Posts Tagged ‘than’

More than 7,000 Japanese war victims’ remains never claimed

August 13th, 2015

Approximately 100,000 people perished in the inferno, a further 125,000 were injured and 1.5 million people lost their homes.

The cities of Osaka, Yokohama, Kamaishi and Sakai were also identified as important strategic targets for the Allies and were heavily bombed.

The remains of 815 people remain in storage in Hiroshima, killed in the first atom bomb attack, while 122 residents of Nagasaki are awaiting collection.

Temples in each of the cities are storing the remains of people who could be identified by their clothing or identity papers but have never been collected by relatives.

The temples have repeatedly appealed for family members to come forward to take their relatives’ remains but it is unlikely that any more remains will be claimed seven decades after the war ended.

In many cases, men sent to the front never returned and other family members were killed but never identified.

As many as 500,000 Japanese civilians died in the conflict.


World War Two

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Generation War, episode 1, BBC Two, review: ‘never less than compelling’

April 29th, 2014

I’m possibly not alone in having groaned a little at the prospect of Generation War (BBC Two). Acclaimed as this German drama was in its homeland – described in Der Spiegel as “a turning point in German television” – I was pretty much all warred out already by the BBC’s commemorative First World War season. Did I really want to sit in with something just as bloody and depressing about the Nazis and the Second World War?

Well, yes, in many ways. Generation War was certainly well made and never less than compelling. Its theme lay in the title: an examination, by their heirs, of the morals and motives of the previous generation of Germans who followed Hitler and did his bidding. We started out simply enough meeting the main players – five young Berliners full of life and enthusiasm in July, 1941.

That they were quite so brimming with optimism seemed a mite unlikely given that two of them, Wilhelm (Volker Bruch) and his brother Friedhelm (Tom Schilling), were soldiers heading off to serve in a war Germany had been fighting for two years already. Charlotte (Miriam Stein) was preparing to serve as a behind-the-lines nurse, while Greta (Katharina Schüttler) had hopes of being the next Marlene Dietrich. Even less likely was that their pal Viktor (Ludwig Trepte) was a Jew, and openly so, long after associating with Jews became unacceptable under Hitler.

Sure enough, over the next six months their worlds were brutally shattered. On the Russian Front Wilhelm committed acts that betrayed his ideals of German superiority. Charlotte gave up a Jewish doctor to the SS. Friedhelm sacrificed the lives of civilians to save his own. Greta betrayed her great love Viktor not only to save his life but to progress her career; while he was forced to accept her help knowing the nature of her betrayal.

That it was not just war but the Nazi regime as a whole that debased everyone involved is a fair, if obvious, point. But there was much missing from Generation War. Chiefly any sense of responsibility on the part of its characters for the existence of that regime in the first place. This is a question always argued about the Holocaust: how much did ordinary Germans know? Here the sense of general ignorance seemed to cover every aspect of life under the Nazis. Not excuse-making as such, but certainly there were times in this opening episode at least – for all the excellence of the drama being enacted – when it felt as if the central, most difficult question was still being dodged.


World War Two

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