I guess I was almost the last of the generation that was bombed by the Germans. I was two when the war ended and although I lived in Aldershot, the home of the British Army, the nearest bomb fell about 10 miles away. Not so my wife's family who lived in east London. They had their doors and windows blown out by a doodlebug that landed in their street and my wife's mother found an unexploded incendiary in their back garden.
One of the songs of my youth was Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" which contains the lines, "Though they murdered 6 million, in the ovens they fried
The Germans now, too, have God on their side."
Although I look very Aryan, I am one sixteenth Jewish and my wife is three sixteenth Jewish. Had the Nazis invaded we might have been very vulnerable. Our parents were very anti-German and being brought up on British, black and white war films I was subjected to a lot of anti-German propaganda. Actors like Jack Hawkins, Dickie Attenborough, Kenneth More and Michael Caine were regularly defeating square-jawed Nazis with coal-scuttle helmets on our screens.
It is strange that we now complain that the German army is a afraid to get its hands dirty in places like Afghanistan.
I think it is important to remember that the Germans alive today had nothing to do with the war and my experience of them is that they are all very nice chaps. It is time to put to bed wartime propaganda. I learned recently, for example, that the RAF had no air-sea rescue capacity during the Battle of Britain. We lost a lot of pilots who were downed in the channel, but their lives were saved by German air-sea rescue craft. Not something those wartime films told us about.
Today, I want to commend one post-war German who has become a friend. His name is Michael Hallek and he is the lead author of the most important paper to be published on CLL in the last decade. This is the FC v FCR randomized controlled trial CLL8, which I shall be blogging about later. Michael is a fine Christian gentleman, who is very bright, very well organized and I am proud to know him.