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The Reuter Society

Marcus Ferrar

Marcus Ferrar has a fascinating family hinterland. Born of a British father who fought in World War Two and a German mother who opposed the Nazis, his roots run deep through the power struggles of 20th century Europe. He talked - movingly and entertainingly - to the Reuter Society about this challenging background, drawing on the book he has just published, entitled A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS - A German Past for Better and for Worse.

Ferrar described how he was brought up in England, seeing the war from the British side. Soon after the war, family visits to Germany gave him the chance to make friends with his German cousins and experience a different view of the world, and Anglo-German history. Later, his Reuters postings to East Berlin and other European centres gave him a deeper understanding of modern European politics.

This personal journey has led Ferrar to reflect on the divergences between the British and German character and how different choices made by ordinary men and women in both countries in the last century still affect us all today. “My background prompts me to seek a single truth to which both peoples can subscribe, and lessons which are valid for us all,” he writes. ■