Countryside, East of Berlin: June 1945

Ruth Andreas-Friedrich and a friend cycled into the countryside east of Berlin one day in June 1945. This is what they saw:

We climb over an embankment and stop as if frozen. Merciful heaven. Have we wandered into a migration of the people? An endless procession of misery is rolling away in front of us from East to West. Women and men, old and young, hurled together at random, as fate drove them together. Some from Posen (Poznan), others from East Prussia. These from Silesia, those from Pomerania. They’re carrying their belongings on their backs. To anywhere, wherever their feet carry them. A child totters by. A pitiful little boy. “It huuuuurts,” he sobs to himself. He balances miserably on his bare heels and stretches his bleeding soles at a sharp angle into the air.

Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945 – 1955, p. 63

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