Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Escaping death by a hair breadth

Some weeks ago I saw at the television a show called "Incredible but true". The last video in this series was about a lady in the United States who had escaped death several times. She even had a near miss on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead of boarding one of those airplanes hijacked by Al-Qaida, she took one earlier or the next one. I don't remember. I think she had this kind of luck six or seven times.

That made me think about my own life. It's a fact, I have escaped death by a hair breadth at least six times. Just for entertainment an to continue filling this blog, here is what happened, chronologically.

1943 - Berlin: an incendiary bomb fell right near my bedside

1944 - Berlin: nearly roasted alive in a bomb shelter

1945 - Prague: the school yard slaughter

1976 - Brussels: near miss by 3 or 4 inches, stupid car accident

1986 - Granada/Spain, Serra Nevada: avoided falling down an iced over mountain slope

1993 - French Alps, Winter holiday, missed a frontal car accident on sludgy

1993 to 2010: over 520 flights in a paraglider: nothing. Life is great!

1943 - at that far-away time, my parents and yours truly were living in an outer Berlin suburb, more trees than houses. Nevertheless, bombs were falling nearly every night. Thus we took part in the war, potential collateral. Going to bed, prior to sleeping, meant that my grandma was reading a story to me. She was a bit deaf and did not hear the sirens warning of a new air raid and the signal to run for the bunker. Ours was in the garden. But I didn't tell her because I wanted to hear the end of the story. Then the bombers came, I still hear the overhead drone but I continued to keep mum.

Then it happened: a big black bomb landed right near my bed, between me and my grandma. It must have crossed the roof, then the first floor and last not least the roof of my room without exploding. A man living upstairs burst in, grabbed the heavy bomb and threw it out of the window. Without opening it! It exploded outside, yellow flames of a phosphor bomb. It burned a large part of our hedge, mostly wild roses.

This is the first of those unhealthy happenings and one of my first childhood souvenirs. I cannot help thinking that I remember this mostly because this unknown hero who saved us did not open the window prior to throwing the bomb out. I still see this today as if it was yesterday.

Those other events? Maybe another time. This one is already long enough and most people don't appreciate reading long text on the screen. Me, too.


  1. You might well be the French Forrest Gump, always just inside the frame of history, but never in the bulls-eye.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment! If you hate long posts, though, I'm in trouble. By the way, a Hoo-doo Warning Light is additional apparatus for the beloved Bullshit Meter. Everyone should own one.

  2. Hi Georg.How do u do.
    You know you are the first person I am interacting in my life who has actually gone through the world war times.
    How did you get through such times mentally? I mean was it so bad that war was just a normal thing for you as a kid ?

    Did you ever see Hitler?

  3. To Nance
    Forrest Gump: well, I know the movie. Is this a compliment? Just for safety's sake I would like to stress that my head is fully functional, nothing special but working to the owner's satisfaction.

    Thanks for the Hoo-doo warning light. Will keep that in mind.

    To Deep Blue
    Thanks for commenting. As to your question, how to cope with a life where death is possible: there are people who break down without being hit but the majority just muddle through. Like people these days in Baghdad, Israel, Afghanistan.
    Human species is very resilient and able to cope. Can you imagine a million of headshrinkers squatting near citizens going through a war?

    As to A. Hitler: never saw him. And anyway, as a kid under ten I had other interests than meeting the head of government.

    Cheers to both of you

  4. Hi Georg,

    Very interesting to read about your near misses.
    I am curious to know whether u are Christian or jewish...if the latter, then it would be interesting to know how ur family avoide detection.

    I will completely understand if u find my questions obtrusive and choose not to answer...

    Otherwise, how have you been?

    Best Regards


  5. Hi Rati,

    No, no problem to answer: I am neither jewish nor christian but "atheistian". But to be true I hold a evangelical-Lutheran certificate of baptism.


  6. Hi George.
    It's really incredible but I think true in most of our lives. We must be survived times and again in order to be alive at the moment. I believe in that. Even now when I look back at my daughter raising and remember how dangerous fallings she had( in her size they are like those bombs you said) I become more sure of a holy protection around us.
    Thanks God you'd survived all those accidents you counted.
    Have good times.

  7. Bonjour Somi,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes, probably everybody escapes death a few times and maybe without even realizing it.

    As to holy protection: I don't think so. There were and are lots of others who didn't make it and I cannot imagine "the holy protection" was of lesser quality or so. No, the only explanation that makes sens is that we all have a certain amount of chance. Blind chance rules the world and when your number is up down you go.


  8. "I am neither jewish nor christian but "atheistian"." ...I was wondering whether this is /was perhaps an outcome of the near misses with death that you have experienced...
    Man's romance with religion has a lot to do with the philosophy that 'all is/will ultimately be well'; it is only when this belief is shattered and many times over (as it happened in your case) that the honeymoon with religion draws to an end.
    Thanks for sharing this Georg...the 'resilience' factor in you must be phenomenal!

  9. C'est le lot quotidien de l'humain d'échapper à la mort! à chaque instant notre vie peut s'achever sans prévenir.
    Il y a celui qui semble échapper à cette fatalité, mais ce n'est que partie remise, la fatalité de notre destin est imparable!
    Ma grand-mère nous disait toujours "attention tu risques ta vie dès que tu mets le nez dehors!" et on lui répondait "parce que tu crois que dans la maison on ne risque rien?" Bien entendu, c'était devenu un jeu et elle riait avec nous en haussant les épaules.
    Bonne fin de journée
    Un bisou amical

  10. Hi Georg,

    Atheism seems to be the new buzz word these days.....Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam harris are amazing in the clarity with which they raionalise things.....Sam Harris is especially my favorite...:)

    I have explained the Rs 200/Rs700 remarks on my blog comment space..



  11. PS...here is something that I had written about what is happening in europe
    Would love to know what u think as a European....

  12. To Id,
    My faith evaporated when I was 14 years old, right on the day I was sitting in church for Confirmation. I was sitting there, waiting for my turn and suddenly I thought: "what the hell I am doing here".

    Pour Viviane
    Ce qui nous protège c'est la statistique. Pas toutes les balles tuent. Comme tu dis : même le plafond peut te tomber sur la tête.

    To Rati
    These guys are the "chattering" atheists of today. Especially Hitchen, a chap I don't like. I am quite sure non-believers must have existed since prehistoric times. It is so obvious. But nearly always it is very unhealthy to say so if you cherish your life.


  13. You have had some scary times Georg.

    I think when terrible things like this happens to people the simple answer is, that it's simply not there time to go and someone greater then us is looking out for us.

    I'm glad your here Georg.

  14. To EXSENO
    Thanks for reading and commenting. I just don't remember what I thought and what I felt at that time. Looking back at those events, I don't think "someone greater" took special interest in me. Why should he? I was just one more frightened child. People were dying all around me and I was spared simply because there is always someone who passes through.


  15. Belle histoire que la tienne!!!
    faudra nous en raconter encore beaucoup car je pense que où tu as vécu les premières années de ta vie, ce devait être marquant pour un enfant.
    Mais dis moi!! cette photo est une photo de karlshrue!!! Tu étais bien à Berlin toi!

  16. I loved it. I though it was genious how you just put your thoughts on page, you can see my blog at faiths my day :)