Prussia, known for some the most distinctly characterized people,
culture, and land. Famous in war, uncompromisingly disciplined, tactful, honorable,
and industrious. Traits that helped define the very meaning of what it is to be German.
A proud people, although tempered with humility by the climate, land, and geographic
disadvantage. They comprised a truly unique, tolerant, and diverse culture set in
a dreamlike land in which time seemed to stand still. A place where the world was
understood and humanity's place in it determined.
Many who hear the word "Prussian", think of iron-faced men, unflinching
in their desire for conquest and war. Many think that the Prussian culture was one
entirely made up of war. While Prussia had great successes in warfare, it was largely
defensive in nature. Prussia is dotted with hundreds of fortresses and thousands of
villages. All built for one purpose, defense. Prussia was the last line of defense
between Germanic and Slavic borders. Prussians were good at war because they had to
be to ensure the survival of their nation.
1945, East Prussians fleeing their homeland
Sadly, this culture only exists today in the hearts and memories
of those who have survived. What is it they survived? Amazingly, the single largest
forced relocation of people the world has ever known. This fact is amazing in and
of itself. What is even more amazing is how these historical events have largely gone
undocumented, and unrecognized by historians.
This loss of lives, land, culture, and future comprises the East
Prussian Holocaust. It is an atrocity because of the millions that lost their lives,
homes, and way of life. The hardest thing to accept is that there will never be new
memories, for what Prussia was has disappeared as if it was wiped off the face of
All that can be hoped for is that the survivors tell us about East
Prussia. How it was, how they thought, how they lived. Only then can we begin to understand
and grow to appreciate what Prussian culture was and how much humanity has lost in
Counting only civilians killed or expelled from the provinces of East Prussia, West Prussia,
Pomerania, Silesia and the Sudetenland, there were 15 Million victims in total of
which 2.8 Million were killed, and 12 Million expelled.
(another 0.2 Million remained unaccounted for.)