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The Forgotten German Genocide (Hardback)

Revenge Cleansing in Eastern Europe, 1945–50

WWII P&S History

By Peter C Brown
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 40 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526773746
Published: 30th June 2021

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The Potsdam Conference (officially known as the "Berlin Conference"), was held from 17 July to 2 August 1945 at Cecilienhof Palace, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm, in Brandenburg, and saw the leaders of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States, gathered together to decide how to demilitarise, denazify, decentralise, and administer Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender on 8 May (VE Day).

They determined that the remaining German populations in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary - both the ethnic (Sudeten) and the more recent arrivals (as part of the long-term plan for the domination of Eastern Europe) - should to be transferred to Germany, but despite an undertaking that these would be effected in an orderly and humane manner, the expulsions were carried out in a ruthless and often brutal manner.

Land was seized with farms and houses expropriated; the occupants placed into camps prior to mass expulsion from the country. Many of these were labour camps already occupied by Jews who had survived the concentration camps, where they were equally unwelcome.

Further cleansing was carried out in Romania and Yugoslavia, and by 1950, an estimated 11.5 million German people had been removed from Eastern Europe with up to three million dead. The number of ethnic Germans killed during the ‘cleansing’ period is suggested at 500,000, but in 1958, Statistisches Bundesamt (the Federal Statistical Office of Germany) published a report which gave the figure of 1.6 million relating to expulsion-related population losses in Poland alone. Further investigation may in due course provide a more accurate figure to avoid the accusation of sensationalism.

The Forgotten German Genocide by Peter C Brown* is an analysis of the Revenge Cleansing in Eastern Europe, 1945–50, as the subtitle describes. The book is very well structured. It starts with details on the Final Solution, how the euthanasia programme started and the gas vans. It goes on with details on countries, starting with Czechoslovakia, followed by Hungary and Poland, before ending with Germany. In each of those chapters Brown presents what the Germans and Nazis did and what happened to the ethnic Germans after the war ended... There is no clear figure of how many people were displaced, but the author puts the number at 11.5 million, of whom 3 million died. There were countless accounts of children and women being killed alongside countless accounts of women raped by Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Romanian forces. I did not know about this and the scale of it, so I can’t recommend enough this book. The people who were occupied wanted revenge, but their revenge looks like it was just as pointless as what the Germans did in the first place.

5/5 stars

Coffee and Books

After terrible persecutions, murders and the subjugation of many of Europe's populace by their Nazi overlords, there was a overwhelming desire for revenge once they had been defeated. But the atrocities committed as acts of revenge were as unforgivable as what went before. They say revenge is sweet. There is nothing sweet about the events written about in this book. A harrowing but necessary read. History needs balance.

NetGalley, Rolf Bachelor

What an emotional and intense read... seriously.
If you're interested in history, this was an amazing book.
I was honestly impressed with this book and would gladly read others by this author.

NetGalley, Kade Gulluscio

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Most people think the war ended in '45 and the world rebuilt and everyone and everything went back to normal. It didn't. Some of us grew up hearing about the "forgotten" the German Genocide, we know people who lived it first hand. The confiscating of property mass deportations, deaths, nightmarish. very informative book.

NetGalley, Catherine Hankins

About Peter C Brown

Peter C. Brown is a writer of local and military history. He was born in 1959, grew up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, moving to Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, with his wife and their cats in 2014, where he continues to write non-fiction. To date he has had sixteen books published.

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