By January 1945, with the failure of the last major German offensive in the Ardennes, it was clear to everybody that Germany had lost the war it had begun in 1939. But instead of surrendering, Hitler’s government continued fighting the war and mobilised all its available reserves. It deliberately calculated on the death of countless people and the total destruction of its own country.
While massively stepping up the terror campaign against groups that were already persecuted, it increasingly targeted members of its own society as well. In those chaotic final months of the war the people lived in a permanent state of tension caused by destruction and terror, confusion and fear of the future. Everyone had a daily struggle to survive.