Dresden After the War

The angel looking down from above, stands in sharp contrast to the destroyed city of Dresden. In February of 1945, this city of high culture was destroyed by fire bombs. Thousands of civilians were killed, most of whom were refugees on their way to the West.

Photographer: Unknown
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
c. 1945
F59/2154
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Berlin

Many cities lay in ruins. The piled up bricks show that people began collecting building materials for reconstruction.

Photographer: Roehnert
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
c. 1948
dhm/0 500/ohne Negativ
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Refugees Pulling Their Cart in Search of a New Home

Already before the end of the war, a flood of refugees began moving west. Almost 10 million Germans fled from the Soviet army or were driven away from what were now Polish occupied territories, as well as from Czechoslovakia.

Photographer: Unknown
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)
c. July 1945
91/809
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


No Settling in Berlin

Exhausted refugees rest by the roadside while passing through Berlin. Due to the supply crisis, they had to leave the city again, as the Allies had forbidden any settling in Berlin.

Photographer: Gerhard Gronefeld
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)

BA: GG 16/7
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


A Generation of Fathers Gone

Children, women and the elderly dominated the scene in Berlin. A generation of fathers had largely been killed in the war or were in captivity. The food situation was catastrophic. People planted vegetables in Berlin's parks.

Photographer: Agentur Puck
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Women of the Ruins

The women who cleaned up all the debris in Germany, after the Second World War, were called "women of the ruins". Here they can be seen at work in front of the Reichstag building. During the First World War, Emperor Wilhelm II had the inscription "To the German people" mounted on the Reichstag.

Photographer: Gerhard Gronefeld
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Children in the Ruins

Playing in the ruins has become normal for these children.

Photographer: Agentur Puck
Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum)

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe some ways the Second World War affected the people of Europe, with particular reference to Germany
  • Describe some ways the people responded to the devastation around them
  • Gain an appreciation of the hardship war causes on civilians
  • Empathize with civilian victims of war
  • Appreciate the power of photography to capture historic events and communicate aspects of human existence

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