For most of the world the Second
World War ended in the spring of 1945, but in Eastern Europe more tragedy was
on the horizon. Families of German
descent had lived in this area (known today as stretching from Hungary to
Russia) for nearly 1000 years, intermingled with a host of other cultures. It had been a melting pot of languages and
traditions. But this melding came to an
end because, as a result of Nazi atrocities, being “German” was virtually a
crime. Their memory in these lands was
about to be erased.
And erased it was.
Ultimately 15 million people of German decent were tortured, beaten to
death, starved, worked to death, thrown out, sent away and murdered. And their decimation has affected the world
for generations since.
I first heard of these tragedies only by chance, while in a
soup kitchen of all places. As
volunteers will, we chatted aimlessly until a few began to share childhood
memories – ones of a different sort. The
oldest man among us told how at the tender age of eight he and his family had
been chased from their home at gunpoint by Yugoslavian resistance fighters
(“partisans”). With the terror of that
day still visible in his eyes he said that day he’d “lost the true meaning of
the word home.” Not to mention his
And others weren’t so “lucky.” Another woman recounted that pounding on the
door awakened her family one night, leading to 3 partisans pushing into their
home, mandating they pack their bags and hammering the butt of a gun against
her mother’s head when she asked where they were going. Unsteady from the blow she gathered her
screaming children, struggling to function.
The partisans raided their belongings even while the family gathered
with hundreds of others in the center of their village, their future unknown.
These stories only scratched the surface of what ultimately
befell children, women and men who had no ties to the Nazi’s but who were made
to pay for the sins of others nonetheless.
In the years since I uncovered the full details in books and, most
importantly, personal interview with survivors.
In the coming weeks I’ll write about the unvarnished details of these
critical events, illustrating the losses society overall experiences by
Morrison has made it her mission to uncover history’s lost, but not forgotten,
stories via documentary films. Learn more at annsfilms.com.