I just asked mom about this again, and the surname was "V....", although the "h" wasn't pronounced, perhaps from Yiddish (ironically, basically a
dialect of German, which the couple both spoke fluently).
Both them and my German grandparents were already pensioners at the time, so they're all deceased now.
It's too long here to go into what people did during World War II, except to say we were immigrants from the Saarland (itself a constant historical
football between Prussia, Germany and France), and my parents came to South Africa around 1981. My German grandparents (although my other grandma was
actually French) suffered immensely during the war, and my grandpa was a Russian prisoner for 5 years after the war ended. They claimed they never
knew any Jewish people before or after the war, and in that part of Germany the Jews were less than one percent of the population. When the war
started, my grandpa was a mine foreman who had already done his national service, and his position should have been secure, since miners were exempt
from conscription as crucial to the war effort. But then the Nazis wanted him to go to Dachau to write a report on how well the Russian prisoners were
treated. His report was too honest and damning however, and the Nazis sent him straight to the Russian front as an ambulance driver as a punishment
The F's (or V's, as it turns out) fled to SA just before the war and the holocaust.
Obviously their families, as most European Jewry, did not survive.
So, I thought about that encounter very often, because here we have this encounter between two European peoples, both sitting on land expropriated
from the indigenous Khoisan people at the tip of Africa.
And mom recalls Mr. F didn't even want to drive a Mercedes, because it was a "German" car!
I don't know what the adults spoke about, but my granny for the first time admitted something about the holocaust (the leaves changing color).
Ooh, don't say that, the weather's going to change!
But some army still wants all our sons, but here the blinkers were still on.
The Angolan War (which lasted 23 years), and then the political violence which followed the Cold War in South Africa until 1994.
They couldn't see the postcolonial issue yet, or their sons still in the army, or issues we have to grapple with today still.
But it was a change, or a start.
A triage of past, present and futurity at the same time.
Perhaps as Mohammed Ali (the boxer) once noted on the Vietnam War: It was the white man sending the black man to fight a war against the yellow man,
to defend the land they stole from the red man.
A bit simplistic, but people drinking tea and coolers, while ignoring another reality staring them in the face.
(Not to blame any of these people for the forces and realities of history. They all worked hard and paid for everything they had. They weren't
responsible for colonialism or the holocaust, and whether Khoisan descendants are better off now under the ANC than apartheid is a debatable political
issue - not for me to say. And I know, Mrs F missed her sons terribly, hence her interest in my action figures. Well, at least the sons I hear are
running very successful electronic businesses today.)
edit on 10-10-2021 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)