Scrapbookpages Blog

July 16, 2014

New Jersey schools teach students about “Greek atrocities in World War II”

This morning, I read an article in the on-line NJSpotlight newspaper, which is about Paul Winkler, who is entering his 40th year leading the nation’s first Holocaust education program.

The article included the quote below:

The [New Jersey Holocaust] commission is best known for its Holocaust curriculum, but it has also developed curricula on 13 other acts of horror throughout modern history, from the Native American genocide through Darfur. The most recent was a 20th anniversary presentation about the mass killings in Rwanda, as well as curricula on Greek atrocities in World War II and Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s gulags.

The Greeks committed atrocities in World War II?  How could that be?  Only the Nazis committed atrocities during World War II, never the Allies.  I hurried to Wikipedia, as fast as my fingers could take me, to find out the truth.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about atrocities in Greece in World War II:

In early December 1943, the German Army’s 117th Jäger Division began a mission named Unternehmen Kalavryta (Operation Kalavryta), intending to encircle Greek Resistancefighters in the mountainous area surrounding Kalavryta. During the operation, 78 German soldiers, who had been taken prisoner by the guerillas in October, were executed by their captors. The commander of the German division, General Karl von Le Suire reacted with harsh and massive reprisal operations across the region. He personally ordered the “severest measures”—the killing of the male population of Kalavryta—on 10 December 1943.

So it seems that students in New Jersey schools are not only learning about the Jews killed by the Nazis, they are also learning about reprisals, which were legal during World War II.  There were reprisals against the Greek Resistance fighters, who were illegal combatants in World War II; the purpose of these legal reprisals was to stop the illegal killing of German soldiers who were fighting on the battlefield.

The most famous reprisal during World War II was the one at Oradour-sur-Glane.  I have written several blog posts about Orddour-sur-Glane, including this one: http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/june-10th-the-anniversary-of-the-oradour-sur-glane-tragedy/

If the New Jersey schools want to teach students about atrocities during World War II, the reprisal at Oradour-sur-Glane is the best example of the Germans fighting legally against the illegal combatants in World War II.

July 8, 2014

“the Wereth 11″ get new honors, as German SS soldiers in WW2 are accused of “what was undeniably a war crime”

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:53 am

Update July 21, 2014:   The War Heroes TV channel (formerly the Military Channel) had a story today about the Wereth 11, the black heroes, who were tortured and killed by German soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge.

Continue reading my original post:

A reader of my blog recently mentioned “the Wereth 11″ in a comment. I had never heard of “the Wereth 11,” so I had to look it up on the Internet.  I discovered that “the Wereth 11″ was a group of 11 African American soldiers who were fighting in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. After deserting from the battlefield, they had walked 10 miles to Wereth, a hamlet in Belgium, where they hid out, safe from the worst battle of World War II. You can read their story at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/07/wereth-black-soldiers-battle-of-bulge-army-world-war-ii-history/3465059/

The Wereth 11 now has a Facebook page, where you can read all about these heroes who were gunned down by German soldiers in wartime.  There is also a resolution that has been introduced into the US Congress (H. Con. Res. 68) to recognize the service and sacrifice of these 11 American soldiers.  You can read about it here.

The hamlet of Wereth in Belgium

The hamlet of Wereth in Belgium (Click to enlarge)

This website gives the story from the point of view of the African-American soldiers:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/07/wereth-black-soldiers-battle-of-bulge-army-world-war-ii-history/3465059/

This is the story, as told by a former African-American soldier:

The unit was decimated. “We were all either killed or captured,” said George Shomo, 92, a veteran of the 333rd who lives in Tinton Falls, N.J.

Eleven members of the 333rd managed to escape. For hours, they trudged through waist-deep snow, staying away from roads and hoping to avoid German patrols. They carried only two weapons.

Exhausted and hungry, the men stumbled upon the tiny Belgian farming hamlet of Wereth shortly before dusk. They were waving a white flag, recalls Tina Heinrichs-Langer, who at the time was 17 years old.

Tina’s father, Mathias Langer, didn’t hesitate to offer help. He invited the men into his home, seating them at the family’s rustic kitchen table, where he gave the grateful soldiers hot coffee and bread.

Harboring the Americans was a risky move for the Langer family. Wereth was a town of divided loyalties. It had been part of Germany before World War I, and some of its residents still identified themselves as German.

But Mathias Langer was unwavering in his support of the Allies. He hid deserters from the German army and sent his own sons away to avoid having them conscripted.

There is a recent documentary film about “the Wereth 11,” which you can read about here.

This quote is from the link above:

Titled The Wereth Eleven, and of course based on a true story, it’s described as…

… an epic docudrama… that retraces the steps of the 11 soldiers of the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion who escaped The 18th Volksgrenadiers after their unit was overrun at the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Their 10-mile trek from their battery position to Wereth, Belgium led them to refuge with a Belgian family until a Nazi sympathizer revealed their presence to an SS Reconn Patrol. The soldiers surrendered, but were taken to a field, where they were tortured, maimed, and shot on Dec. 17, 1944. The killings were investigated, but never prosecuted.

Wait a minute!  German soldiers “tortured, maimed and shot” African American soldiers, but these German soldiers were “never prosecuted.” Unmöglich!

I quickly got out my copy of the book entitled Justice at Dachau by Joshua M. Greene.  This book tells all about the war crimes trials that were held at Dachau, by the Americans after World War II.  The “Wereth 11″ was not mentioned in this comprehensive book, probably because no one was ever prosecuted for this crime.

A few years ago, I spent a great deal of time studying the war crimes trials at Dachau, and wrote about it on my scrapbookpages.com website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauTrials/MalmedyMassacre03.html

It is very strange, and highly suspicious, that no one was ever put on trial for the torture, maiming and shooting of the “Wereth 11″ in Belgium.  These black soldiers had deserted from the Battle of the Bulge and had gone 10 miles from the battlefield to hide in the hamlet of Wereth in Begium. They should have been taken as Prisoners of War by the Germans and given all their rights under the Geneva Convention.

This quote is from my website page about the Malmady Massacre:

Forty-two of the accused [at the Malmedy Massacre trial] were sentenced to death by hanging, including Col. Joaquin Peiper. Peiper made a request through his defense attorney that he and his men be shot by a firing squad, the traditional soldier’s execution. His request was denied. General Sepp Dietrich was sentenced to life in prison along with 21 others. The rest of the accused were sentenced to prison terms of 10, 15 or 20 years.

None of the convicted SS soldiers were ever executed and by 1956, all of them had been released from prison. All of the death sentences had been commuted to life in prison. As it turned out, the Malmedy Massacre proceedings at Dachau, which were intended to show the world that the Waffen-SS soldiers were a bunch of heartless killers, became instead a controversial case which dragged on for over ten years and resulted in criticism of the American Occupation, the war crimes military tribunals, the Jewish prosecutors at Dachau and the whole American system of justice.

Before the last man convicted in the Dachau proceedings walked out of Landsberg prison as a free man, the aftermath of the case had involved the US Supreme Court, the International Court at the Hague, the US Congress, Dr. Johann Neuhäusler, a Bishop from Munich, who was a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, and the government of the new Federal Republic of Germany. All of this was due to the efforts of the defense attorney, Lt. Col. Willis M. Everett.

[...]

The prosecution case hinged on the accusation that Adolf Hitler himself had given the order that no prisoners were to be taken during the Battle of the Bulge and that General Sepp Dietrich had passed down this order to the commanding officers in his Sixth Panzer Army. This meant that there was a Nazi conspiracy to kill American prisoners of war and thus, all of the accused were guilty because they were participants in a “common plan” to break the rules of the Geneva Convention. Yet General Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Army had taken thousands of other prisoners who were not shot. According to US Army figures, there was a total of 23,554 Americans captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

[...]

Patton’s Army was accused of several incidents in which German prisoners of war were shot, which he admitted in his autobiography. Patton wrote the following entry in his diary on 4 January 1945:

“The Eleventh Armored is very green and took unnecessary losses to no effect. There were also some unfortunate incidents in the shooting of prisoners. I hope we can conceal this.”

In another incident involving the shooting of German and Italian Prisoners of War, an American captain was acquitted on the grounds that he had been following the orders of General Patton, who had discouraged American troops from taking prisoners during the landing of the US Seventh Army in Sicily.

Ironically, an incident in which Americans executed German prisoners happened within half a mile of the Dachau courtroom. On April 29, 1945, the day that the SS surrendered the camp at Dachau, American soldiers of the 45th Thunderbird Division of the US Seventh Army lined up surrendered Waffen-SS soldiers against a wall and machine-gunned them down in the SS Training Camp, next to the concentration camp. This was followed by a second incident, on the same day, which happened at a spot very near the courtroom: the killing of SS guards at the Dachau concentration camp after they came down from their guard tower and surrendered with their hands in the air.

A third execution of German soldiers who had surrendered on April 29th, known as the Webling Incident happened in the village of Webling on the outskirts of of the town of Dachau. American soldiers of the 222nd Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division executed soldiers of the German Home Guard after they had surrendered. The Home Guard consisted of young boys and old men who were forced into service in the last desperate days of the war to defend their cities and towns.

[...]

After the war, the Germans attempted to bring a list of 369 murder cases, involving US Army soldiers killing German POWs and wounded men, before a German court, but the cases were thrown out. The list of these 369 killings was published in a German newspaper.

So who was really killing Prisoners of War in World War II?

 

July 4, 2014

The famous old car in the ruins at Oradour-sur-Glane

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: — furtherglory @ 10:59 am

There is renewed interest in Ordour-sur-Glane because an 88-year-old German army veteran might soon be put on trial in Germany, as a war criminal, because he was there when the Germans did a legal reprisal against the citizens of the town.

Oradour-sur-Glane is now a popular tourist attraction, and an old car in the ruins is frequently photographed. I took photos of the car when I visited the ruins several years ago.

Famous old car at Oradour-sur-Glane

My best photo of the famous old car at Oradour-sur-Glane

There are many old cars in the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane, but the  most famous one is the car, shown in my photo above.

This old car allegedly belonged to Dr. Jacques Desourteaux, the town doctor who arrived back in the village just as the villagers were being assembled on the Fairgrounds. He had been visiting a patient in a nearby hamlet.  The car is just a burned-out empty shell: everything in the interior is gone except the steering wheel. The roof of the car is gone, but the luggage rack is still intact.

Old car with the fairgrounds in the background

Early morning photo of the old car with the fairgrounds in the background

Rear view of the old car at the fairgrounds

Rear view of the old car at the fairgrounds

Notice the bricks that have been placed under the car to keep it from sinking into the ground.

According to Sarah Farmer, in her book entitled Martyred Village, an effort was made in 1992 to preserve this famous old car. Restoration experts dismantled the car, sanded the body, painted the interior with tar to prevent further decay and waxed the outside to repel moisture.

The famous old car with a building in the background

The famous old car with a building on the fairgrounds in the background

The photo directly above shows the old car in front of a building. This photo was taken with a telephoto lens, which makes the car look closer to the building than it really is. A similar photo is shown on the cover of a video that I purchased in the bookshop of the Center of Memory, except that the direction of the car in the video photo is reversed.

According to Sarah Farmer’s book, Martyred Village, the car on the Fairgrounds, shown in the  photos above, is NOT the car, owned by Dr. Jacques Desourteaux.

In her book, Sarah Farmer wrote the following regarding the car:

“When Dr. Desourteaux arrived at the entrance to the town, soldiers forced him to drive up the main street and stop across from the marketplace, where he joined the assembled townspeople. He died with the others that afternoon. A few weeks later, the doctor’s brother and his nephew moved the Desourteaux car to the family property, where it still lies inside the garden wall. The car on the marketplace actually belonged to the wine merchant.”

The doctor’s brother was Hubert Desourteaux and his nephew was Andre Desourteaux.

The old car was at the entrance into the fairgrounds, as shown in my photo below.

The famous old car was parked at the entrance into the fairgrounds

The famous old car is parked at the entrance into the fairgrounds

How the French use a baby’s pram to demonize the German people

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 8:07 am
Baby's Pram near altar in church at Oradour-sur-Glane

Baby’s Pram to the right of the altar in the church at Oradour-sur-Glane

There is a heated discussion going on in the comment section of my recent blog post about Oradour-sur-Glane.  There is a difference of opinion about whether the German army should have stopped the French terrorists, who were fighting illegally in World War II, by doing a legal reprisal. Some of the visitors to my blog believe that the French should have been allowed to burn captured German soldiers alive, and that the Germans should not have stopped the French by legal means.

The reprisal, conducted by the Germans at Oradour-sur-Glane, would have been completely forgotten by now, had it not been for the efforts of the French to keep the Oradour-sur-Glane story alive.  The ruined village is now a tourist attraction, on par with Auschwitz.  One of the sights that causes tourists to weep is the baby’s pram, which has been placed strategicly near the altar.

When I visited the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane several years ago, I was appalled by the placement of a baby’s pram near the altar of the church.  In the photo at the top of this page, you can see an old rusted baby’s pram on the right side of the altar. The photo above shows a close-up of the pram.

Close-up of baby's pram inside church at Oradour-sur-Glane

Close-up of baby’s pram inside church at Oradour-sur-Glane

Notice that there is a large hole in the floor in the photo at the top of this page. The photo below shows a close-up of the hole.  In the background, you can see the baby’s pram.

Close-up of the hole in the floor near the communion rail in the church

Close-up of the hole in the floor near the communion rail in the church

Tourists are made to believe that mothers, in the church that day, took their babies behind the communion rail to save them from the German soldiers who had entered the church in order to kill the women and children.  In those days, women were forbidden to go behind the communion rail, except in a position of servitude, such as cleaning the church.

While the evil Germans were blowing up babies in their prams, the side altar on the left side of the church remained in pristine condition.

Side altar in the church at Oradour-sur-Glane is in pristine condition

Side altar in the church at Oradour-sur-Glane is in pristine condition

For any open-minded person, one glance inside the church shows what really happened at Oradour-sur-Glane.  The town was full of French Resistance fighters who were storing explosives inside the church.  German soldiers did not enter the church and blow up babies in their prams, but try to tell that to today’s German haters.

The records of the trial of the German soldiers have been sealed for 100 years, so that the German haters can continue their vile comments about the tragedy.

You can read the official version of what happened at Oradour-sur-Glane on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/Story/OfficialStory.html

If you believe the official version of what happened at Oradour-sur-Glane, I have a bridge that I want to sell you….

 

July 3, 2014

What’s the difference between the words “avenge” and “reprisal”?

Filed under: Germany, World War II — furtherglory @ 10:41 am
Inside the ruined church at Oradour-sur-Glane where women and children were allegedly burned alive

Inside the ruined church at Oradour-sur-Glane where women and children were allegedly burned alive

(Click on the photo to enlarge) Note the baby pram on the floor of the church where women and children were burned alive, but strangely their clothing didn’t burn.

Read my previous post about a former German soldier, named Werner C, whom the present day Germans are trying to put on trial as a war criminal:   http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/todays-germany-no-country-for-old-men/

This is the headline of a news article in the Mail Online today, which you can read in full here:

On June 10, in 1944, SS Panzer Division member entered the village to avenge a German soldier kidnapped by the French Resistance

“avenge” means to get even for something.  It is not a legal term. A reprisal was legal, under the Geneva Convention in 1944. The laws have since changed and a reprisal is no longer legal.  The Germans are now changing the laws so that actions that were legal during World War II are now illegal under the ex-post-facto laws of the Allies.

This quote is from the Mail Online article:

 An 88-year-old former member of an SS armored division has been charged with murder and accessory to murder for allegedly taking part in the massacre of 642 French villagers by Nazi soldiers during World War Two.

The man, named only as Werner C, from Cologne, has been charged with 25 counts of murder and hundreds of counts of accessory to murder in connection with the slaughter in Oradour-sur-Glane.

The investigation into the massacre where almost the entire population of the village, including more than 400 women and children, was gunned down or burned alive on June 10, 1944, was re-opened by German prosecutors last year.

I previously blogged about Oradour-sur-Glane at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/what-does-the-evidence-show-about-the-real-story-of-oradour-sur-glane/

My photo of the ruined church at Oradour-sur-Glane church

My photo of the ruins of the church at Oradour-sur-Glane which was burned in 1944

The Germans are at it again:  another old German soldier will be hauled into a German court, on a stretcher, to be put on trial in connection with the legal reprisal carried out by German soldiers at Oradour-sur-glane in June 1944, in an effort to stop the murder of German soldiers by illegal combatants in the French Resistance.

The French surrendered after 5 weeks of fighting in World War II, but they never stopped fighting. They continued to fight as illegal combatants, ambushing and killing German soldiers by burning them alive.

You can read about it on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/Story/Synopsis02.html

The bakery in Oradour-sur-Glane where a burned body was found

The bakery in Oradour-sur-Glane where a burned body was found

I have studied the reprisal at Oradour-sur-Glane and I have written extensively about it on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/index.html

June 25, 2014

Should old American soldiers be brought into court on a stretcher and tried for World War II war crimes?

German soldiers, killed by Lt. Bill Walsh, after they had surrendered

German soldiers, killed by American Lt. Bill Walsh, after they had surrendered

I previously blogged about the killing of German soldiers by Lt. Bill Walsh, shown in the photo above, at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/ss-soldiers-were-shot-by-lt-bill-walsh-on-the-day-that-dachau-was-liberated/

Today’s news is filled with stories about Johann Breyer, an 89-year-old former German soldier, who has been accused of being an accessory to murder in 158 cases, involving the gassing of Jews at Auchwitz-Birkenau in 1944.  Breyer was a guard at the Auschwitz main camp, and had no involvement with the 158 trains that brought 216,000 Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in May 1944.  There is no evidence that any of these 216,000 Jews were killed in a gas chamber.  There is no evidence that gas chambers existed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

If Johann Breyer can be brought to trial in Germany for alleged crimes committed in 1944, can old American soldiers be tried for the well-known killing of German soldiers, who had surrendered with their hands in the air, in April 1945 at Dachau?

General Patton’s Army was accused of several incidents in which German prisoners of war were shot, which he admitted in his autobiography.

Patton wrote the following entry in his diary on 4 January 1945:

“The Eleventh Armored is very green and took unnecessary losses to no effect. There were also some unfortunate incidents in the shooting of prisoners. I hope we can conceal this.”

In another incident involving the shooting of German and Italian Prisoners of War, an American captain was acquitted on the grounds that he had been following the orders of General Patton, who had discouraged American troops from taking prisoners during the landing of the US Seventh Army in Sicily.

A third execution of German soldiers who had surrendered on April 29th, known as the Webling Incident happened in the village of Webling on the outskirts of of the town of Dachau. American soldiers of the 222nd Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division executed soldiers of the German Home Guard after they had surrendered. The Home Guard consisted of young boys and old men who were forced into service in the last desperate days of the war to defend their cities and towns.

After an investigation by the US Army resulted in the court martial of the soldiers involved in these killings, General George S. Patton tore up the papers and tossed them in the wastebasket.

Col. Howard A. Buechner, the American medical officer who was there when Waffen-SS soldiers were executed during the liberation of Dachau, wrote in his book The Hour of the Avenger, regarding the court martial of soldiers in the 45th Thunderbird Division:

“Public outrage would certainly have opposed the prosecution of American heroes for eliminating a group of sadists who so richly deserved to die.”

German soldiers, who so richly deserved to die, had nothing to do with the Dachau concentration camp

German soldiers, who so richly deserved to die, had nothing to do with the concentration camp

I previously blogged about another incident in the killing of innocent German soldiers at Dachau at http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/04/30/the-us-7th-army-ig-report-on-the-killing-of-guards-in-tower-b-at-dachau/

German soldiers were imprisoned at Dachau

German soldiers were imprisoned at Dachau

In early July 1945, the U.S. Counter Intelligence Corp (CIC) set up War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 in the former concentration camp at Dachau for suspected German war criminals who had been rounded up by the U.S. Third Army War Crimes Detachment.

In the photo above, accused German war criminals are shown entering the prison compound of the former Dachau concentration camp.

The authority for charging the defeated Germans with war crimes came from the London Agreement, signed after the war on August 8, 1945 by the four winning countries: Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the USA. The basis for the charges against the accused German war criminals was Law Order No. 10, issued by the Allied Control Council, the governing body for Germany before the country was divided into East and West Germany.

Law Order No. 10 defined Crimes against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity. A fourth crime category was membership in any organization, such as the Nazi party or the SS, that was declared to be criminal by the Allies. The war crimes contained in Law Order No. 10 were new crimes, created specifically for the defeated Germans, not crimes against existing international laws. Any acts committed by the winning Allies which were covered under Law Order No. 10 were not considered war crimes.

Every member of the elite SS volunteer Army was automatically a war criminal because the SS was designated by the Allies as a criminal organization even before anyone was put on trial. Any member of the Nazi political party, who had any official job within the party, was likewise automatically a war criminal regardless of what they had personally done.

Under the Allied concept of participating in a “common plan” to commit war crimes, it was not necessary for a Nazi or a member of the SS to have committed an atrocity themselves; all were automatically guilty under the concept of co-responsibility for any atrocity that might have occurred.

The basis for the “common plan” theory of guilt was Article II, paragraph 2 of Law Order No. 10 which stated as follows:

2. Any person without regard to nationality or the capacity in which he acted, is deemed to have committed a crime as defined in paragraph 1 of this Article, if he was (a) a principal or (b) was an accessory to the commission of any such crime or ordered or abetted the same or (c) took a consenting part therein or (d) was connected with plans or enterprises involving its commission or (e) was a member of any organization or group connected with the commission of any such crime or (f) with reference to paragraph 1 (a), if he held a high political, civil or military (including General Staff) position in Germany or in one of its Allies, co-belligerents or satellites or held high position in the financial, industrial or economic life of any such country.

Thirty thousand German soldiers were held, without trial, as prisoners for years after the war. Note that the name of the camp indicated that all German soldiers were war criminals.

As far as I know, there were no American soldiers put on trial for killing German soldiers who had surrendered with their hands in the air.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Shouldn’t old soldiers in American be treated the same as old soldiers in the German army?

Unfortunately, the policy in America is to cover up crimes committed by US soldiers.  Remember Bradley Manning?

This quote is from an article, which you can read at http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/2/10/America-war-crime/

[US] Soldiers who have blown the whistle on atrocities committed by others in uniform, meanwhile, have been subjected to the full force of the government’s wrath. Since 2008, six soldiers have been charged with espionage for revealing information to journalists about atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers. When Private Bradley E. Manning sent Wikileaks a video of U.S. soldiers gunning down civilians in Iraq, he was arrested, and he has been detained in inhumane conditions in solitary confinement since. As Mazahir M. Hussain noted, “Bradley Manning should’ve really considered committing some war crimes instead of exposing them, [it] worked well for Frank Wuterich.”

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/2/10/America-war-crime/

 

April 27, 2014

Dachau inmate who was mistakenly arrested by the American liberators of the camp

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 10:58 am

I have just learned that there is a book, entitled Unforgotten - A Memoir of Dachau, which was written by Franz Thaler, a former non-Jewish inmate of Dachau.  The book was originally published in 1988; a new edition was published in 2011 by Kiener Press.

Thaler’s book is for sale at the Dachau Memorial Site, and on the Amazon website in the UK.

You can read a review of this book at http://www.marcinonabike.com/reviews/review_unforgotten.php

This quote from the review introduces the story of Franz Thaler, who was an ethnic German, living in the South Tyrol during World War II:

By September 1943 and after the Italian capitulation, the German Army ends up occupying Italy, as well as the Tyrol. The 19 year old Franz refuses to serve in the German army and is forced to go on the run and ends up living higher up in the mountains sleeping rough for many months, surviving on plants, berries and the occasional hand-outs from friendly farmers and shepherds. After a law was passed by the Nazi’s to punish the families of deserters Franz is forced to give himself up, and subsequently ends up in the Dachau KZ.

After his first initial days in the Dachau Bunker he was eventually moved around several [sub-camps] before being transferred back to Dachau [main camp] where he was liberated on the 29th April 1945.

This quote from the review explains what happened to Franz Thaler during the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp by American soldiers:

After his transfer back to Dachau for the final month of the war he was in the [concentration] camp on the day of liberation. He, and a few other prisoners noticed the guards had already fled [the night before] and he made his way to the gate of the Jourhaus and through into the S.S. training camp that bordered the concentration camp, and there Thaler was found by the American soldiers who treated him unbelievably not as a prisoner, but as a guard! He, and quite a few other prisoners were mistaken for members of the S.S. and eventually sent to a POW camp in France before finally being set free.

He finally makes it home, back to the South Tyrol at the end of August 1945. In other words his suffering, this time at the hands of the Americans meant his war and imprisonment didn’t finish until many months after the war had ended in Europe.

The photo below shows the entrance into the Dachau concentration camp, which was separated from the SS training camp by a canal.

Dachau Jourhaus (Gate House)

Dachau Jourhaus — the SS training camp is on the left, but not shown in the photo

Entrance into the Dachau gatehouse; the SS camp is behind the camera

Entrance into the Dachau gatehouse from the SS camp, which is behind the camera

This quote is at the end of the review of the book:

[Thaler] finally makes it home, back to the South Tyrol at the end of August 1945. In other words his suffering, this time at the hands of the Americans meant his war and imprisonment didn’t finish until many months after the war had ended in Europe.

Whilst in an American camp between Dachau and Munich, and after not being fed for 6 days he tells of his first food…

“When I opened the tins I heard and saw nothing around me any more. One tin contained green beans in oil, the other three biscuits, a small piece of chocolate and four sweets. Before I started eating I broke out in tears. I had not seen delicacies like this for a long time. After months of starvation and the last six days without food and without water, I began to eat. Tears kept on running down my face and I swallowed many a tear. According to a wise saying, you have to eat bread mixed with tears once in your life in order to be able to appreciate its true value.”

Note that Thaler wrote that he was not given any food, nor water, for SIX DAYS.  I find it hard to believe that a person could live without water for six days!  I once went on a  fast for 10 days, but I drank plenty of water. After 10 days, with no food, I could barely stand up.

Why was Thaler treated this way by the American liberators of Dachau?  It was because they mistakenly thought that he was an SS man, who had disguised himself by wearing prisoner clothes.  He was lucky that he wasn’t killed in the Dachau massacre.

The remarkable thing about this story is that Thaler gave testimony about how the Americans treated the SS men in the Dachau SS training camp, after the camp was liberated.

Arbeit macht Frei sign on the Dachau gatehouse

Arbeit macht Frei sign on the Dachau gatehouse was removed when the camp was turned into a prison enclosure for German war criminals

Several months after Dachau was liberated, the former camp was turned into War Crimes Enclosure No. 1.  You can read about how the German war criminals were treated, on this page of my website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/NaziPrison.html

 

 

April 26, 2014

Memorial to the Soviet POWs who were shot for target practice at Herbertshausen near Dachau

The anniversary of the liberation of Dachau on April 29, 1945 will be coming up soon, and there will be lots of news articles about the camp. There might also be some news about the Herbertshausen shooting range, where Soviet Prisoners of War were allegedly shot for target practice.

Rifle range at Herbertshausen Photo credit: xxx

Rifle range at Herbertshausen Photo credit: Donald E. Jackson

There is now a Memorial to these POWs, which you can read about at http://www.kz-gedenkstaette-dachau.de/news-hebertshausen.html

This quote is from the website, cited above:

On June 22, 2011 a commemorative service was held to mark the burial of the mortal remains of unknown Soviet prisoners of war on the former “SS shooting range Hebertshausen”. In 1941-1942 SS units of the Dachau concentration camp shot dead around 4,500 Soviet prisoners, contravening international law – officers, Communist officials, intellectuals, and Jews. A memorial now commemorates the unknown murdered victims at the site of the crime. Speeches were held by Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, Head of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, Karl Freller, MP, director of the Bavarian Memorial Foundation, Andrei Grozow, Consul General of the Russian Federation, Alexander Ganevich, Consul General of the Republic of Belarus, Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria. Subsequently, representatives of the Jewish, Russian Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Islamic religious communities said funeral prayers in memory of the unknown victims.

Memorial to the murdered Soviet POWs at Herbertshausen

Memorial to the murdered Soviet POWs at Herbertshausen

Wikipedia has a page about the Herbertshausen Memorial site at http://wikimapia.org/22774181/Memorial-to-the-murdered-Soviet-soldiers

This quote is from Wikipedia:

Some 4,000 imprisoned Soviet soldiers were executed there between 1941 and 1945. These murders were a clear violation of the provisions laid down in the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war. The SS used the cynical term “special treatment” for these criminal executions. The first executions of the Soviet prisoners of war at the Hebertshausen shooting range took place on November 25 1941.
The prisoners brought to Dachau for execution were not recorded in the concentration camp files. Today, an arduous evaluation of the lists and statistics from the prisoner camps at Hammelburg in the Rhone, Nuremberg-Langwasser, and Moosburg on the Isar is trying to obtain a complete record of the names.

Alert readers may have noticed that I used the word “allegedly” in the first sentence of my blog post today.  Surely, there must be plenty of proof that Soviet Prisoners of War were used for target practice at Herbertshausen.

No, dear readers,  I am sad to say that there is no proof whatsoever that Soviet POWs were shot at Herbertshausen.

This quote is from my own website scrapbookpages.com

After October 1941, captured Soviet soldiers were brought to Dachau. They were interrogated and 90 Russian officers, who were believed to be Communist Commissars, were executed on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler. This order was a violation of the Geneva Convention which set rules for the treatment of enemy POWs. Germany had signed the Convention but the Russians had declined to be a party to it.

During the American Military Tribunal for the staff members of the Dachau concentration camp, which was held in the Dachau complex in November 1945, the American prosecutor charged that several of the accused were guilty of “a common plan to violate the Laws and Usages of War” because they were present when 90 alleged Communist Commissars were executed at Dachau and did not try to stop the execution.

According to the American prosecutors at the American Military Tribunals held at Dachau, thousands of Russian POWs were taken to the SS shooting range at Herbertshausen, which was located in the Dachau suburb of Etzenhausen, where they were executed by a firing squad. The American defense attorneys at the American Military Tribunal for 40 Dachau staff members claimed that there was no proof that 5,000 Russian POWs were shot for target practice at Herbertshausen, as alleged by the prosecution.

I previously blogged about the trial of the German war criminals at the American Military Tribunal in which it was NOT proved that thousands of Soviet POWs at Dachau had been shot.

This quote is from my previous blog post at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/german-war-crimes-in-wwii-shooting-soviet-pows-for-target-practice/:

Major Boysen was an American defense attorney for Alex Piorkowski, a former Dachau Commandant, who was charged with war crimes in a subsidiary case of the Dachau trials. The prosecution’s case against Piorkowski was based on the testimony of 34 paid witnesses who were former prisoners at Dachau.

As the defense attorney for Piorkowski, Major Boysen pointed out that the prosecution’s allegation, that 6,000 to 8,000 Soviet POWs had been executed at Dachau in the spring of 1942, while Piorkowski was the Commandant, had not been proved in the main trial of Dachau camp personnel, yet it was put into evidence in the Piorkowski trial, along with other atrocities that had become matters of judicial notice and did not have to be proved again.

According to Joseph Halow, the court reporter who wrote the book Innocent at Dachau, Major Boysen concluded that he was of the “definite opinion that no such massacre occurred at Dachau as is factually stated to have taken place there in Prosecution Exhibit 1.”

After the first proceedings, against former Commandant Martin Weiss and 39 staff members at the Dachau camp, had been concluded, Major Boysen had learned that the Dachau railroad station commander, a man named Rohrmuehler, had witnessed the arrival of the trains bringing Soviet Prisoners of War to Dachau.

Rohrmuehler claimed that no more than 500 Russians had ever passed through the Dachau camp, and that the claim that 6,000 to 8,000 Soviet POWs had been massacred at Dachau was absurd. The testimony at the Dachau proceedings, concerning the killing of Soviet POWs, was in the form of affidavits and the witnesses had not been subjected to cross-examination in the courtroom, according to Court Reporter Joseph Halow.

The claim, by the Dachau railroad station man, does not make sense, since there were 3,900 Russians still in the Dachau camp when it was liberated, according to the Official Army Report. If 6,000 Russians had been used for target practice, as alleged by the prosecution, that would mean that at least 9,900 Russians had been brought to Dachau.

In spite of the fact that the shooting of Soviet POWs was never proved by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, this story is still being told to tourists every day at the Dachau Memorial Site, along with the story that the shower room at Dachau is a gas chamber that was used to kill a few prisoners at Dachau, although not for mass gassing.

Dachau is not the only place where tourists are told that the SS shot prisoners for target practice. When I visited the Little Fortress, across the road from the Theresienstadt ghetto, I was told that prisoners who had been condemned to death were used for target practice.

The photograph below shows the place where prisoners were executed in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt. One of the fortification walls is in the background and the spot where the condemned prisoner stood is in the center of the picture. The concrete form in the foreground was one of three places, under a free-standing roof, from which the firing squad would shoot while in a prone position.

According to a small booklet which I purchased at the Museum, between 250 and 300 of the 32,000 prisoners, who were inmates at the Small Fortress, were executed. The first recorded execution was on May 11, 1943 when a leader of the Communist resistance, Frantisek Prokop, was shot at the firing range.

Firing range at Terezin

Firing range at the Small Fortresss at  Theresienstadt

April 18, 2014

A petition to remove the Russian tanks from the Red army memorial in Berlin

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:23 am
One of the two Russian tanks on a monument in Berlin

One of the two Russian tanks on a monument in Berlin

A regular reader of my blog wrote this in a comment yesterday:

Apparently a petition has been launched to remove the red army tanks from the red army memorial in Berlin. The senate of the BRD parliament has described this petition as as highly offensive to [the Russians] who ”liberated ” Berlin in 1945 . This once again demonstrates that the modern German state is an occupation construct which fulfills enthusiastically its role as vassal state.

I took the photo above when I visited the city of Berlin in 2001. There are two tanks, one on either side of a huge Russian Monument in the heart of Berlin.

The photo below shows part of the Russian Monument, which has a statue of a Russian soldier in the center.

The monument to the Russian "liberators" of Berlin

The monument to the Russian “liberators” of Berlin

Statue of a Russian soldier on a monument in Berlin

Statue of a Russian soldier on a monument in Berlin

When I first arrived in Berlin, on my visit to the city in 2001, my taxi ride from the airport to my hotel took me down the Strasse des 17 Juni (June 17th Street). Formerly called Charlottenburger Chausee, it was renamed to commemorate an uprising by East German workers in 1953. This broad avenue which leads to the famous Brandenburg Gate, separating East Berlin from West Berlin, cuts through the Tiergarten park and is lined on both sides with lime trees which look as though they were planted after the end of the war.

At the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), the street becomes Unter den Linden on the former East Germany side. The next day when I drove through both sides of the former divided city, I noticed that West Berlin had lots of trees and large flower pots decorating the streets, while the ground in East Berlin was mostly solid concrete.

On the north side of Strasse des 17 Juni is the Soviet War Memorial, shown in the photos above. It was erected in honor of the 300,000 Red Army troops who died in the Battle of Berlin. The monument was built from the marble of the destroyed Reich Chancellery building, which was Hitler’s headquarters, and is flanked by the two Russian tanks that were the first to enter Berlin.

The monument shown in the photo below is in memory of the German victory over France in 1871.

German monument in Berlin

German monument in Berlin

The monument shown in the photo above is called the Siegessäule. It commemorates the German victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871.  The statue faces France, as if to say, “Take that, you bastards.”

Monument in Berlin in  honor of German victory over France in 1871

Monument in Berlin in honor of German victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871

The city of Berlin covers a total area of 340 square miles; it is 28 miles wide from east to west, and 24 miles long from north to south. The city is built on a plain, so it is as flat as a pancake except for the mounds where the piles of cleared rubble are covered over with grass.

Mound of rubble, covered with grass, in Berlin

Mound of rubble, covered with grass, in Berlin

At the beginning of August 1945, three months after the German surrender which ended World War II, American President Harry Truman was on his way to Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin, for a conference with Allied leaders Churchill and Stalin, when he took a victory lap around Berlin in an Army Jeep to see the devastation wrought by the Allied bombing. There was not much left of Berlin to see. The capital city of Germany had been bombed 24 times between November 18, 1943 and March 1944, and sporadic hits continued until the city was captured by the Russian army in April, 1945. By that time, the city had been reduced to 98 million cubic yards of rubble.

Each of the 24 bomb attacks involved over 1,000 planes and the dropping of up to 2,000 tons of bombs. Half of the city’s bridges were destroyed and the underground railway tunnels were flooded. There was no gas, electricity nor water in the central portion of the city. The pre-war population of 4.3 million had been reduced to 2.8 million, as people were forced to flee the city; some 1.5 million people became homeless when their homes were bombed.

One out of 7 of the buildings destroyed in Germany by the Allied bombing were in Berlin. Out of a total of 245,000 buildings in Berlin, 50,000 had been completely destroyed and 23,000 had been severely damaged; 80,000 residents of the city had been killed. Even the trees in the Tiergarten, a large park in the center of the city, had been killed in the Battle of Berlin. There were so many historic buildings destroyed that Berliners jokingly referred to the American and British air raids as Baedecker Bombing. Baedecker travel guide books were used by tourists to locate famous and historic buildings.

A mere 5 years earlier, after the conquest of France in 6 weeks time, Hitler had visited Paris and taken an early morning tour of the deserted streets to see the famous buildings of the capital city, which were all still intact. Hitler’s earliest ambition had been to be an architect, and he made sure that the beautiful buildings of Paris were not destroyed.

I agree that the Russian tanks should be removed from Berlin. The present Russian Monument should be replaced by a monument to the women in Berlin who were raped and tortured by the Russian soldiers after the “liberation” of Berlin.  It is time to tell the truth about what really happened in the Allied victory over Germany in World War II.

April 16, 2014

The little known fate of the Sudeten Germans

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 4:21 pm

I am expanding on a comment written on my blog by one of my regular readers.  This quote is from the comment:  “The Sudeten Germans were robbed, persecuted and occasionally murdered by the Prague regime before the Munich Agreement. After the war, the Sudeten Germans were raped, murdered and hideously tortured in large numbers. Then all the survivors were expelled from the country.”

You don’t hear much about the suffering of the Sudeten Germans, although the Munich Agreement is frequently mentioned on comedy shows on TV, as jokes are made about Hitler taking all of Czechoslovakia after he was given the Sudentenland, following World War II.  (The word Sudeten will not go through the wordpress spell checker. This goes to show you how little is known about the Sudeten Germans.)

Fortress at Terezin with Sudeten mountains in the backgroun

Fortress at Terezin with Sudeten mountains in the background

Before I went to the Czech Republic several years ago, I did a lot of research on the subject and wrote about it on my website.  The following information is from my website scrapbookpages.com.

Theresienstadt (now called Terezin) was right on the dividing line between the Sudetenland and the remaining part of Czechoslovakia, with the demarcation line being immediately alongside the town’s fortifications, shown in the photo above. When the Sudetenland was given to the Germans in the Munich agreement, there were 25,000 Jews living there, who fled across the border into the town of Theresienstadt; some of them took temporary refuge in the Small Fortress at Theresienstadt.

Eduard Benes, who replaced Masaryk as president of Czechoslovakia in 1935, had been opposed to the Germans in World War I. During the period between wars, Benes was a strong supporter of the League of Nations and was active in trying to prevent Germany from regaining military power. As an opponent of Fascism, Benes had complained to the League of Nations many times when Hitler began to violate the terms of the Versailles Treaty by rearming and placing troops in the Rhineland on the border between France and Germany.

The Munich “appeasement” of Hitler was intended to prevent another world war, but soon afterwards, Hitler demanded the resignation of Benes, his unrelenting opponent, who was agitating against the German takeover of the Sudetenland. In an effort to maintain peace, Benes resigned and went to England where he set up a Czech government in exile.

On March 14, 1939, following the resignation of Benes, Slovakia declared itself an independent state under the rule of Father Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest and a Nazi supporter. On the following day, the Nazis marched into Czechoslovakia and took over the rest of the country without a fight. The states of Bohemia and Moravia, which had been dominated by the Germans for centuries under the Holy Roman Empire, became a German Protectorate. The Czech town of Terezin became once again a German town, and the name was changed back to the original name of Theresienstadt.ek were Slovaks who had already been put into labor camps in their own country.

Great Britain, France and Italy assumed responsibility for the conflict in Czechoslovakia since they had signed the Treaty of Versailles which ended the war and stripped the Germans and Austrians of a big chunk of their former territories. Czechoslovakia had become a country as a result of that treaty. America also fought on the side of the Allies in World War I, but did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles because it included the League of Nations, which the American Congress voted not to join.

Austria-Hungary and Germany both signed an Armistice based on the Fourteen Points proposed by Woodrow Wilson, the American President during the war years. One of the key points was self-determination which meant that all ethnic groups had the right to determine the country in which they would live. This point of Wilson’s Fourteen Points was violated by the Treaty of Versailles when half a million Poles and a million Hungarians, along with three and a half million ethnic Germans became citizens of the new country of Czechoslovakia, which was dominated by the Czechs.

In answer to Hitler’s complaints, the British formed a commission to study the problem. This resulted in the Munich agreement, signed on Sept. 30, 1938 between Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain, in which the borderland known as the Sudetenland, with its predominantly German population, was given to Germany. There were also 45,000 Jews living in the Sudetenland who were handed over to Hitler as a result of the Munich appeasement.

The Sudetenland had formerly been part of the Austrian Empire but by 1938, Austria was part of the new Greater German Reich created by Hitler in the Anschluss with Austria. The unification of Germany and Austria had been expressly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, but the Allies did not protest this violation of the treaty. The Czech government did not have a say in the Munich agreement, since the country of Czechoslovakia was not in existence before the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

The Czechs fought as partisans against the Fascists in World War II, even sending men from England into Czechoslovakia by parachute to assassinate a top Nazi, SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. According to Ben G. Frank in his book entitled “A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe,” over 50% of the Czech partisans were Jews.

After Slovakia split off into an independent country, it became an ally of the German Fascists. The rest of the small states in Czechoslovakia were taken over by Poland and Hungary to bring their former citizens back into their respective countries in accordance with Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Hungary became a Fascist ally of Germany, but there was still an ongoing dispute between Germany and Poland over the territory which Germany had lost to Poland after World War I. Germany had been divided into two parts, separated by the Polish Corridor which was created to give the Poles access to the port of Danzig.

Once again, Hitler used the excuse that ethnic Germans were being mistreated and discriminated against when he invaded Poland on September 1, 1939 after efforts to resolve the problem peacefully had failed. Allegedly, 58,000 ethic Germans had been killed since April 1939 when the Germans first started trying to negotiate for a right-of-way across the Polish Corridor. Without a highway or railroad through the Corridor, the Germans could only access the eastern part of Germany by boat.

At the heart of the dispute between Germany and Poland was the free city of Gdansk, formerly the German city of Danzig, with its 100% German population, which was taken from the Germans in the Treaty of Versailles. Another bone of contention was the industrial section of Silesia which was given to Poland after World War I. In a self-determination vote, the people of Silesia had voted to become part of Germany, but this was ignored by the League of Nations, even though this was one of Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Although war had been avoided in the conflict between the Germans and the Czechs, this time there was no “appeasement” of Hitler. Great Britain and France, after signing an agreement to protect Poland in case of an attack by Germany, were forced to declare war on Germany and World War II began two days after the first shots were fired on September 1, 1939.

With the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Czechoslovakia again became an independent country and all the ethnic Germans, except for the few who could prove that they were anti-Fascist during the war, were expelled from their homes and sent into war-torn Germany, many of them dying along the way from hunger and exhaustion. The Czechs and the Jews exacted their revenge by attacking these refugees as they fled to Germany. Many of the refugees had to live for as long as 18 years in the former Nazi concentration camps, such as Dachau, until they could find new jobs and homes, as Germany was slowly rebuilt.

As soon as a typhus epidemic at Theresienstadt was brought under control, the prisoners were released and the Small Fortress became a prison for German Nazis from 1945 to 1948.

 

 

 

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