WW II

Central Europe
 
When one visits Central Europe and its main cities today, it’s hard to believe what has come out from the rubble and destruction that was 60 years ago.

 

In 1945 Germany and Austria were nations in tatters. Swathes of their population were despairing, homeless, bombed-out and on the move.

 

The following is a brief description of how Central Europe was ‘liberated’.

 

Whatever cities had not been knocked flat, they have been at least partially destroyed. Besides the terrible loss of human life, much treasure was gone for good, and cities that were the glory of Central Europe were no more.

 

For example, Dresden had been smashed to smithereens on Valentines Day 1945, just three months before the end of the war; in Munich the destruction of so many cultural monuments prompted the book Die Metamorphosen; Wurzburg had been reduced to rubble by the USAAF in the last days of the war. Bayreuth was the victim of its Wagner-cult; two-thirds of Weimar was flattened on account of Goethe and Schiller. Wiesbaden was saved due to bad weather that caused the air force to drop its payload on the outlying woods.

 

Hamburg as well had been the testing ground for Britain’s and America’s weapons of mass destruction; in two days of bombing in 1943, 50,000 of its residents had died. The Bavarian cities of Augsburg and Regensburg had been pulverized. The medieval cores of Stettin and Danzig had been leveled by Soviet artillery. Berlin! The list is endless.

 

East Prussia was the first German region to fall to the Red Army. At Nemmesdorf on 21 October 1944, the red army killed seventy-two women in one night; most have been raped and the oldest was eighty-four. Some of the victims had been crucified. While East Prussians tried to leave the territory by any means conceivable, trains ran head on into the Russian advance and were stopped in their tracks. Passengers froze in the icy temperatures, and the dead were thrown from the windows.

 

In hospitals all over Germany and parts of Austria, the sick and injured were tipped out of their beds, bandages ripped from their wounds, and papers burned to create more light to steal by. All the hospital’s provision in food was consumed or squandered in a matter of hours.

 

Citizens who capitulated were beaten, robbed, stripped and, if female, raped. The woman’s screams could be heard everywhere ‘SchieB doch!’ they shouted ‘Go on, shoot!’ to their rapists. One of the conquerors was a captain in the Soviet Army: Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He wrote of the rapes in a long poem called ‘Prussian Nights’:

 

          The little daughter’s on the mattress,

          Dead. How many have been on it

          A platoon, a company perhaps?

          A girl’s been turned into a woman.

          A woman turned into a corpse.

 

 

    

   

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