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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks and temperature checks now mandatory to enter Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Mall says it’s the first in B.C. to put the measures in place

Snuneymuxw, province sign land transfer agreement that includes parts of Mount Benson

First Nation sees economic development opportunities through forestry partnerships

Islands Trust Conservancy gets funding for protection of at-risk species

Conservancy manages habitat for more than 25 plant and animal species at risk

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre returns to the stage in Port Theatre debut

Theatre group presents ‘2 Across,’ described as a ‘middle-aged romantic comedy’

Purebred breeders go for a walk in Nanaimo to show off their dogs

Purebred dog breeders sometimes get a bad rap, says event organizer

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read