What a crazy world! I was at a large work related litigation/insurance process recently, and lawyers doing what lawyers do, we were separated in to different groups and left for hours at a time, whilst the lawyers wheeled and dealed.
In my room was a retired inspector named Ray, who although an independent in the case, was lumped in with our group. We got to talking about his career, and living in Canada, bla bla bla, and it became evident that he was alot older than he looked.
At some point it came about that he lived in Berlin as a child post WWII. So of course I had more questions! As my grandfather served as an air traffic controller during the Berlin airlift!
“Ray” went on about the Airlift for sometime, and how he said the allies literally saved his family from starvation. And he talked about how they would bomb the schoolyards during the day with lumps of coal, and that the coal was then carried off to the power plants, to provide the city 2 hours of electricity a day. Etc etc, it was fascinating!
At some point I impolitely asked what year he was Born in… He said 1935.
And then of course… the infamous question… Living in Berlin, from 1935 to 1945… did he ever see Adolf in a parade? or at a speech? I mean surely… the dude SURVIVED the Battle of Berlin after all!
So it turns out… a bit embarrassed to tell me, Ray acknowledge that at some point in 1944, in a cold air raid shelter, he actually met the fuhrer and shook his hand during a photo op!
As a kid, with the nazi propaganda and all, Ray was excited at the time about it. He came home and told his father “I am never going to wash my hand!” Ray’s father promptly told him that if Ray didn’t wash his hand right then and there, and tell NO ONE of what happened, his father might never speak to him again! LOL! (Ray mentioned his father was regular Wehrmacht, and fought the Canadians along the boot of Italy, Ray’s father in law was also in the same battle on the allied side!).
Of course… I’d already shook Ray’s hand with NO knowledge of the living history in front of me. I can’t imagine the difficulties he and his family faced during those times.
At the meeting, Ray’s was put on the hot spot, with lawyers coming at him from every angle. Someone said privately “I think he’s going to break under the pressure.”
I laughed and said “you have no idea what he can handle”