In endless columns: 75 years ago, millions of Germans fled west in the final phase of the Second World War.
The last days of the war were dominated by fear and despair. Maria Frisé, born in 1926 and long editor of this newspaper, remembers.
EIn April 1945, nobody spoke of the miracle weapon that was to bring about a change. The war was lost, Hitler was dead, but the battle for Berlin was still raging. Millions were on the run. I had fled in stages from relatives to relatives from Silesia to an aunt to Mecklenburg, near Rostock. Every day, treks and armed German soldiers moved westward through the village. Everyone fought on as soon as possible for fear of the Russian troops. Despair dominated the mess.
Rumors circulated that the German territories, which were already occupied by English and American troops, would soon no longer accept refugees. It was high time that I too came to the Elbe or at least to the Elbe-Lübeck Canal. My husband, who was still a soldier as a serious war wounded, had given me measuring table sheets from Wehrmacht stocks at our last meeting – maps on which even narrow country lanes were still marked. We wanted to meet on a farm near Lübeck.