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Massacre in Ciepielów

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed.
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Massacre in Ciepielów

Postby Marcus Wendel on 01 Jan 2008 19:50

Can anyone provide any confirmation of and more information of the war crime mentioned in the quote below?

Wikipedia wrote:Massacre in Ciepielów on 8 September 1939 was one of the largest and best documented war crimes of the Wehrmacht during its Invasion of Poland.
On September 8, 1939, after the Invasion of Poland, the village of Dąbrowa (near Ciepielów) was the site of a mass murder of approximately 300 Polish prisoners of war from the Polish 74th Infantry Regiment of Upper Silesia commanded by Major Józef Pelc. They were ordered to be shot as partisans by the German 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment's commander, Oberst Walter Wessel, after the commanding officer of the 11th Company was killed by a sniper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_in_Ciepiel%C3%B3w

Thanks.

/Marcus
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Postby henryk on 01 Jan 2008 21:41

http://www.arken.freehost.pl/album10/sl ... a_011.html
A picture of the murdered soldiers.
ROZSTRZELANIE OK. 300 POLSKICH JENCOW PRZEZ ZOLNIERZY NIEMIECKIEGO 15 PULKU ZMOTORYZOWANEGO. CIEPIELOW, 9 09 1939

"Shooting of about 300 Polish captives by German soldiers of the 15th Motorized Infantry Regiment, Ciepiełów, 9 Sept 1939".
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Postby Ahf on 01 Jan 2008 21:59

So, what happened to Wessel? All I can find is that he received a KC in 1942.
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Postby henryk on 01 Jan 2008 22:07

The Polish version of wikipedia has more details. I must leave the translation to someone with better Polish than mine. There are more pictures there.
http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbrodnia_w ... %281939%29
Zbrodnia w Ciepielowie (1939)
Ciepielów (1939) - zbrodnia dokonana przez wojska niemieckie na 300[1] polskich jeńcach wojennych, podczas kampanii wrześniowej w 1939. Zbrodnia w Ciepielowie w dniu 9 września 1939 była jedną z największych udokumentowanych egzekucji podczas agresji Niemiec na Polskę we wrześniu 1939.

Zbrodni pod Ciepielowem dokonał niemiecki 15 Zmotoryzowany Pułk Piechoty, ofiarami byli polscy żołnierze z 74. Pułku Piechoty. Pod względem prawnym stanowiła zarówno złamanie międzynarodowego prawa wojennego jak i konwencji haskich.

Wydarzenie miało miejsce w lesie państwowym pod Dąbrową, w gminie Ciepielów, położonej na południu województwa mazowieckiego, w powiecie iłżeckim, obok szosy przebiegającej od miejscowości Lipsko do Ciepielowa.

Zbrodnia została odkryta i udowodniona na podstawie anonimowego maszynopisu niemieckiego (bez daty i podpisu) przekazanego Polskiej Misji Wojskowej w Berlinie w 1950[1], za pośrednictwem polskiego konsulatu w Monachium. Przekazane dokumenty zawierały 5 zdjęć przedstawiających egzekucję polskich żołnierzy pod Ciepielowem we wrześniu 1939. Dołączony tekst stanowił zapewne część pamiętnika lub dziennika, sporządzonego przez oficera lub żołnierza niemieckiego. Fragment ten nosił nazwę Unser Gefecht in Polen (pol. Nasza potyczka w Polsce).

Autor pamiętnika dodatkowo przytoczył fakt zastrzelenia przez patrol niemiecki chłopa i rannego polskiego żołnierza, co potępił w swojej relacji, następnie opisał przebieg egzekucji pod Ciepielowem:

"A teraz w lesie ciepielowskim niedaleko Zwolenia znajdowała się w czołówce 11 kompania naszego batalionu. Posuwaliśmy się za nią. Słyszę ogień karabinów maszynowych. Czołówka jest ostrzeliwana. Wysiadać !... Brzęczą rykoszety. Teraz orientuję się, że Polacy także strzelają ... Wtem upadł kpt. Lewinsky. Postrzał głowy z góry. A zatem strzelcy na drzewach. Podziwiam odwagę tych strzelców z drzew ... W godzinę później zbieramy się wszyscy na szosie. Kompania ma 14 zabitych łącznie z kpt. Lewinskym. Dowódca pułku płk. Wessel (z Kassel) szaleje. "Co za bezczelność, chcieli nas zatrzymać, i zastrzelili mojego Lewinskyego". ... [Płk. Wessel] stwierdził, że ma do czynienia z partyzantami, jakkolwiek każdy z polskich jeńców ma na sobie mundur. Zmusza ich do zdjęcia kurtek. No, teraz już prędzej wyglądają na partyzantów. Teraz odcina im się jeszcze szelki, widocznie po to, by nie mogli uciec. Następnie każe jeńcom iść brzegiem szosy, jeden za drugim. Nasuwa się pytanie, dokąd się ich prowadzi ? W kierunku powrotnym do taborów, które ich wkrótce przekażą do jenieckiego punktu zbornego ?"
"W pięć minut później usłyszałem terkot tuzina niemieckich automatów. Pośpieszyłem w tym kierunku i o 100 m w tyle ujrzałem rozstrzelanych 300 polskich jeńców, leżących w przydrożnym rowie. Zaryzykowałem zrobienie dwóch zdjęć, a wtedy stanął dumnie przed obiektywem jeden z tych strzelców-motocyklistów, którzy na polecenie płk. Wessela dokonali tego dzieła"[1]
Prawdziwość relacjonowanych przez anonimowego Niemca wydarzeń, opatrzona serią zdjęć, nie budziła wątpliwości i kontrowersji odnośnie zbrodni. W tym samym dniu siły niemieckie (Wehrmacht), dokonały w okolicznych wioskach oraz samym Ciepielowie, mordów na osobach cywilnych, wśród których znajdowało się jedno dziecko[1] (10-letnia Zosia Wrzochal z Gołębiewa, w gminie Lipsko w powiecie iłżeckim). Sprawcami egzekucji był również 15 Zmotoryzowany Pułk Piechoty, dowodzony przez płk. Wessela, inne jednostki niemieckie nie brały udziału w działaniach wojennych w tym rejonie.

Source: 1. ↑ 1,0 1,1 1,2 1,3 Datner Szymon: Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu na jeńcach wojennych w II wojnie światowej. Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, Warszawa, 1961, s.50,51.
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Postby Andreas on 01 Jan 2008 23:09

Oberstleutnant Wessel died during the war in Italy.

The German Wikipedia has an informative and (for Wiki) well-sourced article on the matter.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massaker_v ... iel%C3%B3w

All the best

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Postby michael mills on 02 Jan 2008 02:21

According to the article linked by Andreas, the investigation of the incident by a German court came to the judgement in January 1971 that the 250 Polish soldiers had died in battle.

If court judgements are to be regarded as sacrosanct, as they are under the law, then there was no crime committed in this case.
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Postby Andreas on 02 Jan 2008 14:04

michael mills wrote:According to the article linked by Andreas, the investigation of the incident by a German court came to the judgement in January 1971 that the 250 Polish soldiers had died in battle.

If court judgements are to be regarded as sacrosanct, as they are under the law, then there was no crime committed in this case.


Michael Mills is misleading readers of this forum, whether intentional or not the readers may judge for themselves. There was no judgment (Urteil in German) according to the article linked, the court case was simply dropped (eingestellt) due to lack of evidence, and in the reasoning for the closing of the case the soldiers were reported to have died in battle. Under German law, such a decision is not made by a court of law but by the prosecution, and the prosecution has to give reasons for the decision to drop the case.

§ 171

Gibt die Staatsanwaltschaft einem Antrag auf Erhebung der öffentlichen Klage keine Folge oder verfügt sie nach dem Abschluß der Ermittlungen die Einstellung des Verfahrens, so hat sie den Antragsteller unter Angabe der Gründe zu bescheiden. In dem Bescheid ist der Antragsteller, der zugleich der Verletzte ist, über die Möglichkeit der Anfechtung und die dafür vorgesehene Frist (§ 172 Abs. 1) zu belehren.


http://dejure.org/gesetze/StPO/171.html

Michael Mills' reasoning that there was no crime is therefore baseless.

All the best

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Postby Michael Miller on 02 Jan 2008 15:21

A very incomplete biographical sketch of Walter Wessel.

And here's a thread with some additional info. + a photo: viewtopic.php?t=92365


Best,
~ Mike



Walter Wessel
Generalleutnant



Born: 21.04.1892 in Lautental / Clausthal-Zellerfeld.
Killed in Accident: 20.07.1943 during an inspection tour near Mormanno, Italy (per Veit Scherzer, Ritterkreuzträger 1939 - 1945 and Wolf Keilig, who spells it as "Mormano" in Die Generale des Heeres 1939 - 1945; Franz Thomas, Die Eichenlaubträger 1940-1945, Band 2: L-Z, gives "bei Castro Villari südlich Neapel / Italian]). By Führer order, his remains were returned to the Reich, his funeral taking place at the Friedhof Karolinenstrasse, Kassel, at 0915 hours on 02.08.1943. His son, also named Walter Wessel, had been killed as a Leutnant in the Western Campaign on 14.05.1940.

Promotions:
Summer 1911 -- Fahnenjunker
19.11.1912 -- Leutnant
22.03.1918 -- Oberleutnant
_________ -- Hauptmann
_________ -- Major
01.01.1937 -- Oberstleutnant
01.10.1939 -- Oberst
01.02.1942 -- Generalmajor
01.01.1943 -- Generalleutnant

Career:
Summer 1911 -- Entered service as a Fahnenjunker.

19.11.1912 -- Commissioned as a Leutnant in Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 165.

01.10.1937 - 01.10.1939 -- Kommandeur of III.Bataillon / Infanterie-Regiment 15 (mot.).
01.10.1939 -- 19.09.1941 -- Kommandeur of Infanterie-Regiment (mot.) 15.
15.01.1942 - 01.03.1943 -- mit der Führung 12.Panzer-Division beauftragt. Succeeded Josef Harpe... Succeeded by Erpo Freiherr von Bodenhausen (who assumed leadership of the Division on 20.04.1943).
01.03.1943 - 20.07.1943 -- Assigned to the Stab Inspekteur der Panzertruppen in OKH.

Decorations & Awards:
17.02.1942 -- Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes as Obest and Kdr. Infanterie-Regiment 15 (mot.) / 29.Infanterie-Division (mot.) / Panzergruppe 2 / Heeresgruppe Mitte, Eastern Front (personally presented by the Führer at an awards ceremony at FHQ "Wolfsschanze", Rastenburg / Ostpreussen, 00.03.1942)
15.08.1940 -- Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes as Oberst and Kdr. Infanterie-Regiment 15 (mot.) / 29.Infanterie-Division (mot.) / XXXIX.Armee-Korps / Gruppe Guderian, Western Campaign
00.00.1939 -- 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
00.00.1939 -- 1939 Spange zum 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
00.00.191_ -- 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
00.00.191_ -- 1914 Eisernes Kreuz I. Klasse
ca. 1934 -- Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer
00.00.193_ -- Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnungen
Last edited by Michael Miller on 02 Jan 2008 18:06, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Jan-Hendrik on 02 Jan 2008 15:34

15.01.1942 - 01.03.1943 -- mit der Führung 12.Panzer-Division beauftragt. Succeeded Josef Harpe... Succeeded by Erpo Freiherr von Bodenhausen (who assumed leadership of the Division on 20.04.1943).


By Scherzer the change in the command of 12.PD is dated 27.02.43, and both Wessel and Frhr. v. Bodenhausen were listet as Kdre., not as m.d.F.b., as both command the Division for more than one year each...

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Postby Michael Miller on 02 Jan 2008 15:41

Thank you for the correction, J-H.

Best,
~ Mike
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Postby Marcus Wendel on 02 Jan 2008 17:59

Thanks everyone.

/Marcus
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Postby JC on 02 Jan 2008 20:28

both Wessel and Frhr. v. Bodenhausen were listet as Kdre., not as m.d.F.b., as both command the Division for more than one year each...


Hi Mike,

FWIW, when a German officer was appointed to command a unit above his current command he was “delegated with the leadership” (m.d.F.b) until he was promoted to the rank appropriate for that billet. In this case both Wessel and v.Bodenhausen held the rank of Oberst when appointed to command of 12 PzDiv. and were, therefore, m.d.F.b. until each was promoted to Generalmajor (Wessel from 15.1.42 until 1.3.42 and Bodenhausen from 27.2.43 to 1.5.43).

BR……….JC
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Postby michael mills on 02 Jan 2008 23:26

Michael Mills' reasoning that there was no crime is therefore baseless.


It has not been established by a court of law that a crime was committed in this case.

The allegation that a crime had been committed was examined in a German court, and the result of that examination was the conclusion that there was insufficient proof of any crime having been committed, or of the Polish soldiers' having been illegally killed rather than falling in combat.

This is what the article linked by Andreas actually says:

Am 10. Januar 1971 wurde das Verfahren eingestellt. In der Begründung hieß es, dass in dem Gefecht bei Ciepielów 13 deutsche und 250 polnische Soldaten gefallen seien. Somit erklärte das Gericht die getöteten Polen zu im Gefecht gefallenen Soldaten.


My translation:

On 10 January 1971 the proceedings were discontinued. In the justification, it was stated that 13 German and 250 Polish soldiers had fallen in the battle of Ciepielow. Thereby, the court declared the Poles killed to be "soldiers fallen in combat".


Note that the article quite states that it was the court that made that declaration.

It is irrelevant whether the conclusion on which that declaration was based was reached by the prosecution or by the judges. The fact remains that a court considered the evidence, and was unable to establish that a crime had been committed.

Therefore, I think any reference to the incident that is the subject of this thread should be in terms of alleged illegal acts, rather than of proved ones.
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Postby Andreas on 02 Jan 2008 23:35

michael mills wrote:
Michael Mills' reasoning that there was no crime is therefore baseless.


It has not been established by a court of law that a crime was committed in this case.


It has not been established by a court of law that no crime was committed in this case either.

michael mills wrote:Note that the article quite states that it was the court that made that declaration.


Note that the article is on Wikipedia. If I write into it that Michael Mills dropped the case, it will stand there until somebody takes enough of an interest to remove it.

Regards

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Postby Njorl on 04 Jan 2008 13:22

11. Kompanie of our Bataillon was on the spearhead in Ciepielow woods near Zwoleń. We were moving ahead just behind it. I hear MGs playing. The spearhead is under fire. Dismount!... Ricochets buzz all around. Now I see that Poles are shooting as well... Suddenly hptm. Lewinsky falls to the ground. Headshot from above. So there are marksmen on the trees. I admire their courage... After an hours time we all gather on the road. Kompanie has 14 KIA, including hptm. Lewinsky. Regiment commander Oberst Wessel (from Kassel) is raging mad. 'What an insolence, they tried to stop us and even shot my Lewinsky dead!'. ...[Oberst Wessel] made an assertion that he had to deal with guerillas, although each and every Polish soldier wore uniform. He forces them to take off their blouses. They seem to look more like guerillas now. He also cuts his braces, apparently to be sure they won't run away. Next he orders the POWs to walk in a single line beside the road. A question appears - where are they being taken? To the back, to Tross that will soon hand them over to POW gathering point?
5 minutes later I heard rattle of dozen automatic weapons. I hurried in its direction and 100 m farther I saw executed 300 Polish POWs laying in roadside ditch. I risked and took 2 photos, when suddenly one of those Kradschutzen, that had been ordered to shoot POWs by Oberst Wessel, emerged just before my camera and stood proudly.


Translated from already mentioned account (Henryk posted it in Polish), that was quoted in Sz. Datner's Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu na jeńcach wojennych w II Wojnie Światowej, Wydawnictwo MON, Warszawa 1961 pp. 50-51.

In August 1950 Polish Military Mission in Berlin received, via Polish Consulate in Munich, 5 photos and 2 pages of typed text describing this incident. This document, titled Unser erstes Gefecht in Polen, didn't bear any date nor autograph, but seemed to be personal diary or 'Kriegstagebuch'-like document written by soldier of III./IR. 15. The person that sent text and photos remained unknown.

More photos:
Image
source

Image

Image

Not sure about this one - it is said to have been part of of collection left by soldier of IR 15. This may be Ciepielow as well.
Image

Source can be seen on photos.

Some more prisoners from 74th IR (or rather whole 7th ID as Mjr. Pelc's battalion was an amalgam of what managed to escape from Janow Forests) were killed (seems like they were shot at whim) later that day while being taken to POWs gathering point.

Regards,

MJU
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