After being part of the defeat of the German army in Europe, Lawrence Namminga Sr. pulled off an unimaginable feat by obtaining a jeep with five days leave and the proper clearances and driving 390 miles from Grafental, Germany to his ancestral home of Friesland in northern Holland. There, he was received as a heroic American soldier and was able to connect with many close relatives. It was an unexpected joyful reunion at the end of a great war. During his short stay, Lawrence, with his jeep, was able to aid his relatives in transporting relatives to the service for the family patriarch, killed by the Germans. The five days was a fitting end for Lawrence to a great war and an adventure that would live big with him for the rest of his life.
By Dick Martin
In the early part of WWII, to free up resources in its Battle of Britain, Hitler formed a pact with Russia to neutralize his Eastern front while he dealt with Britain. Hitler hated the Communists but needed the extra resources on the western front to deal with the Brits.
After Hitler gave up on the Battle of Britain, he re-concentrated his efforts on his eastern front by reneging on his agreement with Stalin and invading Russia. Hitler hoped to solicit help from Japan by declaring war on the United States bringing Japan into the war to help against Russia. Not believing Hitler would double cross him, Stalin was visibly shook and “dropped out” for a time; only to come back with a vengeance against the Wehrmacht.
As the German soldiers entered Eastern Europe and Western Russia, they instituted a rape, pillage, and plunder campaign that would unwittingly come back to haunt them later in the war. It never occurred to the German soldiers that they could see the same lands again as they retreated back across the same territory, full of anti-Germans wanting to take revenge on them for their bad conduct.
As the Wehrmacht made its inexorable march across western Russia towards Moscow, Stalingrad and Leningrad, the Russian people instituted a “scorched earth” policy performing miracles in moving their industrial factories and government, brick by brick farther East out of harm’s way, and destroying everything else. In the meantime, Stalin was throwing his manpower advantage at the Germans, causing the Germans to retreat back across land they had already conquered. The Russians and other anti-Germans were waiting for them. German soldiers soon found it healthier to surrender to the West than to Russia.
After the war, Stalin, in concert with other Communist subordinates, planned to expel all ethnic Germans from their homes east of the Oder and lands which from May 1945 fell inside the Soviet occupation zones. Twelve to 14.6 million Germans fled into Allied occupied Germany. The expulsions and flight of ethnic Germans resulted in a heavy price for the Germans, estimated at a death toll of 500,000 to 3,000,000.