A Life in a Year – 25th January, The Victor Comic and German Lessons

The Victor was a story paper in comic book format published weekly that ran for 1657 issues from 25th January 1961 until November 1992. It featured many stories that could be described as “Boy’s Own” adventures.  In particular, each week the front cover carried a story of how a medal had been won by British or Commonwealth forces during the Great War or the Second World War. That’s a lot of British war heroes and to put that into perspective there were over 1,600 editions of the Victor but only one hundred and eighty one Victoria Crosses awarded during the entire Second World War.  Associated with the weekly comic was the annually published Victor Book for Boys which first appeared in 1964, with the last edition published in 1994.

My only real knowledge of the German language is what I learnt as a boy from the Victor, which was a jingoistic publication for boys that featured stories about British gallantry in the two world wars of the twentieth century, and as these were stories about British heroes the comics were restricted to a handful of often repeated German phrases ‘Achtung’, ‘Luftwaffe’, “Hände Hoch!’ and my personal favourite ‘donnerwetter!’ that translates strictly as ‘thunder weather’.  I am not at all sure if that is a real German word and I can’t find it in the dictionary but  I suppose it was meant to be a curse and realistically it was a kids comic so I don’t suppose they could use the more appropriate ‘fücken hölle’ without getting a postbag full of complaints from angry parents.

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