The Forgotten WWII Battle of Halbe 1945

by Dr. Ingrid Rimland Zundel

 

In the early 1980s, I was working in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., doing research for my trilogy called “Lebensraum”, narrating my family’s flight from the Ukraine in 1943 under the protection of the retreating German forces.   There, I came upon an article describing the last major World War II battle between the German Wehrmacht and the Russians that took place, as I remembered it in fragments, in the vicinity of Berlin.  I was caught in its midst as an eight-year-old child when it happened.

In my memory, I see the various events pertaining to that battle much like a slide show – there is no continuity. I was too young to have understood that what I experienced, and escaped, were the death throes of what mainstream media now distorts as the well-deserved outcome of a despicable dictatorship right in the heart of Europe.

Here is what I remember.

There were four of us still of my once-extended family. In years past, long before I was born, there had been hundreds of relatives – aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, neighbors distantly related to us –

…all of them gone, exiled to Siberia, executed, starved to death in two Soviet famines, left frozen by road in a desperate scramble to escape Stalin’s Red Terror that had menaced my people for decades.

Now there was only my grandmother left, whom we called Oma, (translated, Granny) my sister Wally, four, my pretty mother, then in her very early thirties, and I.

And, no, to set the record straight up-front, I am not a yammering Jew. I am proudly German by background, born in the Ukraine, now a naturalized American. My people were called “Volksdeutsche” by the Reich for centuries – ethnic Germans who had left their homeland five or six generations ago, who were now retreating back into the Fatherland with the Wehrmacht as Germany was losing the war.

Library of Congress – North View

In the article I found at the Library of Congress, the slaughter I am about to describe was called the “Battle of Halbe”. I don’t remember the City of Halbe itself – I remember two towns in the vicinity, villages actually, called “Kausche” and “Greifenhain”. I remember both places quite vividly, albeit with gaps in-between.

Kausche first. We had landed there after a harrowing escape from Poland, right before Warschau fell to the Soviets in 1944. We were desperately trying to reach the gates of Berlin, but we got stuck in this village called Kausche.

In those desperate last weeks of the war, refugees were flooding everything and often sleeping in the churches, schools, or even outside by the road, but we had lucked out – the mayor of Kausche had assigned us to a single room at the end of a barn which might have been the servants living quarters in days past. One small, smoky room – but at the very least, we had shelter.

WWII Period German Farmhouse

The four of us shared our quarters with a hugely pregnant woman called Frau Weber and her chubby daughter, Erika, age ten.

The main house was opposite us, and to the side was a third building that I remember only because a young German soldier, for some reason never explained to his hysterical mother who tried to save his life, was willy-nilly executed on its steps a few weeks later by some Russian. He was left lying on those steps for days, for no one was permitted to touch him.

But I am getting ahead of my tale. It may seem strange today, but in those chilly April days of 1945, we all still believed that the war could be won by the Germans – and would be won in no time! That’s what Dr. Goebbels still promised in a widely broadcast radio message, most likely his last – and doubt would have been heresy.

What Happend to This Young Girl

Frau Weber’s husband was at the Eastern front and believed missing. He had come home on furlough, and now she was expecting and waiting to give birth. Erika and I had formed a somewhat guarded friendship, because Erika – a big girl for her age – shamelessly bossed me around.

I was skinny and scrawny, no match for Erika. I both admired and loathed Erika, for she was quite pretty in an aggressively flaunting way, which made me ill at ease. She once pulled up her sweater and showed off what was happening already to her chest – two tiny buds the size of small cherries. Nothing like that could be found on my chest, which was clearly a serious shortcoming.

The next memory I have is that the horizon in the distance turned suddenly a very fiery red. I am not talking about some puny little sunset – it was wall-to-wall red, the most spectacular sunset on earth! Somebody surmised with a frown that perhaps Berlin might have been set on fire by yet another bombing raid.

Is Berlin Burning?

In retrospect I do not know if what we saw burning was Berlin or if it was another city nearby that was being bombed to shreds by the Allies. We saw this horizon, set aflame by the enemies of what we called our Vaterland, night after night after night – for weeks, as I remember it!

Then a distant rumbling started, and we could see huge clouds of black smoke bulging in the East. It sounded and it looked as though a thunderstorm was heading toward us.

At that point Frau Weber announced in her blustery way that she was about to give birth. She left Erika in Oma’s care and walked on foot to wherever she needed to go, and on foot she came back after another few days, carrying a little mewling something that Erika announced was her new baby sister, whose name I have forgotten. Maybe it never had a name? At any rate, Erika was preening herself, which made me even more jealous of her.

Very shortly afterwards, Erika and I were “playing marbles”, as we called our little game – flipping little glass beads in the dirt – when we noticed a small troop of civilians come racing down the road. A woman with two teenage boys and several small girls, each on a bicycle, stopped near us, out of breath, and shrieked at us that we should run:

“The Russians are coming! The Russians are just about here!” The Russians were already at the outskirts of Kausche, they told us, knees flying and lips trembling, and they were pillaging, burning, raping, murdering whatever happened to be in their path!

The Russians are Coming

Erika and I just stood there, staring. They jumped back on their bicycles and took off like some people possessed.

Run we did – but not very far. I don’t remember if I ran with my family or if it was just Erika and me – but what I do remember, clearly, is that we made it to the outskirts of a forest, and there, with his back against a tree, sat a dead German soldier, nicely uniformed, doubled over, still cradling in his lap the head an equally dead comrade who lay sideways in the grass, legs sprawling awkwardly.

After that, there is a blank. Maybe a day? Maybe only hours?

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Posted by on May 24, 2011, With Reads Filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Responses to "The Forgotten WWII Battle of Halbe 1945"

  1. Tim  July 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    And who do think controlled the Russians ?the Germans and the British my fine zionist friend .

  2. Jeff Prager  June 14, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Awesome essay

  3. radiatedserfs  May 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    . “We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. We will forever destroy because we want a world of our own.”

    “You Gentiles,” by Maurice Samuels, p. 155).

    “We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not… You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world.”

    Chaim Weizmann, Published in “Judische Rundschau,” No. 4, 1920

    “We will have a world government whether you like it or not. The only question is whether that government will be achieved by conquest or consent.”

    Paul Warburg, Jewish Banker, testimony before the U.S. Senate, February 17, 1950

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/05/29/uk-imf-fischer-idUKTRE74S0WP20110529
    Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer will test the waters before deciding whether to become a candidate to head the International Monetary Fund, a source familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

    (If You See Something, Say Something)

  4. Colonel Whirly  May 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    thank you , great article , my father & grandfather were both members of the SS Luftwaffe and involved in the events you wrote about above,and a very positive and realistic bunch of comments too , all i’d like to add is the following,history,as it’s taught,never happened,history is written by the propaganda mechanisms of the victor,my grandfather was present at a “reichsdinner” in berlin-charlottenburg in 1938,present were adolf hitler,rudolf hess,dietrich eckhardt,karl von dönitz,hermann göring and an assortment of industry & commerce on the other side of the table was seated official representers from Standard Oil,Ford Foundation,Rockefeller Eugenics Foundation,Carnegy Foundation,Wall Street Bankers,Foundation for Social Hygene&coherence (which in 1946 became UNICEF/&WHO),Rotschild banking syndicate and finally , britains King George VIII and the dutch royal family.my grandfather gave original photographs of this meeting to my father who in 1945 was sent to a siberian pow camp for 6yrs,for their possession.

  5. radiatedserfs  May 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    When Hitler had been soundly established, Samuel Untermeyer, a New York Jewish Lawyer, called for war on Germany. The call was made through radio station WABC on 8-7-33. He had just returned from a world conference of Jews at The Hague. In the broadcast, he said he was calling for a “holy war”, and described the Jews as “the aristocrats of the world”.
    This same gentleman was connected with the Foreign Policy Association of New York and the worldwide organisation to move Jews out of Germany, not only into the United States, but to Palestine and other countries. These activities were tied in with the organisation known as the “International Boycott on German Goods”, of which Untermeyer was the head!
    http://www.sweetliberty.org/issues/israel/untermeyer.htm

  6. radiatedserfs  May 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    DECADES LATER…………….
    “I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.” —Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3rd, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

  7. radiatedserfs  May 25, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    An `Unknown Holocaust’ and the Hijacking of History
    An address by Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, delivered at an IHR meeting in Orange County, California, on July 25, 2009. (A report on the meeting is posted here.)

    We hear a lot about terrible crimes committed by Germans during World War II, but we hear very little about crimes committed against Germans. Germany’s defeat in May 1945, and the end of World War II in Europe, did not bring an end to death and suffering for the vanquished German people. Instead the victorious Allies ushered in a horrible new era of destruction, looting, starvation, rape, “ethnic cleansing,” and mass killing –one that Time magazine called “history’s most terrifying peace.” / 1

    Even though this “unknown holocaust” is ignored in our motion pictures and classrooms, and by our political leaders, the facts are well established. Historians are in basic agreement about the scale of the human catastrophe, which has been laid out in a number of detailed books. For example, American historian and jurist Alfred de Zayas, along with other scholars, has established that in the years 1945 to 1950, more than 14 million Germans were expelled or forced to flee from large regions of eastern and central Europe, of whom more than two million were killed or otherwise lost their lives. / 2

    One recent and particularly useful overview is a 615-page book, published in 2007, entitled After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation. / 3 In it, British historian Giles MacDonogh details how the ruined and prostrate German Reich (including Austria) was systematically raped and robbed, and how many Germans who survived the war were either killed in cold blood or deliberately left to die of disease, cold, malnutrition or starvation. He explains how some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities — about two million civilians, mostly women, children and elderly, and about one million prisoners of war.

    Some people take the view that, given the wartime misdeeds of the Nazis, some degree of vengeful violence against the defeated Germans was inevitable and perhaps justified. A common response to reports of Allied atrocities is to say that the Germans “deserved what they got.” But however valid that argument might be, the appalling cruelties inflicted on the totally prostrate German people went far beyond any understandable retribution.

    Although I’m focusing here on the treatment of Germans , it’s worth keeping in mind that they were not the only victims of postwar Allied brutality. Across central and eastern Europe, the heavy hand of Soviet rule continued to take lives of Poles, Hungarians, Ukrainians, and people of other nationalities.

    As Soviet troops advanced into central and eastern Europe during the war’s final months, they imposed a reign of terror, pillage and killing without compare in modern history. The horrors were summarized by George F. Kennan, the acclaimed historian who also served as US ambassador to the Soviet Union. He wrote: / 4

    “The disaster that befell this area with the entry of the Soviet forces has no parallel in modern European experience. There were considerable sections of it where, to judge by all existing evidence, scarcely a man, woman or child of the indigenous population was left alive after the initial passage of Soviet forces; and one cannot believe that they all succeeded in fleeing to the West … The Russians … swept the native population clean in a manner that had no parallel since the days of the Asiatic hordes.”

    During the last months of the war, the ancient German city of Königsberg in East Prussia held out as a strongly defended urban fortress. After repeated attack and siege by the Red Army, it finally surrendered in early April 1945. Soviet troops then ravished the civilian population. The people were beaten, robbed, killed and, if female, raped. The rape victims included nuns. Even hospital patients were robbed of their possessions. Bunkers and shelters, packed with terrified people huddling inside, were torched with flame-throwers. About 40,000 of the city’s population were killed, or took their own lives to escape the horrors, and the remaining 73,000 Germans were brutally deported. / 5

  8. radiatedserfs  May 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    National polls showed that when England and France declared war on Germany, in 1939, less than 10 percent of our population favored a similar course for America

  9. radiatedserfs  May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    What we said before the elections, we say [illegible] and again, and again today. And we will not tell you tomorrow that it was just campaign oratory. Have you ever heard an interventionist, or a British agent, or a member of the administration in Washington ask you to go back and study a record of what they have said since the war started? Are their self-styled defenders of democracy willing to put the issue of war to a vote of our people? Do you find these crusaders for foreign freedom of speech, or the removal of censorship here in our own country?

    The subterfuge and propaganda that exists in our country is obvious on every side. Tonight, I shall try to pierce through a portion of it, to the naked facts which lie beneath.

    When this war started in Europe, it was clear that the American people were solidly opposed to entering it. Why shouldn’t we be? We had the best defensive position in the world; we had a tradition of independence from Europe; and the one time we did take part in a European war left European problems unsolved, and debts to America unpaid.

    National polls showed that when England and France declared war on Germany, in 1939, less than 10 percent of our population favored a similar course for America. But there were various groups of people, here and abroad, whose interests and beliefs necessitated the involvement of the United States in the war. I shall point out some of these groups tonight, and outline their methods of procedure. In doing this, I must speak with the utmost frankness, for in order to counteract their efforts, we must know exactly who they are.

    The three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war are the British, the Jewish and the Roosevelt administration.
    http://www.charleslindbergh.com/americanfirst/speech.asp

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