We have heard many stories about the events in Germany during World War II. But what about after the war? Life in Germany post-World War II was grim. Many suffered from lifelong mental and physical illnesses, while communities rebuilt homes and tried to “pick up the pieces.”

In recent years, German citizens who remember this grim period have spoken up about their experiences. Their stories shed light on an important piece of German history.

They suffered from severe PTSD

It shouldn’t be surprising that over 60 million German citizens suffered from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). An estimated 8.8 million German citizens and 5.5 million German military personnel died during World War II. After the war concluded in 1945, families were broken and defeated.

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Any sound even close to resembling a war sound triggered PTSD emotions. There was no pride for the country. Germany lost the war, and many citizens lost everything they loved.

They were separated from their families

The war separated families, especially Jewish families who suffered through the grim Holocaust. Many family members were killed by Nazi members, while others were forced to move apart from each other.

 AP Photo

When some family members split up to move to the United States, it would be the last time they ever saw each other.

Unable to recover mentally and physically

World War II was one of the bloodiest wars in history. Many German veterans never recovered, mentally and physically, after the war. Some had illnesses, including tuberculosis and stomach ulcers, while others lost limbs.

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These illnesses plagued veterans for the rest of their lives. For a war that only lasted six years, it left a harmful impact on these soldiers’ lives.

They feared it would happen again

Families were constantly concerned another war would occur. They never forgot what happened and many were still scared even 50 years after the war.

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German citizens weren’t just upset and fearful after the war, but they were angry the war ever happened. As a Reddit user commented about her grandfather’s lesson, “Beware. Pay attention to politics! Speak up. We couldn’t stop them. Maybe you can next time.”