Berlin, Richard E., 1894- / Diary of a flight to occupied Germany, July 20 to August 27, 1945.
Interview with Montgomery, pp. 44-45 PDF (490.9 KB)
Interview with Montgomery Monty came into the house 10 minutes before his appointment with us. We were taken into his office and introduced to him. He is a slight man, thin, weighs about 140 pounds, height about 5' 6", sharp blue eyes, sharp features, age about 53. He was wear- ing tan corduroy trousers, a blue sweater over a tan Army shirt. His collar was open at the neck, no tie. After being introduced Monty walked over to a bird cage, opened the cage, and a canary perched itself upon his forefinger while Monty fed him lettuce. During the bird feeding he turned to us and said, "What do you want of me?" We explained to him that we had called to pay our respects and would like to discuss the present situation in Germany. When we were seated in comfortable chairs, Monty began to talk. He said, "We are facing the battle of the winter which we must win. We have 25,000,000 people in the British occupation zone, which, as you know, is the Ruhr. Ordinarily these people consume 12,000,000 tons of food yearly and gross 8,000,000 tons. To start off with, they are going to be 4,000,000 short this winter. These people must live off their fat. Their bridges, canals, and transportation system have been knocked out. Ike (meaning Eisen. hower) has the scenery; I have the Ruhr. "The displaced person problem is a serious one. We have 1,500,000 D.P.s (displaced persons) roaming the countryside. These people are Poles, Czechs, and other slave laborers who were brought into Germany from the conquered countries. They believe that they are entitled to live off the Germans. Accordingly there is loot, rape and murder ever present. This winter the problem will be intense, as the German soldiers who are being discharged and are returning home to their farms are bound to organize bands of brigands of about 50 men to repel the looting of the D.P.s. They will use knives, clubs, and, in many instances, cached for. bidden firearms. "We must feed the Germans, as they are human beings. 44
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