1945: The Savage Peace - BBC2(6 Posts)
Did anyone see the documentary about the 12million Germans in Eastern Europe after the second world war ended and how they were treated? I am almost moved to tears about what the Russians did to people after the Jews were treated horrifically in the same areas.
I saw it and thought it was an excellent programme. I came on this thread to see if anyone was talking about it. I didn't see it from the beginning - I came into it when they were saying 2 million German women were raped after the war, which I thought was horrific but then it just got worse.
Got a bit lost with what happened in which country. The woman who described her nanny being raped I think happened in Germany, by Russian soldiers? Czechoslovakia was bloody awful, and Poland too. The instances that stuck in my mind was the film of the lorry deliberately driving over the dead bodies of the German civilians who had been lined up at the side of a road and shot dead, and the woman who recalled her and her siblings (when they were children) having to dig a grave for their mother and bury her themselves.
It made me wonder what the soldiers of the Allied countries got up to. I imagine there would have been some atrocities but nothing on the scale of what was described in this programme.
Tempted to post in Chat to encourage people to watch it on iPlayer.
For anyone reading who hasn't seen the programme, basically after the war ended some people in the liberated countries turned on the resident ethnic German population and treated them in pretty much the same way as the Germans had treated their victims: mass shootings, public hangings, forced marches, imprisonment in camps where many died through ill health or became emaciated and skeletal-looking. And it wasn't just a brief madness - it went on for some time. At the end of the programme it said 6 million Germans were expelled from what had been their home countries and it was the biggest example of ethnic cleansing in history.
oh plexie, I know! I was distraught for the lady who explained that they as children lost their baby brother due to others cramming on top of him, then having to dig a grave for their mum and finally wandering like feral children all the way to Lithuania! The shear psychology of living with such memories for the rest of your life, when you later find out as an adult that you are tarred with the same brush as all other Germans.
It was a painful watch. I do wonder how many ethnic Germans know of this history, or if it has been shown in Germany & Austria (doubt it). On another propaganda note, I do wonder why they (the BBC) showed this documentary so long after the VE day celebrations? Correct me if I'm wrong but, surely it would have helped to educate people about the aftermath of the war. Also an entire series would have added real depth and understanding. On the other hand if they had probed all of the acts of the allies then they may have found some war crimes committed by the Brits too unfortunately.
gatlinout: is that the book by Keith Lowe? I saw a couple of people recommend it on Reddit and I had a look at the sample on Amazon. It looks very good so it's now on my reading list.
Plexie, yes that's the one. So interesting (if you can detach from the horrors of it all).
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