Germany: Down Memory Lane

For the class of '56, no high points and no heroes, but pride in having built a sturdy democracy and belonging to the European family

The table at Josef Niehues' house is elegantly laid -- sparkling glass, glistening silver, fine china, all arrayed around a platter filled with white asparagus and ham, a seasonal delicacy. But the seven men, immersed in conversation, pay scant attention to either setting or food. The discussion, about something that happened four decades ago, still rivets their attention: Was one of their teachers then an apologist for Nazism or merely an outspoken nationalist?

The question -- never fully answered that evening -- will recur, along with related themes, over a 1988 Riesling, as the talk stretches into the early morning hours....

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