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Researchers reveal the real austerity Olympics: The political refugee

It was the real austerity Olympics. Whilst the rest of the world's top athletes were asked to bring their own towels and handed out Horlicks tablets by the authorities in London 1948, the spirit of the Games was being enacted in even more Spartan surroundings than the bombed out British capital.

Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War Two, By Keith

In his memoir If This is a Man, the Italian writer Primo Levi recalls that the most terrifying time for him at Auschwitz was not the years of incarceration by the Nazis, when beatings, hunger, back-breaking work and the threat of murder were omnipresent. He came closest to despair during the vacuum between the flight of the guards and the arrival of the Red Army. This period, in which the prisoners were effectively left to their own devices, was characterised by a complete breakdown of all authority, however unjust, as well as the system of supply. I was reminded of these passages when reading Keith Lowe's Savage Continent: an excellent account of the two years or so between the end of hostilities in Europe with the defeat of Hitler, and the establishment of the Cold War order.