2nd March 2014
I find it curious how we in the West are treating events in Ukraine. On the one hand it is good to have Janukowitch removed. On the other hand, he was of course legally elected, but we can gloss over that little nicety. Yet this hysteria on the part of most Western leaders and media is quite repugnant. I can fully understand Russia’s position as far as the Crimea is concerned. It is in essence Russian and is highly important to them strategically. The port of Sevastopel is the home base of the Russian Black Sea fleet, and naturally they would not wish the EU, if indeed Ukraine does foster closer relations with it, to be even nearer on their doorstep, so to speak; and who can blame them. Ukraine has the port of Odessa which is far more important to them.
There can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the people in the Crimea wish to be part of the Russian Federation. Why should we stand in their way?
Indeed, since I first wrote this piece and posted it on Facebook this morning, the de facto occupation of the Crimea is now official. Should Russia decide to invade the Ukraine proper, this would turn out problematical for them. There is no need, as the Russian minorities in the East and Souithern parts of Ukraine can well undermine the government in Kiev on their own.
I do find the moral high ground that some in the West are trying to adopt, President Obama for example, quite absurd. I hardly think the USA is in a position to give us such humbuggery, one could name many reasons for them not to do so, I mention only one – Guantanamo Bay. As for our Government issuing threats against Russia, this is farcical in the extreme. We are a toothless nation with nothing but rhetoric and empty threats to offer anyone. The German government is spineless as ever, and will not issue too many threats, their trade with Russia being far too important to them; nor will the French. I have a sneaky suspicion that Holland personally even endorses events.
Let us not destabilise the region more than it already is; we should learn from our naive support of the many so-called Arab springs. They have done little to benefit the recipients of these.
Of course, what this does do is detract from many other pressing problems our Government faces at home, after all, there is nothing like some meaty foreign affair to deflect from these, such a good old stand-by.
GERMAN HISTORY RE-WRITTEN?
I will not allow this small, yet not insignificant, piece of German history go unrecorded, indeed to be airbrushed I alluded to this some years ago. However, going through correspondence I found for the first time the letter which is illustrated. It was written by Werner Scholten to my mother in 1970. I also give the background to this below. I did contact Peter Millowitsch over two years ago, but he is in denial about what happened to Else, indeed, Wikipedia makes no reference to this or her son Werner. Perhaps one does not wish to blemish her memory, but it does not do that in my opinion.
I have childhood memories of Else Scholten (1902-1981). She was an actress and a member of the Millowitsch-Theatre, a keen participant in Karneval festivities in Cologne and elsewhere. Her son I met too, to play with, although he was some years older than me. Both were good friends of my German grandparents and their family, my grandmother also being an active Karnevalistin.
Else was Jewish and had married a German, who went on to join the Nazi party, and subsequently divorced her because of her faith. The effect of this must have been devastating for Werner, their only child. Yet they survived in Hitler’s Germany. Else managed to continue to live openly in Essen for much of the war; perhaps her husband, for his son’s sake, assisting her. Towards the end of the war, however, she was taken to Theresienstadt concentration camp; she survived. Perhaps her wealth played a part in this, or perhaps her many friends played a role in this too. I have been told stories about Jews in Essen remaining in hiding during the war years, one of whom spent much of that period living in a cellar not far from where my grandparents lived. After liberation from Theresienstadt, Else remained in Germany to work, and her career went well.
Werner’s life was not to be an uneventful one. He became a well known society photographer, much feted in Germany. His undoing was an affair he had with an Iranian photographic model, Parvaneh Koshnevis, some many years his junior. He discovered she had been unfaithful to him – and shot her. The trial hit the headlines in Germany and elsewhere, and was reported at length in Quick magazine.
After the trial, where his guilt was not disputed, my mother received a phone call in London from his mother Else. I recall it well, as I was there at the time. My mother was asked whether she would take Werner in to live with us in London, and look after him. Else was wealthy and would look after my mother and Werner. My mother, after some thought and discussion with me, decided to decline the offer; she feared, perhaps not unreasonably so, that Werner was by now a little too unstable.
The curious thing is, he was not incarcerated for long. Apparently he was suffering from an incurable disease and was receiving treatment in Hamburg. We last heard, however, that he had gone to live in Teneriffe. From then on we gradually lost contact with both of them.
Else died on 14th October 1981, but I would quite like to know how Werner’s last years played out.
CAMERON MERKEL TETE A TETE
What was the point of the meeting between Chancellor Merkel and David Cameron? I see none. As for her address to both houses of parliament, this was a complete waste of time. She was, as expected, totally non-committal, and io this government believes that anything will be achieved in behind the scenes discussions, they are very much mistaken; or are they? Is this not just one big cynical PR exercise. So where does this leave Cameron with his promise to ‘renegotiate’ the EU treaty? Nowhere, but up the Swanee without a paddle.
Bishop’s Avenue in North West London is nick-named Billionaires Row; many of the houses there are in a sorry state of disrepair and neglect. That is a shame. I fond memories of being in a number of them years ago. Surely they present an excellent up-market squat?