Ukraine wants more guns and fighter planes from the west: given the defining event of my mother’s life, I understand why
Every time I look at the pictures of Mariupol or Kharkiv, I see a corner of Whitechapel in east London. I reacted the same way to images of Aleppo and, before that, Falluja and, before that, Grozny, because buildings crushed to rubble have a sad habit of looking the same. It brings back a memory – or rather something fainter: an inherited memory, one that was passed to me.
Its origin is 27 March 1945; the 77th anniversary is a little over a week away. Early that morning, at 7.21am, a V2 rocket landed on Hughes Mansions, a block of flats on Vallance Road in the East End. It killed 134 people, more or less instantly. Among them were two sisters, Rivvi and Feige (pronounced fay-ghee). Feige Hocherman was 33 and she left behind two children, a son not yet 11 and a daughter aged eight and a quarter. The little girl was my mother, Sara.
Jonathan Freedland is a Guardian columnist. To listen to Jonathan’s podcast Politics Weekly America, search “Politics Weekly America” on Apple, Spotify, Acast or wherever you get your podcasts