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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)

Page 44

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
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.

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