Better enjoy the war—the peace will be terrible


The so-called “wild” or spontaneous expulsions in Czechoslovakia began almost immediately after liberation, in May to June of 1945. But there was nothing “wild” about this first wave of what Czech officials referred to as národní ocista (“national cleansing”). These expulsions, which resulted in the removal of up to 2 million Germans from Eastern Europe, were planned and executed by troops, police and militia, under orders from the highest authorities, with the full knowledge and consent of the Allies. Eastern European and Allied observers alike remarked on the utter passivity of the victims, the majority of whom were women, children and the elderly (most German men had been drafted during the war and either killed or interned in POW camps). But the “wild expulsions” were justified as self-defense on the basis of exaggerated or invented reports of ongoing resistance activity by Nazi “Werewolf” units. One of the most infamous postwar pogroms was sparked by the accidental explosion of an ammunition dump in Ústí nad Labem in northwestern Bohemia in July 1945. Most of the victims of the explosion were themselves German, but local workers, Czechoslovak Army units and Soviet troops wasted no time blaming Werewolf sabotage and taking revenge. Germans were beaten, shot and thrown into the Elbe River; many observers recall a baby carriage being thrown into the river with a baby inside. The massacre resulted in at least 100 deaths.

more from Tara Zahra at The Nation here.