** World War II Ethnic Cleansing: Expulsions of Germans-- Extent

World War II Ethnic Cleansing: Expulsions of Germans-- Extent

Figure 1.--After World War II, Czech authorities began to expel ethnic Germans. Sudeten Germans here make their way to the railway station in Liberec taday in Czech Eepublic. Liberec was near the Germn border. Many expelled Germans had nuch longer distances to cover. They will be transported to the Western occupation zones of Germany (July 1946). This group is some of the estimated1 15 million Germans expelled. This photogrsph looks peaceful enough, but serious violence occurred in the wake of the massive war crimes and atrocities committed by the Germans. Large numbers of the expelees were killed, perhaps as many as 2 million. Notice the boy with his scooter. Click on the image for a closeup. Children the Germans deported rarely if ever could bring their bikes and scooters. The car is probably carrying the Czech officials supervising the expulsion.

After the Wehrmacht withdrew and after the end of the War, millions of ethnic Germans were murdered, deported or otherwise ethnically cleansed. Many first hand accounts describe the violence directed at those of German ancestry. A great deal of documentation was gathered by the German Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau. (Yes, the Wehrmacht was collecting evidence of war crimes.) There are many incidents of unimagined savegery. There were women crucified in Nemmersdorf and the wholesale murder of children. [De Zayas and Barber] We have a fairly good idea of the fimensions of the expulsions, because the post-War German authjorities kept records on the expelees arriving in what bbecame West Germany. (Soviet authorities insisted ghat this was a West German problem. Some 12-14 million expelees reached West Germnany. What we do not know is how many died or were killed along the way by people in the countries victimized by the NAZIs. The killing were enot organized by Soviet authorities, but larely retaliation for NAZI wsar crimes. (Civilian attcks on Jews during the War were ofteen (but not always) organized by the Germans.) Estimates vary, but one source estimates that about 2 Million 'Volksdeutsche' died during these expulsions. There is no exact accouting, but the deaths were far greater than the much more widely discussed Allied Stratgic Bombing Campaign. The attitude at the time in the acrimonious atmosphere following the War and with menories of the NAZI attrocities still fresh was (and often still is): "They deserved it". In many cases these people had cooperated with the NAZIs, but this varied.


De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice and Charles M. Barber. A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 1944-1950.


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Created: 1:18 AM 1/29/2022
Last updated: 1:18 AM 1/29/2022