Interview with Pastor Diehl (of the Evangelishehilfswerke). 5.10.46.
When the country collapsed, there was hardly any Nazism left in the minds of the people. From one day to the next, even "Adolf Hitler Strasse" disappeared. The allies were looked upon as liberators and Germans were prepared to accept democracy. Now they are disillusioned and are turning to dictatorship as democracy is not what they expected.
If this winter is like the last, the "Baby democracy will be still-born". It would not matter if the Germans were short of calories for the next few months - they can put up with this - but the tendency towards democracy will be killed and if this happens in Germany, the heart of Europe, what of democracy?
The Russians are being very stupid and if this were not so, many more Germans would turn to Communism. Most people say, "The last leaders were bad". People did not know about concentration camps. (An instance was given of one, hidden in a wood several miles from a town whose inhabitants thought it was a labour camp. At the liberation, the internees poured into the town and died daily).
More and more, the Germans do not believe in democracy but in "bigger and better dictators."
The most important things needed at present:-
(4) Justice. ( At present, arbitrary arrests are made as in the days of the Gestapo).
Pator Diehl told the story of an elder of his church who was arrested a year ago and interned. When Pastor Diehl went to speak for him, he was "kicked out" and told that it would only harm the internees for enquiries to be made about them or attempts made to help them.
There is a feeling of insecurity - people are turned out of their houses and never know if they will get any compensation. (Driven out of Eastern Germany and out of their houses in the British Zone for the BAOR families).
On the whole, requisitioning rules are being observed, but what is suitable alternative accommodation? The rule is 4 1/2. sq. metres per person and often 5-6 sq. metres are allowed. When this is questioned, the answer is that they gave 4 1/2 metres for the bombed out.
In Bielefeld which is 35% damaged, there is no rebuilding at present. There are a great many German and British officials in the town as well as refugees (there are 5,000 of these at present sleeping on the floor of a school).
The Germans think it reasonable that British families should come here but the amount of space taken up by them is not reasonable.