Tag Archives: World War II

A Woman In Berlin

This anonymously written diary was kept between April 20th and June 22nd 1945 by a single thirty-something journalist in Berlin, and describes first-hand the utter collapse of German power in the capital of the Reich and the coming of the … Continue reading

Posted in bleakdom: don't blink, read | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Berlin (the start thereof)

As a big city, Berlin feels odd: long vistas, plenty of space, and little of the rush and bustle that characterizes Paris, say, or London, or Tokyo. Unter Den Linden seems rather boring, featureless and staid in comparison to Ginza … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Warsaw (part thereof)

The Nazis and the Soviets between them really made a mess of this town. In late July 1944, as the Red Army reached the east bank of Warsaw’s river, the Vistula, they called on the people of Warsaw to rise … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


On Saturday night, Lublin is rocking – more even than Krakow. The old town – a few cobbled streets and a medieval square – is jammed with people partying out loud in sweltering heat. A punk band blasts cacophony from … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

earth do not cover their blood

From the moment the bus stops, Auschwitz and Birkenau, 67 and a half years to the day after their liberation, are heaving with guided tour groups in a Babel of languages. The story goes on and on: three-and-a-half almost relentless … Continue reading

Posted in anybody up there?, bleakdom: don't blink, misery for the many, freedom for the few, road | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

24 hours in Silesia

The small train from the Czech Republic came rattling through cool Sudeten mountain forests of silver birch into Poland, and then descended to the plains. When I was at school back in the 1970s I had a mental picture of … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Plzeň is ground zero of the global lager explosion – it was invented here in the 1830s (ever wondered what the Ur in Pilsner Urquell stood for?) So much to answer for… There’s a museum dedicated to General George S. … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Prague: two Sarajevo moments

somwehere in an old building at Prague castle, to my surprise, there was a window with a notice on it saying: this is where the Defenestration of Prague happened. The what? Took me back to when I was 17 and … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dresden: twice risen

Sad though it may seem, Dresden’s greatest claim to fame these days is probably that it was bombed pretty much out of existence by the RAF on the night of February 13th 1945: There are lots of modern buildings interspersed … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Sunday lunchtime, grey sky, almost no-one in the streets. a young nutter sat on the pavement, cheerfully declaiming. An entire Russian brass band busking, and all the other buskers within earshot playing along; later, a six-piece English rock band with … Continue reading

Posted in road | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment