Grandad’s Diary. 4th February 1945

Entries from 4-10 February 1945

Quiet day. Visited friends. More coffee and tales. Jerry stole a lot and took all he laid his hands on.

A ‘quiet day’ for Grandad for drinking coffee and hearing stories about the oppressive regime of an invading force.

I wonder if the ‘friends’ were the people he visited three days earlier on the 1st February. Or by ‘friends’ does he mean another group of soldiers stationed nearby.

We all need quiet days from time to time.

Grandad’s Diary. 1-2 February 1945

Today’s entry

How dear the shops are. Plenty of fancy goods in leather, glass, brass, cosmetics. Will have to take some back with me. Spent evening with local family. Told me of German greed. How happy they were when Russia only 40 miles from Berlin and millions of evacuees. Gave us coffee.

Today’s entry seemed to span two days in the diary, hence me mssing a posting yesterday.

There are some lovely observations from Grandad here. One of my perceptions of the 2nd World War is that Allied success was partly contributed to by a much greater collective effort than in Germany, wehre at the start of the war, the job of carrying out the war was just the provinve of the armed forces, rather than everyone on the country. I may be wrong in this – I am no historian – but the observation that the shops were full of ‘fancy goods’ would beack up that theory. Grandad had not seen fancy goods for 5 or 6 years – they were not needed for the war effort and so were not in the shops. By contrast, in occupied territory these goods were available.

This is the first time that Grandad hears stories of the occupation – it’s clear that he is keen to find out what life has been like, or he would not have noted it down. I suppose that when you hear a story that your enemy is greedy it helps to justify what you’re doing.

At this point Russia is only 40 miles from Berlin and everyone is happy. We see how that plays out after the war…

And coffee. I’ve just had by third cup this morning – fantastic Ethiopian Sidamo from Sainsbury’s. But my impression is that in 1945, Britain was very much a tea-drinking nation; coffee a much more European thing. I can imagine it must have been a real treat to have a fresh cup of Belgian coffee in the winter of 1945.