Deputy Mayor Ernst Kurt Lisso and his family after committing suicide by cyanide to avoid capture by US troops, 1945

As the Red Army and the Western Allies drew closer to Berlin, suicides increased. Thousands of Germans committed suicide in the spring of 1945, rather than face the occupation and abuse expected of their conquerors. During April 3,881 people were recorded as having committed suicide in the Battle of Berlin, although this figure is probably an underestimate.

Although the motives were widely explained as "fear of Russian invasion", suicides also occurred in liberated areas by British and American troops.

On 18 April 1945, several Leipzig officials committed suicide at the New Town Hall (Neuse Rathaus). Leipzig's deputy mayor Ernst Liso decides to end his life, but also the lives of his wife and daughter as Americans march towards City Hall.

His wife Renate Lizzo is seated in front of her husband in the death tableau, and most shockingly, his daughter Regina is sitting on the bench. He has an armband and was probably part of the German Red Cross assisting German soldiers before his premature death.

In the other room, the mayor and his wife and daughter similarly killed themselves before the Allied forces could do their worst. In both cases, they used cyanide capsules.

Unlike Japan – where many even killed themselves at the end of the war – German culture does not include suicide as a possible response to shame or humiliation.

Yet thousands felt that life was not worth living if it had not lived under Nazi order. Perhaps family and personal losses during the war as well as the expected hardships and hardships of defeat put many people on edge.

Life magazine reported that: "The overwhelming feeling of utter defeat was overwhelming for many Germans in the final days of the war. Away from the bayonets and blunders that had given them power, they could no longer choose their victors or anyone with their conscience. The Germans found the fastest and surest escape in what the Germans called the Selbstmordt, a suicide.

There were many reasons why some Germans decided to end their lives in the final months of the war. First, by 1945 Nazi propaganda had created fear among certain sections of the population about an imminent military invasion of their country by Soviet or Western allies.

Information films of the Reich Ministry of Public Knowledge and Propaganda repeatedly deceived viewers as to why Germany should not surrender, stating that they faced torture, rape, and the threat of death in defeat.

Secondly, many Nazis – who were inspired in unquestioning allegiance to the party – also felt obliged to follow the example of Adolf Hitler when it was reported that the Führer had taken his own life. In the end, the others killed themselves because they knew what would happen to them after the defeat.

Many prominent Nazis, Nazi followers and members of the armed forces committed suicide in the final days of the war. Others killed themselves after being caught.

The list includes 8 of the 41 regional leaders of the NSDAP who held positions between 1926 and 1945, 7 of the 47 High SS and police leaders, 53 of the 554 army generals, 14 of the 98 Luftwaffe generals, in the Kriegsmarine Includes 11 of the 53 admirals. , and an unknown number of junior officers.

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