I lived through the Second World War in the middle of Europe. I saw the fiery retreat of the last German troops and the cautious advance of the first Russian soldiers on a dark, frozen morning. Twenty years later I went to Winston Churchill’s funeral. I saw the London house where he died; I walked past his bier in Westminster Hall; I knew that I was a witness to the last great moment of the British Empire. Another twenty-four years later I walked in the streets of the small town where Adolf Hitler was born one hundred years ago. I think I’ve had enough brushes with history; I do not wish for more. But I am eternally thankful to God for having allowed my puny self to work with an inadequate little brush of my own manufacture: trying to present what certain people in certain places and at certain times did and said and thought and feared and hoped for.