Theodore Stephanides encountered the widely-popular German love song ‘Lili Marlene’ when serving with the British Eighth Army, which took Tripoli from the German Afrika Korp in 1943. In two papers that I’ve found in my cellar, he transcribed his discovery.
Having parents who lived through the war as children on opposing sides – and uncles on each side who fought – I reflect on the German half of my family’s experiences: the grandfather who fought on the Eastern front, the grandmother who negotiated depression at home, and the aunt and uncle who tried to stop the Americans advancing.
This morning my German aunt died, leaving my mother as the last survivor of four German siblings. I recall a few things in tribute to her.