Civilian population, captivity and flight

Zivilbevölkerung, Gefangenschaft und Flucht

Men of the “Volkssturm”, refugees and prisoners of war

When the Allied troops crossed the borders of the German Reich, millions of civilians became refugees. They tried to escape the advancing front, sometimes the population was also evacuated. Especially on the Eastern Front, fear of the Red Army had increased these floods of refugees, with the images of treks dominating these months. The attempt to defend the “home ground” through an armament of the civil population, the "Volkssturm", was hopeless. Hitler "a last resort" was unable to influence the course of the war. For many German soldiers, captivity meant rescue from this hopeless situation. The advance of the Allies greatly increased the number of captured German soldiers: Their convoys were a familiar sight in the German cities and countryside.