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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.

April 8, 2010

Short critique of “Joe Moser — Buchenwald Flyboy”

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 6:00 pm

There is a new book about Joe Moser, soon to be published, which was written in the first person by a “ghostwriter.” Joe Moser was an American fighter pilot who was shot down over France in World War II; he was captured and taken, along with 167 other Allied pilots, to the Buchenwald concentration camp, not to a POW camp.  After two months, the 168 pilots were rescued by a Luftwaffe general and taken to a POW camp.

American liberators at Buchenwald gate house

When I read a few chapters in the book, which are on this blog, I was put off by the attitude of Joe Moser.  Joe was fighting in a war, and by his own admission, he was killing people, destroying the property of civilians, and doing as much damage as he could.  Yet, when he was captured, he expected to be treated like royalty.

Here is a quote from the book:

The Germans fought hard and brought up all the reinforcements they could. It was our job to disrupt this as much as possible. Anything that moved on the roads or rail lines was a target. The locals were keeping their heads down now as war raged around them and the trucks, trains, cars, motorcycles were almost certain to be enemy forces.

[...]

“If it moves, smash it,” said Major Glass. The days of trying to determine first if the vehicles on the road were German or French countrymen were coming to an end. Now we had orders that anything that moved was German.

Joe Moser was fighting to free France from German occupation.  France had surrendered four years before and was no longer fighting in World War II, except for a few people who were fighting as illegal combatants (the French Resistance).  That means that Joe was fighting to help illegal combatants.  When Joe was shot down, he was taken first to a Gestapo prison and then to Buchenwald, a camp for Resistance fighters and political enemies of Germany.

This quote from the book shows Joe Moser’s attitude regarding his capture:

We, of course, thought we were going to Prisoner of War camp, that our life would be quiet and simple, with respectful wardens, and continual whispering plots of how we would escape and rejoin the fight. And we would be fed three decent meals a day, which right now was one of my greatest concerns.

Sign on gate into Buchenwald: Jedem das Seine

The sign on the gate into Buchenwald reads “Jedem das Seine,” which is translated into English as “Everyone gets what he deserves.” Buchenwald was a Class II camp for hard-core Communists and Resistance fighters who had been captured while fighting as illegal combatants.

Joe Moser should have been told, before going overseas, what he could expect  if he were captured. He thought he was going to live like the American POWs in Hogan’s Heroes, an old TV series, but the reality was quite different.

This quote from the book contains several errors:

We knew nothing of concentration camps or death camps and certainly had no reason to believe any such thing would be our destiny. The world knew little to nothing of such atrocities on August 20, 1944 when we arrived. It would not know of such places and the Nazi plan to exterminate the world’s Jews and all others it hated until almost eight months after I arrived, on April 11, 1945. That’s when the first of these camps was liberated—Buchenwald. Because it was the first to be liberated, the first three weeks after the liberation saw the camp visited by reporters, photographers, officers, U.S. Congressional delegations, British Parliamentary delegations and many others. This was because General Eisenhower, after touring the camp on April 13, just two days after its liberation, determined that it was necessary that the world see the unbelievable atrocities of Hitler’s regime. He and others who first visited the camp were concerned that no one would believe them if they simply described what they saw. More eyes had to be there, more noses to smell it if the world was to take it seriously.

General Eisenhower watches a demonstration at Ohrdruf

General Eisenhower toured Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, on April 12, 1945 but he never went to the Buchenwald main camp, nor to any other camp.  After seeing Ohrdruf, where there were about 40 dead bodies in a shed, Eisenhower ordered that as many soldiers as possible should be brought from the battlefield to Ohrdruf and the Buchenwald main camp so that these soldiers could spread propaganda lies for the next 65 years.

Shrunken heads, human lampshades, and tattoos at Buchenwald

A display table was set up at Buchenwald to show American soldiers the shrunken heads and human lampshades allegedly made there.

Another quote from the book with more mistakes:

Buchenwald was not a death camp like Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, and others. The death camps were much smaller than concentration or labor camps because they never were intended to house people for labor. They had a single purpose: kill and dispose of as many people—mostly Jews—as the technology of the time permitted. Buchenwald, like Dachau and Bergen-Belsen, was a camp originally intended to house political prisoners. It contained large industrial factories as part of or adjacent to the camp to take advantage of the “free” labor offered by the prisoners. Dachau was the first of these created by the Nazi party in March, 1933. Buchenwald was created in 1937 with German communists, the hated political opponents of Nazism, its primary intended victims. While created as a political prison and a work camp, Buchenwald largely crossed the line between a work prison and extermination camp. An estimated 56,000 prisoners died in the camp among the approximately 250,000 who were imprisoned. And a special method for efficient killing of Russian prisoners of war was devised. Most prisoners died, however, due to the horribly unsanitary conditions and brutal work without much in the way of food or medical care. In other words, they were worked and starved to death.

The Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau, was a “death camp,” which was 425 acres in size, so it was not “much smaller,” as the ghostwriter wrote. Birkenau could house at least 140,000 prisoners and was in the process of being expanded to hold 50,000 more prisoners when the camp was abandoned.

Bergen-Belsen was not “originally intended to house political prisoners.”  Bergen-Belsen was originally set up as an exchange camp for Jews who wanted to go to Palestine; they were made available to the Allies in exchange for German prisoners interned by the British and Americans. It was only in December 1944 that Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp.

Buchenwald was created in 1937 as a camp where prisoners would work to produce building materials for Hitler’s projects, such as his planned construction in Berlin and Linz, Austria.  The first prisoners were criminals who had been arrested twice and had served two prison sentences.  A new law was made in 1937 which said that these criminals would have to spend some time in a concentration camp in order to be rehabilitated. It was only later that the Buchenwald prisoners were primarily Communists and Resistance fighters.

The figure of 56,000 deaths was an estimate, made by the Communist prisoners. According to a U.S. Army report dated May 25, 1945, there was a total of 238,980 prisoners sent to Buchenwald during its 8-year history from July 1937 to April 11, 1945, and 34,375 of them died in the camp. This report was based on records confiscated from the camp by the US military, after the camp was liberated.

Buchenwald was in Communist East Germany after the war, so the Communist estimate became the figure that was used.

It is NOT true that “Buchenwald largely crossed the line between a work prison and extermination camp.”  The term “extermination” is an English translation of the German word Ausrottung, which means the act of getting rid of something or someone. No one was “exterminated” at Buchenwald; there was no gas chamber there.

The “special method for efficient killing of Russian prisoners of war” is controversial.  It was certainly not “efficient.” In fact, it was the exact opposite of efficient. The alleged execution device, which is shown in the photo below, was reconstructed at Buchenwald, but there is no proof that such a device was ever used.

Reconstruction of Buchenwald Measuring stick used in the execution of Soviet POWs

Russian POWs were allegedly brought into a room, one at a time, told to stand against the wall, then slide along until they were in front of a measuring device that had a slit in it.  The executioner, who was standing in a booth behind the measuring device, would shoot through the opening in the device and execute the POW.

The truth is that only Russian POWs, who were Communist Commissars were executed, and this was on the orders of Adolf Hitler.

Why would the Germans go to such lengths to fool the Russian POWs so that they would not know that they were going to be shot?  After each execution, they would have had to clean the blood off the floor for the next execution. Why go to all that extra work, just to spare the feelings of the Russians?

Strangely, this execution device was only allegedly used at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen which were in the Soviet zone of occupation in Germany.  There was no such device at Dachau, in the American zone of occupation, although Russian Communist Commissars were also executed there.  This suggests that this was a story made up by the Soviets.

The Buchenwald prisoners were not “worked and starved to death.”  If they were, it was the fault of the Communist prisoners who ran the camp. The Buchenwald Report, which was written by the Buchenwald prisoners, tells about how the Communist prisoners were allowed to take over the camp; the Communists decided who would work and who would eat.

Buchenwald survivors, April 14, 1945

The photo above shows a barrack filled with the survivors at Buchenwald,  Funny, they don’t look starved.

This quote from the book shows that the ghostwriter has not done enough research:

We were marched to an open area at the northeast corner of Little Camp. Little Camp was a section of the barracks where the prisoners received the least food and harshest treatment.

The Small Camp at Buchenwald was a quarantine camp

The Little Camp was a quarantine camp for prisoners who had recently arrived from the East after the camps, in what is now Poland, were closed.  These were mostly Jewish prisoners who had been brought from Auschwitz, where there had been two typhus epidemics.

The Jews who were kept in Little Camp were sick and could not be put in with the rest of the prisoners for fear of spreading disease throughout the camp.  As new prisoners, the American pilots were first put into quarantine in the Little Camp.

Camp kitchen at Buchenwald concentration camp

The following quote from the book is what really made me angry:

The soup was usually cabbage soup made from dehydrated cabbage. Once in awhile it would be made from turnips or kohlrabi, but usually cabbage. The first time I looked at it I wondered what kind of soup it was. It looked like there was meat in it, small chunks of white meat that looked a little like worms. They were moving, just like worms. Oh no, they are worms. The top of the soup was covered in worms. But I was starving. I hadn’t eaten hardly anything in almost a week. I was shaky all over from hunger and I felt I had to get anything I could find into my stomach to try and survive. So I tried to push the worms away from my finger so I could get at the thin gruel underneath. I closed my eyes and let a little of it into my mouth. It was warm but sour and tasteless—more like dishwater than anything I might describe as recognizable food. Then I felt a one of those worms squirming in my mouth and I instinctively spewed it all out. I felt a wave of nausea. But I had to eat. Somehow I had to get this down or I would get weaker and weaker and then, well, I knew what that meant. If I ever forgot, the constant stench reminded me. So I tried again and again I began to wretch as I tried to force it down. In disgust I tossed the soup onto the ground. But that was the only time I turned down the German idea of a slave worker’s meal. After that first attempt, I learned to force it down, worms and all, and strangely enough, after awhile it began to taste good.

The black bread served by the kapos was hardly bread. In fact, it was about thirty to forty percent sawdust. So it was almost more wood than bread. It was almost as inedible as the soup. But we knew that the part that wasn’t wood was badly needed to keep us alive. It was unbelievably difficult, especially at first, to choke it down, but after awhile we learned better how to deal with it. After we got into our barracks, we discovered the best way to get the nutritional value out of the bread and force it down was to slice it into very thin slices, stick it against the wood stoves used to heat the barracks until the sawdust burned off like charcoal. It was a little like eating a barbeque briquette but we knew it was giving us precious strength. We needed every calorie we could get.

I think that Joe Moser exaggerated about the food at the Buchenwald camp.  I’m not buying it.

First of all, why would the Germans “dehydrate cabbage?”  Cabbage was preserved in Germany by salting it to make sauerkraut.

Can worms live in hot soup?  I don’t think so.  In any case, why would there be worms in dehydrated cabbage?

There were “root cellars” at Buchenwald where potatoes, carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, celery root, and other root vegetables were stored.

Door into root cellar at Buchenwald where vegetables were stored

I defy anyone to make bread that is 30 to 40 percent sawdust.  Bread in Germany is mostly made with rye flour which requires the addition of a little bit of wheat flour.  If you try to make rye bread with sawdust, you will be very disappointed. It can’t be done.

You can do a search on “Eisenhower’s death camps” to learn how 1.7 million German POWs died while in captivity after World War II.  For example, this website tells all about it. There were more German soldiers who died in American POW camps, after World War II ended, than in the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and more than in all the concentration camps in Germany put together.

One of Eisenhower’s death camps for German POWs

Joe Moser should get down on his knees every day for the rest of his life and Thank God that he was not a prisoner in an American POW camp, such as the camp near Gotha, which is shown in the photo above. The POWs are shown digging holes for shelter. When it rained, their shelters collapsed, resulting in an ignominious death for the prisoners.

The German POWs would have been happy to get cabbage with worms in it.  They got no food at all and their families were not allowed to bring food to them. The Red Cross packages that were sent to them were returned because Eisenhower had ordered that these POWs should not get any food except what little food the German Army had left.

One former POW, who managed to escape from Eisenhower’s death camp, told me that he was given only a handful of dried peas to eat with a cup of water to wash them down.

The German POWs were designated as Disarmed Enemy Forces, not POWs, so that America would not have to treat them according to the Geneva Convention of 1929, which America had signed.

The German people have identified with the victors in World War II and instead of honoring the 1.7 million German soldiers who were murdered by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, they are honoring American POWs who suffered for two whole months at Buchenwald.

March 31, 2010

American World War II Air Force pilots were prisoners at Buchenwald until rescued by the Luftwaffe

On the last train out of Paris, just before the Allies liberated the city, were 168 American fighter pilots who had been shot down over France.  They were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp, not as POWs, but as “terrorfliegers” (terror flyers) because they had allegedly been aiding French Resistance fighters, whom the Nazis called “terrorists.”

Nazi poster called French Resistance an “Army of Crime”

According to the Geneva Convention of 1929, the French Resistance fighters were non-combatants who did not have the rights of Prisoners of War if they were captured. The same rules applied to Americans who were believed to be aiding the French Resistance. That’s why the 168 flyers wound up at the Buchenwald concentration camp instead of a POW camp.

This blog post gives information about a new book that will be coming out soon; the book tells the story of Joseph F. Moser, one of the American flyers who was imprisoned at Buchenwald. According to the book, Joe Moser very narrowly survived bailing out of his P-38 with an engine on fire. He and 167 other Allied pilots were  sent to Buchenwald on orders from Berlin to be executed as “terrorfliegers.” Four days before their scheduled “extermination,” they were rescued by Luftwaffe (German Air Force) officers and shipped instead to the most famous POW camp in Germany: Stalag Luft III.

World War II started when France and Great Britain declared war on Germany after Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. By September 28, 1939 Poland had been conquered, with the help of the Soviet Union, which invaded Poland on September 17, 1939. However, Poland never surrendered and there was no peace treaty. The Poles continued to fight throughout World War II, not on the battlefield, but as  “illegal combatants” according to the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929. Captured Polish Resistance fighters were sent to the Dachau concentration camp, instead of being sent to a POW camp.

Germany finally invaded France on May 10, 1940, and on June 17, 1940, Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, the new prime minister of France, asked the Germans for surrender terms; an Armistice was signed on June 22, 1940. The French agreed to an immediate “cessation of fighting.”

The French Resistance movement was in direct violation of the Armistice signed by the French, which stipulated the following:

“The French Government will forbid French citizens to fight against Germany in the service of States with which the German Reich is still at war. French citizens who violate this provision are to be treated by German troops as insurgents.”

The Buchenwald concentration camp held many French Resistance fighters as prisoners. The photo below shows a monument at Buchenwald in honor of the Resistance fighters.

Buchenwald monument in honor of Resistance fighters

The excerpts from the book about Joe Moser, which were posted on the blog, caught my attention because it was mentioned that the American flyers at Buchenwald complained about the Germans not treating them in accordance with Geneva Convention of 1929.

For example, this quote is from the new book which will soon be published:

After our first meal, we gathered back together in the open area where we had slept. It was about this time that Colonel Phillip Lamason stepped forward. Col. Lamason was the senior officer among the 168 of us, a tall, good looking Squadron Leader from the New Zealand Air Force. I consider it one of the greatest blessings of this challenging time to have Col. Lamason as our commander. His quiet, strong but aggressive leadership was a critical factor not only in holding us together but also in facilitating our eventual release.

“Attention!” he said unexpectedly in his clipped New Zealand accent. We instinctively quickly got up, tried to get ourselves in some semblance of order, and stood stiffly waiting.
“Gentlemen, we have ourselves in a very fine fix indeed,” he went on. “The goons have completely violated the Geneva Convention and are treating us as common thieves and criminals. However, we are soldiers! From this time on, we will also conduct ourselves as our training has taught us and as our countries would expect from us. We will march as a unit to roll call and we will follow all reasonable commands as a single unit.”

The “goons,” to whom Col. Lamason was referring, were the Germans who were fighting on the battlefield while the French, who had signed an Armistice after only 5 weeks, were fighting as what Americans today call “terrorists.”  Great Britain and America were aiding the “terrorists” in France, which meant that these flyers, who were captured while allegedly aiding the French Resistance, were fighting in violation of the Geneva Convention.

The American flyers were scheduled to be executed on October 24, 1944, but a  Luftwaffe officer came to Buchenwald just in time to rescue them.

Here is another quote from the blog about the forthcoming book:

“One thing is certain, Col. Lamason never let an opportunity pass by where he didn’t make it clear that we strenuously objected to our treatment and that our tormentors were violating the Geneva Convention.”

The attitude of the British and the Americans in World War II was that the Geneva Convention applied only to the Germans.  No British or American soldiers were ever put on trial for violating the Geneva Convention with regard to German POWs.

At Dachau, American soldiers executed the Waffen-SS soldiers who had been sent from the battlefield to surrender the camp.  At Bergen-Belsen, the British executed some of the Hungarian soldiers who had been sent to the camp to help with the voluntary transfer of the camp to the Allies.  After World War II ended, the British held the first trial of the Germans; staff members of the Bergen-Belsen camp were put on trial as war criminals.

Staff members of the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps were prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal for violating the Geneva Convention with regard to Soviet POWs although the Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention and the Soviets were not treating German soldiers according to its rules.

The British SOE was formed in order to aid the French Resistance, which was a violation of the Geneva Convention since the French had signed an Armistice and promised to stop fighting.  After the war, Germans were put on trial for allegedly executing British SOE agents, although there was no proof whatsoever that the agents were even dead.

The Allies made sure that there were no German Resistance fighters after Germany surrendered in World War II; they kept millions of German soldiers in captivity for years after the war.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower designated German POWs as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEF) so that America would not have to follow the Geneva Convention with regard to German POWs.  The Soviet Union kept German POWs in camps for ten years after World War II ended.

Out of the 168 flyers that were sent to Buchenwald, 166 survived their two months imprisonment at Buchenwald.  Instead of being grateful that Luftwaffe officers took them out of Buchenwald and put them into a POW camp, the survivors of this fiasco are still whining about the Germans not following the Geneva Convention with regard to what we now call “terrorists.”  These Allied flyers should have been advised, before they were sent on their mission, that they would not be entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention in the event that they were captured.

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