14 million Germans were expelled from the houses in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and other countries of Eastern Europe after the end of war. Only 12 million managed to reach Germany the live. The tragedy of exile of the German civilian population isn't realized by neighbors of Germany still.
"Breslau, Oppeln, Gleyvits, Glogau, Gryunberg it isn't simple names, but memoirs which will live in souls not one generation. Refusal of them - treachery. The cross of exile has to bear all people", - these words turned in 1963 to Germans expelled from countries of Eastern Europe, belong to the German chancellor Willie Brandt.
It is symbolical that, listing the cities from which the German population was cruelly expelled, Brandt calls also Gleyvits - a small town on old border of Germany and Poland, World War II began with the German provocation in which.
Anyway, upon completion of war should enjoy the most bitter bowl the military top which hasn't begun it, and to the ethnic Germans living in the territory of countries of Eastern Europe. In spite of the fact that the Hague convention of 1907 existing at that time directly forbade alienation of property of the civilian population (Art. 46), and also denied the principle of the collective responsibility (Art. 50), nearly fifteen million Germans, mainly women, old men and children, within three years were expelled from native places, and their property - is plundered.
Exile of Germans from Eastern Europe was accompanied by the most large-scale organized violence, including property confiscation, the room in concentration camp and deportation - even in spite of the fact that in August, 1945 the statute of the international military court in Nuremberg recognized deportation of the people by a crime against humanity.
Exile of Germans reached the greatest scales in Poland. By the war end in the territory of this country lived over 4 million Germans. Generally they were concentrated in the German territories transferred to Poland in 1945: in Silesia (1,6 million people), Pomerania (1,8 million) and in East Brandenburg (600 thousand.) and also in historical areas of compact accommodation of Germans in the territory of Poland (about 400 thousand people). Besides, more than 2 million Germans lived in the territory of East Prussia passing under the Soviet management.
The first working option of deportation of Germans was presented by Benesh's government to allied powers in November, 1944
In the winter of 1945, expecting fast arrival of the Soviet armies, Germans living in Poland moved to the west, and the local Polish population started mass violence in relation to refugees. In the spring of 1945 the whole Polish villages specialized on robberies of running Germans - men killed, women forced.
Already on February 5, 1945 the prime minister - the minister of provisional government of Poland Boleslav Berut issued the decree about the translation under the Polish management of the former German territories to the East from the line Oder - Naas that was frank claim on a reorganization of borders after the end of war.
On May 2, 1945 Take signed the new decree according to which all property thrown by Germans automatically passed to the Polish state - thus it was supposed to facilitate resettlement process to the west the population countries from east territories, partially departing to the Soviet Union.
In parallel the Polish authorities subjected the remained German population to persecutions on a sample of that practiced in nazi Germany concerning Jews. So, in many cities ethnic Germans were obliged to carry on clothes distinctive signs, most often a white bandage on a sleeve, sometimes with a swastika. On Germans of identification marks, however, business wasn't limited to Naveshivany.
By summer 1945−го the Polish authorities started driving the remained German population in concentration the camp, usually calculated on 3-5 thousand people. In camp sent only adults, children thus took away from parents and transferred either to shelters, or - anyway their further education was carried out to the Polish families in the spirit of an absolute polonization. Adults were used on forced hard labor, and in winter of 1945/1946 mortality in camps reached 50%.
Operation of the interned German population actively was carried out up to fall 1946−го when the Polish government decided to begin deportation of the survived Germans. On September 13 the decree about "separation of persons of the German nationality from the Polish people" was signed.However, continuation of operation of the concluded concentration camps remained important making economy of Poland, and deportation of Germans all was postponed, despite the decree. In camps the violence over the German prisoners proceeded. So, in camp to Potulitsa during the period between 1947−м and 1949 for hunger, cold, diseases and mockeries from security guards a half of prisoners was lost.
Final deportation of Germans was begun with the territory of Poland only after 1949. By estimates of the Union of the expelled Germans, losses of the German population during exile made about 3 million people of Poland.
Truly Czech care
Czechoslovakia appeared the second country after Poland on scale of the decision of "the German question". In pre-war Czechoslovakia Germans made a quarter of the population of the country. Generally they were concentrated in the Sudetes - here lived 3 million Germans that made 93% of the population of the region. The considerable share of Germans was present and at Moravia (800 thousand people, or a population quarter), a big German community was available in Bratislava.
In 1938, having got at conference in Munich approval of heads of governments of Great Britain, France and Italy, nazi Germany occupied the Sudetes, having attached to the territory areas of residence of Germans. In 1939 the German armies occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia, having founded on the territory of the Czech Republic so-called protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, and in the territory of Slovakia - the puppet Slovak republic. The government of the Czech Republic left to London.
In London the Czech government in exile for the first time formulated plans of mass deportation of ethnic Germans after the end of war. Hubert Ripka, the closest adviser to the president Edward Benesh, dreamed of mass exile of Germans in 1941, arguing on newspaper pages Č echoslovak - official body of the Czech government in exile - on "the organized application of the principle of resettlement of the people".
Views of the adviser were shared completely also by the president Benesh. In the fall 1941−го and winter of 1942 Benesh published two articles in The Nineteenth Century and After magazines and in Foreign Affairs where developed the concept "population movements" which will have to help to order post-war Europe.Without having been sure of, whether it will be possible to convince British of implementation of plans of deportation of the three-million German population, the Czech government in exile just in case began similar negotiations with representatives of the Soviet management.
In March, 1943 Benesh met the Soviet ambassador Alexander Bogomolov and asked about support of the plans of ethnic cleanings of post-war Czechoslovakia. Mantises I evaded from discussion of plans, however Benesh was tireless and already during a trip to the USA in June 1943−го could convince both American, and the Soviet management to support plans of deportation of Germans. Having got this support, the Czech government started development of a detailed plan of ethnic cleanings. The first working option of deportation of Germans was presented by Benesh's government to allied powers in November, 1944. According to Benesh's memorandum, deportation has to be carried out in all areas where the Czech population makes less than 67% (two thirds), and to proceed until the German population lower than 33% won't be reduced to level.
The Czech authorities started implementation of these plans at once after liberation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet armies. In the spring of 1945 over all country mass violent actions against ethnic Germans began.
As the main motor of violence the Czechoslovak crew under Ludwik Svoboda's command - so-called Army of Freedom acted voluntary 1−я. Ludwik Svoboda had old scores with ethnic Germans. In 1938, after accession of the Sudetes to Germany, Svoboda became one of founders of "Protection of the nation" - the guerrilla Czech insurgent organization. Now 60 thousand Czech soldiers under Ludwik Svoboda's command had an opportunity to revenge become defenseless to the German population.
To cut out at the roots
The whole villages and the cities occupied by Germans, were influenced by unpunished violence of Czechs. Over all country mid-flight columns were formed of the German population, to people didn't allow to collect almost any things - and without stops drove to border. Lagged behind or fallen often killed directly in the face of all column. The local Czech population was strictly forbidden to give any help to deported Germans.
During only one such "death march" - exiles of 27 thousand Germans from Brno - at a distance in 55 km was lost, by different estimates, from 4 to 8 thousand people.
On border expelled Germans were exposed to procedure of "customs passing" during which at them often selected even those not numerous things which they took out on themselves. But those who managed to reach occupational zones in the territory of the former Germany - even robbed, - envied the compatriots who have remained under the power of Benesh.
On May 17, 1945 the group of the Czech military entered the town Landskron (today Lanshkroun) and arranged "trial" of his inhabitants during which within three days to death sentenced 121 persons - sentences were carried out immediately. In Postelberg (today Postoloprta) within five days - from June 3 to June 7, 1945 - Czechs tortured and shot 760 Germans aged from 15 till 60 years, the fifth part of the German population of the city.
One of the most terrible cases occurred in the night of 18−го for June 19 in the city of Prerau (today Przherov). There the Czech soldiers who were coming back from Prague from celebrations, devoted to the end of war, met the train transporting the German population which at the end of war was evacuated to Bohemia and now was deported in the Soviet occupational zone. Czechs ordered to Germans to leave the train and to start digging a ditch for a mass grave. Old men and women hardly executed the order of soldiers, and the grave was ready only by midnight. After that the Czech soldiers under command of the officer Carola Pasura shot 265 Germans among whom there were 120 women and 74 children. The senior from the killed civil was 80 years old, and to the most younger - eight months. Having finished execution, Czechs plundered the things belonging to refugees.
Tens similar cases occurred in the spring - summer of 1945 across all Czechoslovakia.
"Spontaneous actions of punishment" reached the peak in June - July, 1945 when across all Czech Republic the armed groups terrorizing the German population scurried about. For maintenance of degree of violence Benesh's government even created the special body which was engaged in ethnic cleanings: in the Ministry of Internal Affairs the department of implementation "одсуна" - "exiles" was organized. All Czechoslovakia was divided into 13 areas, of everyone was at the head responsible for exile of Germans. In total in department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs concerning exile 1200 people worked.
Such prompt escalation of violence forced allies to show discontent with these actions that immediately caused sharp discontent of the Czechs considering murders and exile of Germans as the natural right.The note of August 16, 1945 in which the Czech government raised a question of full deportation of the remained 2,5 million Germans became result of discontent of Czechs. According to a note, 1,75 million people had to move in the American occupational zone, and 0,75 million - in Soviet. About 500 thousand Germans by this moment were already expelled from the country. Permission to deport the German population, but in the organized order and without excesses became a result of negotiations of Czechs with allied powers. By 1950 Czechoslovakia got rid of the German minority.
Europe without Germans
Shown in Poland and the Czech Republic the violence concerning ethnic Germans was to some extent observed and in other countries of Eastern Europe. In Hungary the conflict of the Hungarian authorities to the German minority was brightly shown even before war. Already in 1920−е years, right after formation of the national Hungarian state, the country started pursuing policy of rigid discrimination of the German minority. The German schools were closed, ethnic Germans were cleaned from authorities. To the person with the German surname any career was ordered. In 1930 the order of the Minister of Defence obliged all officers bearing the German names and surnames, to change them for the Hungarian - or to retire.
Position of Germans considerably improved after transformation of Hungary in the satellite of nazi Germany but very few people from Germans living in Hungary doubted that with leaving of the German armies their situation will very seriously worsen. For this reason in April, 1944 the German armies undertook a number of unsuccessful attempts of evacuation of ethnic Germans from Hungary.
Persecutions began in March, 1945. On March 15 the new Hungarian authorities approved the project of land reform according to which it was possible to confiscate the land both at the German organizations, and at Germans - individuals. However even landless Germans remained a cataract for the Hungarian authorities. Therefore by December, 1945 the decree about deportation "traitors and enemies of the people" was prepared.
Under this category fell not only participants of the German military formations, but also the persons which have returned to during the period with 1940−го on 1945 the German surname, and also indicated in census of 1940 by the native language German. All property of the deported was subject to unconditional confiscation. By different estimates, deportation mentioned from 500 to 600 thousand ethnic Germans.
Not warm welcome
Possibly, most peacefully deportation of Germans took place in Romania.Here at the time of the end of war lived about 750 thousand Germans, many of which were centrally moved to Romania in 1940 from the territories occupied with the Soviet armies (resettlement of Germans to Romania from the Soviet Moldova was regulated by the contract between the USSR and Germany of September 5, 1940).
After capitulation of the government of Antonesku and arrival of the Soviet armies the new Romanian government refrained from policy of oppression of the German minority. Though in areas of compact accommodation of Germans the curfew was entered, and cars were confiscated from inhabitants, bicycles, radio receivers and other subjects considered as dangerous, in Romania practically wasn't registered neither spontaneous, nor the organized cases of violence against the German population. Gradual deportation of Germans from the country proceeded before 1950−х years, and in recent years Germans achieved permission to leave to Germany.
By 1950 the population in the beginning Soviet and the western occupational zones, and then GDR and Germany increased at the expense of the arrived refugees by 12 million people. The Germans expelled from countries of Eastern Europe were distributed practically on all regions of Germany, in some areas, for example in Mecklenburg on North - the country East, refugees made 45% of local population. It isn't enough in what of regions of Germany less than 20% of the population were the share of the accepted refugees.
Meanwhile, despite a considerable share of refugees, the problem of exile of Germans from countries of Eastern Europe long time remained a taboo subject as in the east, and in the west of the country. In the western occupational zones - and subsequently and in Germany - the expelled Germans up to 1950 were forbidden to organize any unions. According to the historian Ingo Haar dealing with problems of expelled Germans, only the beginning of the Korean war and strain of relations with the Soviet Union forced the western politicians to recognize sufferings of the German people and to legalize mentions of exile of Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries.
In GDR events were suppressed up to the end 1980−х as capable seriously to complicate the relations with communistic ChSSR and PNR. Today the subject of exile of Germans from Eastern Europe still remains to one of the most painful problems in relationship of Germany with Poland and the Czech Republic. According to sociological polls, more than a half of Germans still perceive Silesia and Pomerania as the German territories - though don't seek to return them to structure of Germany.
Poles don't cease to express the relation to activity of the German Union expelled, placing on covers of magazines the collages representing the leader of the Union to Eric Shtaynbakh in an esesovsky form. Protests of the Polish government were caused also by opening this year in Berlin of the information center devoted to deportation of Germans from Poland. Even today pain from crimes of semicentennial prescription and mutual offenses force the adjoining people to belong to the slightest attempts to remember an event in 1945 cautiously.