Tuesday a documentary about WW II was shown at my university. Entry was free and, as I’m usually interested in history, I decided to watch it.

It is called: “You enter Germany. Bloody Huertgen and the Siegfried line” or “You enter Germany. Hürtgenwald – der lange Kampf am Westwall”. The Hürtgenwald is situated in the Eifel, in the triangle between Aachen, Monschau and Düren. American and German units fought a bitter battle there in the winter 1944/45. The Americans could, due to the terrain, not make use of their superior power and were stopped for a couple of months. The Germans resisting fought a futile battle as the war was clearly lost. Still, about 25,000 soldiers (the number cannot be reconstructed clearly) from both sides lost their lives. They showed interviews of veterans from both sides.

But my point here is not an historical essay about a battle of WW II. I rather want to exress my gratitude that I live in a time in which the enmity between Germany and the rest of the world has abated. I am grateful that I can call some persons from England and the USA friends. I am grateful that I don’t have to fight in a war.

If war is in a remote place, it seems remote, almost unreal. But to see, in grainy, shaky black and white, places that you know, that you have been to, filled with tanks, soldiers, gunfire, war … It’s shocking. And then the thought that our grandfathers fought that war.

I am grateful to live now. In the time of the ERASMUS exchange program that enabled me to get to know people from other countries. Our grandfathers had to become soldiers to meet people from other countries – and then they met with the intention of killing each other. How sad that is.