After World War II, The First Thing European Governments Did Was Seek Revenge.

by Daniel Russ on January 30, 2014

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There was widespread violence visited upon ethnic Germans and even German speaking Europeans immediately after the Second World War. We have written about the systematic rape and brutalization of German women by Russian soldiers who came to occupy Germany. But the violent paroxysm that was World War II did not end in an age of enlightenment. It ended with reprisals, vicious and cruel and aimed at people whose only crime of the most part was which side they were on during the war.


In fact in Czechoslovakia and in Yugoslavia camps like Terezín/Theresienstadt were repaired and housed with ethnic Germans. Around 180,000 ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia and 170,000 in Yugoslavia were interned. Many were fed the same sparse starvation diet that the Germans were so famous for. Indeed the fervor with which some Germans were punished was unfettered. German insurgents kept fighting the war with terrorist groups called Werwolves. Any ravelment could be blamed on them. When an ammunition dump in Northwest Bohemia exploded, gendarme wasted no time punishing ethnic Germans. They were taken from their homes, beaten, shot and drowned in the Elbe. A hundred people, most likely innocent were killed.


Romania Swabian Germans who had lived in the region for centuries had to pack their bags and head back to a country their great grandfathers called home. The Volksdeutsche that were living in Yugoslavia suffered like no one. They were systematically stripped of their possessions and sent to Russian labor camps where they were worked to death.



In Dachau Arbeit Macht Frei was replaced with the Czech translation of “Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth”.


Not only were the victims of this revenge taking almost completely innocent, many of them were children. In Poland, a child under the age of 3 was dying every single day and his crime was that he was a German. German interns were made to stand at attention for days at a time with no clothes or food or water. Detainees were beaten with truncheons as they ran naked through gauntlets. They were flogged and raped and tortured. There were 110 children born in the Potulice camp in Poland between 1945 and 1946. Eleven survived.


Germans that took Polish or Czech homes were run out by neighbors. There was a sort of run on the German homes, art, possessions and businesses right after the war. By the time many of these prisoners were expelled to Germany, they found their freedom only because the countries holding them found them to hard to care for. The Czechs and the Poles had their own people to tend to.


From the BBC: “In Czechoslovakia, more than 2.2 million Germans were expelled, and their property was expropriated. At the peak period, in July 1946, 14,400 people a day were being dumped over the frontier. About three quarters went to the American occupation zone of Germany, and most of the remainder to the Soviet zone.”


Around 11.5 million Germans expelled. Jews who returned to their homes found them occupied by people who did not want to leave them. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Croats, and others, fearful of revenge for collaborating with the Nazis were sent to prison camps in the Soviet Union. Poles in Eastern Poland were sent west and they took the place of the ethnic German who once purloined their property but were now in Russia.















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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Louis October 5, 2017 at 7:35 am

In the Netherlands there were plans to demand an annexation of the whole of Niedersachsen, and parts of the Rheinland, to expand The Netherlands to the Elbe, and have Bremen as an extra harbour.
Fortunately these plans were not condoned by the dutch governement, and eventually we recieved about a hundred border corrections, which enlarged The Netherlands by a few acres, and about three villages, which added about 20 square miles. And which were returned to Germany in the late sixties.

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