Author Eric Koch Shares His Wartime Experiences In Latest Memoir
This Remembrance Day, Eric Koch has much to remember.
His life began 97 years ago in Frankfurt, Germany and his life in Canada began in 1940 when he was sent to Montreal from England to be interned as an enemy alien, along with other Germans, including (ironically) some Nazis.
The former CBC producer and prolific author published his first novel at the age of 60.
His latest book, the memoir Otto & Daria: A Wartime Journey Through No Man’s Land, documents his escape from Nazi Germany and his wartime experience in England and Canada. It’s also a story of lost love and lost opportunities.
The days around Remembrance Day have a special significance for him—and for the world, he says.
“I will tell you what Remembrance Day means: November 11, 1918 was the end of the First World War. November 9, in 1923 was the first Hitler putsch in Munich. November 9, 1938, was Kristallnacht. On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. These days in November, these are big days in the history of the world.”
On a more personal level, he says, “My father was a decorated officer in the German army. When he came back in November 1918 at the end of the war, there were revolutionaries at the Frankfurt railway station who removed his Iron Cross and the medals from his uniform because he was Jewish.” He adds, mischievously, “And that night I was conceived!”
Eight decades after he became a refugee from the Nazis, he’s concerned about the refugees from Syria.
“Fear about them is hysterical nonsense,” he says. “People are afraid or reluctant to welcome them because they’re of a different religion and come from a different world.”