Hitler Ruins Everything

, , , , , | Friendly | July 19, 2018

(I’m on vacation in London with a friend and we are using the tube. We are German, but as we both lived in Ireland for a while and love British movies and television, our English skills are pretty good. As we chat about our plans for the day in German, I notice two middle-aged ladies sitting opposite from us, looking at us rather annoyed. My friend chatters on about the museums we are visiting today, but I can’t help but listen to the conversation in the seats opposite from us.)

Lady #1: “…and you can’t even go on the tube anymore without hearing every kind of jibber-jabber language. Germans, I can hear that all right.”

Lady #2: “Did you hear how they are trying to make [some English name] bow to their will in Brussel? They know the EU will suffer from losing us.”

Lady #1: “I’m sure they are happy about it. Then they can go back to their old ways, heil Hitler and everything. Mark my words: it’s a Nazi Europe out there without us, and we are better off the earlier we can rid us of that.”

(My friend stops talking as she notices me intently listening and looking at them. They notice me, too, and are — correctly I might add — a bit embarrassed. Then [Lady #1] goes for the rescue.)

Lady #1: *very polite with big smile* “Hello, do you speak English?

Me: *nods* “A bit.”

Lady #1: *very cheery* “Are you here on holiday? I heard you speak German; I learned some in school, back in the day. So, guten Tag und gute Reise! Haha, that’s all I remember!”

(I breathe deeply and answer, with my very best British accent:)

Me: “Well, that’s marvelous and good for you. But I would advise you to keep the Nazi-talk and ‘heil Hitler’ out of any German conversation, if it’s not a critical historical discussion. It is even punishable by law to use ‘heil Hitler’ in public, even in jest. I hope you are able to visit Germany one day, but I am not sure how it will work with non-EU citizens in the future. I’m sure you will be able to figure something out, should it ever come to that.”

(They did not find any more words before getting off at the next stop, rather hurriedly. For the record: this was the most memorable thing for me, as I have never EVER had any other Brit be that impolite to me before or after that in my life. I really would love them to stay in the EU, if only so I can keep visiting without a visa or whatnot.)

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