The Soviet Advance In Silesia

Posted: August 15, 2010 in World War 2

The Red Army In Neisse, Upper Silesia

Early on Saturday, before Palm Sunday (24 March), the Russians entered Neisse, a town in Upper Silesia with a population of 40,000. Some 20 priests and lay-brothers together with some 200 nuns stayed behind to care for the old and infirm. 2,000 civilians also elected to stay on. Despite an eight-day siege and constant bombardment, Neisse was still relatively intact… Like a flood, the Red Army poured into the town. They also broke into our house, where they immediately took all our watches and other valuables. They demanded the sacramental wine and then broke up all the furniture. They did not even spare the altar in the cellar, on which we had just celebrated Holy Mass, and snatched up all our chalices and monstrances. Girls and women, including nuns, were raped continuously, with the Red Army men, led by their officers, queuing up before their victims. During the first night alone, many nuns and other women were raped no less than 50 times. The nuns, who resisted with all their strength, were either shot down, or else beaten until they were too exhausted to continue the struggle.

That was the night when they drove us all out. After a long march, we arrived in a small village and were herded into a tiny room, where we could neither sit nor lie down. Next day, the priests were interrogated, one by one, by a Secret Police (GPU) Officer. He was a lecturer on Leninism at Leningrad University. He tried to win us over for propaganda work, and promised us large churches and influential positions if only we would collaborate. His standard of education may be gathered from his question whether the Pope was a Catholic or a Protestant. After checking up on our activities during the last ten years, he had all of us sent further back from the front.

From Kaps: Die Tragodie Schlesiens, 1945/46 (The Tragedy of Silesia 1945-46), Munich, 1962

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