DENAZIFICATION

This is the story of the German refugees who returned after World War Two to rebuild Post-War Europe and its society.

More than 10,000 Germans and Austrians who had fled Nazi persecution served with British forces during the Second World War.

 

At the end of the war, many returned to the land of their birth with the Intelligence Corps and Military Government to start the process of rebuilding Germany and Austria, before later making Britain their permanent home.

 

When the guns fell silent and they crossed into Germany after May 1945, they were setting foot on German soil for the first time in at least six years.

 

Geoffrey Perry commented: "Being back on German soil was like having goose-bumps but much more. It was a strange feeling, but was soon mingled with the reality of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime in the concentration camps."

Some were involved with the hunt for Nazi war-criminals and gathering evidence for the war crimes trials, including the Nuremberg Trial. Others interrogated German prisoners-of-war, or gathered evidence from the concentration camps and interviewed the survivors.

 

Two émigré-soldiers provided close protection for Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee at Potsdam. Hans Alexander was amongst the group of refugee-soldiers tasked with hunting down Rudolf Hess, the Commandant of Auschwitz. Alexander’s small team succeeded in March 1946.

Denazification is based on first-hand accounts from veterans, providing an insight into how Germany and Austria were rebuilt at the end of the Nazi tyranny.