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
The Devil’s Laughter
Among the great majority of those [civilians] who scrambled onto ships, boats, tugs, barges, and naval craft sailing west, their flight was safe and successful. Not only was the warmth and food aboard ship a God-send, but the realization that they were at last escaping the dreaded Bolsheviks proved the first peace of mind many had known in weeks. As the wretched survivors of the [ship] could aver, however, there often was no escaping the nightmare… even at sea.
Just before one A.M., two torpedoes slammed into the Stuben’s side. Somewhere the ship was burning and people everywhere jumping into the water. As the Stuben’s stern rose high out the water, hundreds leaped overboard, including some who were torn to pieces by the still-turning propellers. Within seven minutes, the ship plunged beneath the waves, swiftly silencing a final mass scream that seemed to arise from a single voice. Of the 3,500 passengers aboard, only Franz Huber and a few hundred more survived. Tragically, for thousands who successfully traversed the treacherous Baltic, American and British bombers were often the first to greet them when their ships docked.
While the slow, dangerous evacuation of women, children and wounded comrades continued [on the still departing docks at the other side], a German Landser remained in the ever-shrinking pockets, ferociously fighting on so that others might live. That most in the enclaves were already doomed, all fighting men understood. “For every thousand persons embarked, some three thousand more arrived from the east.”
Frantic to escape such carnage, desperate civilians fled across the ice of the Frisches Haff, a bay several miles wide separating the mainland from a barrier island, or Nehrung. Along the slender strip of sand that led west towards Danzing, all were hoping to reach safety. Unfortunately, the bitter cold changed to rain just when many treks set out. Recounted one survivor of the perilous journey: “The ice was breaking and at some places we had to drag ourselves with pains through water nearly a foot deep.” Juergen Thorwald describes the long, nightmarish experience of another refugee:
At seven o’clock Russian planes swooped down on them. Some women, silent with a despair beyond all words, circled around holes in the ice that had swallowed a child, a mother, a husband.
Wrote Robert Poensgen, a military dispatch rider:
Russian combat aircraft now arrived in wave after wave, and threw bombs into that unprotected, inextricable mass. This is what hell must be like. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in all my years of active service—and I tell you I had already seen a lot.
“Twice we were attacked by Soviet planes, swooping low and scattering missiles,” remembered Guy Sajer from another road. “Each impact tore long, bloody furrows in the dense mass, and for a moment the wind was tinged with the smell of disemboweled bodies.” “Never had I seen so many bodies,” another witness added as he moved west along the coast.
While the butchery on land was in progress, the slaughter at sea continued. On the morning of April 13, Soviet aircraft pounced upon the refugee-laden Karlsruhe when the little freight fell behind its convoy. Stuck by a bomb and air torpedoes, the ship broke and sank in a matter of minutes. Of the one thousand people aboard, fewer than two hundred were rescued.
Three days later, near midnight, torpedoes fired by a Soviet submarine exploded against the side of the Goya, a large transport carrying 7,000 people. Like the Karlsruhe, the Goya quickly broke and plunged to the bottom in four minutes. Meanwhile, as the Soviets closed for the kill, Konigsberg, Memel, Gotenhafen, Pillau, and other besieged ports began their death dance.
The bloody nightmare which enveloped the Baltic coast was neither more nor less than that which transpired wherever the Soviets occupied German soil. In many places—Silesia, Prussia, Pomerania, the German communities of Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Jugoslavia—the horror had been in progress for weeks. There, ghastly atrocities had abated little, if any, with the passage of time and to some it seemed as though Red soldiers were in a race with one another to see who could destroy, murder and, above all, rape the most. Some women and children were assaulted ten, twenty, even thirty times a night and for a female to be ravished one hundred times a week was not uncommon. Reveals a priest from Klosterbrueck: “I shall never forget the terrible screams of the women and the children.”
Meanwhile, in what remained of the Reich, most Germans still knew surprisingly little of the savage fate befalling their countrymen. Doubters yet attributed the hair-rising reports of genocide to Dr. Goebbels’s propaganda machine. By bits and pieces, however, the truth did emerge. When a small German counterattack temporarily recaptured Neustettin, young soldiers, unaware of the Russian rampage occurring behind the lines, began herding up their prisoners. “Then something unexpected happened,” remembered an astonished Landser.
Several German women ran towards the Russians and stabbed at them with cutlery forks and knives… It was not until I fired a submachine gun into the air that the women drew back, and cursed us for presuming to protect these animals. They urged us to go into the houses and take a look at what they had done there. We did so, a few of us at a time, and we were totally devastated. We had never seen anything like it—utterly, unbelievably monstrous!
Naked, dead women lay in many of the rooms. Swastikas had been cut into their abdomens, in some the intestines bulged out; breasts were cut up, faces beaten to a pulp and swollen puffy. Others had been tied to the furniture by their hands and feet, and massacred. A broomstick protruded from the vagina of one, a besom from that of another…
Having seen the consequences of these bestial atrocities, we were terribly agitated and determined to fight. We knew that the war was past winning; but it was our obligation and sacred duty to fight to the last bullet.
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.