War Through the Eyes of a Child: 15 Excerpts from Ernst Glaeser’s Born in 1902

22 September 2021

To this day, history is often told through the eyes of adults. However, children see war differently. How would you explain war to children who are just learning everything? Born in 1902, Ernst Glaeser fought both World War I and World War II. Witness the World War II. If you want to see these wars and the process that affected the whole world deeply through the eyes of a child, you should definitely read the book called “Born in 1902”.

1) “I didn’t understand war anymore. Why did the men laugh so much when they went to the front? Why were the women crying now when they thought of their husbands?”

2) “There would be no war if so much gunpowder and bullets were not produced before. Everything wants to achieve its goal.”

3) “Adults find it appropriate to give good names to their evils, whereas the child lacks security because there is no branch to cling to.”

4) “But it is better to know evil than to anticipate it.”

5) “I realized that grown-ups couldn’t get along with each other. They all saw the world only as they wanted it to be.”

6) “I spend my spare time in a beautiful country. My books are enough for me.”

7) “The secrets of life must make people nervous. Maybe those secrets are mixed with people and grow.”

8) “We knew the war as a great brotherhood. Now they were suddenly declaring that it was a means of earning. The war meant that Germany must be rich, this, these coal mines, this or that sea routes should belong to Germany. We could not grasp this. Germany is a business, our fathers. Did their managers become workers of this home-based business? Since when did the heroes begin to work as workers?”

9) “People who didn’t know were sharing bread, offering cigarettes to each other, giving chocolates to each other’s children. The children were a little scared because they had never seen such nice people together.”

10) “Life was first of all meaningless to me, it was harmless. It was free from traps and false promises. Grass was grass, earth was earth, animal was animal, life was real.”

11) “My father told me why they look so good, hand in hand. It’s because they have to use their hatred against other nations. Don’t you understand that? In the past individual people were bad, now nations.”

12) “Art is for the elite only; the masses can grasp the reason for their existence in painful ways.”

13) “It was nice to get hurt. But the best thing was to get shot and die.”

14) “Living is nothing but a bad deal. But we have paid twice or three times what was given to us. We owe no one.”

15) “Most of the time I got sick for my mom to caress me.”

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