Scrapbookpages Blog

November 30, 2011

The myth that General Eisenhower ordered German civilians to visit Buchenwald

The famous story of how General Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered German civilians to march five miles up the hill from Weimar to see the Buchenwald concentration camp has been told many times.  But is this story really true?  Not according to General George S. Patton, who was there that day.

German civilians were ordered to see dead bodies at Buchenwald concentration camp

The famous photo above and the photo below were taken by Life magazine photographer Margaret Bourke-White on April 15, 1945 as a procession of German civilians from the city of Weimar were forced to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp. According to The Buchenwald Report, written by the prisoners at Buchenwald, Bourke-White had just arrived that day, along with General Patton.

Weimar residents were forced to look at bodies of  dead prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp

General George S. Patton wrote in his autobiography that he visited the Buchenwald concentration camp for the first time on April 15, 1945.  He wrote that he did not make a special trip to see the camp.  Patton had visited the Ohrdruf sub-camp of Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, along with General Omar Bradley and General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Patton threw up when he smelled the 40 dead bodies in a shed at Ohrdruf. He refused to go inside the shed, but General Eisenhower famously said (regarding his visit to Ohrdruf):

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that “the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda”

General Eisenhower wrote in his autobiography that he only visited one camp and that was the camp near Gotha, which would be Ohrdruf.

After General Patton’s visit to Ohrdruf, he flew to Weimar to visit what he thought was going to be his next Command Post. Patton wrote in his autobiography that his visit to the main Buchenwald camp was only a side jaunt, suggested by General Walton Walker, the man who ordered the Weimar residents to march 5 miles to the Buchenwald camp.

Was General Patton lying when he wrote that it was General Walton Walker who ordered German civilians to visit Ohrdruf and then ordered civilians in Weimar to visit the main Buchenwald camp?  Why does everyone give Eisenhower credit for ordering German civilians to visit Buchenwald?  Is it because Eisenhower made no secret of his hatred for the German people?

There are photos of Eisenhower at Ohrdruf, but no photos of him at Buchenwald because he was never there and he did not give the order for civilians to visit Buchenwald.

On April 15, 1945, the day that he visited Buchenwald, General George S. Patton wrote the following in a letter to General Dwight D. Eisenhower:

We have found at a place four miles north of WEIMAR a similar camp, only much worse. The normal population was 25,000, and they died at the rate of about a hundred a day. The burning arrangements, according to General Gay and Colonel Codman who visited it yesterday, were far superior to those they had at OHRDRUF.

I told the press to go up there and see it, and then write as much about it as they could. I also called General Bradley last night and suggested that you send selected individuals from the upper strata of the press to look at it, so that you can build another page of the necessary evidence as to the brutality of the Germans.

This letter to General Eisenhower was written by General Patton on the day that he saw Buchenwald at the suggestion of General Walker.  It was General Walton Walker who ordered the civilians of the town of Ohrdruf and the city of Weimar to see the Buchenwald camps, not Eisenhower; he had better things to do.  Yet every day you can read somewhere on the Internet that it was Eisenhower who ordered the local Germans to see the camps.

For example, this quote which you can read in full here:

He (Ben-Gurion) would on many occasions recall (as Barack Obama did in his speech at Buchenwald in 2009) how Eisenhower had forced the local Germans to visit the liberated camps and see for themselves the piles of corpses and the skeletal survivors. In his speech Obama quoted Eisenhower as saying at the time that he was concerned that humanity would forget what had been done in these places, and he was determined to never let that happen. Ben-Gurion was hugely impressed and moved by this act of Eisenhower’s, both for its humanitarian quality and for its historic significance.

November 29, 2011

No Buchenwald ID number — No soup for you!

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 3:03 pm

Earlier today, I blogged about Edwin Ritter, one of the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald.  I quoted several passages from a statement that he gave to his daughter in 1993.  His daughter tape recorded his statement, transcribed it and sent it to me several years ago.  One thing I forgot to mention is that Ritter said in his statement that all the prisoners at Buchenwald had to memorize their prisoner ID number and recite the number before they would receive any food.  The daily fare in the camp was a bowl of soup and one slice of bread.  If a prisoner forgot his number, he was told “No soup for you.”

According to Primo Levi, a famous prisoner at Auschwitz, the prisoners there had to show the ID number tattooed on their arm before they could receive their soup and bread.

I thought about this when I read an article, posted on November 26, 2011, on the Elie Wiesel Cons the World website which you can read here.  This article confirms that Elie Wiesel did not have an identification number at Buchenwald.  Of course, that does not prove that Elie Wiesel was not a prisoner at Buchenwald.  He could have conned another prisoner into sharing his food with him. Or he could have just grabbed the food away from a weak prisoner.  At Auschwitz, a weak prisoner was called a Musselman.  I have read survivor stories about how the other prisoners would grab the food away from the weak prisoners who could not defend themselves.  As for the Allied airmen who were sent to Buchenwald, they looked out for each other and maintained strict discipline inside the camp, even marching in step when they were ordered to move from place to place in the camp.

Edwin Ritter, a Lost Airman of Buchenwald, tells about his transfer to Stalag III as a POW

Edwin Ritter was one of the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, a group of 168 Allied airmen who were accused of being Terrorfliegers (terror fliers) and sent to a concentration camp after their planes were shot down. Most of these airmen were falsely accused of being illegal combatants who were aiding the French Resistance; they were actually legal combatants on bombing missions.

After the Allied invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944, France was being heavily bombed by Allied planes in an effort to win the war by destroying bridges, railroads, power plants and supply depots. The Allied airmen were falsely accused of dropping supplies to the French Resistance and sent to Buchenwald which was one of the two concentration camps where illegal combatants in the French Resistance were sent.  Edwin Ritter and a few others were not falsely accused; their planes had been shot down while dropping supplies to the French Resistance.

After the Luftwaffe (German air force) found out that there were Allied airmen in a concentration camp, the airmen were taken to Stalag III, which was a POW camp.  When the airmen arrived at the POW camp, there were 10 men who were separated from the group, including Edwin Ritter.

In 1993, Edwin Ritter gave a statement, which his daughter recorded and then transcribed.  This quote is from his statement:

We reached there (Stalag III) and it was the day of Thansgiving, November 24th (1944), I believe it was. We were put into camp and examined by the German commandant and he says, “You know, none of you are righteously permitted to come in here for the simple reason we have no records, no nothin’.” And he said he’s gonna to get the American colonel to come up, which was Goodrich at that time. Goodrich seemed to have everything well in hand.  Him and Colonel Clark.  Goodrich said that he could not let us mingle among the other Americans until we got cleared.  […] Then Col. Goodrich came up with the post commandant, the German commandant, and he says, “We have all of you cleared so we’ll assign you to barracks.”  He said that “although there are ten of you that have to be separated from the rest of the group.”

And my name wasn’t called.  Martini wasn’t called and several others weren’t called.  Bob Johnson wasn’t called.  And, of course, Col. McNichols wasn’t called and we were just wondering why.  Well, of course, being directly involved with the OSS and the Free French Underground, we were liable for continuous prison because we had been found guilty of being saboteurs.  But they were going to clear us and get us mixed up in and amongst our own people, you know?  And they were gonna coach us exactly what we’d have to say, if anything slips up.

Ritter said in his statement that he never got any letters from his wife while he was in Stalag III, the POW camp.  He said that the American military “would not acknowledge that I was there at the camp.”  He said that he “Never got any information from them as to my acknowledgment in the Eighth Air Force or not. But the colonel vouched for me personally because he knew of my training with Westside T. Larson at 90 Church Street in New York in Columbia University. So he vouched for me specially.”  So according to Edwin Ritter, he was sent on missions to aid insurgents in France, and when he was captured, the American military would not acknowledge that he was in the American Air Force.

When the war was over, Ritter was sent first to Belgium, then to France, and finally put on a ship to America.  This quote is from his statement:

And finally we reached our shores thinking that we’d see the Statue of Liberty and into New York Harbor, where the rest were all goin’, but to our surprise and amazement, we were diverted from the convoy and sent to Boston.  Because of the nature of the incident, they deemed it necessary to separate us from the rest of the welcoming committee, and Fred Martini and myself were sent to Boston Hospital to remove the micro film from the bottoms of our feet. […]  That following morning, we were wheelchaired into …. he was wheeled to a Trenton, New Jersey train and I was wheeled to a train head (sic) straight for Chicago (his home town).  And got home thinking, oh, what a welcome and everything else.  I did (get a welcome) from the family, yes: a dead man had returned.  My wife, your mother, was already given my medals and everything else post-humously, as a dead man.  It still didn’t catch up with our government that I was alive.  I was still AWOL until I got into Fort Sheridan and they straightened it out.  They changed the AWOL to MIA due to Col. McNichols and Col. Clark at that time — now Generals, of course.  And they got the government to clear us and give us passes for home.

From the rest of his statement, it is clear that the Army did not acknowledge his service in the war as an illegal combatant who was aiding the French Resistance.  When he became ill, he was not allowed to go to the VA hospital for treatment.  Ritter said that he submitted to several tests in which he was given sodium pentothal  and “they couldn’t believe what they heard from me.”

In this last quote at the end of his recorded statement, Ritter says that the United States would not acknowledge that he was a prisoner in a concentration camp:

And they can’t understand…and today, they can’t understand why the United States government…not the government, but he said, the services, the combined services, will not acknowledge that we were prisoners of war in a concentration camp.

One would think that the US government would have charged the Germans at Nuremberg with illegally putting captured Americans into a concentration camp instead of a POW camp, which was a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.  Or was it?  In the case of Edwin Ritter, who admitted that he was on a mission to drop supplies to the French Resistance, it was not a war crime to send him to a concentration camp.

Another documentary with the title Bomber Boys is also being shown currently on British TV.  You can read about it here.  One of the survivors who speaks in this documentary said, regarding his stay in Buchenwald: “Instead of being treated as prisoners of war many were sent to concentration camps and faced the threats of starvation, disease, beatings and the gas chamber.”

There was at least one American in the Dachau concentration camp, but you don’t hear much about that. The story of the Allied airmen at Buchenwald is much better known than the story of an American at Dachau.

This quote is from my own website, scrapbookpages.com:

On the day that Dachau was liberated, there was at least one American, Lt. Rene J. Guiraud, a member of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) who had been arrested as a spy. There were also 5 other American civilians who were prisoners in the camp, according to Marcus J. Smith in his book, The Harrowing of Hell.

Nerin E. Gun wrote that there were 11 Americans imprisoned at Dachau at various times in its history.

According to a newspaper article by Mark Muckenfuss in The Press-Enterprise, Cecil Davis was a B17 pilot who was shot down during a bombing raid, and subsequently sent to a POW camp. He was with a group of American Prisoners of War who got lost while marching through the German countryside in late April 1945; the lost POWs were picked up by a patrol and dropped off at the Dachau “death camp” for three or four days. Davis was assigned to work in the crematorium where he saw the bodies of children that were being burned in “gas ovens.”

On January 26, 2009, Ron Simon, a staff memeber of the Telegraph-Forum, wrote an article about an American soldier, Porter Stevens, who was one of 8 American POWs at Dachau when the camp was liberated. Stevens had spent the last month of his 11 months as a POW at Dachau.

Another American at Dachau on the day the camp was liberated was Keith Fiscus, who was a Captain in American intelligence, operating behind enemy lines. According to a news article by Mike Pound, published in the Joplin Globe on April 29, 2009, Ficus was captured on April 29, 1944 in Austria and held at Dachau for 9 months after first being interrogated by the Gestapo.

The most famous American at Dachau was Rene Guiraud. After being given intensive specialized training, Lt. Guiraud was parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, along with a radio operator. His mission was to collect intelligence, harass German military units and occupation forces, sabotage critical war material facilities, and carry on other resistance activities. Guiraud organized 1500 guerrilla fighters and developed intelligence networks. During all this, Guiraud posed as a French citizen, wearing civilian clothing. He was captured and interrogated for two months by the Gestapo, but revealed nothing about his mission. After that, he was sent to Dachau where he participated in the camp resistance movement along with the captured British spies. Two weeks after the liberation of the camp, he “escaped” from the quarantined camp and went to Paris where he arrived in time to celebrate V-E day.

November 28, 2011

Edwin Ritter — the Lost Airman of Buchenwald who admitted that he was helping the French Resistance

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:50 am

Previously, I blogged about Edwin Ritter, one of the Allied airmen who was imprisoned at the Buchenwald concentration camp for two months before being rescued by a German officer in the Luftwaffe (German air force). Ritter gave a statement on June 18, 1993 which his daughter recorded.  As far as I know, his statement has never been published.  Ritter’s daughter gave me permission to put it on my website. I was reluctant to do that because I found his story hard to believe. Now that a new documentary entitled Lost Airmen of Buchenwald has just been released, there is renewed interest in this subject, and I think that Edwin Ritter’s account of his experience in World War II needs to be told.  (Scroll down to near the bottom if you want to read about how Ritter was saved from certain death by a Luftwaffe officer.)

Ritter said in his statement that he parachuted out of his plane after it was hit by ground fire as he was flying over occupied France.  He discarded his parachute and found shelter for the night.  Early the next morning he heard a girl whistling Yankee Doodle.  He answered back by whistling the last half of the song.  Ritter said that he had been in a plane that was flying low enough to drop packages of food, weapons and supplies to “the Free French,” which was one of the French Resistance groups. Apparently the girl who rescued him was waiting for the drop and there was a prearranged signal for the Free French resistance group to make contact with any downed flyer.  (more…)

November 27, 2011

Allied airmen in Buchenwald, a secret that was kept for years by the American government

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:43 am

The first time that I ever heard about the Allied airmen, who were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1944, was around 10 years ago when the daughter of one of the American flyers [Edwin Ritter] sent me an e-mail in which she told her father’s story in great detail.  Frankly, I didn’t believe it.  If this had actually happened, why didn’t the American government include this war crime in the accusations made against the Germans at the Nuremberg IMT?

Lt. Jack Taylor, an American prisoner in the Mauthausen camp in Austria, did testify at Nuremberg that Americans had been sent to Mauthausen and that two of them had been murdered in the gas chamber there. (He showed their dog tags to prove it.) It was briefly mentioned during the “Dachau trials” conducted by the American Military Tribunal, beginning in November 1945, that Allied pilots had been killed at Buchenwald. When challenged by the defense attorney to prove this accusation, the prosecuting attorney could not supply their names, so this charge was quickly dropped.

The part of Edwin Ritter’s story that I found to be incredulous was his claim that a microchip had been implanted in his foot and it was taken out at a Boston hospital after he returned to America.

Here are the exact words of Edwin Ritter, as told to his daughter who tape recorded his statement on June 18, 1993.  She typed up his statement and sent it to me.  I am quoting from the statement:

I was also called up on the hill by the Belgium internees and the Jewish internees up there on the hill.  And they asked if I would do them a favor.  And they needed microfilm taken out of Buchenwald.  Well Martini and I — Fred Martini was a flyer on a B-17  — volunteered also to go up there and we allowed the Jewish doctors to put microfilm in our feet — front edge just below the toes in the hard part of the meat, and taped them up and made it look like walkin’ in those wooden shoes calloused our feet.  And we were to carry those back to the United States so then the government would know all about it by the time we got there.

At the time that the microchips were implanted in the feet of Edwin Ritter and Fred Martini, the Allied airmen had already been saved by a Luftwaffe doctor, whom Ritter identified as “Captain Black.”  A couple of days later, Ritter and Martini were put on a train which reached the Stalag III camp for POWs on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1944. The Germans did not have time to find out about the secret operation, done by a Jewish doctor, to implant the microchips.

Can you understand now, dear reader, why I dismissed Edwin Ritter’s whole story because of his unbelievable account of the implanting of a microchip in his foot?

In November 1944, the Jews at Buchenwald must have known that the American flyers, who were on their way to a POW camp, would not reach America until after the war.  What was on the microfilm, implanted in the feet of two airmen, that a Jewish doctor wanted to send to America?  (I was not aware that this technology was available in 1944, but what do I know?)

Now with the release of the documentary Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, I am beginning to believe Ritter’s story because so much of what Ritter said in the statement that he gave to his daughter, is confirmed by the stories of the 7 airmen who tell their stories in the documentary. But there is one serious difference between the story told by Edwin Ritter and the 7 airmen in the documentary: Edwin Ritter admits that he was dropping supplies to the “French Underground” which is his term for the French Resistance.

According to the statement given by Edwin Ritter to his daughter, who recorded it on June 18, 1993, Ritter was with the American Air Force, but he was sent to England to join the Eighth Air Force.  He trained at Westover Field in Massachusetts before being sent to northern Ireland, where his group waited for assignment.  He was temporarily assigned to the southern part of England and made several bombing runs on Frankfurt and Berlin. After participating in the raid on Ploesti, Romania, his group came back to the field in Ipswich, England.

Here is an exact quote from Ritter’s statement given to this daughter:

And when we came back to our field in Ipswich, England, the Second Division, 93rd Bomb group, 328 Squadron —there were only three of us — and they began to re-assign us to different squadrons.  Well, they found out they needed a group to supply the French underground in France, and they took our plane and they took all the numbers off from it and painted it black.  Between the group of us we were known as the Gypsy Flyers.  We, up until the time the organization was set, we were flying with anyone, anytime, any place.  We had no assigned aircraft.  And once the group was formulated at night to carry supplies, ammunition and food to the French underground, we were known as the Carpetbaggers.

Edwin Ritter was on his fifth mission in the southern part of France and just after he had made the drop of supplies to the French underground, his plane was hit by ground fire.  Ritter mentioned in his statement that he was aiding “the Free French.”  You can read about “the Free French” on this page of my website.  Buchenwald and Natzweiler were the main camps where French Resistance fighters were sent when they were captured.  So naturally, Ritter was sent to Buchenwald.

From this point on, Ritter’s story matches many of the details told by the 7 airmen in the documentary.  Ritter’s story does not prove that the Allied airmen in the documentary were supplying the French Resistance.  However, you can’t blame the Germans for assuming that all the airmen who were shot down over occupied France were illegal combatants who were aiding the illegal combatants in the French Resistance.  And you can’t blame the American government for keeping the story of the Lost Airmen in Buchenwald a secret for years because of course, we Americans didn’t want it known that Americans were fighting as illegal combatants in violation of the Geneva Convention in the “Good War” against those evil Nazis who wanted to kill all the Jews and rule the world.

November 26, 2011

My review of Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, a new documentary about captured Allied airmen

Filed under: Germany, movies, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:51 am

Mike Dorsey, the producer and director of the new documentary Lost Airmen of Buchenwald has made several comments on a previous post on my blog.  In one comment, he wrote: “I was concerned I might get pulled into the denier rabbit hole, and here I am. So I’ll leave the thread with this: I hope you (meaning me) watch the film with an open mind, and not with the preconceived notion that it’s just veteran-worship propaganda.”

I ordered the DVD from the film’s website here.  My order was shipped immediately and I received it in a couple of days.  I tried to put aside my “preconceived notions” and keep an “open mind” while I watched the DVD.

On the back cover of the DVD box, there is this statement:

Falsely accused of being “terrorists and saboteurs,” the airmen faced a terrifying fight for survival.”

The term “falsely” implies that the Gestapo deliberately made up a false story about these innocent airmen of “the Greatest Generation” who were fighting bravely in “the Good War.”  Meanwhile, there were around 375,000 German POWs in America, who were being treated fairly, according to the Geneva Convention.  Strangely, the Gestapo had no fear that America would retaliate by killing some of these German prisoners.

The text on the back cover of the DVD also states this:

…”Lost Airmen of Buchenwald” tells their harrowing tale, from hiding with the French resistance, to the darkest days of the Holocaust…”

This implies that the airmen were working WITH the French Resistance, not that they were innocent airmen who were RESCUED by the French Resistance after they were shot down over France.  The Germans used the English word “terrorist” to describe members of the French Resistance who were fighting illegally in violation of the Geneva Convention.  These airmen had been flying bombing missions over German-occupied France when their planes were shot down; they were legal combatants.

The film starts out by describing the planes used by the captured airmen.  The airmen were flying over occupied France in the summer of 1944. However, the film does not reveal what they were planning to bomb in France.  After only 5 weeks of fighting in legal combat against the Germans, the French had surrendered and signed an Armistice, in which they promised to stop fighting.  The French continued to fight, but not on the battlefield.  The Germans referred to the men, who continued to fight after surrendering, as “terrorists.”

This film is about the Allied airmen who were falsely accused of aiding the “terrorists.”  Unfortunately, none of the seven men, who talk in the film about the horror of their capture, tell anything about why they were flying over German-occupied France.  Maybe I missed it, but they did not explain that Allied airmen were bombing railroads and supply places to aid in the invasion.  The film showed the fields where they landed.  They were falsely accused of dropping supplies to the French Resistance.

Overall, the quality of the film is excellent.  There is some great photography in the film and the authentic film footage of the war is spectacular.  I did not observe any photos that were incorrectly identified.  There was also a lot of footage of scenes in the Buchenwald concentration camp which I had never seen before.

I learned a lot from this film that I had not known before.  For example, I learned that captured SOE agents were executed in the basement of the Buchenwald crematorium by being hung with wire on hooks that were put on the wall of the crematorium for the purpose of executions. (I previously blogged about the hanging of prisoners in the Buchenwald crematorium here.) The second batch of SOE agents, who were scheduled to be executed, requested a more humane death and they were shot by a firing squad.   Score one for the Germans!  When the German war criminals requested a soldier’s execution by firing squad, the Allies denied their requests.

Now we go down “the denier rabbit hole”:  One of the pilots in the film says that Buchenwald was a labor camp, not an extermination camp like Bergen-Belsen.  The narrator of the film should have interrupted at this point and explained that Bergen-Belsen was an exchange camp that was set up to exchange prisoners. (You can read about Bergen-Belsen here.) This blooper in the film is quickly followed by another pilot who mentions that the captured pilots were not tattooed which was an indication that they were not going to be kept in the camp very long because the other Buchenwald prisoners had identification numbers tattooed on their forearms.  Again, the narrator should have explained that the Allied airmen were in the “Small Camp” section of Buchenwald where most of the prisoners were Jews who had been recently transferred from Auschwitz where they had been tattooed.  Auschwitz was the only camp where prisoners were tattooed.

Now for the worst part of the film, which I think should be cut out: the testimony of Lt. Jack Taylor who was an American imprisoned at Mauthausen.  In this part of the film, Lt. Taylor holds up a dog tag as he says that the soldier who wore this dog tag was gassed in the gas chamber at Mauthausen; he does not give the name on the dog tag.  Why was this included in a film about innocent flyers in the Buchenwald camp?    Lt. Taylor is not part of the Buchenwald story. This is just asking for deniers to lambast the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald documentary.  At the very least, it should be explained by the narrator why Lt. Taylor was included in a story about American airmen at Buchenwald.  Is it because his imprisonment at Mauthausen was for the same reason as the airmen, or was he imprisoned for a different reason?  Lt. Taylor was captured behind enemy lines on a commando mission; he was not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention because he was an illegal combatant.  After the war, the Allies changed the rules of the Geneva Convention so that the SS men at Mauthausen were war criminals because Lt. Taylor was a prisoner there when he should have been sent to a POW camp under the ex post facto law.

You can read all about the testimony of Lt. Jack H. Taylor on my website here.  You can read about the controversy over the rules of the Geneva Convention and the treatment of POWs on my website here.

November 21, 2011

German war criminals convicted by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau

Friedrich Weitzel, wearing #40 on his back, is sentenced to death by the American Military Tribunal

Most people know about the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal where the most important German war criminals were put on trial by the Allies in November 1945, but less well known are the trials conducted by the American Military Tribunal where German war criminals were prosecuted in a courtroom at the former Dachau concentration camp.  The photo above shows Friedrich Weitzel, a member of the staff at the Dachau camp, as he hears his death sentence pronounced by an American Military judge.

Friedrich Weitzel is identified in court by Helmuth Breiding

What heinous crimes had Friedrich Weitzel committed against the innocent prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp?  Weitzel had not personally committed any crimes at all; he was prosecuted under the ex-post-facto law called “common design” which made it a crime for anyone to have had any connection whatsoever to a Nazi concentration camp.  (Concentration camps had been declared to be a criminal enterprise by the Allies after World War II ended.)

Weitzel was the supply clerk for the Dachau camp. The following quote is from the book entitled Witness to Barbarism, written by a member of the prosecution staff at Dachau:

[The American prosecutor] Denson has drawn the indictment alleging violations of the Rules of Land Warfare – namely, the killings, beatings, torture, starvation, and other abuses from January 1, 1942, to April 29, 1945, when the Americans liberated Dachau. [Denson] says the worst offense was the starvation of prisoners through embezzlement. The administration of each camp received a check by mail from the Himmler headquarters in Berlin, the amount depending on the number of prisoners. But they bought as little food as possible for prisoners, pocketing the remainder of the funds.

If Weitzel had personally embezzled the funds given to him to buy food for the Dachau prisoners, he would have been prosecuted by the Nazis themelves. Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald, was accused by the SS of embezzling money from funds given to him for the Buchenwald camp; Koch was executed by the SS after a trial conducted by SS judge Konrad Morgen. Amon Goeth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp in the Schindler’s List story, was awaiting trial by the SS when World War II ended; he had been accused by Morgen of stealing from the warehouses at the Plaszow camp.

The Dachau camp was also investigated by Morgen, but there were no accusations of embezzlement of funds for food at Dachau.  None of this mattered to the Americans who prosecuted staff members of Dachau.  Under the “common design” ex-post-facto law, every German was guilty of something, regardless of what he had personally done.

In the same photograph above, which was taken on November 22, 1945, the man on the far left, wearing #29 on his chest, is Sylvester Filleböck. One prosecution witness testified that Filleböck was present in September 1944 when 90 Communist Commissars in the Soviet Army were executed at Dachau on the orders of Adolf Hitler. Filleböck denied being present at the execution and six other witnesses corroborated his story, but nevertheless, he was sentenced to death by hanging. He was guilty of a violation of the Laws and Usages of War because he was allegedly present during the executions and had not acted to intervene.

All German soldiers in both the SS and the Wehrmacht were required to swear an oath to Adolf Hitler. By not intervening in the executions ordered by Hitler, Filleböck had prolonged his own life by a few years, since he would undoubtedly have been shot on the spot if he had tried to stop an order from being carried out. The prosecution contended that he would have merely been transferred to another job.

During closing arguments, defense attorney Lt. Col. Douglas Bates gave the following argument with regard to the “superior orders” defense:

There has been a lot of impressive law read by the chief counsel, and it is good law – Miller, Wharton. The sad thing is that little of it is applicable law. Perhaps we have not been diligent enough in seeking applicable law. Some think the prosecution has found applicable law in the Rules of Land Warfare on the doctrine of superior orders. We have no intention of arguing that executions by the German Reich were due process. Nevertheless, we contend that executions were the result of law of the then recognized regime in Germany and that members of the firing squad were simple soldiers acting in the same capacity as in any military organization in the world.

Most of the German war criminals were defended by American military lawyers.   In the closing argument presented by the defense in the trial of Weitzel, on December 12, 1945, Lt. Col. Douglas Bates argued against the concept of “common design.”

Bates said the following, with regard to Friedrich Wetzel, as quoted from the trial transcript:

And a new definition of murder has been introduced along with common design. This new principle of law says “I am given food and told to feed these people. The food is inadequate. I feed them with it, and they die of starvation. I am guilty of murder.” Germany was fighting a war she had lost six months before. All internal business had completely broken down. I presume people like Filleboeck and Wetzel should have reenacted the miracle of Galilee, where five loaves and fishes fed a multitude.”

Another German war criminal who tried to use the “obeying superior orders defense” was Leonard Eichberger; he was a soldier who was ordered to Dachau after he was wounded at the front and had lost a leg.  His defense lawyer, Capt. Niles, argued before the court that Eichberger had not had a choice when he was assigned to Dachau and that he should not be held responsible for the legality of the orders that he had to carry out in the camp.   

In the photograph below, prosecution witness Michael Pellis identifies SS Hauptscharfürher Franz Böttger in the courtroom at Dachau during the American Military Tribunal proceedings in the case of US vs. Martin Gottfried Weiss, et al. The man wearing a card with the number 34 is Walter Adolf Langleist.

Franz Böttger is identified by Michael Pellis in Dachau courtroom of American Military Tribunal

Franz Böttger was born in 1888 and was 57 years old at the time of his trial. Between May 1941 and May 1945, he had served as a Rapportführer (Roll call leader) in the Dachau camp. One of his duties was to escort condemned prisoners to the crematorium where they were shot or hanged.

At the Dachau trial, Böttger was charged with kicking the chair out from under a Russian Communist Commissar when he was hanged. He was also charged with shooting a Russian POW who collapsed on an evacuation death march out of the Dachau camp on April 27, 1945.

The following quote is from the book entitled Dachau Liberated The Official Report by the U.S. Seventh Army, edited by Michael W. Perry:

Bottger, Franz – SS Hauptsharfuhrer

Rapportfuhrer in the camp, subject is an outstanding example of inhuman cruelty and brutality. He participated in the killing of many political prisoners as well as the killing of many prisoners of war. On 27 April 1945, he left Dachau with an evacuation transport. Over 1200 people were killed on the way. Subject was recognized and apprehended by informants working for this detachment about 30 kilometers distance from Dachau.

Although Böttger had been accused of killing many prisoners by the Americans who wrote the Official Report, he was only charged with killing two people during his trial by the American Military Tribunal.

Another Dachau staff member who was put on trial by the American Military Tribunal was Franz Trenkle, who was one of the executioners at Dachau. (Trenkle wore card number 4 around his neck during the trial.) Under interrogation by Lt. Paul Guth before the trial began, Trenkle had confessed to shooting prisoners that had been convicted of sabotage and looting and had been brought to Dachau for execution.

Trenkle’s defense was that he was obeying superior orders. The order had been given by der Führer, Adolf Hitler, and passed down to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of the SD, who then passed the order down to SS Lt. Gen. Richard Glücks who gave the order to Gauleiter Paul Giessler who ordered the shooting. Trenkle claimed that he could only obey commands and was powerless to stop the executions.

The defense of obeying superior orders was not valid in the cases tried by the American Military Tribunal.  Franz Trenkle was convicted and hanged on May 28, 1946; he had extended his life by a few years when he obeyed superior orders.

Emil Mahl is identified by Rudolf Wolf in Dachau courtroom

The photo above shows Emil Mahl, wearing number 33, as he is identified in the courtroom at Dachau by Rudolf Wolf, a former prisoner in the Dachau camp. Seated on the far right is Albin Gretsch, number 31.

Emil Mahl was specifically charged with assisting in the execution of a young Russian Prisoner of War who was one of the 90 Communist Commissars hanged at Dachau. Adolf Hitler had ordered that all captured Communist Commissars should be brought to the nearest concentration camp and executed. Mahl had committed a war crime when he put the rope around the neck of the Russian POW before his execution.

Emil Erwin Mahl was defended by Hans Karl von Posern, a German attorney, who had been a prisoner at Mauthausen. His defense was that Mahl was only obeying orders: “Befehl ist Befehl – an order is an order.”

Pointing to Emil Mahl behind him, von Posern said, “Here is defendant Mahl, who was told he had to take part of an execution. He gets led up to the execution place and receives the order to place the rope on the neck of a man who shall get hanged. If he had not obeyed the order, his own execution would have taken place.”

Eugen Seybold, a crematorium worker at Dachau, points a finger at SS doctor Dr. Fritz Hintermayer

The photograph above shows Dr. Fritz Hintermayer, on the left, wearing a card with the number 10 around his neck. Eugen Seybold, a former prisoner in the camp, points to him as he identifies Dr. Hintermayer as one of the SS doctors at Dachau. Dr. Hintermayer was one of the accused who claimed that he was coerced into signing a confession by Lt. Guth.

Eugen Seybold was one of the Kapos at Dachau; he was one of the workers in the crematorium whose job it was to put the dead bodies into the cremation ovens. Eugen Seybold could potentially have been among the accused himself if he had not agreed to testify for the prosecution as a paid witness, as one of the defense attorneys pointed out during the trial.

Fritz Becher is shown in the courtroom at Dachau

The photo above shows Fritz Becher in the courtroom at Dachau, just after he rose from his chair to take the witness stand.  Becher was accused of beating a priest to death at Dachau.  American prosecutor Lt. Col. William Denson conceded that Becher might have been falsely accused by one of the witnesses: “It may be pointed out by defense counsel that some testified falsely, that on a certain date they saw Becher beat a priest so brutally that he died, and Becher states he was not at that place at that particular time. And the witness may indeed be in error in that respect.”

In the end, it didn’t matter that the prosecution had not proved that Becher had beaten a priest to death. He was nevertheless sentenced to death by hanging; Becher was executed on May 29, 1946.

The prosecution called more than 100 witnesses to the stand in the first Dachau trail; at the end of his presentation, Lt. Col. Denson called several of the Jewish interrogators to the stand. All of them denied using any force or coercion to obtain confessions from the accused. Supposedly, the accused had voluntarily signed confessions admitting to the most ignominious atrocities, such as making human shrunken heads or fashioning handbags out of human skin, with the knowledge that they would surely receive a death sentence for such crimes.

November 20, 2011

the unique method of execution at the Buchenwald death factory

I wrote a previous blog post, about  how Jews were killed at Buchenwald by being hung from hooks in the crematorium, which you can read at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/prisoners-were-hung-from-meat-hooks-in-the-execution-room-at-buchenwald/

The Buchenwald concentration camp had a unique method of executing prisoners.  This method was explained by Edwin Black in his book entitled IBM and the Holocaust.

This quote from IBM and the Holocaust describes how the Jews were murdered one shelf at a time at Buchenwald. A shelf was a section of the bunk beds in the barracks where 16 prisoners slept.

Once the murder decision had been made, all sixteen Jews in the shelf were immediately marched to a small door adjacent to Buchenwald’s incinerator building. The door opened inward, creating a short, three-foot-long corridor. Jews were pushed and herded until they reached the corridor end. There, a hole dropped thirteen feet down a concrete shaft and into the Strangling Room. A camp worker recalled, “As they hit the floor they were garroted … by big SS guards and hung on hooks along the side wall, about 6 1/2 feet above the floor … any that were still struggling were stunned with a wooden mallet … An electric elevator … ran [the corpses] up to the incinerator room.

The photo below shows the hooks on the wall of the “Strangling Room.” The second photo below shows the incinerator room with the door of the elevator on the right hand side.

Buchenwald execution chamber had hooks on the wall

Incinerator room at Buchenwald where bodies were burned

Execution by garroting and meat hooks on the wall was unique to the Buchenwald camp; in all the other Nazi concentration camps, political prisoners were executed by public hanging or shooting and the Jews were gassed. Only a few people today believe that Buchenwald had a gas chamber; you can read about the alleged Buchenwald gas chamber on my website here.

The Nazis referred to the Buchenwald “Strangling Room” as the Leichenkeller (corpse cellar). They claimed that bodies were stored in the “Strangling Room” before they were burned, but according to the Buchenwald guidebook (which I purchased in 1999), the corpse cellar was used only for executions and the bodies of prisoners who died of starvation or disease were stored in a shed near the east gate into the camp, a long way from the cremation ovens.

General George S. Patton, who toured Buchenwald on April 15, 1945, wrote the following in his autobiography regarding what he was told by former Buchenwald prisoners:

If a sufficient number (of the Buchenwald prisoners) did not die of starvation or if, for other reasons, it was desirable to remove them without waiting for nature to take its course, they were dropped down a chute into a room which had a number of hooks like those on which one hangs meat in a butcher shop, about eight feet from the floor. From the execution room in the Buchenwald set-up there was an elevator, hand operated, which carried the corpses to an incinerator plant on the floor above.

The “chute” which Patton saw was analogous to the “corpse slide” at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, which was used to roll dead bodies down into the morgue in the basement. Executions at Sachsenhausen were carried out at a firing range or in a gas chamber disguised as a shower room which was in the crematorium building.

At the Buchenwald death factory, the basement room at the end of the “chute” was an execution room, not a morgue. There was apparently no morgue in the crematorium at Buchenwald for storing the bodies before they were cremated.  This was not unusual; there were also no morgues at Auschwitz where the Jew were gassed in underground rooms in the crematoria.  The Nazis referred to the gas chambers at Auschwitz as corpse cellars.

A group of U.S. Congressmen are shown the mallet used to club prisoners to death when they didn’t die soon enough

The photo above shows a group of US Congressmen on a visit to Buchenwald on April 24, 1945. They are being shown the “bloodstained club” that was found by the American liberators in a corner of the execution room. The Congressmen were told that the “bloodstained club” was used to beat prisoners to death in the execution room, but if this room was a morgue, as the Nazis claimed, the club might have been used to break the bones of bodies in which rigor mortis had set in before the body could be hung up to keep it straight for the ovens.

On the right, in the photo immediately above, is what appears to be a dummy hanging from a hook on the wall; this was part of the exhibit shown to German civilians and American soldiers who were brought to Buchenwald after the camp was liberated.

Another explanation for the hooks at Buchenwald was given by one of the former Polish prisoners to Cpl. Norman W. Paschen when he toured the camp shortly after American troops arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945.

The following quote is from a letter to his family, written by Cpl. Paschen:

We then went to the crematory, a cold, dismal building resembling a dungeon. A large chute similar to a coal chute had been used to convey the bodies to a cellar. On the walls of the cellar were many hooks which were used to hold the corpses until it came time for them to be elevated to the crematory upstairs. The hooks had been forced into the neck behind the ear. They were still blood-stained.

The Buchenwald Report, a book written by former prisoners in the camp, uses the phrase “meat hooks used for hanging bodies,” which implies that the men who were hung in the execution room were already dead before their bodies were placed on the hooks.

The following quote is from the Buchenwald Report:

[The Nazis] removed the meat hooks used for hanging bodies, cemented in the holes, and covered up the blood-spattered walls with a fresh coat of white paint. In their haste, however, they did not completely finish the job of hiding the evidence: After liberation, an American medical officer reported seeing four hooks still in the wall and partially filled holes for forty-four more, as well as a bloodstained club.

On my visit to Buchenwald in 1999, I purchased the official guidebook for the camp, which has this quote:

Approximately 1,100 people were strangled to death on wall hooks in the body storage cellar. Ivan Belevzev from Kharkov, 8 years old, was the youngest victim of the murderers.

Note that the official guide book for Buchenwald implies that prisoners were strangled by hanging from hooks, not garroted first and then hung up on hooks.

The photo below shows the Corpse Cellar in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp which had no hooks for hanging bodies.

Corpse cellar at Sachsenhausen is similar to the one at Buchenwald but has no hooks

Corpse slide at Sachsenhausen

November 19, 2011

“Lost Airmen of Buchenwald” — a new documentary (updated)

Update, Nov. 20, 2011:

I’ve been searching for more information on the documentary Lost Airmen of Buchenwald to find out if the film mentions the role of the Luftwaffe in the transfer of the prisoners to a POW camp after 2 months at Buchenwald.  I found an interview with the director which you can read in full here.

Here is a quote from the interview with Mike Dorsey, the director:

WAMG: Why were these particular prisoners not treated according to the Geneva Convention?

MD: What happened was, if you were a commando dropped behind enemy lines, and the Germans caught you, then they would say that you’ve voided your rights as of the Geneva Convention, that you will not be treated as a prisoner of war. You broke the rules. These guys were airmen that had been shot down. They were all hiding with the French Resistance. The Germans claimed they should have turned themselves in as soon as they crashed, but since they were hiding with the resistance, they were labeled saboteurs and terrorists and were treated the same way they would have treated a commando who purposely dropped in behind enemy lines. It’s because they were caught by the Gestapo and not by the regular military that that happened.

So it appears that the director of the documentary knew the reason why the airmen were sent to Buchenwald and not to a POW camp.  But did he also know that the airmen were saved by the Luftwaffe.  At least one of the airmen, Joe Moser, knew that the Luftwaffe was involved.  According to a 2009 newspaper article by Mike Siegel of The Seattle Times, 1st Lt. Joe Moser was a 22-year-old pilot from Ferndale, WA who was shot down over France on August 13, 1944 while he was flying his 44th mission in a Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft.

The following quote is from Mike Siegel’s article:

French farmers tried to hide Moser, but German soldiers who saw the crash soon caught up with him and demanded to know the whereabouts of his co-pilot, not realizing the P-38 was a one-man plane.

Moser was first taken to a French prison, but a week after his capture he and nearly 170 other captured Allied fliers were crammed into railroad boxcars for an five-day ride to Germany.

Fortunately for Moser, conditions in the SS-run camp apparently shocked even some members of Germany’s power elite, including high-ranking members of the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force.

Luftwaffe officers had heard that Allied aviators were at the camp, and arranged a visit with the top officers among the prisoner group, a colonel from New Zealand and an American captain.

“The disgust they felt for their fellow German SS officers was clear,” Moser said. “It was also certain that they did not approve of the way we were being treated.”

An unusual sense of fraternity was at work: Although Allied and German pilots wouldn’t hesitate to blast each other out of the sky in battle, they felt a kinship that predated World War II.

A week after the Luftwaffe visit, the Allied pilots at Buchenwald, which included about 60 Americans, were told to gather up their belongings. They were marched to a warehouse and handed back the clothes they had arrived in.

Continue reading my original post:

You can read all about a new documentary Lost Airmen of Buchenwald on the Huffington Post here.  The “lost airmen” were 168 Allied pilots who were captured after they were shot down over France; they were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp for two months before they were transferred to the Stalag III prisoner of war camp.

Here is a quote from the article on the Huffington Post:

While most captured airmen — pilots, navigators, radiomen — were held in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps and treated according to the Geneva Conventions, some were falsely accused of being “terrorists and saboteurs” and subjected to the far worse conditions — starvation, torture, isolation — of the notorious concentration camps. Whether for reasons of state secrecy or because it was the conventionally “known fact” that Allied combatants were never sent to the concentration camps, this tale has remained untold over the decades.

But why has the story of the lost airmen at Buchenwald remained untold for decades? The author of the article on the Huffington Post has a theory, which you can read in the quote below:

Adding to the film’s value are the archival footage — scenes of occupied Paris, of French citizens who risked their lives to help the airmen, of Buchenwald itself, and of the P.O.W. camp where finally, just as the war was ending, the airmen were marched.

This last-minute maneuver may explain why this tale went untold: One veteran surmises that, as the war closed, the U.S. Government was in negotiations with Germany’s rocket scientists to emigrate to the U.S.; that Allied combatants were treated to anything less than Geneva standards could have been a sticking point.

The veteran who gave this explanation implied that the German rocket scientists wanted to emigrate to the United States.  I agree with that — it was a choice between the United States or the Soviet Union and many of the German rocket scientists made their way to the American zone where they surrendered to the Americans.  However, I don’t think that America would have rejected Werner von Braun on the grounds that American airmen had been sent to Buchenwald.

The Huffington Post article continues with this quote:

Still, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower, head of all Allied forces, made his official visit to Buchenwald, he invited along a large contingent of the surrounding villagers — who entered the camp laughing and left somber or crying, even fainting, at the skeletal inmates. Why was there no media follow-up of the full story? Clearly, Eisenhower invited full scrutiny.

General Eisenhower did not make a visit to Buchenwald, official or otherwise.  The only camp that Eisenhower ever visited was Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald.  Eisenhower did not invite a large contingent of surrounding villagers to enter the Buchenwald camp.  Buchenwald was not surrounded by villages.  The nearest city was Weimar which was 5 miles from the camp.

After the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated on April 11, 1945, by the prisoners themselves, the prisoners set up a tour of exhibits to be shown to German civilians. On April 15, 1945, the German civilians from Weimar were marched at gunpoint to see the evidence of Nazi atrocities including the shrunken heads and pieces of tattooed skin.

Weimar citizens forced to view dead bodies at Buchenwald

Famous photographer Margaret Burke-White arrived at Buchenwald on the 15th of April, just as a procession of German townspeople entered the camp, according to the Buchenwald Report. Her shot of a German woman, wearing walking shoes and her Sunday dress, hiding her eyes in shame, was one of several that were published in Life magazine. Another photo taken by Burke-White is shown below.

Weimar residents view Buchenwald camp

General George S. Patton wrote in his autobiography that the number of Weimar citizens brought to the camp was 1,500, although other accounts say it was 2,000. The German civilians had to march five miles up a steep hill, escorted by armed American soldiers. It took two days for the Weimar residents to file through the camp. No precautions were taken to protect them from the typhus epidemic in the camp.

General Patton had visited the Ohrdruf sub-camp of Buchenwald on April 12, 1945 along with General Omar Bradley and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

On April 15, 1945, the day that he visited Buchenwald, General George S. Patton wrote the following in a letter to General Dwight D. Eisenhower:

We have found at a place four miles north of WEIMAR a similar camp, only much worse. The normal population was 25,000, and they died at the rate of about a hundred a day. The burning arrangements, according to General Gay and Colonel Codman who visited it yesterday, were far superior to those they had at OHRDRUF.

I told the press to go up there and see it, and then write as much about it as they could. I also called General Bradley last night and suggested that you send selected individuals from the upper strata of the press to look at it, so that you can build another page of the necessary evidence as to the brutality of the Germans.

General Eisenhower did not visit Buchenwald himself, but he did follow General Patton’s advice to “build another page” about the “brutality of the Germans.” A group of “upper strata” reporters were flown to Germany, arriving at Buchenwald on April 24, 1945, and given the grand tour of the Buchenwald atrocities.

I have another theory about why the story of the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald was not generally known until now.  The Allied airmen were rescued from Buchenwald by a Luftwaffe officer.  General Eisenhower was trying to “build another page” about the “brutality of the Germans.”  The last thing that he wanted to tell the “upper strata” reporters was that the German Luftwaffe had done something good.  That would have ruined his efforts to build another page about the brutality of the Germans.

After the war, the American Military Tribunal at Dachau began trials of German war criminals in a building at the Dachau concentration camp complex on November 15, 1945.

At the opening of the trial of the Buchenwald war criminals, the court president, Brig. Gen. Emil Charles Kiel, asked the defense counsel, “How do the accused plead?”

To this, Captain Emmanuel Lewis of the defense counsel replied:

As chief defense counsel, I enter a plea of not guilty for all of the accused. Before we begin, if it please the court, there is a matter of great concern. The accused are charged with victimizing captured and unarmed citizens of the United States, and they seek to defend themselves against this charge. But despite our repeated requests, the prosecution has failed to furnish us with the name or whereabouts of even one single American victim.

Lt. Col. William D. Denson, the chief prosecutor, replied:

We are unfortunately unable to comply. The victims were last seen being carted into the crematories. From there they went up the chimney in smoke, and all the power of the United States and all the documents in Augsburg cannot tell us which way they went. We are sorry that we cannot furnish their whereabouts, but we fail to see that it is material whether one American or fifty thousand were incarcerated in Buchenwald. The crimes of these accused would be just as heinous.

The American prisoners at Buchenwald were members of a group of American Air Force pilots, who had allegedly been supplying the French resistance; they were captured after being shot down in France.

Buchenwald was one of the main camps for French resistance fighters, and the American pilots had been lumped in with captured French civilians who were fighting as insurgents.

According to the Geneva Convention of 1929, it was a war crime to aid insurgents in a country that had signed an Armistice and promised to stop fighting. Technically, these pilots had violated the Geneva Convention by helping insurgents that were illegal combatants who had continued to fight after their country had surrendered.

The defense motion to have the prosecution furnish the names of the Americans killed at Buchenwald was denied.

So this proves that the Allies lied about the fate of the “Lost Airmen” and claimed that they had been killed. But why?  The truth is that the Americans were desperate for war crimes, with which that they could charge the Germans.

According to the Huffington Post article:

“But now, at long last, history has been corrected with a moving documentary…”

I’m not sure that this moving documentary is correcting history, but it is at least putting it out there, so that somebody can correct it.

I previously blogged about Joe Moser, one of the Lost Airman in this post. Now Joe’s book is out and you can read about it on this website.

Eisenhower’s death camps

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 7:02 am

Everyone over the age of 10 in America knows the meaning of the term “death camp.”  There were six death camps in the Holocaust: Auschwitz, Majdanek, Chelmno, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor.  But few people in the world know about the “death camps” set up by the Allies after World War II where millions of German soldiers died.  Some of the worst of these “death camps” for German soldiers were Eisenhower’s Rheinwiesen camps (Rhine meadow camps).

This quote is from an article which you can read in full here:

One month before the end of World War II, General Eisenhower issued special orders concerning the treatment of German Prisoners and specific in the language of those orders was this statement,

“Prison enclosures are to provide no shelter or other comforts.”

Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose, who was given access to the Eisenhower personal letters, states that he proposed to exterminate the entire German General Staff, thousands of people, after the war.

Eisenhower, in his personal letters, did not merely hate the Nazi Regime, and the few who imposed its will down from the top, but that HE HATED THE GERMAN PEOPLE AS A RACE. It was his personal intent to destroy as many of them as he could, and one way was to wipe out as many prisoners of war as possible.

But why would Eisenhower, a man with a German name, hate the German people? Many people believe that Eisenhower was a Crypto-Jew.  Wikipedia defines Crypto-Judaism as “the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith. […] The phenomenon arose in the Middle Ages following the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 from Spain.”  Many of the expelled Jews went to the Netherlands; this could be the origin of the Eisenhower family.

This quote from Wikipedia explains the Rheinwiesen camps:

The Rheinwiesenlager (Rhine meadow camps), official name Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosures (PWTE), were a group of about 19 transit camps for holding about one million German POWs after World War II from spring until late summer 1945. Credible sources for German POW deaths in these camps range from about 3,000 to 10,000, in most part occurring from starvation, dehydration and exposure to the weather elements. Most of these deaths were attributed to an unexpectedly large number of POWs which accumulated during the end of WWII, and the subsequent inability to provide adequate necessities for them[citation needed].

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