21
   

First of September 1939

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 02:38 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:
But we had to struggle to even become DPs (which stands for Displaced Persons; for some reason the newly-founded UN didn't want to call us simply 'refugees').
Actually it wasn't the UN but the Allied Forces: they created the term 'Displaced Person' on 03.06.1944 with the "Outline Plan for Refugees and Displaced Persons".
Quote:
At the end of the war, there were eight to nine million displaced persons and refugees in West Germany, Berlin and Austria. Roughly 2,500 displaced persons camps provided shelter. The various relief organisations were able to repatriate between six and seven million people and helped about 1.5 million people to emigrate to other countries, such as Australia, Israel, Canada and the USA.
Source
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 02:42 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Thank you, Walter. I didn't know that. Obviously.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 02:44 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
My friend who was in a dp camp in Sweden was from Estonia.
I gather they were from a prominent family there, but I don't know much.
I do know that her mother, when they came to the U.S, never acclimated, at all.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 03:09 pm
Touching story Set.
You were lucky Andy. Many Slavs and Balts were repatriated by the allies and went straight into the Gulag system for the crime of having contact with the West.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 03:17 pm
I've got some hundred letters, which my father wrote to his girlfriend/fiancée/wife between 1941 and 1948 - when he was in the German army (which was roughly 6 months per year, the other time he was studying at university) and from the POW-camp(s).

One of the most interesting things among the few other documents I've got from that period is a map, in which he drew the way of his unit (6th tank divison, 1./57th medical company) in 1942:
http://i50.tinypic.com/30xd3r5.jpg

Large scan (original scale) of the map here: http://i45.tinypic.com/168x0s8.jpg

(You might have met my father, Andrew Wink )
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 03:50 pm
@panzade,
panzade wrote:

Touching story Set.
You were lucky Andy. Many Slavs and Balts were repatriated by the allies and went straight into the Gulag system for the crime of having contact with the West.


Some were repatriated, yes. It was a constant fear when jolly Russian officials came around to US or British-administered camps, cajoling the Allied officials to turn the DPs over to them, that they'd be taken good care of and sent home. Only the really gullible and politically naive US Army commanders fell into this trap, usually fairly junior officers.

I remember a contemporary of my father's, a man who had some English, telling us years later about the first time he ever heard the American expression "bullshit." He was one of a group of Latvians about to be truned over to the Russians for repatriation by a young American Army captain when a Colonel walked into the room where papers were being processed and where the DPs cowered in fear. When the captain explained in confident tones what was going on, the colonel looked at him levelly and said: "Bullshit. These folks ain't going nowehere except their assigned quarters. Tear that paper up right now, Cap'n."

Man had learned a new word -- bullshit -- and a new locution -- "ain't goin' nowhere" -- along with a lesson in Cold War politics. Always appeal to a higher authority.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 04:02 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Isn't it interesting how what was supposed to be a discussion of September, 1939 has turned into reminiscences about May, 1945? Smile All I can say in self-defense is that in Sept., 1939 I wasn't even a year old yet.
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Sep, 2012 08:01 pm
One day during the early 1980s in the town where my wife and I had taken up residence, I was making a purchase in a drugstore. The lady behind the cash register was of our parents’ generation, the World War II generation.

We were chatting when she told me she had a brother who was a World War II veteran who had served in Europe. She told me he was captured by German troops and was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp.

I responded by saying, “You mean a prisoner of war camp, don’t you?”

She said, “No, a concentration camp.”

I did not ask her if she and her family were Jewish because I would have felt awkward asking her that question. A now deceased member of our congregation who also was of that generation would tell me decades later that he knew a Jewish World War II veteran who had survived a Nazi concentration camp. The veteran whom he mentioned may have been her brother. If my understanding is correct, U.S. servicemen who were Jewish had the Star of David stamped on their dog tags.

She told me her brother had been an athlete in high school. She did not tell me what sport or sports he had participated. Perhaps he had been a football player. When he left for Europe, he was very muscular and had a powerful physique. The concentration camp was eventually liberated, and he was shipped back to the United States.

She and the members of their family were shocked when they saw his physical condition. He had been subjected to starvation and was emaciated. His body had cannibalized his physique. If he had been a slightly built man, he would have died in the camp.

He could not bring himself to tell his loved ones what had happened to him in the camp. He began to drink heavily and continued to do so for about a year and a half. When he came to the realization that he was killing himself, he stopped the heavy drinking and told his family how he had suffered in the camp.

I did not have the heart to press her for details. I can imagine how the minds of fanatical bigots work. Since he was a big young man in the prime of his health, the S.S. might have subjected him to “special treatment.”

Horrified by what she had just told me, I was almost speechless because I was afraid I might say the wrong thing. I could only say that I was very sorry this had happened to her brother. I could not think of anything else to say. She no doubt was haunted by the memories. Her story made quite an impression upon me; and needless to say, I will never forget our conversation.

I never saw her again.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 01:42 am
@wmwcjr,
Quote:
Phillip (Phil) John Lamason DFC & Bar (15 September 1918 – 19 May 2012) was a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the Second World War, who rose to prominence as the senior officer in charge of 168 Allied airmen taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, in August 1944.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Lamason
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 05:30 am
Many of those Germans, who were neither in the forces nor close to the (eastern) borders, didn't really bother a lot about the beginning of the war in September 1939.

Attitudes changed later a lot.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 05:32 am
Walter, your other thread on the topic is worth revisiting, I think.
http://able2know.org/topic/135937-1
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 05:41 am
@wmwcjr,
Tenthousands of Russian POW's (up to 500,000 according to some) were deported to concentration camps, and than killed shortly after arriving.

Generally, western allied troops were treated a lot better. (According to Michael Burleigh [The Third Reich—A New History. Hill and Wang, New York 2000], less than 3.5% of allied soldiers died in German POW-camps.)
0 Replies
 
33export
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 06:22 am
My best memory of 1939:
http://allanellenberger.com/wp-content/uploads/toto-rainbow.jpg *
I believe it was the first movie to feature
technicolor, ahead of GWTW, also of that year.
Not sure if it came out September of that year, though.

Newsreels that were shown before the main feature sort of took the bloom
off a nice story for the viewers, though.

*( click on image)
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Sep, 2012 07:24 am
I remember vagely that we had many refugees in my hometown. The kids shared one school as the refugees partly lived in one. Some kids went to school in morning and others in the afternoon.
My family had strong contact with Denmark as much as possible. The Danes were not allowed to write letters to USA, so we - not me I was too young - got letters from Denmark and then rewrote the letters and they were sent off to USA to for us unknown people. All mail was cencured.
Sweden took 50 000 Norwegian refugees
10 000 Danes - 30 000 from the Baltic states - 48 000 from Finland
8 000 Danish Jews and during March and April 1945 15 000 from the KZ in Germany. The came to Sweden in what is called the White busses.
0 Replies
 
 

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