02/09/2019 (Sat) 19:32:02
"A brief but intense outbreak of revenge-taking occurred across Czechoslovakia in May and June 1945 in response to the determination of German forces to continue fighting up to, and even after, V-E Day. Foreign observers and some Czechs themselves were shocked by the scale, the intensity, and the lack of discrimination of the reprisals against German civilians. For many Germans an aspect of the expulsions was blatant theft. Czech president Edvard Beneš is quoted as saying: Take everything from the Germans. Leave them only a handkerchief to sob into. Beneš declared all Germans and Hungarians to be politically unreliable and their possessions were therefore to fall to the Czech state."
"The Czech partisans frequently took anything that appealed to them, and sometimes simply moved into a German’s house, adopting the former owner’s possessions. In 1945 there were many instances of farmworkers appropriating German farms, junior doctors taking over German medical practices, and junior managers taking over German businesses. There were cases of pure opportunism: Czechs who had formerly moved in German circles suddenly became the apostles of Czech nationalism and hunted down former German acquaintances. Once the wilder days were over, the new Czech Republic moved to regulate the plunder of German property so that the booty came to the state."
"Throughout the summer of 1945, trains of German expellees continued to pour into Berlin and other German and Austrian cities. The Western journalists who had traveled to Berlin to cover the Potsdam Conference were aghast at the scenes they encountered at the railroad stations, with dead and dying littering the platforms. Charles Bray, German correspondent of the London Daily Herald, described finding four dead Germans on a visit to Stettin Station, with “another five or six…lying alongside them, given up as hopeless by the doctor, and just being allowed to die.” "
"An eyewitness report of the arrival in Berlin of a train which had left Poland with 1,000 German expellees aboard reads:"
'Nine hundred and nine men, women, and children dragged themselves and their luggage from a Russian railway train at Leherte station today, after 11 days traveling in boxcars from Poland.
Red Army soldiers lifted 91 corpses from the train, while relatives shrieked and sobbed as their bodies were piled in American lend-lease trucks and driven off for internment in a pit near a concentration camp.
The refugee train was like a macabre Noah’s ark. Every car was jammed with Germans…the families carry all their earthly belongings in sacks, bags, and tin trucks…Nursing infants suffer the most, as their mothers are unable to feed them, and frequently go insane as they watch their offspring slowly die before their eyes. Today four screaming, violently insane mothers were bound with rope to prevent them from clawing other passengers.
“Many women try to carry off their dead babies with them,” a Russian railway official said. “We search the bundles whenever we discover a weeping woman, to make sure she is not carrying an infant corpse with her.”
"The stated rationale during the war for the transfers had been to remove a cohort of dangerous Germans—above all, fit men of military age—who might threaten the security of the countries in which they lived. Instead, it had been women, children, and old men who had been deported, while the fit men had been held back for slave labor. Not all German men were held back as slave labor. For example, approximately 5 million were held in American-run POW camps without adequate shelter or care. Approximately 1 million were starved to death in the American and French POW camps alone."
"The period of the “wild expulsions” had involved massive state-sponsored programs of violence, resulting in a death toll of many hundreds of thousands of Germans. Yet it was an episode that escaped the notice of many Europeans and virtually all Americans. Now the Allies would attempt to administer the expulsions in the orderly and humane manner specified by the Potsdam Agreement."