It is estimated they cleared 500 million cubic metres of rubble from around Germany's cities. In Berlin they moved 75 million cubic metres.
Irish Times journalist Derek Scally visited a group of elderly women at a gym class in Berlin. One woman was a year old when the kaiser abdicated in 1918, 16 when Hitler came to power and 27 when the victorious Soviet Army arrived in the city.
None of the women in that gym that Scally visited ever remembers anyone ever saying thank you.