With the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the last of that generation who lived through it are slowly departing the stage. Otto Gaczol and his life were profoundly shaped by that war. As an ethnic German boy who grew-up in pre-war Poland, he lived through the Nazi occupation just 30 kilometres away from Auschwitz and then, in January 1945, fled west as a 14-year-old refugee when the Red Army turned the tide against the Wehrmacht and made its way to Berlin. As a young adult, he took advantage of Australia's large-scale post-war immigration programme to come here for what he thought would be a two-year adventure. It ended up being much longer than that. His story is just one of millions of similar stories of people from that generation who lived through those extraordinary times. Nonetheless, it is a remarkable story that serves to remind us of that period of great suffering and upheaval that occurred only one human lifetime ago. His journey through pre-war and occupied Poland, post-war Germany and then eventually to Australia tells a story difficult for those of us who grew up in an era of peace and prosperity to comprehend. Plato is credited with saying 'Only the dead will see the end of war.' World War II may now be 70 years ago, but human conflict has not gone away. In that context, my father's story is as relevant as ever.