FLIGHT TO FREEDOM

V-E DAY RECALLS ONE GERMAN FAMILY'S FRIGHTENING 1945 JOURNEY ALONG A ROAD FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE

A bright morning sun. A rust-brown train under mortar fire. Gray figures in panic scrambling to hide. Faces wrapped in swaths of white. A muddy ditch. And along a hillside, red crosses.

For the men and women who fought and won the war in Europe, V-E day meant the exultant, resounding vindication of good against evil. For me, then an eight-year-old boy and one of millions of Germans on the run, it would be a recurring nightmare. Afterward, I often dreamed of the final days of the war, of trains under fire, of soldiers being hanged for desertion, of refugees in...

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