On 21st June 2013, I gave a talk in London on three books I have written about people with difficult histories. They are :
Slovenia 1945: Death And Survival After World War II
A Foot In Both Camps : A German Past For Better And For Worse
The Budapest House: Traumas Of Eastern Europe (to be published in September)
In all three countries, a catastrophic historical event continues to cause harmful divisions in societies today.
In Slovenia, it was the murder of 13,000 surrendered and disarmed Home Guard soldiers – 2% of the Slovene population – by Communist Partisans after World War II had ended.
For Germans, it was the fatal mistake of bringing Hitler to power, participating in genocide of the Jews and ravaging Europe with a World War.
For Hungarians, it was colluding in the dispatch of 500,000 of their Jewish compatriots to Auschwitz.
In all three countries, events confronted people were with finely-balanced moral dilemmas. Their choices had enormous consequences. Germany has accepted guilt and recovered, but in Eastern Europe, the resulting internal conflicts continue to hinder the harmonious development of societies.