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Answers to Correspondents

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QUESTION Are there any Germans still living in what was once Prussia?

FURTHER to the earlier answer, in the Treaty of Versailles, after the First World War, in 1918, East Prussia was separated from the main part of Germany, because of the so called Polish Corridor.

In 1939, Hitler asked for the return of the Corridor, and when this was refused by Poland, he marched in with his armies. We then had the beginning of the Second World War.

When the Russian Armies entered East Prussia, people started to flee, out of fear of what the soldiers would do to the civilian population.

Although Swiss by birth, my family and I lived in Koligsberg (Kaliningrad now) at the time, and I was one of the refugees.

Thousands of people marched west in the terrible winter of 1944/45, in temperatures of 15-20 degrees below zero. They were shot at by Russians and those caught were brutally treated and often killed.

We had no warmth, no food, no shelter. That is the reason why hardly anybody is left in Königsberg (once the capital of East Prussia) and the northern part of the country.

Most people in England don't really know what happened in the East - Russia was an ally. I wrote about it in my Autobiography called HELGA, which has now been reprinted.

Helga Gerhardi - Aylesbury Bucks