PRISONERS: Homecoming

Across West Germany, newspapers and radio stations broke the news with one simple phrase: "Sie kommen!" (They are coming!). All Germans knew what it meant. Eight years after war's end, the U.S.S.R. was sending home "the last" of the Germans still held in Russia as prisoners of war.

Great crowds set off for Herleshausen, a border village where the Russians would deliver the prisoners. It was an odd, silent pilgrimage—government officials, clerics, rich Germans from the cities, farmers in their Sunday best. All wore the strained expression of desperate hope.

"Have You Seen This Man?" At the border, Communist trucks unloaded...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!