The War-Ravaged Germany

The Aquarius Sports Resort Hotel in Marawila, a sleepy western coastal town of Sri Lanka is always a fascinating place to me.

The beach-end restaurant of the resort facing the scenic Indian Ocean will become at times a forum for various international issues.

I had a good discussion with Marita Kantar at the beach-end restaurant of the Aquarius Hotel. The sun had started to go further and further towards the deep-end of the Indian Ocean’s horizon. The evening sunlight shone on Marita’s face as she was seated facing the ocean directly and I asked her whether she would like to seat opposite the ocean at the rectangular table. She smiled and opted to stay where she was enjoying the glorious sunset in the Indian Ocean.

While I was talking to her on various issues, I asked her how she felt about the massacre of Jews by Adolf Hitler. She said, “They are only the victims for a person who was mad and power-hungry.” She further continued, “He managed to brain-wash many for his unjustified cruelty on Jews and others in the Germany and neighbouring nations.” She burst out at one point by saying that the act of one lunatic had the effect of giving a bad image of them.

I placated her saying the act of one megalomaniac does not necessarily tarnish all Germans. I told her not only in Germany even in other countries by the act of some of the reckless leaders, their nation and people have become untouchables or villains for other communities and nationalities.

In our recent past, we have seen many like them. Saddam Hussein in Iraq for his marginalization of Kurds and Shi’ite Muslims and some of the leaders from then Yugoslavia for their violation of Bosnian Muslims and Croatians are too the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in their own way. Some of the culprits had been prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for War-Crimes, but others escaped. Still there are many war criminals around the world at large.

I told her, “These culprits are either hiding or not punished yet or still the law is not strong enough or its enforcement is too weak”.

As Marita was a Diploma student and doing her field of studies in managing social science, I asked about the unification of Germany which created a lot of unemployment problems in Germany and some Germans in the former West German part are uncomfortable about it. I knew as she is from the former East German part, she might feel uncomfortable at my question. Her eyes had gone really blurred over my question and answered with a sobbing emotion, “the Germans won’t like them to be seen as East Germans and West Germans.”

She further went on that she had been all over the Germany and saw minor changes in their dialects and couldn’t identify any major differences.

What she said is correct. Even East Germany is only a creation after the Second World War when the major allied forces divided Germany into two parts. East Germany had been left out with the communist USSR and their puppet East German administration. But when the cold war came to an end and the demise of the Berlin wall in 1989, the new united Germany had made East Germany part of the existing federal system in other parts of the Germany as a new territory. The capital of the new unified Germany was shifted from the then West German capital Bonn to the then East German capital Berlin.