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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  April 27, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST

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the top story: the us wants tighter sanctions and more diplomacy, as the full senate is summoned to the white house for a security briefing on north korea. top commanders is deploying an advanced missile defence system in —— is to bring the north korean leader to his senses and not his knees. the trump administration revealed plans for what it describes as the largest tax cut in american history. it plans to/ tax to just 15%. and another pr disaster for united airlines, which is investigating the death of a giant rabbit, a little like this one, who was found dead in the cargo hold during a flight from chicago to new york. now it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. today i'm in rural northern germany. stable, prosperous, 21st century germany. but i'm here to talk about the past and its relationship to the present. my guest is the writer, journalist and son, niklas frank. now, his father was appointed by hitler to be the governor general of nazi—occupied poland. he was intimately involved in the murder of millions of people. so, how has this german son dealt with the terrible crimes of his father? niklas, i'm wondering why you have chosen to make your life in the very
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far north of germany. is it because you wanted to get as far away as possible from yourfamily background in bavaria? no, i still love bavaria. and every year we have about many weeks in bavaria, in the same village where i grew up. but it was my profession as a journalist at stern magazine, which i worked for 23 years, was based in hamburg. so, i had to lure my wife, she was attached to munich, because she is a big gardener, to her house with a big garden, so we've lived here for 33 years. this place where you now live is extraordinarily peaceful. yes, it is. would you say it has helped bring you some sort of peace of mind? ah, no.
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no, i don't think that it depends on the country i am living in. it is in myself i that have found peace, because i acknowledge what my father has done. that i think is the first and most important step. thinking of my father is thinking first about his victims. there is no german around who has not certain pictures of corpses in his mind. and those pictures always remind me of my father, what he did. and especially when i look at him... that's the leather coat of my father. it's a scarecrow. in german, you call it vogelscheuche. and this scarecrow is the most
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expensive one in germany, i would say, because i bought it from a soldier who had stolen it. the coat, you mean? the coat, yes. and someone gave me a call and asked it if i was interested in the coat of my father and i said yes. she wanted $500 and i paid it. you mean this old military greatcoat, leather coat, is actually your father's old coat? yes. what i have to admit, since the scarecrow is standing here, i have got a stronger connection to my father. it's very strange. and always, when i'm sitting in our living room, looking at him and say, "this you have earned, father, being a scarecrow in the end." that's your fault. niklas, i want to hear more about your family history. i want to dig deeper
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into your relationship with your father. but i also want to get out of the cold north german wind. that is a good idea. why don't we head back into your home? ok, that's great. bye—bye, scarecrow. niklas frank, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. do you feel that you have some sort of a duty to your country to speak about your past? i think so, yes. i have the duty because, by chance, i was born in this family and i could tell the people... ah, how to behave with parents like i had. when do you think you first began to feel that you must speak out as volubly, as publicly as possible about your father and about your feelings
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toward your father? it was a growing wish, because of the silence in germany. families, all the families of my friends, everybody was silent. and they didn't talk about the past. and this i couldn't endure, because i always wanted to know how is it that society behaves if it changes to a dictatorship. and i always have a feeling that germany is still prepared to do this. and so i looked closer towards families and friends
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and connectedness, and ifound out that still there is something in the german people which makes me fear them. fear, your own country and your own people? yes, i would say so. well, i want to pick up on that, because that's a pretty remarkable thing to feel and to say. but before i get to your thoughts on the country, on germany, i do want to stay with the personal. because it seems to me in that period you're talking about, after the end of the war, and for decades afterwards, many families of senior, top nazis still felt a sort of, a residual, a vestigial loyalty to their kin, to their blood. did you never feel that? no. especially not for my father. it's slightly different
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with my mother, because i have experienced my mother as a really fighting motherfor us. but she was a nazi too. she wasn't a nazi. was she not? she was never a member of the nazi party, nor was she a nazi. she hated all this screaming of her husband when he was delivering a speech. and she hated this kind of stuff. but she very much liked the luxury she found through the position of her husband. she was a very cold and inhuman woman. in terms of your father, i want you just to look at this picture with me of your father in his nazi uniform. when you look at him, do you feel anger, rage,
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what do you feel? angerand rage, angerand rage. and the next thing was i always... the word which for me is always sticking to my father is, what a coward you are. what a coward. and that feeling isn't just a memory feeling, it's something that is very alive in you. it's very alive, it's very alive. it is still as if he is sitting in your place. i despise him, really. he died, he was hung, after the nuremberg trials, when you were seven years old. so i'm just wondering how strong your memories can be of him when you were in that castle in krakow, his headquarters, the headquarters of the nazi force
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in poland, do you really remember what it was like and what he was like? no, i didn't remember what kind of profession he had. i only knew poland was ours. and the castle was ours. and the other castle outside of krakow was ours. and there were our properties. it was almost like you were part of the royal family. yes, it was, it was. and this i enjoyed very much, like my mother. i enjoyed it. what about the truth of the unimaginable crimes and cruelty as a young boy growing up from the age of, well, from being a baby to being six years old. did you have any awareness of what was happening? no.
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the only thing was, when i accompanied my mother into the krakow ghettos, when she was shopping, maybe it was one visit, maybe more, but i remember especially this one visit, there was a lot of people, everybody was looking very sadly. and this was the only memory. but i didn't know where it was. later on i talked to my mummy, my beloved hilda, and i told her the flashes of my memory. and she told me it was krakow and we were together and i remembered her sitting beside me in the car. we now associate your father with the holocaust. he was instrumental in delivering millions ofjews and others to their deaths, and he seemed to be enthusiastic about it. was there any way that anybody else in your family could have known exactly what was happening? exactly knew it, um,
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his wife, my mother. your mother? she knew exactly. you have to imagine this wawel castle in krakow, it was really like a kingdom. everybody knows each other, yes. everybody talked to each other. they knew exactly what was going on in the death camps and what was going on day by day. you have said, i think, that you have no doubt that your father loved hitler more than he loved his own family. yes, that's for sure. and you use that word love advisedly. you really mean love. really love, real love. it was something of a homosexual kind of love. tell me about your last encounter with your father. he, of course, was tried
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at nuremberg as one of the top nazis to be held responsible for the genocide, for the war crimes, crimes against humanity. but before he was executed, you saw him one last time. yes. sitting on my mother's lap, it was a big room on the other side... i will always remember i was sitting behind this window with small holes to understand each other. i was sitting on my mother's lap. and knowing that will be my last visit to him. and he smiled at me and laughed. do you have a picture of him at nuremberg? it is here, during his... this is during the trial. during the trial, yes. so, he smiled.
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and what did he say to you, what was his last message to you? the last message to me was a big lie. i knew that he would be hanged and he told me, "hi, niki," which was my name in the family, "hi, niki, we will soon celebrate christmas at our house," and i was really thinking, "why is he lying, why is he lying?" let's move forward and think about the impact of all this on yourfamily. you have siblings, two older sisters and i think two brothers. yes. could you, in the years that followed, talk to them, share feelings with them, actually have the same sort of understanding of what your father had done and what it meant to you as a family? i was living in a boarding school until i finished school. we were separated in different places. but whenever we came together, after a short "hi,"
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we were discussing our father. and then very slowly i found out the very different approaches to my father especially. and this separated me. because your sisters, what, they... three of my sisters defended my father as innocent victim of hitler, himmler and the justice of nuremberg. i would say it cost them their lives. they died very early. my next oldest sister, she wrote in her diary when she was a teenager, she said that she would not become older than our father and she committed suicide at a6, the same age my father was when he was hanged. my next older brother, a really great looking guy, very sporting, a very funny guy he suddenly started to drink milk, litres a day and became fatter and fatter and died of all that follows when you are too fat. he was alive in my book came out and he attacked me in public. it sort of destroyed your family.
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yes, certainly. there are many people who hear your story and the rage and the anger you acknowledge to this very day. they say there is something inhuman about it because humanity is full of the deepest failings and flaws and in the end, part of humanity is to find forgiveness. i am an inhuman being. i will neverforgive him. looking around in europe and also
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in other countries such as america, wherever, i find a lot of families have fathers who have killed a part of that family. i cannot forgive that. never. do you ever wonder if you may have had a better, happier,
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more positive life if you had found a different way to deal with what is, after all, your father's terrible crime. not yours. yes but these crimes, you can say it was my father but it comes out of demolishing society and demolishing families and killing innocent children. they were the victims, not my father. my father did it, he gave the signatures for death penalty and that sort of thing. he was responsible by german law, he was the deputy of hitler in poland. every death camp, he was responsible for. the true power, certainly it was with himmler, but he was responsible. with you talking to me, asking me this question, maybe you can see my face going red, i become furious again because it was unbelievable in which he was involved. but that is...those red cheeks, does not allow father to define you? define me exactly?
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you are giving your father another form of enormous power. he wielded this terrible power over so many millions in poland and still over you. i think you once called yourself a puppet on a string. why not cut those strings? do not allow your father, even in death, after so many years, to pull your strings. too many victims. let's not just talk about you. let's also talk about germany. you introduce that earlier and i would like to return to it. it seems to me that you feel fearful, still, of your own country and your own people. today. 72 years after the liberation of auschwitz. why? you don't know my people as i do.
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i do not trust them. nobody spoke, a normal german family never really spoke about what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers have really seen. whether they were cowards, whether they were actively involved in the system. they are silent. this is like a swamp. that swamp was never drained. so here and there in germany you find nowadays, you find these poison flowers coming up. meadows full of them. but when you say there is suddenly a meadow full of poison flowers that is where i wonder whether that is fair. this interview is being filmed by three young german men in their 20s and 30s. why should they have to bear any sense of guilt or shame or responsibility? no.
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no guilt, no shame. acknowledge. really acknowledge. if you talk to these youngsters, really, you will find out a lot of uncertainty, or not really wanting to talk about it. they say why should we be taking high school trips to bergen—belsen? why should we have to, as kids, be fed this sense of our collective responsibility? the responsibility for me as a dead word. you have to know your history, the history of your people. it hurts to admit that there was a time in germany where we left a family of people all around the world and we killed millions of innocent people in a system which was really a difficult system.
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and to be against the system then was to have a very brave character. but this hurt, you can endure, like i endured and i still love germany. i love being world champion in football, for instance. really. i am a nationalist. i also love very when merkel said she will do this refugees, now it may be thrown out, but that was a good thing. you can especially see with merkel, everything changed because we are treating them as if they werejews again. that swamp is coming. you really feel that insecure about your germany today? don't trust us. especially, i was very happy when the european community suddenly... suddenly we were watched countless all over germany,
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we have very determined centrists, so that what gave me a happy feeling — now england is leaving, poland is like a dictatorship, hungary, czechoslovakia, austria, italy, who is the strongest left? the germans. but germany today is a bulwark of moderation, of tolerance compared to so many messages coming from hungary or marine le pen or from so many people in so many corners. as long as our economy is great and as long as we make money, everything is very democratic.
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but let's wait and hopefully not see if we have five to ten years heavy economic problems and the swamp is a lake, it is a sea and we are swallowed again. i swear it to you. i don't trust it. it always makes me... thinking and feeling exactly wait a minute, there is something else. you can lead a happy life but there is something else around you. yeah, it hurts but, on the other hand, because i have had a really happy life. ask my grandchildren. niklas, what a nice way to end and we must.
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thank you for being on hardtalk. hello again. the weather is set to turn milder over the next few days, quieting down in many respects. before we get there, we had some thunderstorms. this one brought hail in west hampsted. thanks to this weather watcher for that picture. you can see the extent of the showers. you can see the extent of the showers as they have worked in. showers have tended to die away overnight.
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just one or two left over. by and large, today we are looking at a cloudy weather picture for many of us. some showers knocking around as well. a look at how the weather starts off in the morning. a lot of cloud around. showers from the word go in north—western areas. the south of england and wales, this is where the clearest weather will be. certainly a cold start to the day. patches of frost around. temperatures at —3 or so. a cold and frosty start to the morning. reasonably bright. brightness will not last. look at this. quite quickly, we will see areas of cloud come down from the north. that will tend to trap cold air. temperatures will be slow to rise. northern england, northern ireland, scotland, a cloudy start to the days. occasional bright spells. already, a few showers from the word go. breezy in northern scotland as well. through the rest of the day, showers associated with weak weather fronts will go south.
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it will turn cloudier and cloudier as the day goes by. showers in east anglia and the east of england. late in the day, the far north of england will brighten up. temperatures generally about 11 degrees. temperatures generally about 11 degrees for many of us. the weather picture through the night. showers will continue to go south. quite a bit of cloud initially. then the showers go away. that will allow things to get chilly. pockets of frost developing by the time we get to friday morning in parts of scotland and the far north of england in the countryside. here's the weather picture on friday. generally a quiet weather day. a few showers. most in eastern parts of scotland and eastern england. for many of us, a dry and bright kind of day with cloud coming and going through the day. those temperatures will be rising a little bit. highs between 11 and 14 degrees. feeling a bit more pleasant. that goes on into the weekend. saturday, by and large a dry day with sunny spells.
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western areas will have a little bit of rain. but mostly quiet for most of us. temperatures continuing to rise. 12—15 degrees. not bad for the start of the weekend. and that is your weather forecast. goodbye for now. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: war games in korea but calm words in washington. the us says tighter sanctions and more diplomacy are the way forward. as president trump and mattis have made clear, all options are on the table. we want to bring kim jong—un to his senses, not to his knees. president trump's team unveil big tax reforms but critics say they'll add trillions to the deficit. i'm kasia madera in london. half a century on, doctors confirm that a cheap drug invented by a japanese couple could save tens of thousands of mothers‘ lives.
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gay couples can't get married in australia but hundreds are doing so on british diplomatic territory. now a christian group wants that to stop.
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