The fall of Berlin, 1945, part 13/13


in Bombs and rockets, Writing

“The merciless shelling had no pattern. It was aimless and incessant. Each day it seemed to increase in intensity. Mortars and the grinding howl of rocket-firing Katashkas soon added to the din. Most people now spent much of their time in cellars, air raid shelters, flak tower bunkers and subway stations. They lost all sense of time. The days blurred amid the fear, confusion and death that was all about them. Berliners who had kept meticulous diaries up to April 21 suddenly got their dates mixed. Many wrote that the Russians were in the center of the city on April 21 or 22, when the Red Army was still fighting in the suburbs. Their terror of the Russians was often intensified by a certain guilty knowledge. Some Germans, at least, knew all about the way German troops had behaved on Soviet soil, and about the terrible and secret atrocities committed by the Third Reich in concentration camps. Over Berlin, as the Russians drew closer, hung a nightmarish fear unlike that experienced by any city since the razing of Carthage.”

Ryan, Cornelius. The Last Battle. 1966. p. 420-1 (italics in original)

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