Angela Findlay

A German Family in WW2

(The Second World War through the eyes of an ordinary German family)

The Second World War is a subject that has an on-going and infinite fascination for so many. And in recent years it has become more important than ever to learn the lessons of the past. With her Anglo-German roots, Angela Findlay is a contemporary witness to the lingering impact of the war on young Germans and Germany’s fascinating process of coming to terms with its dark past.

In this talk, Angela uses stories of the German side of her family to bring to life everyday occurrences in WW2 Germany. Through the wartime experiences of her grandfather, a decorated German General who fought on the Russian Front, and her mother, one of four children forced to flee their Berlin home, the audience are presented with some of the difficult situations of life in Nazi Germany. Times have changed, but similar moral dilemmas, guilt and trauma continue to affect people all over the world.

Through letters, diaries, photographs and military records Angela asks questions rather than gives answers and thereby transports her audiences to the period in a way that enables them to relate to it more personally and imagine it more vividly. She also presents Germany’s little known, yet fascinating and widespread, counter memorial culture of apology and atonement. So different to our memorials, the ensuing artworks are bold, brave, confrontational, humble and moving attempts to remember what so many would rather forget.

This talk is particularly relevant in relation to Remembrance Day and Holocaust Day and is excellent preparation for school trips to Berlin.

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