Thursday, January 26, 2023
Jan. 26, 2023

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Letter: History repeats itself


I am currently reading a nonfiction book titled “Wine and War.” It describes the efforts of French winemakers to protect the “soul of France” during WWII. It is interesting and informative, and I was stopped cold when I read the paragraph below. The names of the invading country and its leader are different, but the location and circumstances are terrifyingly congruent to events in today’s news.

To give that paragraph some context, the Hugel family had been making wine at their estate in eastern France for over 300 years. The family was under scrutiny by the occupying Germans, because the then-head of the family had not joined the Nazi party. His two sons had been drafted into the German army, and one of them, Georges, was made an officer and sent to the Russian Front.

“Georges arrived in Ukraine on July 15, 1943. Unlike the war in the West where conventional military rules applied, this was something completely different. Hitler had called it a ‘war of annihilation.’ Conquering Russia, he declared, would be easier than France. But he had underestimated the resolve of the Red Army.”

At least Hitler was honest about his goal. Almost 80 years later, is history repeating itself?

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