Last week Dalrymple wrote in the BMJ (subscription required) of the novella Comedy in a Minor Key by Dr. Hans Keilson, a German Jewish psychiatrist who escaped the Nazis by moving to the Netherlands and hiding in the home of a couple. The piece closes with this:
As it happens, an old woman in Paris whom I know quite well recounted to me how she was travelling in a bus there 60 years after the end of the occupation and started to speak to a woman of her own age. They became friendly, and the other woman asked the first where she lived. She gave firstly the address and then the number of the flat in that building. When she heard the answer, the second woman burst into tears. It was the very flat, opposite the local commander’s office, in which she had spent the whole of the occupation, hiding in terror, never appearing anywhere near a window.
Ghosts certainly come back to haunt us—if they ever really go away.