Opinions: Do you forgive the Germans?: Veterans have objected to Germans marching in a VE Day parade next year

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Indy Lifestyle Online
VIOLET GREAVES, war widow: I can't forgive and don't see why I should. My life was a misery for a long time after my husband was killed and I blame the Germans for it. I still go cold when I hear German accents on the telly. I would never go there for a holiday, even if you paid me.

MOLLY HARDING, war widow: I don't hold a grudge. I used to, but my grand- daughter went on an exchange visit to Germany and the young girl who stayed with us was lovely. It's a new generation now. Believe it or not, I still miss my husband, and I never married again. He was killed in action behind enemy lines but he went missing for a long time before I finally knew he was dead. I was pregnant at the time. I brought my daughter up on my own, and I can tell you it hasn't been easy. It is time to forgive but not to forget.

ROBERT KEE, writer, former PoW: Forgiveness is an irrelevant word, reconciliation is not. After 50 years, a military celebration is perhaps rather clumsy - a celebration of peace would be more appropriate.

JOHN KEANE, Gulf war artist: Our responsibility is to the future and not to the past. The crucial point is Fascism - I can't forgive that, but I will forgive a nation. Facism did and does exist elsewhere. Germany never had a monopoly.

DR MARY FULBROOK, reader in German history: The Germany of today is very different from the Germany of 50 years ago. The gutter press view that all Germans are bad people is an ethnic, racist notion as bad as Nazi notions. Condemnation in Germany of neo-Nazism and racist attacks is much more lively and public than in Britain - they have learnt from their past.

FRANK KOVACS, actor: It could happen in any country, it's not specific to the German race. From a Hungarian point of view, the Russians committed as many atrocities yet they don't get the same bad press - it was a more intellectual form of thuggishness but it was just as brutal.

SHOLA IBRAHIM, anthropology student: You can't hold a grudge against today's Germans who weren't there, it's like blaming white people today for slavery.

DOUGLAS MASON, chimney sweep: I forgive the ordinary Germans but the Nazis, Gestapo and that lot have a lot to answer for. I was captured in Italy but was treated OK. The guards were like us, ordinary men, with wives, mums, dads and lovers. Like us they didn't know what the hell was going on. It wasn't their fault or ours - the war was started by a load of madmen.

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