Letter to the editor

Letter: COVID Christmas not as bad as during WW2

War survivor shares memories of Christmas day

Many people will consider the winter of 2020 the worst in their memory because of the Corona virus. However, many of my generation (I’m 90) will say that the winter of 1944 was worse if you lived in Nazi occupied Holland like I did. And yes, there were similarities. In 2020 there is the danger of dying from the corona virus.

In 1944, there was the danger of dying from starvation or a German bullet. And in 2020 we are putting our hope in a vaccine. In 1944, we were hoping for peace, which finally came in May 1945 (thank you Canada.)

There is one difference. During the war, most Dutch meant between 16 and 45 had gone into hiding because of the constant threat from the German army of being arrested. But an interesting thing happened. It was Christmas 1944. The German authorities had given the considerate. So for that one day the German soldiers put away their rifles and allowed free movement for the Dutch.

That Christmas concert was unforgettable. There will never be one like it. My mother sang “Ave Maria.” No Ave Maria will ever sound so beautiful, with the German army standing not far away. But just like the winter of 1944 which most of us survived, we will survive the present endemic. To all the German ex-soldiers who are still alive: Frohe Weinachten. Ave Maria!

Pete Selles


Penticton Western News