Holocaust Tourism

January 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Posted in History, Holocaust, The History Boys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Poland is trying to make Wolf’s Lair, one of Hitler’s Eastern European dwellings, a tourist destination. Concentration camps and other more artistic memorials to the Holocaust are one thing, but one of Hitler’s houses is quite another.  Can you imagine trying to explain to your colleagues the origins of your boutique hotel?

In The History Boys, there is a scene in which holocaust tourism is debated.  Hector, the boys’ eccentric General Studies teacher, wonders what happens when students visit the camps: do they eat their lunches there? Do they take photos? And if so, are they smiling in the photos?

I’ve been thinking about all this after I read Richard Morrison’s column in Times 2 yesterday.  He mentions a noisy ice cream van inappropriately parked outside Mauthausen labour camp, and it reminded me of my visit to Dachau when I was sixteen. I found it completely bizarre and almost eerie that a man should choose to jog round the perimeter of a former concentration camp.

I can’t tell you what is appropriate behaviour at Auschwitz. But I can tell you what isn’t.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/richardmorrison/article3292109.ece

 

 

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Oh, go on then…..

January 15, 2012 at 7:46 am | Posted in family, friends, motherhood, Waterstone's, work | Leave a comment
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Ladies and gents, roll up, roll up: yes, it’s that time of year again.  The time when we decide we need to lose three stone, or stop robbing cheese or graphic novels (you know who you are), or give up crack for Lent.  Don’t make me say the R-word – here are mine:

1) Be a better mum. Patience, time, and most of all, love.

2) Go to Italy, for god’s sake.  It’s ridiculous I haven’t been there yet.

3)  Get an AM job in the next year. It will happen.

4) Get in touch with people I’ve not seen in christ knows how long.

5) Give up the cancer sticks.

That’s all.

Stockholm, mon amour

May 5, 2010 at 8:41 am | Posted in dreams, travel | Leave a comment
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The view from DEN RÖDA BÅTEN MÄLAREN

Last night, my dreams were devoid of coin-covered Frenchmen, and filled with Stockholm.  I dreamed I stood outside a chocolate and oyster shop which featured in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy (if you’re asking what that is, why haven’t you read them already?).  Sadly, I missed the Millennium tour when I was in Stockholm last summer, as it runs only on a Saturday.  However, hopefully it will become more frequent, as the interest in Stieg refuses to die down (probably not the best cliche to use, as Larsson is in fact dead now.

Speaking of cliches, those they use about Sweden are true: there are lots of healthy young things storming around the city on bikes, it is very clean and it is mouth-droppingly expensive (so much so that we ate most of our dinners at McEvil.  The shame.  Pie is paj in Swedish, btw).

But nothing was cliched about our hostel,  Den Röda Båten Mälaren.  Greeting us on our arrival was the scene below:

which I changed later to:

Plopp, indeed

Do not trust Swedish chocolate.   Not only the name, but also the taste of that bar was decidedly suspicious.

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