Berlin in 1945: First hand account: Notes from the diary of Charles Deutmann

This is a heart-rending account from a man who lived in Berlin after Nazism ended in 1945.

Today we went to Berlin, my wife and me. The streets are cleaned up as far as possible, to restore the traffic barely. It has freed the scattered stones from mortar and built from the ruins of houses. At times you go over a carpet of dust. Alexanderplatz a huge Russian tank was shot in the street. Not far away, a German, who fought his last fight here. The town is a desolate, scary-looking pile of rubble with ghostly shapes of former houses, streets, squares and neighborhoods. Like shattered by the hand of a giant debris field of the 4 ½ million city lies in the sun, surrounded by the green ring of suburbs, not so seriously damaged .

In Berlin, there is dysentery. Large strokes are calling on the people, not drink unboiled water, boil the meat, or roast. All the kitchen or other wastes buried deep.

But what good is all this? The dead lie under the rubble, the rats multiply alarmingly and there is a lack of drugs and alcohol. In front of a butcher's shop were invited from meat. There were large pieces, half, But even during transport, the parts of hundreds of thick black flies were covered. In a field of rubble, which was formerly a mill, grew rye and wheat. On other screes stood tall grass and probably also a flower.

Russian soldiers run through the rubble of the city, honking cars, gangs of Nazi women remove debris and clean the streets, children digging in the rubble stone to wood and painted in between a grizzled man in his makeshift basement shop. "Ladies and men's clothing." In a small bookstore, we were able to buy postcards, stationery and steel springs. In other shops hung signs like "not yet arrived potatoes" or "sold out of bread" or "Today, no more meat," etc.
One sees German police, the women wear colorful clothes, and again in so many tired eyes a spark glimmers of hope.

26 June 1945

A day of joy! After eight weeks we are now receiving 150 grams of margarine. It was evening, fried potatoes, pudding made from wheat grits and stewed rhubarb. In addition, today was the allocation of coffee and sugar. Beautiful!

9 July 1945

We are once again went to Berlin, my wife and me. We ended up following a road block on a small square of the completely destroyed the church in the Weberstrassenwirte.

We stood in front single and mass graves of German soldiers, in graves of unknown dead and dead children. At the burned-out church, surrounded by rubble and debris of destroyed houses is limited, they had found all the next bomb to the devastated place their final resting place. In the midst of the graves, but were parts of the body of a downed American fighter. A wing made of metal, riddled with machine-gun bullets and shrapnel, was leaning against a grave in the church wall.

And most of us, the moment we will never forget - (is there a bear found dead, "asked my wife quietly) - lay the charred Pelzkombination of a downed pilot. From the head, hands and feet of the corpse was nothing more to discover. But the legs and trunk were still required. And hundreds of flies were busy in the thick charred meat and fat around the charred remains of fur, which was once the back of a man. Had these terrible people in the charred remains of a fur coat that looked like a dead, burnt, wild animal is not born a mother, he had not loved anyone who was waiting for him? Why did these poorest of the poor is not buried? He died as an enemy, but with this sad remnant of a human being, we have probably felt deep compassion.

11 July 1945

Remains of cars with sheaves of fire in the cooler, the windows, the outer edges of the bodywork and smashed motorcycles, bomb craters, military equipment, rubble and heaps of stones - that was the Paris Square. Heavily damaged by the Brandenburg Gate, the sad rags hanging of the former wins the car. ZOn both sides of the Charlottenburg Chaussee (via triumphalis) shattered the old, magnificent trees stood with her scanty green and let the view through the vast ruins of the Reichstag building block. To right and left of the road wrecked cars that were skipped when she, the Garbe received fatal bullet, because the guiding man in the last battle with death, the bullets in the body, rearing up suddenly lost to the approaching night, about himself and the car domination.

In between, we always came back to graves, mostly German, one near the road, once removed. Once, with a cross and name, once with the helmet or the simple but the hill.

Scattered throughout the zoo were of German planes dropped bombs supply, which had provided the encircled German troops with ammunition, gasoline, food and bandages. Here also many Russians like to sleep in mass graves. Das Wasser des Landwehrkanals roch f├╝rchterlich nach Leichen. The water of the Landwehr canal smelled terribly of corpses.

Before the big building of the Propaganda Ministry in the Emserstra├če had been placed on a mound, the severed head of a black Hitler bust.'s Head wearing a helmet far too little of the SS in the sand, but Prior was crossed with the vagina a rusty SS officer's saber and then a black SS officer's cap with silver cord and skull lay.

Scorn and contempt for a public danger, irrational, silly fools, destroy the megalomaniac surrounded by heartless criminals without a soul and mind races to conquer a world and plunder everything wanted to destroy rational and righteous, and brought untold misery upon the world.

We saw cars with American, British and French officers, soldiers, accompanied by aides in the Army officer rank who wore very good and flattering uniforms.The German officer battered cars on the Leipziger Strasse were empty champagne bottles. At the Potsdam Bridge on Lutzow-shore, we had to wait a little while, get past a British convoy of cars. But it was unbearable, the water flowing below us of the Landwehr Canal brought a terrible stench.

The ruins of the desert Berlin, the largest necropolis in Europe, is impossible to describe in his harrowing uniqueness. All this must have seen a man with steady nerves, to understand at all what must have been committed here.

Rubble, hunger, poverty and broken glass - that is Berlin. We want to see it not for a long time.

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito