1945-05-30 Brno, Czech Republic / Death March / Todesmarsch / Marcha da Morte / Marcha de la Muerte

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War is its own special kind of hell. There is naked reality as filmed by US Army Air Force cameraman Oren Haglund in 1945, just one day after the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies. At 3:23 in the video, the lost girl appears.

No one knows for sure who the girl is but it is most likely Lara Bauer. Lara was born in Kollerschlag, Austria on February 3, 1921 and was baptized a Roman Catholic. Lara was a member of the ‘League of German Girls’ between 1931 – 1938.

During the last few days of WW2, Lara was escaping the Russian army when she and a friend were caught by a mob of Czechs that were looking to take revenge on German soldiers. Lara was brutally beaten and raped but escaped with her life!

About 1,500 people were arrested in Brno, most of them Germans. On May 23 the City Counsel of Brno urged the Czechoslovak government to establish courts for such criminals, because the people in Brno were rioting in front of the prison in an attempt to lynch the prisoners.

On May 30, 1945 the Provincial National Committee issued its order No. 78/1945, which ordered the immediate expulsion of the non-working German population from Brno.

All women, boys under the age of 14 and men over the age of 60 should leave the city immediately

At around 6 pm on 29 May 1945, police and assistance troops started to gather all recipients of food coupons marked with a ‘D’ (for Germans).

At around 10 pm on 30 May the first groups of Germans were forced to march 55 kilometres south towards the Austrian border. According to police reports, 18,072 Germans were expelled.

Austrian researchers claimed 1,950 victims of the march itself, 2,000 victims in the Pohořelice camp and 190 victims in surrounding villages.

In total 4,140 German victims from Brno plus 1,062 who died in Austria. Sudeten German sources, however, estimated that between 1,300 – 8,000 people either died of disease or were murdered.

Wild expulsions happened from May until August 1945. The expulsions were carried out by order of local authorities. Several thousand died violently during the expulsion and more died from hunger and illness as a consequence.

An estimated 1.6 million ethnic Germans were deported to the American zone of what would become West Germany. An estimated 800,000 were deported to the Soviet zone in what would become East Germany.

The 1945 expulsion was referred to as ‘wild transfer’ due to the widespread violence and brutality that were not only perpetuated by mobs but also by soldiers, police, and others acting under the color of authority.

There were localised massacres of the German population. During the ‘wild transfer’ phase, it is estimated that the number of murdered Germans was between 19,000 and 30,000.

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