My grandfather would have turned 100 today.

Opapa, as I called him, and I did not see eye to eye on a number of things. He was an unrepentant apologist for the Third Reich, remained anti-Russian and anti-Semitic to his dying day.

It’s not for me to do, but I forgive him for it.

He felt that my university studies – I read Philosophy – were a waste of time, and expressed his wish that I become a banker. I can’t think of something I’d less rather be than a banker. All in all, he maintained very high standards for his family, which of course very few family members met.

Nevertheless, I respected him for a few vital things.

Firstly, he had his principles, and he stood by them. While I might have disagreed with large swathes of those principles, I must accept that he did his duty, putting his life on the line repeatedly, in pursuit of his principles. It’s a subtle distinction: I disapprove of the cause he fought for in the strongest possible terms, yet I respect his complete sense of duty towards his chosen cause.

So here’s my contribution: I will attempt to emulate him in terms of devotion to my chosen causes. And I will regard any capitulation to the enemy (in my case, ignorance and oppression) as completely abhorrent. I will fight to the end.

He instilled in me a sense of the importance of family. I have no other roots than family, so I am grateful for giving me at least those.

And this did I inherit, for better or for worse: I am not answerable to any higher authority than my own honour.


About lidlesseye

Mouthing off about photography, and occasionally important things too.

Posted on August 3, 2009, in Culture, Family and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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