Liberation and Mistrust

Espionage suspected

Alexandra A. reports on how "Eastern workers" were investigated at a Soviet repatriation camp after their release.

Love and Homesickness

Alexandra A. tells about her friendship with a Dutch forced labourer.

Natasha – A Forbidden Love

Song by the Dutch singer songwriter Johan Meijer, 2003. Photo of a Dutch-Ukrainian couple in Spandau, 1943

Nearby: AEG Apparatewerke Treptow

Today the Allianz building / Treptowers. More on AEG in tour “In the Factory”

The Red Army liberated the forced labourers. After years of oppression and fear in the days of the final battles for Berlin, most of them felt relieved. But many women were sexually assaulted by Soviet soldiers.

Hundreds of thousands headed for home, some quickly and other more slowly. When they got there, it was not uncommon that they were treated with mistrust as possible collaborators or spies, especially in the Soviet Union.

From the S-Bahn station, the monumental Soviet War Memorial is located about a 1 km walk through the park.

Address:

Puschkinallee
12435 Berlin

Directions:

S Treptower Park

Sources:

“Espionage suspected”: Interview with Alexandra A., 2005, Online archive “Forced Labor 1939-1945”, za466

“Love and Homesickness”: Interview with Alexandra A., 2005, Online archive “Forced Labor 1939-1945”, za466

“Natasha – A Forbidden Love”: Johan Meijer, From Maas to Memel – Songs for Survivors, CD, 2003 (song); Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt (photo)

“Nearby: AEG Apparatewerke Treptow”: Collection of the Berliner Geschichtswerkstatt

Song Text “Natasha”

I was a young man, one day it happened.
I was arrested, deported with others,
had to leave my hometown, my country
forced to work near Berlin.
No chances to escape,
the doors of the train where locked.
I had to make munition from morning till late at night,
With sabotage you risked your life.
We had little food, in winter it was bitter cold.
I felt lost and lonely, but one day I saw you.

Natasha, Natasha, the first woman I loved
Natasha, Natasha, I do love you still.
In those cruel years of war.
Your skin was white and soft.
My hands through your hair,
you were the only one that gave me love.
Our love had to be secret,
One glance too much, a word too loud
betrayal was all around us.

Natascha, ...

The work exhausted me, fear overcame me many times
My hand held your hand
when bombs came down at night.
Escaped from Hitler’s hell, how happy we were that day.
That bad dream over at last, we were free again.
I wanted to go home and you would follow me.
Oh, but how Joseph Stalin maltreated my love!

Natascha, ...

Then came the Cold War, you were out of reach.
No one could understand me, I just kept silent.
A sky-high wall was between you and me,
step by step I left you, choose another woman at my side.
But at times I think back, time stops for a moment,
my heart jumps over borders from here till Kasachstan.
I’ll never forget you, even if I have not been true.
In life and death, you still are my first woman.