Have been reading a lot about the ending of the war in the east. The heroic part of course is the defeat of the Nazis and the liberation of the camps. However, it was accompanied by horrific violence against the populations of Poland and Germany, including mass rapes. Solzhenitsyn witnessed some of what happened and wrote the following harrowing poem about a scene he came upon. The mother of the dead child apparently begged the Soviets to kill her.
The little daughter’s on the mattress, Dead.
How many have been on it
A platoon, a company perhaps?
A girl’s been turned into a woman,
A woman turned into a corpse.
It's all come down to simple phrases:
Do not forget!
Do not forgive!
Blood for blood!
A tooth for a tooth!
Rape was also prevalent among some of the other allied troops but not to the same scale as in the east. It was clear that the Germans were seen as fair game for anything by the victorious armies and of course they have had little historical sympathy given the atrocities committed by the Nazis. Nor was it something that was part of public discourse in Germany for decades afterwards. With Douglas' book on the deportations of Germans and recent work on what happened to German women and children in particular, history is only beginning to examine what took place.