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Trummerfrauen: "Women of the Rubble"

DAYTON, Ohio -- Berlin Airlift exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Berlin Airlift exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In the aftermath of World War II, Berlin was in ruins. Its population had been reduced by half, and nearly two-thirds of the city's 2.3 million citizens were women. Many of these German women -- known as Trummerfrauen, or "women of the rubble" -- worked hard to clean up and reclaim the city. In many cases, they cleared bomb-damaged areas through tough manual labor, separating usable bricks and construction materials from other debris. The Trummerfrauen have been celebrated not only for their efforts to clean up the city, but for their role in rebuilding families and society in a city nearly destroyed by Nazism.

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