembering the war, it’s also important to remember the peace and not just our own suffering but those we fought against.

In that, I’m always minded of my father who bore no ill-will to the German people despite fighting their armed forces for almost five years.

Germany's population rose as other countries carried out ethnic cleansing of Germans and people they did not want at the end of the war (Picture: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

Germany's population rose as other countries carried out ethnic cleansing of Germans and people they did not want at the end of the war (Picture: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

I recall reading a book on post-war Germany and was staggered at the statistics. Despite losing eight million war dead and almost a third of its territory, it had a larger population than at the outbreak of the conflict.

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That came about as countries carried out ethnic cleansing of Germans or often just those they didn’t want, as about 30 per cent couldn’t speak the language when they arrived.

Refugees returning to Berlin found the city in ruins after the end of the Second World War  (Picture: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

Refugees returning to Berlin found the city in ruins after the end of the Second World War (Picture: Fred Ramage/Keystone/Getty Images)

Concentration camps established by the Nazis were used to detain German women, children and old men.

Often their treatment was horrific and British soldiers wrote to Ernest Bevan requesting instructions, only to be told there was little sympathy and to do nothing.

It’s why the abuse – thankfully taken down – by Leave campaigners that alluded to Angela Merkel as a Nazi has to be deplored and guarded against.

Germany was responsible for the war through its political leadership but its people suffered and paid the price for it.

So let us remember our fallen but also that others suffered as well, especially the innocent.

It’s the peace that matters now and it’s why those who seek to continue a past conflict are shameful in their behaviour.

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