"...the whole world is
under the sway of the evil one." 1 John 5:19
"We ought to have been grateful to God for
having spared us yet we were not grateful. We still had our
eyes on material possessions, earthly safeguards. Even
during those terrible first weeks of the occupation, with
the Russians in possession of ruined Dresden, we felt
completely confident of our personal safety. Now it was the
American flag, made with our hands and raised above our big
house on the hill, in which we put our trust. We forgot that
the flag, made by human hands, could also meet its
destruction at human hands.
After the bombing when I had walked
through the ruined downtown streets and seen forced labor
crews gathering up the burned, decomposing bodies to be
taken to one huge funeral pyre in the central square, I had
resolved to be thankful to God all the rest of my life that
I was not among those nameless uncounted dead. But already I
had forgotten. All that I had learned of prayer and
dependence on God alone had now to be learned over at great
length and with infinite hardship.
But in certain ways I had begun to
discover, during those first two months of Russian
occupation, before my father and I were arrested, what
man without God can come to. Although I could not then
comprehend why the Russians conducted themselves as they
did, the dreadful events of Black Sunday in Dresden, May
6, 1945, gave me my first inkling of the moral erosion
that had taken place among the Soviet people.
Under cover of darkness, neighbors
continued to slip over to our house for refuge. The tales
they had to tell made us sick. Several of the women were
hysterical. None of us slept that night.
The next day came word of Germany’s surrender and on
Tuesday, the war was over. The Russians gave their men three
days of liberty to celebrate. Their lust spent in rape, the
Red soldiers turned to looting. They were stealing all the
cars they could find. After crossing the ignition wires,
they would go roaring off down the streets, shouting and
sounding the horn. Within a few minutes, with squealing
brakes and splintering glass, they would wreck the car at
some intersection. Such of them as could still navigate
would extricate themselves from the wreckage and.... steal
The terrible truth is that when you remove God from a
society, you remove the basis for a moral code; and when
men live without a moral code, they live in violence and
sin. Sin is never without its penalties. From the standpoint
of long-range Soviet policy in Germany, no greater blunder
could have been made than to permit the Russian army to
behave as it did. Our German neighbors in Dresden did not
expect easy treatment at the hands of the Red Army, for the
dreadful rumors that had reached them from the East left no
doubt that things would go hard with them.
But no one could have expected, or
imagined, what actually took place in the form of rape,
murder, and drunken barbarity of all kinds.
From the West, people had heard that the
Americans were treating conquered German cities in their
zone of occupation very differently, and everyone hoped that
in the postwar settlement Dresden would be turned over to
American or joint Allied occupation. Charity and sympathy
toward defeated opponents, shown often by Americans of every
rank, were a natural part of Christian morality, but I think
even the Kremlin would now agree that such Christian conduct
would also have been a show of tactical wisdom.
There had been high anti-American feeling
after the great bombing but overnight, after the Russians
arrived, that feeling disappeared. The Russians who might
have been welcomed as liberators by many who were strongly
anti-Nazi, instead made themselves hated and despised....
Close to midnight the next night my father
and I returned from a trip to Jena. ... A dim light showed
that someone was still up, waiting for us at our home in
Dresden.... As we mounted the steps, George stepped out to
meet us; he was not alone. A Russian in civilian clothes was
at his side....
We went inside and there a Russian
officer, flanked by five armed guards and an interpreter,
rose to meet us. “You are under investigation,” the
interpreter told us.
We were quickly searched and all our
documents of identification taken, including our American
passports. Argument was useless. The American flag that had
been flying over our house had been torn down that day. Dad
and I were taken off to prison.