Scrapbookpages Blog

June 25, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

German soldiers were imprisoned at Dachau

German soldiers were imprisoned at Dachau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[US] Soldiers who have blown the whistle on atrocities committed by others in uniform, meanwhile, have been subjected to the full force of the government’s wrath. Since 2008, six soldiers have been charged with espionage for revealing information to journalists about atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers. When Private Bradley E. Manning sent Wikileaks a video of U.S. soldiers gunning down civilians in Iraq, he was arrested, and he has been detained in inhumane conditions in solitary confinement since. As Mazahir M. Hussain noted, “Bradley Manning should’ve really considered committing some war crimes instead of exposing them, [it] worked well for Frank Wuterich.”
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/2/10/America-war-crime/

 

August 21, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can’t win for losing (visit to former Dachau concentration camp)

Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the International Monument at Dachau

Angela Merkel lays a wreath at the International Monument at Dachau

The news today is filled with stories of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the grounds of the first Nazi concentration camp near the town of Dachau. Then it was on to a beer fest in the town. Chancellor Merkel is being heavily criticized for combining a trip to the Memorial Site at the former camp with a trip to the town of Dachau to drink beer.

Angela Merkel was accompanied by Max Mannheimer, a survivor of Dachau

Angela Merkel was accompanied by Max Mannheimer, a survivor of Dachau

In the photo above, Chancellor Merkel looks as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she walks beside Max Mannheimer, a survivor of two Dachau sub-camps at Allach and Mühldorf.  I don’t begrudge Chancellor Merkel a glass of beer after going through this ordeal.

Not mentioned in any of the news stories is that beer drinking does not have the same connotation in Germany, as it does in America.  Literally everyone in Germany drinks beer; it is considered to be good for one’s health.

There is nothing wrong with going to a beer fest, after visiting a Memorial Site.  If Hilary Clinton were president of the United States, and she visited an internment camp, where German-Americans were imprisoned during World War II and for two years afterwards, she might go to a beer joint afterwards and some people might legitimately complain.  Beer drinking has a low-class connotation in America, but not in Germany.

None of the stories, that I have read, about Chancellor Merkel’s visit, mentioned that Max Mannheimer is a controversial figure because of his “später Tagebuch,” which means a diary written later.

This quote from Wikipedia is about Mannheimer writing his Tagebuch or diary of his time in Nazi concentration camps at a later time.

Seine Erinnerungen wurden zum ersten Mal 1985 in den Dachauer Heften abgedruckt.[13] und erschienen 2000 vollständig unter dem Titel Spätes Tagebuch.

In other words, Max Mannheimer miracaculously remembered his time in Nazi concentrations camps, and wrote his memoir many years later.  Because Mannheimer never said a word about his time in the camps until many years later, some people are suspicious of his “später Tagebuch.” In any case, he was not a prisoner in the main Dachau camp, which Chancellor Merkel visited.

This quote about Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Dachau is from a news article which you can read in full here:

Ms Merkel’s tour of Dachau, which was the first Nazi concentration camp, included a meeting with Max Mannheimer, one of its few remaining survivors. More than 200,000 people including Jews, homosexuals, Roma and political prisoners were imprisoned, forced to work and used for medical experiments at Dachau which opened in 1933. It was liberated by US troops in April 1945

The Chancellor was shown the camp baths and a room where prisoners were stripped of their clothing and identity and henceforth referred to only by numbers. Ms Merkel said her visit was accompanied by feelings of “shame and dismay”.

She visited the camp baths (plural)?

What camp baths?  One of the exhibits at Dachau is located in a former shower room, as shown in the photo below.

Former shower room at Dachau is now used for Museum displays

Former shower room at Dachau is now used for Museum displays

The photo above shows a room in the Museum at Dachau which was formerly a shower room.  The shower fixtures, which were formerly on the left side of the room, have been removed. The photo below shows what the room looked like when Dachau was a Nazi concentration camp.

Shower room at Dachau had shower heads hanging down from the ceiling

Shower room at Dachau had shower heads hanging down from the ceiling

The only other shower room at Dachau was converted into a gas chamber when the American liberators lowered the ceiling and stuck shower heads into the ceiling.  The so-called Dachau gas chamber, as it looks today, is shown in the photo below.

Dachau shower room in BarackeX was converted into a gas chamber in 1945

Dachau shower room in BarackeX was converted into a gas chamber in 1945

Surely, Chancellor Merkel was not shown the shower room in the BarrackX building and told that this was a “camp bath,” not a gas chamber.

What about the room where Dachau prisoners were “stripped of their clothing?”  That could only be the undressing room in BarackeX.  The two photos below show the undressing room.

The wall of the undressing room at Dachau

The wall of the empty undressing room at Dachau

Door into shower room which was converted into a gas chamber at Dachau

Door into shower room which was converted into a gas chamber at Dachau by the American liberators

Did Max Mannheimer tell Chancellor Merkel that the room shown in the photo above was the undressing room where incoming prisoners undressed before going into the shower?  Mannheimer would have taken a shower in BarackeX before being sent to a sub-camp of Dachau.

Surely, the German people are not saying that the gas chamber at Dachau was a shower room!  That is against the law and will get you 5 years in prison.

Another criticism that I have, of the news stories about Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Dachau, is the claim that Dachau had “prisoners of war” in the camp.  This quote is from Fox News:

More than 200,000 Jews, gays, Roma, political opponents, the disabled and prisoners of war were imprisoned in Dachau during World War II.

Yes, it is true that there were “prisoners of war” incarcerated at Dachau during World War II, but they were NOT prisoners of war at the time that they were sent to the camp.  They only became “prisoners of war” after the Allies created ex-post-facto laws AFTER the war.

The so-called “prisoners of war” at Dachau were illegal combatants under the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929.  They were resistance fighters who were fighting after their country had surrendered and promised to lay down their arms and stop fighting.  The main camps where illegal combatants were sent were Buchenwald and Natzweiler, but there were some prisoners at Natzweiler who were transferred to Dachau in the last days of the war.  These prisoners were designated at “prisoners of war” after the German camps were taken over by the Allies.

German prisoners of war, who were actual soldiers, not illegal combatants, were designated by General Eisenhower as Disarmed Enemy Forces and held in camps where they were not treated according to the rules of the Geneva Convention.

The only real POWs at Dachau were German POWs who were imprisoned, after World War II, in War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau.  Surely, Chancellor Merkel did not honor these men on her visit.

May 20, 2013

Tour guide tells students about a “man-made hill” that was put into place at Dachau

On May 19, I blogged about tour guides at Dachau who tell lies about the history of the camp.

Now it has come to my attention that another tour guide at Dachau is telling some very dubious stories about the camp.  You can read about what a Dachau tour guide told a 20 year old British tourist here:

This quote is from this student’s blog post about her trip to Dachau:

We stopped at a map for a quick briefing before the tour, but I was pretty eager to get moving. Here he explained that Dachau was home to the first concentration camp. That being said, it’s a little different to visit. During the time of the camp, the town turned a blind eye to what was going on right under their nose – and this happened everywhere. This is how the Nazis got away with so much. So naturally, after the camp was liberated, the people were embarrassed. As a result, they tried to hide the camp. Most of the barracks were destroyed, a man made hill was put into place, and trees were planted to enclose what was the most shameful part of the small city. In later years, though, the city decided to embrace its culture rather than turning their backs on history. Thus, the memorial was built and it became a place for people to visit and to learn and understand. […]

First of all, the people in the town of Dachau did not try to hide the camp.  The people in the town were cowering in fear of the former Jewish prisoners who were brought to the town and allowed to live in the homes of the residents, who were forced out with nothing but a fine-toothed comb.

The barracks in the Dachau concentration camp were not destroyed.  The camp was turned into a camp for alleged German war criminals.  You can read about “War Crimes Enclosure No. 1” on my website here.

From 1965 to 2003, the Dachau Memorial Site had nothing about the 30,000 “German war criminals” who were held in the Dachau concentration camp barracks from June 1945 to August 1948. In May 2003, I visited the new museum, that had just opened at Dachau. There was one small display board about the prison camp for Germans at Dachau and also one small display board about the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal at Dachau.

German prisoners line up outside the gate into War Crimes Enclosure No. I in the Dachau camp

German prisoners line up outside  “War Crimes Enclosure No. I” in the former Dachau concentration camp

What about the “man made hill” at Dachau?  Why was a hill constructed outside the camp?

The photo below shows what looks like two “man-made” hills on either side of the entrance to the Dachau Memorial Site.

Grass covered mounds on both sides of the entrance to Dachau Memorial Site

Grass covered mounds on both sides of the entrance to Dachau Memorial Site

On the left side of the photo above, you can see clearly that there is a small grass-covered hill.  On the right side of the photo, there is another grass-covered mound in the shadows of the trees.  Are these the trees that the tour guide said were planted to “enclose the most shameful part of the small city” of Dachau?

My photo below shows the line of trees that hide the Memorial Site today.

Door into Dachau gate house

Door into Dachau gate house with a line of trees on the left side of the photo

The fence that is shown in my 2005 photo above was not there when Dachau was a concentration camp.  The fence was added when the entrance to the Dachau Memorial Site was changed so that tourists can now enter the Memorial Site the same way that the prisoners did — through the Arbeit Macht Frei gate.

The trees in the photo above are not the original trees that were there when Dachau was a concentration camp.  The old photo below shows that a line of poplar trees originally hid the camp from view.  The reason that these trees were planted was to hide the concentration camp from the SS garrison which was right next to the camp.

Old photo  of the Dachau gatehouse shows a line old poplar trees on the left

Old photo of the Dachau gatehouse shows a line of poplar trees on the left

Note the Würm river canal and the barbed wire fence around the concentration camp in the photo above.  The tower in the background is Tower B, which was torn down, but has been reconstructed.

Let’s get back to the “man made hill” that the guide pointed out to the tourists; the two mounds on either side of the gatehouse are covering the ruins of the factories that were located just outside the camp. The factory, shown on the right side of the photo below, was torn down when the camp was turned into a refugee camp.  Ethnic Germans, who had been expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II, lived in the former Dachau barracks for 17 years.

A factory that was just outside the Dachau gatehouse

A factory that was just outside the Dachau gatehouse

In the photo above, the Dachau concentration camp is shown on the left side.  Note the lone poplar tree that is all that is left of the former line of poplar trees that hid the  Dachau concentration camp from the SS garrison, which is behind the camera.

The old photo below shows the Würm river canal and the line of poplar trees that separated the camp from the SS garrison.

Dachau concentration camp with moat and poplar trees

Dachau concentration camp with moat and poplar trees

Getting back to what the tour guide told the tourists, this quote is from the blog of the 20-year-old British student:

The tour was the hardest towards the end when we went to the gas chamber. Dachau’s gas chamber is still standing. We learned that people who were killed in the gas chambers commonly came from other camps. They simply thought they were being shaved and showered just like any other camp. I had never considered this before, but I suppose it makes it seem less depressing than them knowing that they were going to die. The chambers were used a lot more towards the end of the camp because of disease and over-population. Thousands of people were killed in the chambers. The original ovens used to cremate the bodies were still there as well as the upgraded ones they used later on. I was standing outside the building, listening to our guide explain, and I saw the picture posted right there.

Bodies piled up outside the Dachau crematorium

Bodies piled up outside the Dachau crematorium

The photo above shows dead bodies piled up outside Baracke X.  Near the end of the war, the Dachau camp had run out of coal to burn the bodies.  After the camp was liberated, these bodies were taken by the Dachau residents to Leitenberg, a hill where bodies were buried in mass graves.  But first, the bodies were left there for weeks, so that American soldiers could be brought to the camp and told that Dachau prisoners had been gassed in the building that is shown behind the bodies.

“The [gas] chambers were used a lot more towards the end of the camp because of disease and over-population”? (quote from the student’s blog)

Did the tour guide really say that?  It is true that there was a typhus epidemic in the camp, and the camp was over-populated because prisoners had been brought to the main camp from the sub-camps, so that they could be turned over to the Allies.  But did the Nazis try to stop disease and over-crowding by gassing the prisoners?

The blogger did not give the name of the tour guide, but this quote describes him:

The tour met outside the train station in Munich, where we caught a train and then a bus to the concentration camp. Dachau Concentration Camp was the first concentration camp. We were in for a big taste of history. Our tour guide was a self-made tour guide who started his work with Dachau and (from what I understand) studied art in college and was now a teacher of some sort. He was a born and bred Irish Catholic turned Atheist who, at times, seemed incredibly biased in his descriptions. (I found this amusing because he was hell bent on pushing the acknowledgement of equality of those affected by the camps.) He was entertaining, though. Since he was sort of cynical and dark-humored, it made the tour more lighthearted.

Note that the blogger wrote that the tour guide “seemed incredibly biased” and she “found this amusing.”

I interpret the statement “he was hell bent on pushing the acknowledgement of equality of those affected by the camps” to mean that he wanted to include the homosexual prisoners, the Gypsies, and the Catholic priests in the suffering at Dachau, and not just talk about the Jews.  In the future, maybe he could include the German “war criminals” who were imprisoned at Dachau, and the ethnic Germans who lived there for 17 years.  For example, he might mention that the ethnic German refugees were kicked out of the barracks at Dachau in 1965 so a Memorial Site could be built to replace their only home.

The photo below shows a restaurant, in a former disinfection hut, where the German refugees could gather and socialize, before it was torn down in 1965 to make room for a Memorial Site.  The location of the restaurant is where the Jewish Memorial now stands.

Former "disinfection hut" at Dachau was turned into a restaurant for ethnic German refugees

Former “disinfection hut” at Dachau was turned into a restaurant for ethnic German refugees

January 19, 2011

Camps for German war criminals, set up by the Allies after WWII

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

Everyone in the world knows about the concentration camps, set up by the Nazis, starting with Dachau in March 1933.  Every school child in America can rattle off the names of the six “death camps” where the Jews were gassed.  Even people in China are now getting interested in the Holocaust, which I learned from reading a Chinese magazine in the waiting room of my Chinese doctor.   (This was a magazine for Chinese-Americans who want to keep up with what is happening in China today.)

But how many people today know that, shortly after they were liberated by the Allies, the concentration camps were turned into camps for German prisoners?   (more…)