Enemy and Liberator

Two years ago, I made an interview with my grandparents. As historian and ethnologist I started to see them as contemporary witnesses. Searching my own family also means also excavating my own childhood. The "grandparents of my childhood " were less strict than my parents. They gave me sweets and chocolates whenever I wanted. They never talked to me about the second world war. (I think the most of grandfathers in Austria don't do that). They started to talk with me about this time when I was 16 years old and only when I asked them about that time. But in this interview 2 years ago, they talked for the first time to me about their knowledge of concentration camps during the Nazi-Dictatorship. (I think that most of Austrians claim that the German and Austrian people had no knowledge about concentration-camps until the liberation by the Allied forces - America, UK, France and Russia). It seems very important to transmit the oral history from one generation to the following generation, and also to give all the pictures of family-albums a description.

For this essay I took a picture from CV's Gallery which possibly shows an "enemy" of my grandfather between 1939 an 1945 - a liberator of Austria. I don't know, if the shown soldier had been involved in the liberation of Austria, but his picture seems to me to be an symbol for many other photographs.

submitted by Gert Tschoegl
Vienna, Austria
January 1998

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