- A JOURNEY BACK TO YOUTH, is a World War 11 documentary
which was produced in 2001. In this powerful piece, Alexander
Gutman, a Russian Jew, interviewed several German women who had survived
a rape orgy and the subsequent unspeakable years in the Soviet Concentration
- Gutman's documentary uncovered the too often concealed facts
from the history of the Second World War; events that occurred after the
occupation of East Prussia by the Red Army. The women in the film had
been mere teenagers at the time of their ordeal. They had been among
thousands of girls and women who were deported to the Soviet Union with
the acquiescence of the Western powers, for slave labor. The women
in this film were among the vast numbers of tortured souls who
barely survived the horrors of Stalin's camps; horrors which
they experienced alongside many fellow countrywomen and girls.
- In February 1945 at the Yalta Conference, Churchill,
Roosevelt and Stalin agreed to a deal that would destroy the lives of hundreds
of thousands (many say the real number was in the millions) of Germans;
Secret Order 7161. This order allowed the Red Army to "mobilize
and intern for assignment to work in the USSR all able-bodied Germans".
In this manner the USSR's war ravaged economy was to be revitalized. With
that decree the fate of four women Charlotte, Traute, Delheid and
Dora - was sealed. Along with thousands of others, they were forced to
march to work camps and endure a regime of hard labor. On the way they
were denied food and water.
- "We weren't shot or killed, but we were more likely
to die than to survive," Charlotte recalled. "The
Russians didn't care what happened to us. They told us that Germany
was responsible for everything in the war and had to redeem its guilt."
- Rape, humiliation, and torture were commonplace in the
camp. "Scarcely a single girl avoided being raped," Charlotte
stated. The Russian soldiers saw it as a "harmless form
of amusement." Even more gruesome was the punishment reserved for
those who stepped out of line. Those unfortunate girls were
stripped, laid on the floor, and beaten with a leather whip.
- Charlotte's sister, Gretchen, became seriously ill during
her punishment. She was sent to an infirmary. One day, Charlotte
climbed in through the window to visit her sick sister. Gretchen
warned her: "Don't come back again or they will punish me." The
next day Gretchen , who was critically ill with dysentery, was
forced to clean the hut from top to bottom. Later, the guards told
Charlotte: "If you want to see your sister, go to the morgue."
- Today Charlotte is free, but she will never be free of
the memories and the pain. Those demons will haunt her for the rest of
- The mental and physical torture the detainees endured
only ended when they were released after five years. But to their despair,
they were not allowed to return to Germany. They had nowhere to go."
- However, the suffering of the women did not end
there. The most cruel irony is the blame these older Germans continue to
endure from the young. Charlotte's daughters, Korina and Koni, hold her
mother's generation accountable for the Second World War. http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=18492
- Gutman's documentary, A Journey Back To Youth, after
being rejected by many film festivals, was finally accepted by the 34th
International Film Festival in Houston Texas, where it won the main prize:
the Platinum Remi Award. However, when it came to New York City,
the producer was confronted by loud protests and even death threats:
- " He ought to be killed for making such a film.
Shame, a Jew making a movie about German suffering"
- Why shouldn't a Jew make a movie about German suffering? I
applaud Mr. Gutman for putting truth above ethnicity. Perhaps
it is time that the world stops ignoring these victims of the war. Perhaps
it is time that the world opens its eyes to the suffering of the millions
that is chooses to ignore.
- Why is it that even today, the suffering of Germans deported
to Russia during the Russian occupation of Germany goes unrecognized? Forgive
me for my naivete, readers, but isn't all suffering equal?
Aren't we all members of the human race? In the eyes of American
jurisprudence and in the eyes of God aren't all men created equal?
- "What really raises one's indignation against suffering
is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering."
- Copyright: 2006