In almost any war one side can be dishonestly demonized even by a truthful enumeration of its crimes, if the crimes of its adversaries are suppressed. —Irmin Vinson
Excerpted from Thomas Goodrich’s 2010 book
The Death of Nazi Germany
Between Fire and Ice
With the remnants of the German army in headlong flight, hordes of Red soldiers swarmed through the breach and poured into Greater Germany. As word of the Russian breakthrough spread, millions of Germans in their path hastily packed and fled into the freezing weather.
Already bitterly cold, several days after the exodus began the temperature plunged below zero. As a result, little children and infants dropped by the thousands. “It was terribly cold, and the wind was like ice,” said one young mother, “the snow was falling and nothing warm to eat, no milk and nothing. I tried to give Gabi the breast, behind a house, but she didn’t take it because everything was so cold. Many women tried that, and some froze their breasts.” When Gabi died, the distraught woman continued to cradle the tiny corpse until her own arm eventually froze. “I couldn’t carry her more after she was dead. I couldn’t stand it any more,” the mother sobbed. “I wrapped her up well and put her deep in the snow beside the road… Thousands of women put their dead in the ditches by the roadside where they wouldn’t be hurt by automobiles or farm wagons.”
Hideous as conditions were, the treks pressed steadily west, away from the terror looming somewhere behind. Although millions were on the roads in full flight, millions more remained at their farms, villages and towns. They did not really believe that the Russians were as cruel and inhuman as they were reputed to be, but hoped to win over the latter by welcoming them and being hospitable.
“The Mongols are coming… You go quick. Go quick.”
Composed largely of Mongols, Kulaks, Kazakhs, Kalmuks, and other Asians, as well as convicts and communists, these men who formed the second wave of troops [the first were Slavs] were regarded, even by their own comrades, as utterly merciless. Terrified by the news, many Germans did attempt to flee and move in the wake of the first Soviet wave. Most, however, found themselves trapped and could do little more than hide young girls and once again pray that their worst fears were unfounded. After a wait of sometimes days, but normally only hours, the dreaded second wave arrived.
While flames shot up from different corners of the towns and gunfire erupted as citizens were murdered in the streets, the invaders soon began kicking in door homes, shops and churches. A frightened boy recalled, “Right next to me poor defenseless women were being ravished in the presence of their children.” Said another victim, “The women were raped, not once or twice but ten, twenty, thirty and hundred times, and it was all the same to the Russians whether they raped mere children or old women. The youngest victim in the row houses where we lived was ten years of age.” Mothers were raped in the presence of their children; girls were raped in front of their brothers. While many upright Russian officers courageously stepped in and risked their own lives to stop the murders and rapes, their efforts were little more than a drop of water to a forest fire.
“All of us knew very well that if the girls were German they could be raped and then shot,” admitted Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “This was almost a combat distinction.”
When the Russians eventually tired of looting, robbing, murdering, and ill-treating the women and girls, “they set fire to a considerable part of the village and razed it to the ground,” said a survivor of Schoenwald, the small community that had dismissed rumors of Russian ruthlessness and opted to welcome them instead.
While those who remained endured unspeakable fates, Germans who fled with treks also suffered. “What surprised us most was the way they traveled,” recalled a British POW, who, along with thousands of other Allied prisoners, was being marched west away from the advancing Soviets.
It was so cold that even in day-time any drink mixed with cold water froze solid before it was possible to carry it to one’s mouth. At night men and women could keep alive only by huddling together in a wagon… Those who fell asleep in the snow were dead within a few minutes.
Given the chaotic conditions, and with freezing refuges clogging the way, many treks were quickly overhauled by the Russians. Some Soviet tanks refused to leave the roads and crashed straight through the columns, squashing all in their path. After heavy traffic, the victims—men, women, children, and animals—were eventually as flat as cardboard.
As a rule, those who fled by train fared best. Speed did not always guarantee escape, however. Russian aircraft routinely strafed and bombed the cars from above and tanks cut the rails from below. When the Soviets suddenly captured the town of Allenstein, they forced the stationmaster to signal the “all clear” to refugee trains still arriving from the east. As one unsuspecting train after another steamed into Allenstein, the Russians first slaughtered any men found on board, then passed their time raping carload after carload of females.
Meanwhile, the red tide moved closer. In countless German cities and towns the pattern repeated itself, as the diary of a Catholic priest from Klosterbrueck reveals:
January 21st 1945. Strange to say, the population intends to remain here, and is not afraid of the Russians. The reports that in one village they rapped all the women and abducted all the men and took them away to work somewhere must surely have been exaggerated.
January 25th. They told us that whole families had been shot by the Russians. Girls who had refused to allow themselves to be raped, and parents who had sought to protect their children, had been shot on the spot.
January 27th. We priests were allowed out of the chapel for half an hour today in order to bury Margarethe in the yard. Poor girl, it is a good thing you were dead and so did not know what the Russians did to your body!
“In every village and town they entered,” wrote one who spoke with soldiers, “the German troops came upon scenes of horror: slain boys, People’s Army men drenched with gasoline and burned—and sometimes survivors to tell the tale of the outrages.”
Hundreds of thousands massacred, hundreds of thousands raped, millions already enslaved—but this was nothing. Worse was to come.
Educate yourself about the Holocaust perpetrated on the German people by the Allied forces that the mainstream media has covered up for nearly seventy years.
Hellstorm is still available from the publisher.