Local writers Afiena Kamminga, left, and Giselle Roeder will read from their Second World War books at Harbourfront Library on Nov. 10. (JOSEF JACOBSON photo)

REMEMBRANCE DAY: War years put into words

Authors recount true and fictional stories from the Second World War

To Giselle Roeder and Afiena Kamminga, war is not something that happens on a far-off battlefield. To them, war happens at home.

Roeder grew up in Germany during the Nazi regime and subsequent Soviet occupation, while Kamminga was born in the Netherlands as the war was coming to an end.

In observance of Remembrance Day, the pair of local writers will be reading from books they have written about civilian life during the Second World War.

Roeder’s book, 2014’s We Don’t Talk About That, is a memoir recalling her life in Nazi Germany before fleeing to West Germany and eventually Canada.

Kamminga was too young to remember the Nazi occupation. Her new book, The Storks Came Back, is fiction but has a basis in the wartime recollections of her husband, who grew up in Denmark in the 1940s. She said both books complement each other as they view the war from different angles.

“The Second World War has so many aspects and here in Canada it’s often, of course, seen as something overseas but in our background it’s right on your doorstep,” she said.

Both writers describe the experiences of those displaced by war, in Roeder’s case from a first-person perspective as incoming soldiers evicted her family from their home. Kamminga said her husband described the confusion of seeing both Nazi soldiers and German refugees in Denmark.

“You can really see that we are all people and we’re all caught in it,” Kamminga said.

“Because even the Danes, who really, really didn’t like Germans very much, they ended up feeling so sorry for these people coming from Germany.”

The authors said that the stories they tell in their books are still relevant more than 70 years later. Roeder said she sees similarities between the rise of Adolf Hitler and contemporary belligerent heads of state.

“It is very scary because when you follow Hitler’s development and Hitler’s rise, it’s the very same thing. It’s just happening all over and people are blind. They don’t see it because they haven’t lived through the time,” she said.

“When this North Korean thing happened I just got the shivers and I thought, ‘Oh my God, they look so perfect when they march and when they line up every inch is just like the SS.’”

“This is scary because it happens again and again and again,” Kamminga added.

“And big world leaders, they fairly easily say, ‘Let’s go to war with these people, they have aggravated us long enough’ … but the people who really live through it, the regular people, get it on their doorstep.”

WHAT’S ON … Writers Afiena Kamminga and Giselle Roeder will read from their Second World War books The Storks Came Back and We Don’t Talk About That at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library on Friday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo hospital will get a new $34-million intensive care unit

Province of B.C. making announcement this morning

Lantzville isn’t certain its fire hall can stay where it is indefinitely

Councillor raises question around municipal fire station situated on provincial land

Nanaimo baseball team builds practice facility inside recycling depot

Mid Island Pirates held first training session inside Regional Recycling on Tuesday

Regional District of Nanaimo committee chairs appointed

Coun. Ben Geselbracht to chair RDN solid waste management committee

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Tour marks 30 years of handmade art

Around 20 artists and artisans south of Nanaimo to open their studio doors

Family-friendly production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ comes to Nanaimo

Local playwright describes adaptation as ‘less Alastair Sim, more Muppet’

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP look for tips about suspected poppy donation thief

Police have released images of a man suspected of stealing poppy donation cans

Regional District of Nanaimo to review water infrastructure

Region to make assessments of each of its water service areas

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Watchdog calls for probe into police board spending on former Victoria police chief

Police Complaint Commissioner says accountable and transparent review is in public interest

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Most Read