“It’s not easy for a German to be confronted with all the cruel crimes that the Nazis did in Normandy. Born 7 years after the war, I feel uncomfortable in spite of myself.
Today, I apologize to all the victims on behalf of the new Germany.
Thanks to the twinning of the town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives (Calvados) and Kleinwallstadt (Bavaria), I regularly visit Normandy. I found a warm welcome, now I made a lot of friends. Since 2000, I am married to a Frenchwoman, native of Normandy. This Franco-German marriage brought us a second family to each, and this enriches us a lot.
I had the pleasure and good fortune to be invited 2 weeks in the family of my wife, who lives in Saint¬Martin¬deVarreville (Manche). In the heart of this historic region, I have had very strong moments. I was able to live in my own way that terrible time of terror, by all the ceremonies celebrated and the visit of all the museums. I had the honor of speaking with many French and other nations (Americans, English and Belgians).
All these contacts have helped me understand all this painful history. During the ceremony at the former camp for German prisoners in Foucarville I met a lovely woman, who lived the war and the Nazis. I was very moved, to the point of having tears in my eyes. This lady knowing that I was German, came to me, she gave me a handshake, saying that it was the first time she had given a hand to a German. This poignant moment can never remove from my memory.
I attach great importance to France and Germany creating a Europe of Freedom and Peace.
VIVE L’EUROPE » LONG LIVE EUROPE
Jürgen Kroth 10 juin 2004
Echoing Jürgen’s message
written by a Frenchwoman who had sworn at the end of the war never to grasp the hand of a German
A year has passed since that 6th of June that allowed us to meet in front of the Monuments of Remembrance in Foucarville. Moments of profound emotion, warm movement as a long wave coming from a lively source of fraternal peace. In the sunny rejoicing of this day of remembrance, of commemoration, this handshake, this hug that we exchanged was the spontaneous expression of this vital momentum of life in peace.
I have not forgotten, the thought of this meeting I had lived during all these months, and especially when I recently visited the German cemetery of Orglandes, in front of this great expanse of greenery with countless tombs, the prayer was a peace prayer for all these men, your compatriots, and jointly together for my brother Michel, an airplane pilot who also died in the battle on May 22, 1940.
Peace to all of them in the eternal life! And peace on this land of Europe where we are given to live!
A Pope from Germany (Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger) was chosen in Rome for Catholics from all over the world, it is a great joy in my heart, Hallelujah!
Goodbye, my young friend from Germany last June 6.