I just found out about the Massacre of Cossacks at Lienz, from my awesome writing mentor, Marsha Skrypuch.
On the one hand, I am thankful she shared it. On the other, I almost wish she didn't. What a heart-breaking and stomach-turning account of a shameful moment in history.
... the Cossack Corps of General Domanov, consisting of about 28,000 persons, including women and children, on leaving Italian territory in early May 1945, crossed over the mountain pass into Austria and set up camp in the valley of the river Drau.
The Staff of the Cossacks and a part of the administrative units were billeted within the city limits of the town of Lienz. The Cossack regiments (disarmed) camped on adjoining territory in tents, while the noncombatants, the aged, the women and children, found quarters in the camp Peggetz, about two miles outside the city.
The attitude of the British authorities towards the Cossacks was quite beyond reproach and even benevolent up to May 26th, and there was nothing to indicate the impending catastrophe. ...
The next day, May 27th, at about 10:00 A.M., the British ordered all officers to turn in their pistols which, so far, they had been permitted to keep. ...
On the morning of May 28th all officers, military officials, and medics were ordered to report at 1:00 P.M. to the square before the Staff billets, to be moved in trucks according to directives from the British General. ...
Twenty-four hours later, all these unfortunate prisoners were transported into the Soviet Zone and were handed over to the Soviets. Only five persons were able to escape by a miracle. Numerous camp inmates had committed suicide, numerous others were killed by the guards while attempting an escape, while some had been executed on the way to the Soviet Zone, and it is unknown to this day exactly how many reached the Soviet Union.
You can read the details (if you think you can stomach them) here.
What a proud [not!] moment in history for the WWII allies.
And then the Cold War came as a surprise to the west? And now, everyone is shocked at Russians drunk on oil and power, waging war on its neighbours, and sabre-rattling with impunity?
Makes you marvel at the depth of human stupidity.