Scrapbookpages Blog

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?

 

14 Comments »

  1. read your history more carefully, during the beginning stages of the battle of the bulge, many American soldiers turned and run, when the unexpected German offensive began. Did they desert as well? These troops were inexperienced, and spread too thin to be effective.

    Comment by Col. Paul Duron MC USAR — February 21, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

  2. re Black soldiers. Dominic W. Moreo, an Italian-American retired Seattle highschool teacher self-published the first book about the 1941 lynching of an Italian POW named Gugliemo Olivotto by black U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Lawton in Seattle. RIOT AT FT. LAWWTON, l941 http://bookdir.info/?p=216352 Moreo’s book came out in 2004 and has disappeared down the “Memory Hole” at Amazon.com where I bought my copy. When you use the Amazon search box to find it another book entitled ON AMERICAN by Jack Hamann released by a mainstream publisher in 2006 appears.http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Riot+at+Ft.+Lawton+l941. This revisionist history of the same incident resulted three years later in the court martials and convictions for manslaughter of the 43 Black soldiers charged with murdering Pvt. Olivotto overturned in 2008 with back pay. The politically correct history of this lynching is the only one that stands now. Dominic Moreo’s book wasn’t even cited in Jack Hamann’s later book because it doesn’t fit the new victimological paradigm used to give Black bad behavior in America a pass. http://us.wow.com/wiki/Fort_Lawton_Riot?s_chn=70&s_pt=aolsem&v_t=aolsem

    Comment by who dares wings — July 8, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

  3. All the American invaders should have been shot immediately after their capture. The Geneva Convention is bullshit. There is only one law of war: victory. You win and you’re a hero having perpetrated no crimes. You lose and you’re a “war criminal” having perpetrated all kinds of atrocities (invented most of the time). As simple as that…

    At least, the warriors of the past had the decency to execute the defeated ones after victory. They saved them the chutzpah of teaching the defeated leaders and people moral lessons based on a pack of lies and the greatest hypocrisy ever seen. Winning a war gives the victors the right to teach the defeated lessons of barbarity or maybe lessons of military strategy, but not lessons of morality. Winning a war doesn’t make the victors more moral. That just gives them the opportunity to turn their own wartime atrocity propaganda into “History” (i.e. the set of lies agreed upon and written by the victors).

    Comment by hermie — July 8, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

  4. The black American soldiers did not defect (go over to the other side). They either DESERTED, or RETREATED. The difference can be subtle in a massive rout such as the opening phases of the Battle of the Bulge. Blacks in the US army were rarely assigned to actual combat roles; they tended to be cooks and porters, along with labor for engineering projects. They generally had little combat training and less combat experience. They may not have been in any position to contribute to the resistance to the German offensive (aside from cooking for the defenders).

    ASSUMING the whole story is true as received, WHY would no one have been prosecuted for the killings? Again, the black-ness of the victims could explain a lot. Today, the killing of such troops would be about as serious as the killing of whites. But back then? Maybe the Army DID suspect them of deserting. Two strikes.

    The whole thing (except for the execution of the Americans by the Germans) sounds pretty realistic. And, of course, it is not possible to rule out the alleged German misdeed. I wonder where the victims are buried.

    Comment by Jett Rucker — July 8, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    • Thank you for spotting this error on my part. I have changed it to “deserted.”

      Comment by furtherglory — July 8, 2014 @ 11:48 am

    • Thank you very much ! I thought I was the only one who saw the facts on some of these post lacking accuracy. The Wereth 11 were actually captured by the Krauts. They saw their chance to escape and took it. There were quite a few black soldiers that were fighting. Not just minimal jobs. 761st tank battalion . Those were Pattons boys. The ol man was still in the same train of thought a lot of our military leaders were,when it came to the black soldier. He gave them more credit than most of the military leaders did. He thought that the black man fought well as a unit. Individually though he thought they weren’t up to par. The men of the 761st didn’t let the general down. Read up on Rueben Rivers. This man played the proverbial “sacraficial lamb”with he,his tank and his tank crew so his other fellow tank crews could get a chance to retreat.located a German anti tank unit an d proceeded to blast away. No he didn’t make it. However through his actions,he saved a helluva lot of lives that day.

      Comment by Tim — July 8, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

  5. Not sure I really understand this story and your position on it. I will read more and accept I may have got the wrong end of the stick on it. These were American soldiers, right? When you said ‘defected’ you meant deserted, yes? They didn’t actually defect but they did desert. My guess is no one was prosecuted for one of these reasons: it didn’t happen, they were black or most likely they had deserted and so were technically not covered by the military laws and conventions so to speak.

    Comment by Clent — July 8, 2014 @ 11:32 am

    • Yes, I meant to say “deserted.” I have corrected this error.

      Here is my position on this story: African-Americans are now worshiped in America. This story has been dredged up in order to praise African-Americans and accuse whites of abuse of blacks. The idea behind this new documentary is that we should bow down to blacks, not commit crimes against blacks, as the Nazis did. No one was ever prosecuted for the crime of killing these black soldiers because they were deserters. The SS soldiers who killed the 11 might have done this in order to save the Belgian women in the hamlet from rape. The first thing that I thought of when I read this story is that the 11 were running wild and raping white women, although maybe that didn’t happen.

      Comment by furtherglory — July 8, 2014 @ 11:56 am

      • FG wrote:-

        “African-Americans are now worshiped in America.”

        Oh yes of course, same in UK.

        However, when a French black football player did the quenelle (supposedly an inverted Nazi salute) during a goal celebration, all hell broke loose, he left the club and the club’s sponsors, co-owned by a Jew, withdrew their sponsorship.

        http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/20/sport/football/football-west-brom-sponsors-anelka-quenelle/index.html

        Anyway, it seems the blacks are not quite as high as Jews in the pecking order, but of course that shouldn’t come as a surprise

        Comment by DB — July 8, 2014 @ 12:27 pm

      • If the 11 African American soldiers had deserted like you say and walked ten miles to Wereth and then get captured by the Germans and get shot but no one was prosecuted for it.
        Maybe the American army thought the Germans did them a favour and saved them the trouble of a court martial after all in ww2 Desertion was punishable by death.

        Comment by soulsearcher — July 8, 2014 @ 1:17 pm

      • Hi Furtherglory.
        From the way that I am reading it after a second look at the story the deserters Mathias helped was from the German army it doesn’t actually say the Wereth 11 deserted only that they escaped.

        Comment by soulsearcher — July 8, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

        • The 11 African-American soldiers “escaped” FROM the 18th Volksgrenadier division of the Germany Army, meaning that they deserted while a battle was going on between the Americans and the Germans. The news article uses the word “escaped” to avoid saying that these African-American soldiers DESERTED in the middle of a battle. They are now considered “heroes” because of African-American worship in America.

          Comment by furtherglory — July 8, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

    • There are lots of articles to let you know what actually happened take the time to read them. They were captured then escaped then recaptured because of a nazi bitch sympathizer , marched a short ways tortured, had fingers cut off eyes goughed out, legs broke and stabbed with bayonets before being shot. Damn nazis then and now.

      Comment by bodus — November 16, 2014 @ 10:31 am


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