When I was in the local German chorus and social club – like most honkie Americans, I have Kraut in me, but mainly I liked singing Brahms and Wagner — I sat in the alto section beside a woman from Koln of whom I grew quite fond, who remembered, in the days after the end of the Second World War, walking across leagues of Germany with her mother and her two little sisters; remembered the American GI who saw a tired woman with three tired children and gave them everything in his ration pack.

MUNICH — Germans waving welcome signs in German, English and Arabic came to the train station here Saturday to greet the first group of what is expected to be about 8,000 migrants to arrive in Germany by early Sunday, after an arduous and emotional journey through Hungary and Austria.

Germans applauded and volunteers offered hot tea, food and toys as about 450 migrants arrived on a special train service from Austria, finally reaching Germany, which had held out an open hand to them. (Click to read more at the NY Times)

All of Europe has had the shit kicked out of it at one time or another — certainly more recently in history than anywhere on my big continent — and I’m not ready to explain Hungary, say, but I think I understand the Germans shouting Welcome and pouring tea.

photo credit Fox News

photo credit Fox News

I threw some money at the UN refugee agency. I wish I knew the name of that GI. I’d tell people it was from him.


3 thoughts on “Journeys

    • In the end it’s all about what happens between two human faces.

      Imagine, moreover, that that American GI came from a family that had struggled through the Depression — like my grandfather who lost his hardware store, like my 93 year old client whose family had to go “on the county” and hated the shame. People struggling had to help each other. Private or Corporal O’Malley, Smith, Klimkiewicz knew that. Lots of German sons and daughters of people like my friend from Koln get it. I only hope enough people still do.

      • Thank you. Very true. I’m afraid many people of our generation have lived the soft life for the most part, and take everything for granted. Many of us in America today don’t understand the meaning of hardship.

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