This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars in general hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
Anthony Hecht was a witness to the Holocaust. He served with the U.S. 97th infantry and participated in the liberation of Flossenburg, an annex of Buchenwald. It was in Flossenburg that Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged, only days before the camp was liberated. In a conversation with Philip Hoy, Hecht revealed the shocking nature of his experience: "When we arrived. . .prisoners were dying at the rate of five hundred a day from typhus. . . .The place, the suffering, the prisoners' accounts were beyond comprehension. For years after I would wake shrieking."
[Hecht] Flossenburg was an annex of Buchenwald. It was both an extermination camp and a slave-labour camp, where prisoners were made to manufacture Messerschmitts at a factory right within the perimeter of the camp. When we arrived, the SS personnel had, of course, fled. Prisoners were dying at the rate of 500 a day from typhus. Since I had the rudiments of French and German, I was appointed to interview such French prisoners as were well enough to speak, in the hope of securing evidence against those who ran the camp.
Later, when some of these were captured, I presented them with the charges levelled against them, translating their denials or defences back into French for the sake of their accusers, in an attempt to get to the bottom of what was done and who was responsible. The place, the suffering, the prisoners' accounts were beyond comprehension. For years after I would wake shrieking. I must add an important point: after the war I read widely in Holocaust literature, and I can no longer separate my anger and revulsion at what I really saw from what I later came to learn.
Panzermahn wrote: won't post it here because I knew people like WalterS, Kunikov and even the moderator would asked me where is the sources and where is the written orders not to take prisoners.
Note that Mr. Hecht does not state that he was near the machine-gunners when they opened fire, or that he talked to them about their reason to open fire. In the absence of further documentation all that is left is speculation, such as that by WalterS on whether Flossenbürg had anything to do with the incident.
Panzermahn wrote:Note that Mr. Hecht does not state that he was near the machine-gunners when they opened fire, or that he talked to them about their reason to open fire. In the absence of further documentation all that is left is speculation, such as that by WalterS on whether Flossenbürg had anything to do with the incident.
I suggest you read again. Why would somebody of all, an American soldier and a celebrated poet, simply create a story of his unit massacring women and children if isn't true? It is clearly mentioned by Anthony Hecht that he was with the group of American soldiers that massacred German women and children.
No elderly veteran, especially Allied veterans would simply concoct a story of their own unit committing war crimes so I think your speculation on Anthony Hecht's own statement is quite distasteful to the late veteran
Joseph Salemi wrote:I find it incredible that a moderator has the gall to speculate that what Anthony Hecht witnessed (and had the decency and courage to tell the world) might have just been "a very unfortunate incident." Really? It's that kind of moral obtuseness that causes war crimes to happen.
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