First of all, Max Hastings' book on the Das Reich was riddled with errors..For example, even the name of the commander of the unit that went to Oradour Sur Glane were spelled wrongly..(i.e. Dickmann, actually is Dieckmann)
Hastings used the anglicized form of “Dieckmann” in his book. (or, perhaps more appropriately, his editors did) He also used the English rank equivalents of the cumbersome SS ranks. I suppose when writing a mass-market military history book (published in both hardcover and paperback) for a major publisher, one has to make sacrifices!
Mike Williams investigates the origin of the misspelling under “Third Group” at http://www.oradour.info/ruined/chapter7.htm#Summary
Most of the English language books call Adolf Diekmann, "Otto Dickmann", which makes me wonder a little about the accuracy of their sources. I have seen his name spelt as, "Diekmann", "Dickmann" and "Dieckmann", however the correct spelling from his SS records was, "Diekmann" and his first name was, "Adolf", not, "Otto", as appears in many publications. The original confusion in my opinion came about at the time of the trial in Bordeaux in 1953. This trial was widely reported in the world's press, many of whose reporters did not speak German. The name Diekmann to an unfamiliar ear sounds like Dickmann, which to English speakers is a more natural spelling. From the newspaper reports that I have read, this is when the confusion first began and subsequent authors have perpetuated the error. As an example of this, Max Hastings in his book, "Das Reich, the march of the 2nd SS-Panzer Division through France" published in 1982 quotes the name as Otto Dickmann and Sarah Farmer in her book, "Oradour Martyred Village" published in 1999, took her spelling from Hastings's book (she confirmed this to me by e-mail). The confusion with his first name is I think simply due to reporters at the trial in 1953 muddling Otto Kahn (Diekmann's second in command) with Diekmann. The trial was known in France at the time as, "L'affair Kahn et Autres", due to Kahn who was known to be still alive at the time, (but in hiding) being the senior of those who were tried in their absence.
so any advice to readers, be caution when used this book as reference.
But please throw caution to the wind by relying on the “admittedly self-interested ” alternate version provided by a former SS officer.
Secondly, Max Hastings based his research from another book (i forgot the book's name but please go to Mike Williams excellent site on Oradour..even Mike himself was criticall of Hasting's book)
P-mann, maybe you’d better read
Hasting’s book before you slam it. Specifically, pages 237-50 - the “Biography”, “Notes and References” and “Acknowlegements” sections in which Hastings lists his sources, personal interviews, correspondence and research for the book - a pretty illustrious list including
65 published books (including Weidinger’s Kameraden bis zum Ende
The German Military Archives at Freiburg
London’s Public Records Office
The Paris Library of the Comité de l’histoire de la deuxeme [sic] guerre mondiale
Hastings also interviewed and corresponded with Das Reich
veterans, an experience of which he says on p2
“...I leave readers to make their own moral judgements on the actions of the SS officers and men concerned with the story. I can only record my gratitude as an author that they met and corresponded with me at such length, above all Otto Weidinger and Heinrich Wulf. Albert Stuckler, former senior staff officer of the Das Reich, has compiled a vast file on its movements in 1944 for internal circulation among its verterans, which, like Colonel Weidinger’s regimental history of the Der Führer, entitled Comrades to the End, has been of immense value. As far as possible, I have tried to reflect the human emotions of the officers of the division in June 1944, divorcing my mind from the knowledge of the deeds with which they were associated. If I have been able to catch their mood with less fluency that that of the French and the British, this may be because in my interviews with them, when certain questions had to be asked and answered, our conversations became stilted and distant.”
Thirdly, Max Hastings had been to Oradour, only once...a tour and not even a research trip.
Umm..he interviewed French civilians and even former Resistance members on his tour of the Limoges region in preparation for writing the book (a tour which included a stop at the destroyed village memorial) How many times have you been to Oradour?
Lastly Max Hastings wrote his book based on his perspective as an American and not a person who has been there and then (meaning Oradour)
Slow down there, tiger. Max Hastings is British
. He’s one of the preeminient UK military historians of the 20th century - up there with John Keegan et. al. Brush up on your Hasting’s biography:
Max Hastings was a foreign correspondent and the editor of Britain’s Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph. He has presented historical documentaries for BBC TV, and is the author of eighteen books, including Bomber Command, which earned the Somerset Maugham Award for nonfiction, The Korean War and Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944. He lives outside London.
- http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/cata ... orid=47125
Actually, Hastings has a reputation for being very pro-Wehrmacht (a trait I’m sure you might admire
) in his works.
But Otto Weidinger, was there at Oradour during that time
Actually, I don’t believe he was. He was with SS-PzGrenRegt. 4 “Der Führer” CO SS-Ostubaf. Stadler in Limoges on June 10. “Dickmann” left Limoges for St. Junien in the morning, then left St. Junien with Kahn and 150 SS troops of the I Battalion for Oradour, leaving circa 1:30PM and arriving at 2:15PM. “Dickmann” was alone with his boys when he committed his “atonement action.”
and was able to tell the german side of the story (Comrades to the End and Tulle-Oradour: A Franco German Tragedy)...Yet, if Otto Wiedinger's were so biased towards the German side of the story at Oradour and Tulle why did the French Government ban Comrades to the End in France but not the Tulle-Oradour: A Franco German tragedy
They didn’t have too. It was privately published. (see http://www.dasreich.ca/ger_oradour.html
Typically biased views from somebody who considered himself neutral
I attempt to be historically accurate. Your worldview, however, is (and I write this with great relish) more partisan