I watched Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist' for the first time and I can honestly say it certainly deserved the Oscars and BAFTAs it won. Superb film. It was very moving and whilst I was initially getting worried about watching it when I'm not at my most 'high spirited' (I thought it might tip the balance from 'annoyed and apathetic' into the 'depressed and upset' zone) I came through it intact and with a very deep appreciation of what many people had to endure only a few decades ago.
The end of WWII was in 1945. That was 27 years before I was born. I can remember 27 years ago (I would have been 5 going on 6). 27 years is not a long time. 60 years is not a long time either, although we tend to think of WWII in a very distant context. It was something that our grandparents (or maybe parents or great-grandparents) fought in and lived through. It's something we see in hollywood blockbusters or old black and white newsreel footage. The pictures look so ancient that it must have been long ago. It wasn't and that was brought home to me tonight.
I was also amazed/appalled at how so many people could just roll over and take the abuse and tyranny that was aimed at them. People just stepping to one side and watching their country, their city, their neighbours, their family pulled apart and destroyed. People ignoring what was going on around them whilst a corrupt and malicious government beat people into submission with an fanatical ideology. Whilst others planned, assisted and eventually fought back.
I'd end up getting myself killed. I'm pretty sure I'd end up trying to help someone or saying something 'inappropriate' or just letting my emotion get the better of me. Or at least that's what I'd hope I'd do (the fighting back part, preferrably not the getting killed but) but I don't know, none of us really know, until we're faced with the situation. I sincerely hope that the world never sees anything remotely like WW2 (or WW1 for that matter - but that was a very different war) again.