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Old 2nd February 2016, 19:29
Richard T. Eger Richard T. Eger is offline
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Re: Why sons and daughters do not write about their fathers (WW2 biographies)

Dear All,

Good discussion. We need to be careful about some of the statements, as they may lead into very negative commentary.

I don't believe that the Luftwaffe participants have fully refused to enter into public commentary about their careers. We have books written or ghost written by a number of them.

The German Fighter Pilots Association ( has been around for quite a while and publishes the news magazine Jägerblatt.

To gain the fullest possible understanding of what went on during the war we need access to as many sources of information as possible, including the participants themselves. There are always the questions as to the fallibility of memory, errors in original documents, intentional confabulation, personality clashes and attitudes affecting what is told, misinterpretations, carelessness, etc. Quotations of supposed conversations given on any particular day, especially if given in flowery language, are highly suspect. To the extent possible, corroboration offers some safety in getting at the truth.

Confabulation is especially insidious, a question of "I can claim whatever I want and no one will know the difference," equating to "if I can, why not get my satisfaction by claiming something that isn't true?" This contrasts with "I can do it, but should I do it?" In other words, does the writer write with high morality or not?

In saying all this, I do hope that we won't deflect the discussion away from its original focus. I think the refusal to talk or write on one's war experience is a bit over stated in this discussion.

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