“Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself”: The Mass Suicide of Ordinary Germans in 1945 by Florian Huber

On April 30, 1945, as Nazi Germany was approaching its final collapse, the people of Demmin began to kill themselves.

Early that afternoon, the Red Army entered the quiet Pomeranian town, a hundred miles north of Berlin, which had been abandoned by the Wehrmacht. A handful of diehards put up token resistance, among them Gerhard Moldenhauer, a local schoolmaster, who fired a few shots at the Soviet advance guard from the window of his apartment. He then shot himself in the head before the soldiers could storm the building. Moldenhauer had already killed his wife and three children in the cellar below.