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Angels of mercy

“Because of the virtual impossibility of obtaining official help, many wounded soldiers and civilians were tended to in the cellars of houses by mothers and girls. This was dangerous, however, because the Russians reacted to the presence of any soldier in a cellar as if the whole place were a defensive position. To avoid this, the women generally stripped the wounded of their uniforms, which they burned, and gave them spare clothes from upstairs. Another danger arose when members of the Volkssturm, on deciding to slip away home just before the Russians arrived, left behind the vast majority of their weapons and ammunition. Women who found any guns wasted no time in disposing of them. Word had got round that the Red Army was liable to execute all the inhabitants in a building where weapons were found.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

Published inAntony BeevorThe Second World War

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