18 November 2008

Englischer Friedhof

I have a bee in my bonnet that will land me in trouble. Look out for this page vanishing almost as soon as it's been posted.

That foto is rather a good one, being of our new locum taking the Remembrance Day service with a German grave in the foreground.

There are *many* Germans buried in this Protestant cemetery - nowhere else for them - and George Psaila tends them all and keeps the graves tidy.

According to George, not once can he recall any sort of official visit by a representative of the German consular corps; nor, I gather, has anyone thanked or acknowledged his work.

I am intrigued by this and am of half a mind to pursue the matter further.

But herein lies a quandary: the German consulate is above a favourite restaurant overlooking the Liston. I pass it daily and could easily pop in and pop my question.

My nerve fails me because the current consul, Mr K Gisdakis, is a personal pal of someone I fear to offend.

So here I sit, cowardly lips buttoned for the nones.

Grave Commission. Still in cautious mode, let me write in my favourite currency, hearsay. As I stood there, head bowed, I couldn't help rankling at the desecrations around me of some of the grave placings.

I was there the day after it had been completed and walked with a George who could hardly stem the tears of rage.

Look at the noble simplicity of that cross, insulted by the crass cookie-cut 'foundation' of the graves beyond. All hearsay, remember, chaps. Hearsay.

According to GP, a delegation from the WG Commission arrived to inspect and shore up (or whatever they called it) certain graves. They were, apparently, unwilling to conduct their inspection on foot and made G open the gates for their vehicles to come thru. I saw the damage the vehicles had done, not just on the corner stonings but on the paths.

Lucky for us all I don't have photographic evidence or the Corfucian Irregulars would be executing a midnight raid on a certain office and firing off emails to certain WGC prefects.

I don't know: look at this rubbish. Talk about sore thumb out-stick. Does it look respectful to you? Any thought gone into it, think'st thou? Exactly.

I have asked George to alert me when next these types turn up and I will be there with camera and camerades to observe and 'discuss' their concept of tasteful grave-scaping.


Simon Baddeley said...

You drew my attention to GP some time ago and mentioning that led to this about the second Corfu Incident:
My mother did not feel up to visiting the German Graves in Crete a few years ago, but we've been to the German Cemetery at Cannock - beautifully tended. I salute your wish and your respect for George Psailas. I doubt he's a man who cares too much whether honoured or not. The reproach is ours. I wonder if something could be done with a note from someone of your standing to the War Graves Commission. The Director-General (sorry if you know this) is Richard Kellaway CBE.
For what it's worth I'll write too. How about a note to the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge
Some names: http://www.volksbund.de/kurzprofil/praesidium_vorstand/
and this shows the German Cemetery in Kifissia being looked after well:

Busker said...

Having posted this piece, I would never write to anyone. In fact, I'll probably now take the piece down.
I'm not now even sure I'll raise it with the German vice-consul, not now I know I'll get it in the neck from she-who-must-never-be-offended.

The War Graves Commission has already blundered into the Brit Cemetery, erecting slab-like foundations of various graves and spoiling the look. I understand that, rather than conducting their inspection and work on foot, they insisted on driving round. George showed me the damage he said had been done by the vehicles and it looked to be sheer hooliganism.

Thanks for the warning about writing. I'll leave this up 2 more days and then remove all evidence before I get in further trouble. With luck, the nonsense I post will continue to be unread and un-noticed.
I knew my original plan to stop posting was based on good instinct.

Sibadd said...

Oh dear! This sounds crass. As you imply anything for GP, if it is to come at all, needs to come from hearts not bureaucracies

Busker said...

Is it *me* being crass? I know I don't always write from the heart but i do try to camouflage the bureaucratese. oh dear, i was so much better at all this dissembling in my salad days.

Sibadd said...

I *didn't* mean you sounded crass. i meant I was by suggesting a note to the relevant people at British and German War Graves. I suppose what is really needed is a word in the right person's ear at just the right moment - not about the cemetery but about the man who looks after it.

Busker said...

i have dropped enough clangering leaden hints for a lifetime. i'd forget it. george has umpteen fans who write to the local rags sans effect or reaction.

Sibadd said...

These 'people' drive home to slaver over pictures of paved grass. I saw one of their pin-ups the other day: