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During the last month under the Nazis n ultimele luni ale dominaiei naziste

nearly all of us were pro-Russian.We aproape toi eram pro rui. Am ateptat
waited for the light from the East.But it has
burned too many.Too much has happened lumina de la rsrit, dar a ars prea mult
that cannot be understood.The dark street lume. S-au ntmplat prea multe lucruri
still resonate every night with the piercing
screams of women in distress. care nu pot fi nelese. Strzile ntunecate
tot mai rsun n fiecare noapte de ipetele
Ruth Andreas-Friedrich1 ascuite ale femeilor nefericite.

Ruth Andreas-Friedrich
The Russiansswept the native
population clean in a manner that had no Ruii au eliminat populaia btina cum
parallel since the days of the Asiatic nu o mai fcuser dect hoardele asiatice.
hordes.
George Kennan
George Kennan2

La Budapesta, John Lukacs a vzut o


In Budapest, John Lukacs saw
an ocean of green-gray Russians, all mare de rusi de un verde cenuiu, venind
coming in from the east.3 In an eastern dinspre rsrit. ntr-o suburbie din estul
Berlin suburb ,Lutz Rackow saw tanks,
tanks, tanks, tanks, and soldiers walking Berlinului, Lutz Rackow a vzut tancuri
alongside,among them amazons with i iar tancuri, i deasupra alte tancuri i
blonde braids.4This was the Red Army:
soldai mergnd pe lng ele, printre care i
hungry, angry, exhausted, battle-hardened
men and woman, some dressed in the same amazoane cu prul blond, mpletit. Era
uniforms theyd been wearing at Stalingrad Armata Roie: nfometat, nervoas,
or Kursk two years earlier, all of them
carrying memories of terrible violence, all epuizat, cu lupttori i lupttoare
of them now brutalized by what they had experimentate, unii mbrcai n aceleai
seen, heard and done.
uniforme pe care le purtaser n btlia de
The final Soviet offensive began in la Stalingrad sau n cea de la Kursk cu doi
January 1945, when the Red Army crossed
the Vistula, the river which runs through ani mai devreme, ducnd cu toii amintirea
the centre of Poland. Quickly marching acelor cumplite acte de violen,
through devastated western Poland and the
dezumanizai de ceea ce vazuser, auziser
Baltic states, the Ivans had conquered
Budapest after a terrible siege by the i fcuser.
middle of February, Silesia in March. Their
assault on Knigsberg in East Prussia Ofensiva sovietic final a nceput n
ended in April. By that time, two vast army ianuarie 1945, cnd Armata Roie a trecut
groups, the First Belorussian Front and
Ukrainian Frint, were on the Vistula, fluviul care trece prin centrul

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outskirts of Berlin, poised for the final Poloniei. Mrluind repede prin zona de
assault. Hitler killed himself on 30 April. A vest a Poloniei care era distrus, i prin
week later, on 7 May, General Alfred Jodl statele baltice, rusnacii au cucerit
unconditionally surrendered to the Alliesin Budapesta dup un asediu cumplit pn la
the name of the Wehrmacht High mijlocul lunii februarie i apoi Silezia n
Command. martie. Asaltul asupra oraului Knigsberg
din Prusia rsritean s-a sfrit n aprilie.
Even now, it is not easy to asses what
happened in Eastern Europe during those Pn atunci, dou mari corpuri de armat,
final five months of war, because not i anume Frontul I bielorus i Frontul I
everybody remembers the events of those
bloody months in the same way. In Soviet ucrainean se aflau la periferia Berlinului,
historiography, the last phase of the war is pregtite pentru asaltul final. Hitler s-a
always portrayed unambiguously as a
sinucis pe 30 aprilie. O sptmn mai
series of liberations. According to the
standard narrative, Warsaw, Budapest, trziu, pe 7 mai, generalul Alfred Jodl s-a
Prague, Vienna and Berlin were freed from predat necondiiont aliailor n numele
the yoke of Nazi Germany, triumph
followed triumph, the fascists were naltului Comandant al Wehrmacht-ului.
destroyed, the population rejoiced and
freedom was restored.
Others tell the story differently. For
many decades Germans, and especially
Berliners, spoke very little about the events
of May 1945 and afterwards. Nowadays,
however, they remember very well the
looting, the arbitrary violence and above
all the mass rape which followed the
Soviet invasion. Elsewhere in Eastern
Europe, the Red Army is also remembered
for its attacks on local partisans who had
been fighting the Germans but who
happened not to be communists, and for
the waves of both random and targeted
violence which followed. In Poland,
Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia,
Ramania and Bulgaria, the red Armys
arrival is rarely remembered as a pure
liberation. Instead, it is remembered as the
brutal beginning of a new occupation.
Yet for many people,neither of these
opposing perspectives offers the complete
story either. For the arrival of the Red
Army really did herald freedom for

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millions of people. Soviet soldiers opened her story and made sure she received food
the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and, as she remembered, even warm water
Majdanek, Stuthoff, Sachsenhausen and to wash.5
Ravensbrck. They emptied the Gestapo
prisons. They made it possible for Jews to
leave their hiding places in barns and
cellars, and to return, slowly, to something
resembling ordinary life. Genia Zonabend,
a Jewish internee, walked out of the gates
of a small labour camp in eastern Germany
and went into the first German houses she
could find, asking for food. She was a
refused until a Russian passing by heard