The legacy of World War II continues to impact the minds and hearts of Europeans even though the event occurred over sixty years ago. There is a proposal in the German legislature to commemorate the expulsion of Germans from eastern Europe who were forced to flee their homes in Poland, parts of eastern German and Czechoslovakia due to boundary changes. Several members of the German government are citing a statement issued by Germans in August, 1950 named the “Charter of German Expellees.” There is no question that millions of Germans were forced to leave their homes in the aftermath of the bloody war which resulted in the death of over 35 million people. Of course, Germany was responsible for these murder of the innocent and for some strange reason those remaining alive were angry and filled with hatred toward the perpetrators of death camps, and mass killing of the innocent. The original statement in 1950 made no mention of death camps, it made no mention of mass murders, the killing of millions of Russian POWs, the systematic murder of Jews, Poles, gays, Roma and millions of others.
Many contemporary Germans cite British and American air attacks on their cities as examples of murder of the innocent. Reality check. German planes began the process of bombing civilian areas in cities. German V-Bombs blasted London and other English cities. Yes, US and British 1,000 plane raids destroyed housing, killed civilians and wiped out industrial areas. Yes, one wrong does not justify another wrong. But, war is hell. Once set on the path of war, the innocent always die. As I recall, millions of Germans yelled support for Adolf Hitler. He was a Pied Piper leading Germans into disaster, but there were points on the road to destruction when some Germans enjoyed the good life.
War is brutal. There were innocent Germans caught in the aftermath of Nazism. But, among those expelled were millions of Germans who enjoyed the good life that came with rule by Germany over Poland or Czechoslovakia. Land and property of Jews were taken by Germans living in occupied areas. Of course, not all Germans committed these heinous crimes, but it is difficult to differentiate between the innocent and the guilty. The idea of commemorating those who were guilty is a horrible miscarriage of justice and an insult to the dead.