… Every time another memorial goes up in the “rubble woman’s” honor, German politicians look to what former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said in Munich in 2005. The rubble-clearing women in the aftermath of WWII are “a symbol of the German people’s wish to rebuild and of their powers of survival,” he said, adding that the Munich monument “commemorates the large number of women who volunteered to clear the ruins.”
Wrong, says historian Leonie Treber. Neither was there a great number of women, nor did most of them volunteer to clear the rubble, the researcher says. “The Trümmerfrau is a German legend.”
Yet it wasn’t just the women who were reserved when it came to clearing the war debris; men weren’t crazy about the task, either. In the eyes of the Germans, it was anything but honorable for people to show their “willingness to rebuild.” In fact, most Germans regarded clearing rubble as punishment – and for a reason.
During the war, the Nazis made soldiers, the Hitler Youth, forced laborers, prisoners of war and concentration camp prisoners clear the bombed cities after Allied air raids. In 1945, after the end of the war, prisoners of war and former members of the NSDAP Nazi party took their place. When that turned out to be insufficient, the population was asked to help – on a voluntary basis in the West, but usually against their will in the Soviet occupation zone.
An interesting argument. In divided Germany, at US and British invasion of the west, it was based on voluntary worker; yes right. And because of in this way, the fact is that they have not kept the record. As there are no records are kept at the west, in addition the low birth rate, how many of these women were raped or abuse victims by the occupation forces, so, the child numbers out of wedlock, are unknown. However, in the Russian-occupied east, this was done with the rationing system, and these women were registered. The presence of those women is showing the direction of painful of the war, actually. Ordinary German citizens had taken a huge blow as a result of American and British air offensive initiated in the last two years of the war, between 1943 and 1945. Even if most western historians ignore it, in almost every city in Germany, has been mass deaths with air operations. For example, many eastern historians is used the definition “Germany’s Nagasaki” for Dresden (Nagasaki death toll about 75,000 in just one day; Dresden death toll about 50,000 in just two days). And those women, who lived all when they tried to survive already, how they lived a psychological destruction? I think, this should be the main question to be answered, finding all the realities of the war out.