handed out on the treck
Today, 60 years ago, a war ended, with greater dimensions than ever
before. The 8th of May 1945 realeased Europe and with it also all Germans
from the burden of war. At the same time, the surviving victims of Nazism
could finally be freed. It looked as if the beginning of an "age of the
good" could be celebrated. But this is only one side of the 8th of May 1945.
Because for many, the sorrow begins with this date: Eastern Europe
experiences the Stalinist terror, many hundred thousands of Baltic, Poles
and other Eastern Europeans died. The Allies deport 2 million soviet
citizens back to the U.S.S.R, half of them will not survive it. Hundred thousands
of people die because of "national" purges in France, Japan suffers the atomic
destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Instead of the expected liberation Europe
is awaiting the fateful division into two power blocs.
In particular, the Germans in the regions in the east, as Eastern Prussia,
Bohemia, Moravia and the settlement areas in Eastern Europe are afflicted.
Their dreadful destiny is still pushed away till this day. Almost 15 million
people are driven out of their houses, out of their home, they lose their
entire possession. Up to 2 million women suffer the trauma of rape, about 3
million persons perish cruelly. Ten thousand of cities, villages and
hamlets are ethnically purged. Complete European regions, cultures and
dialects disappear forever.
More than a million Germans, among them even children, become forced
labourers. Ten thousands of them die in concentration camps, in Poland
there are already more than a thousand of them. 800.000 men and women
between 14 and 35 years are deported to the Archipel Gulag. Only half of them
will return - marked forever.
Up to 2 million German war prisoners die in the camps of the Allies and the
Soviets or are victims of Tito's mass executions.
200.000 persons, among them 4000 social democrats, suffer in the
concentration camps of the Eastern Zone/G.D.R, about 90.000 don’t survive.
"The 8th of may is the most tragic and dubious paradox for each of us, because we were redeemed and destroyed at the same time."
Theodor Heuss - former Federal President of Germany
"Victims are victims, no matter who the committers were."
Richard von Weizsäcker - former Federal President of Germany
"Germany will not be occupied for the reason of liberation but as a conquered enemy."
Directive of the American occupation troops, in 1945
This peace cost too many victims. It’s number is too high to be passed over
with a lapidary comment like " they had to ascribe it to themselves", or to be
celebrated boisterously by Germans on this very day. No crime justifies a second.
The British-Jewish publisher Vistor Gollancz said that the expulsion of
the Germans from Eastern Europe is an "irredeemable disgrace for the
Allies". In 1934, he documented the crimes in the nazi concentration camp
Dachau, then he fought for the admission of jewish emigrants in England and
after the war he organised a relief action for German refugee children.
Also Solschenyzin, Kopelew, Kowaljew and Albert Schweitzer, Bertrand
Russell, Robert Jungk and H.G. Adler condemned the crimes of this
Among the named there are also thousands of persons in Poland, Czechia,
Serbia, in the Baltic States, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia, who start
attending to the coming to terms with the past of their German
The masking of the terror can be understandable. It is more convenient, to stand on the side of the visitors.
But mourning needs space. Only with an acceptance of its whole history, with a widespread and healing remembrance, our country can find back to itself. Against oblivion."