I post this snippet from an interview because of the juxtaposition of the fear of losing one’s home, being killed by one’s own soldiers, and bedbugs.
B: Yea, yea, we were told, it was written [in the papers] that Ukraine was all destroyed, there was nothing.
A: And why did they do that?
B: Who knows why they did that.
A: And for what? Psychologically, it’s so important to know that there is a Ukraine to return to. Did you work better? Probably you didn’t work that well.
B: Well, they used to write [lies] in those newspapers. The Czechs used to tell us that in the newspapers it says that we are all volunteers, so when the Reds come, it would mean that they will kill us too. Ooohh, and [they said] there was no more Ukraine.
A: So they were trying to scare you that when the Reds come they will kill you [it was a crime to cooperate with the other side]?
B: They would kill us. Yes. And there was famine, there was cold.
A: And on top of all that, this frightened you.
B: And that too.
B2: And on top of that the bedbugs bit!
B: Yea, those bedbugs.
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In another interview, I asked a Baba and a Did (man) why they thought the Germans raped (just trying to get at what their thoughts on motivation was), and the woman answered to me, “They didn’t explain.”
I thought that was actually quite humorous. I thought she probably considered this a really dumb question. My interpreter was excellent, though. He understood what I was trying to get at, and he followed with, “But do you have any thoughts on why?”