13 February, 2009

Not Fire, But Ice

My God - it took me 2 hours to get home from work today. Got down into Canary Wharf station just as they were turfing everyone off a train because there was a signal problem at Bank. Went to look for a bus but there were no buses going in remotely the right direction, so ended up trying the DLR (which normally gets so crowded when the Jubilee Line is down that the platforms are positively dangerous). Platform wasn't too bad, but the train was absolutely chocka - squeezed in - it was "no need to hold on" jam-packed. At Shadwell, they kicked us all off the train due to a problem with a train somewhere up ahead. Lots of people stayed on the platform, lots of people headed off down the Highway to look for a bus. I was one of the latter group. There were signs outside to Wilton's Music Hall - I've never been to Shadwell, but I have heard of the Music Hall so felt slightly less as though I had sailed in my ship into "here be dragons" territory. Found a bus-stop with lots of other DLR refugees in it and seconds later, lo and behold, the 100 to Elephant and Castle. Got a seat too and trundled merrily through the sleeting streets of olde London Town in the direction of Liverpool St station. At Bishopsgate got mired in an immoveable traffic jam, so got off the bus and walked up Bishopsgate towards Bank in a hideous driving sleety rain. I thanked God for my new trilby hat, my good old Esprit umbrella and boots, my scarf that I got from Karachi on a site visit years ago, my Episode coat and M&S impractical lavender woolly gloves. And comforted myself with the thought that however cold, wet and miserable I was, it beat being a Jew in Poland in 1942.

Speaking of which, what do these 4 countries have in common, that they can pat themselves on the back about: Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Bulgaria.

Answer in next post!


Blogger fumier said...

All in Group C in Euro 2004?

2:21 am  
Blogger fumier said...

Trilby? That's a bit butch. You haven't started drinking from the hairy cup, have you Phiz?

2:55 am  
Blogger fumier said...

And they all protected the Jews during WW2.

4:41 am  
Blogger FBT said...

oh, very good. The best thing is the reasons Arendt gives for the way they behaved - the Swedes could, because they were still free. The Danes as a political statement. The Italians out of a deepseated humanity. And the Bulgarians because the Bulgarians were the only real men left in Europe.

11:19 pm  
Blogger ulaca said...

Reading Primo Levi's biography, I was surprised by how few Jews lived in Italy at the outbreak of WWII. Around 40,000, if I recall, compared with 60,000 in Vilnius alone. I wonder if the populations of the other countries Hannah Arendt mentions were also relatively low.

1:48 am  
Blogger dgny said...

Considering what happened to the lad in Defiance, I could see why protecting a few might become many. I'm still reeling over the numbers - no matter how many times I hear how many died, I still can't quite absorb it.

So yes, I can definitely see how comparing oneself to the Jews in Poland in 1942 would make a vast majority on this planet feel a whole lot better.

Miserable way home, though. I took a walk today and saw Snowdrops and yellow and purple Crocus. Spring is night! Aslan returns!

6:06 am  
Blogger FBT said...

I think the point is that each of these good guys had an evil twin as it were - so if Sweden and Denmark protected their Jews, Norway did not. Ditto Bulgaria v Romania, and Italy v Greece. So each country in these pairs had roughly the same number of Jews relative to their population, but some chose to protect them and others handed them over with an enthusiasm verging - or rather going well beyond - the obscene.

5:57 am  

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