"Stalin's War of Extermination", by Joachim Hoffma

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Roberto
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Re: Board Formatting...

Post by Roberto » 12 Nov 2002 15:18

Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith never wrote:
Roberto wrote:
neugierig wrote:We need to think critically,

That's what historians do all the time, except apparently for those who, like Topitsch, Hoffmann and Suvorov, try to sell a story they would badly like to believe in, no matter how little they can offer in support thereof.

Blah, Blah, Blah. :mrgreen:

I can understand that Smith is pissed at me and eager to ingratiate himself to a new admirer, but can he show us what evidence, provided by the cited authors in support of their contentions, would make my above quoted assessment invalid?

I didn't say it was invalid. It was just a hypothetical exchange. In fact, I agree with the next statement:

Roberto wrote:How about thinking critically about what these fellows produce?


Ach so. “Blah-blah-blah” was meant to stand for a standard Smithsonian response.

Sorry about the misunderstanding! :D

Scott Smith wrote:Furthermore, if Roberto will remember, I don't support the Suvorov thesis, but I do think that the Soviet Union was building for operations in 1942 when the time was ripe.
:)


That is not improbable.

Harrison E. Salisbury (The 900 Days, Avon Books New York, page 90) wrote:The strongest support for the conclusion that Stalin remained confident even on the eve of war in his ability to prevent its outbreak is provided by the fact that on June 6 [1941] he approved a comprehensive plan for the shift-over of Soviet industry to war production. This timetable called for completion of the plan by the end of 1942! [emphasis author’s] It was an excellent detailed schedule, calling for the conversion of large numbers of civilian plants to military purposes and the construction of much-needed defense facilities.

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Post by neugierig » 13 Nov 2002 03:51

First of all, thank you for your help, Scott(I hope you don't mind me calling you Scott) I'll practice. I didn't mean to single you out, however, others, like Mr. Mills, have good points too. As for Roberto, he is so vague :lol:

This thing isn't going anywhere, let's agree to disagree. Just a few thoughts.

Roberto wrote: What exactly is 'Alleinschuld' supposed to mean?
Whatever Stalin's plans for the future were, there's no evidence that Hitler's attack, at the time it was staged, was anything other than unprovoked aggression.


Well, this is what this whole discussion is all about, isn't it? Zeitgeist demands that we give Hitler all the blame, Alleinschuld. However, there are some who claim Stalin was not altogether innocent. My point was, that until all the information is available to us, and I strongly doubt it ever will be, we don't know who is right.

Roberto wrote: Again, what "unreasonable demands'?


Topitsch gives sources, I might check them out, but people believe what they want to.

Roberto wrote: Why not? The documents speak a rather clear language.


Sure do, the ones we have. :roll:

Roberto wrote: Yawn. Do we have here another conspiracy theorist living in a Wolkenkuckucksheim of hidden menaces?


I am constantly on the lookout for black helicopters.

Roberto wrote: How about thinking critically about what these fellows produce?


I do, and that includes your sources. I just find that the Zeitgeist demands that we only think critically of people who don't believe in the 'official' version of events.

Wilf

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 13 Nov 2002 05:21

Hey Scott,

AHAH! So that's how you make those quotes within quotes! I'm one of those old timers you mentioned who have never been able to figure that out. Thanks for the instructions - I've printed them up and may find the courage to try them out one of these days. Or I may not, but thanks anyway!

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by michael mills » 13 Nov 2002 06:30

Hoffmann has some interesting things to say about Soviet POWs in German captivity that provide a useful corrective to the claims of German leftist historians, propagated ad nauseam on this forum by Roberto.

Pages 114-115:
That the fate of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity in the winter of 1941/2 was indeed terrible is generally well-known. Hundreds of thousands of them perished from humger and epidemics during those winter months in what has been justifiably called a "tragedy of huge proportions". There were, however, many differnet reasons for this mass mortality. A lack of familiarity with the peoples of the East, human indifference, or even ill will engendered by political resentments, particularly on subordinate levels, may have all played a part. In a greater sense, however, it was not so much ill will as the logistical inability to provide food and housing for millions of often totally exhausted prisoners of war under the harsh conditions of the eastern winter of 1941/2. The German field army, engaged in a life and death defensive struggle, as suffering from severe deficiencies following the near total collapse of the transportation system. Comparatively speaking, it may be said that the mortality rate among Soviet prisoners of war in Finnish captivity amounted to almost one third of the total of men captured. It is simply contrary to historical truth to blame the competent Quartermaster General of the German Army General Staff for the conditions of the prisoners of war or to attempt to relate any losses to Hitler's so-called "policy of extermination" in the East. It was the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the German Army that, by the decrees of August 6, October 21, and December 2, 1941, to the Wehrmacht District Commanders, established food rations in quantities sufficient to maintain the life and health of all prisoners of war in the occupied territories, including the regions of the ukraine and the eastern territories (Ostland), as well as Norway and Romania. The question arises as to whether, and to what extent, these decrees were folowed, or could be followed, or, if applicable, why they were not followed.

Orders and instructions from the High Command could not in any case be simply ignored. It can also be shown that the responsible commanding officers of the rear army service zones as well as many POW camp commandants, made an effort to improve the conditions of the prisoners of war and to create somne kind of assistance within the limits of their restricted possibilities. If only very limited success was achieved, the reasons resided in the increasingly difficult supply situation caused by the huge numbers of prisoners and the total collapse of the transportation system in the winter of 1941/2, which also severely jeopardized the supplies of the German Army of the East. In the spring of 1942, however, when the ice broke, a number of steps were taken to improve the situation of the Soviet prisoners of war - measures intentionally based on the conditions of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which was never ratified by the Soviet Union. From the spring of 1942 onward, conditions were, without delay, consolidated and began to improve, both in the domain of the High Command of the Army and the German High Command of the Wehrmacht, so that the survival of Soviet prisoners of war in the camps was no longer in question.


And page 144:
Regardless of all countermeasures, over 3.8 million Soviet soldiers surrendered to the Germans by the end of 1941, and a total of 5,245,000 during the entire war. According to the official Soviet definition, all these men were "traitors" and "deserters". Two million of them perished primarily during the first winter of the war from hunger nad epidemics. Large numbers were also shot by totally deluded German Security Police and the SD. A million Soviet soldiers, nevertheless, did volunteer for military service on the German side, permitting themselves to be armed for combat against the Soviet regime by the Germans.

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 13 Nov 2002 07:44

Roberto wrote:
Starinov wrote:
Roberto wrote:Assuming you quoted Mr. Ivanov directly and not after "Suvorov", what exactly was he doing in 1941, and to what extent - if at all - was he involved in or knew about Soviet high command planning?


In 1941, he was the chief of the operational section of the staff of the 13th army. He became later chief of staff of the Voronezh Front with the rank of Lt-General to finally end his career as the commander of the Academy of the Genral Staff of the Soviet Army with the rank of Army General.

His book "Naczalnii Period Voiny' (Initial Stages of War) is a complete study of the that period of war... Since he was highly placed in the General Staff, he could write his study...


Good.

Now to my other questions:

And what else - if anything - does the fellow tell us about this "planned action of our troops" ?

And whence does he derive the conclusion that the "hitlerite leaders" had prevention on their minds?


what actions ????????????????
where "no actions of our troops in the Russsian text!!!!!!!. ther was Geramsn forestalled us by about two weeks -that even in Suvrov text (and he actually cahanged it to fit his agenda)

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Oleg Grigoryev
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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 13 Nov 2002 07:46

Starinov wrote:
oleg wrote:
Lieutenant-Colonel Liapin, Chief of the Operations Branch of the 1st Motorised Infantry Division, stated on 15 Septemebr 1941 that a Soviet attack had been expected in the Autumn of 1941
that is especially interesting considering that chief of operational department of 1st Moscow Proletariat Motorized division was Capitan Ratner. Moreover, there is no colonel Liapin in division whatsoever. CO – Colonel (future general of the army) Yakov Kreyzer, deputy colonel (future lieutenant-general) Gluzdovskiy, chief of staff colonel Modeev.


As far as I know, the 1st Proletariat division was a infantry unit. Not a motorised infantry. Maybe that's why the officer cannot be found in that listing...
you are wrong

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 13 Nov 2002 11:14

neugierig wrote:
Roberto wrote: What exactly is 'Alleinschuld' supposed to mean?
Whatever Stalin's plans for the future were, there's no evidence that Hitler's attack, at the time it was staged, was anything other than unprovoked aggression.


Well, this is what this whole discussion is all about, isn't it? Zeitgeist demands that we give Hitler all the blame, Alleinschuld. However, there are some who claim Stalin was not altogether innocent. My point was, that until all the information is available to us, and I strongly doubt it ever will be, we don't know who is right.


There are not “some” who “claim Stalin was not altogether innocent”, I would say.

Historians agree that Stalin’s intentions were not exactly the most benevolent and peaceful and that he intended to expand his empire as occasions arose, for all I know.

This doesn’t change the fact, however, that he did not consider his country to be prepared for war in 1941 and had no reason to, and hence was eager to postpone the outbreak of war as much as possible rather than to provoke it let alone embark on the risky adventure of an all-out offensive.

Whether he would have done so when he considered his country and armed forces to be prepared – which would not have been before the end of 1942, according to my sources – is another question.

If this could be clearly established, however, it would not make the Nazi attack in June 1941 look like anything other than unprovoked aggression, especially as all evidence suggests that averting a clear and present danger was the last thing Hitler and the German High Command had on their minds.

The above has nothing to do with “Zeitgeist”, but with the evidence so far uncovered by historical research.

And I consider it highly improbable that further research will produce telling evidence to the contrary.

neugierig wrote:
Roberto wrote: Again, what "unreasonable demands'?


Topitsch gives sources, I might check them out, but people believe what they want to.


I don’t want to believe anything, just follow the evidence where it leads.

That being so, it may be a wise decision on your part not to hand over Topitsch to my dissecting knife, as another fellow poster handed over Topitsch’s brother in spirit Joachim Hoffmann.

neugierig wrote:
Roberto wrote: Why not? The documents speak a rather clear language.


Sure do, the ones we have.


Given the contents of the documents “we have”, I consider it highly improbable that documents “we don’t have” (and which were strangely never invoked by e.g. the defendants at the trials of the Wehrmacht High Command) will tell us anything to the contrary – assuming that they exist at all, that is.

neugierig wrote:
Roberto wrote: Yawn. Do we have here another conspiracy theorist living in a Wolkenkuckucksheim of hidden menaces?


I am constantly on the lookout for black helicopters.


So it seems.

I, on the other hand, have a contempt for unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that certain people seem to be badly in need of believing in.

neugierig wrote:
Roberto wrote: How about thinking critically about what these fellows produce?


I do,


I’ve seen little of that, but never mind.

neugierig wrote: and that includes your sources.


Good, then tell me in what respects you consider them to be inaccurate or insufficiently substantiated, as I have offered to do – and to some extent done – in regard to Mr. Topitsch.

That’s what a discussion forum is for.

neugierig wrote: I just find that the Zeitgeist demands that we only think critically of people who don't believe in the 'official' version of events.


I don’t care about whatever you call “Zeitgeist”, and I don’t think there is such a thing as and “official” version of historical events.

As I see it, there are versions supported by evidence assessed by historians whose assessments have stood up to critical peer control on the one hand, and there are others based on little other than speculation and wishful thinking that accordingly flunk such peer control on the other.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 13 Nov 2002 11:34

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann has some interesting things to say about Soviet POWs in German captivity that provide a useful corrective to the claims of German leftist historians, propagated ad nauseam on this forum by Roberto.


Let’s see what it is that Mills, who insists in making a fool out of himself with his silly attacks, finds “interesting”.

Hoffmann wrote:That the fate of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity in the winter of 1941/2 was indeed terrible is generally well-known. Hundreds of thousands of them perished from humger and epidemics during those winter months in what has been justifiably called a "tragedy of huge proportions". There were, however, many differnet reasons for this mass mortality. A lack of familiarity with the peoples of the East, human indifference, or even ill will engendered by political resentments, particularly on subordinate levels, may have all played a part. In a greater sense, however, it was not so much ill will as the logistical inability to provide food and housing for millions of often totally exhausted prisoners of war under the harsh conditions of the eastern winter of 1941/2. The German field army, engaged in a life and death defensive struggle, as suffering from severe deficiencies following the near total collapse of the transportation system. Comparatively speaking, it may be said that the mortality rate among Soviet prisoners of war in Finnish captivity amounted to almost one third of the total of men captured. It is simply contrary to historical truth to blame the competent Quartermaster General of the German Army General Staff for the conditions of the prisoners of war or to attempt to relate any losses to Hitler's so-called "policy of extermination" in the East. It was the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the German Army that, by the decrees of August 6, October 21, and December 2, 1941, to the Wehrmacht District Commanders, established food rations in quantities sufficient to maintain the life and health of all prisoners of war in the occupied territories, including the regions of the ukraine and the eastern territories (Ostland), as well as Norway and Romania. The question arises as to whether, and to what extent, these decrees were folowed, or could be followed, or, if applicable, why they were not followed.

Orders and instructions from the High Command could not in any case be simply ignored. It can also be shown that the responsible commanding officers of the rear army service zones as well as many POW camp commandants, made an effort to improve the conditions of the prisoners of war and to create somne kind of assistance within the limits of their restricted possibilities. If only very limited success was achieved, the reasons resided in the increasingly difficult supply situation caused by the huge numbers of prisoners and the total collapse of the transportation system in the winter of 1941/2, which also severely jeopardized the supplies of the German Army of the East. In the spring of 1942, however, when the ice broke, a number of steps were taken to improve the situation of the Soviet prisoners of war - measures intentionally based on the conditions of the Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which was never ratified by the Soviet Union. From the spring of 1942 onward, conditions were, without delay, consolidated and began to improve, both in the domain of the High Command of the Army and the German High Command of the Wehrmacht, so that the survival of Soviet prisoners of war in the camps was no longer in question.


Nothing I wouldn’t have expected to read from someone like Hoffmann, who apparently is shy to provide evidence in support of apologetic contentions which amount to little else than parroting the self-justifications dreamed up by the responsible representatives of the German High Command.

Hoffmann conveniently ignores, for instance, the evidence to what Christian Gerlach has demonstrated to have been a conscious policy to let non-working Soviet prisoners of war starve to death, which emerged in the autumn of 1941 and is most clearly expressed in the statements of General Quarter Master Eduard Wagner at a top-level meeting at Orsha on 13.11.1941, which I quote after the catalogue of the current Wehrmacht War Crimes Exhibition:

Merkpunkte aus der Chefbesprechung in Orscha am 13.11.1941, Generalquartiermeister Eduard Wagner
StAN, NOKW-1535

[…]Nichtarbeitende Kriegsgefangene in den Gefangenenlagern haben zu verhungern.
Arbeitende Kriegsgefangene können im Einzelfalle auch aus Heeresbeständen ernährt werden. Generell kann auch das angesichts der allgemeinen Erhährungslage leider nicht befohlen werden.
Die Lage im Verpflegungsnachschub bei der Heeresgruppe Mitte ist z. Zt. so, dass eine sofortige Hilfe nicht einsetzen kann […]


My translation:

Notes from a top-level meeting at Orsha on 13.11.1941, General Quarter Master Eduard Wagner
Nuremberg State Archives, NOKW-1535

[…]Non - working prisoners of war in the prisoner of war camps are to starve to death. Working prisoners of war in the prisoner of war camps can in individual cases be fed also out of army supplies. In the face of the overall food situation, however, this can unfortunately not be generally ordered.
The situation of food supplies at Army Group Center at the time is such that immediate help cannot be provided.[…]


Regarding the efforts made by “the responsible commanding officers of the rear army service zones as well as many POW camp commandants” to “to improve the conditions of the prisoners of war and to create somne kind of assistance within the limits of their restricted possibilities”, these efforts were doomed to failure for reasons of an overall policy that, contrary to the rules of war applicable by force of customary international law, gave absolute priority to the feeding of the German troops, the German home front coming next, the local civilian population thereafter and the prisoners of war being at the bottom of the food chain. Rosenberg’s letter to Keitel of 28 February 1942, which Hoffmann also conveniently avoids mentioning, refers to the efforts of the “responsible commanding officers” as follows:

[…]It is understood, of course, that there are difficulties encountered in the feeding of such a large number of prisoners of war. Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described. For instance, according to information on hand, the native population within the Soviet Union are absolutely willing to put food at the disposal of the prisoners of war. Several understanding camp commanders have successfully chosen this course. However in the majority of the cases, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population to put food at the disposal of the prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to death. Even on the march to the camps, the civilian population was not allowed to give the prisoners of war food. In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves. A systematic delousing of the prisoners of war in the camps and of the camps themselves has apparently been missed. Utterances such as these have been heard: "The more of these prisoners die, the better it is for us".[…]


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/pow2.htm

Emphases are mine.

The contention that “the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the German Army that, by the decrees of August 6, October 21, and December 2, 1941, to the Wehrmacht District Commanders, established food rations in quantities sufficient to maintain the life and health of all prisoners of war in the occupied territories” is nothing but a pious lie.

The fact is that rations were insufficient from the very beginning, as demonstrated i.a. by Christian Streit in his book Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945, from the 1997 edition of which I translated the following passages.

Pages 131 and following:

[…]That the mortality at least in the area of Army Group Center soon exceeded a “normal” level must also be concluded from the food rations granted to the prisoners. The prisoners transported through the area of the District Commandant J for Prisoners of War, Colonel Marshall, in the rear area of Army Group Center, received daily rations of “20 grams of millet and 100 grams of bread without meat”, “100 grams of millet without meat”, “according to the work performed, up to 50 grams of millet and 200 grams of bread, if available fresh meat” – rations that with a nutritional value of 300 to maximally 700 calories were far below half the absolutely necessary survival minimum, and this at a time when a mass problem was not yet in sight. The consequences of this hunger ration were clearly recognized. The supply officer of a security division involved in the transportation to the rear called to attention

that the food rations (20 – 30 g millet, 100 – 200 grams of bread) are insufficient even for a march of 30 – 40 kilometers and it must be expected that a great part of the people don’t reach their goal due exhaustion.

How quickly this happened cannot be determined. In the activity reports of the quarter master of the commander of the Army Rear Area Center there is no indication about the health situation of the prisoners for the month of July; in August it is described as “generally satisfactory”, in September as “normal, partially […] good”. These indications are meaningless, as the standard of measure is not revealed. Already in September, however, the transit camp Molodechno recorded an increased mortality due to exhaustion and dysentery-like disease. At least for a time a daily mortality of one per cent was already exceeded. From a later report by the quarter master it results that the mortality already before the influx of prisoners from the battle of Brjansk (mid-October) was enormous – “on average only 0.3 per cent per day” – i.e. 10 per cent monthly.[…]


Pages 188 and following:

[…]Another factor [contributing to the huge mortality of Soviet POWs] was the operative planning of “Operation Barbarossa”. The army command relied without reservations on a lightning victory. The operations plan was to a large degree based on the premise that of several possible alternatives the one most favorable in each case would occur. According to its conception it was bound to lead to the capture of huge parts of the Red Army in several great encirclement battles within a short time, but there is no indication that anyone thought beyond the momentary victory. Insofar as the fate of Soviet prisoners of war was taken into consideration, the most favorable of possible alternatives was expected to occur also in this respect. The rations that, according to the Army Sanitary Inspection, were “sufficient”, may actually have been enough to keep the prisoners alive under certain specific conditions: if the prisoners were not required to work, if they were granted a lot of rest and protected from the weather, especially from the cold. As the basic physiological requirements were not met, it was known from the start that there would be hunger and malnourishment. This, however, was the most favorable alternative. If during battle or after capture the prisoners were subjected to even short periods of hunger, if they were required to do heavy physical work or march long distances, if they were exposed to cold or wetness for a longer time, the loss of energy resulting therefrom could no longer be recovered with the rations granted, and mass dying was the unavoidable consequence.
There are no indications, by the way, that the NS leadership even had to exercise any pressure to conduct the planning of the army command in this direction. Despite all differences of perception that representatives of the “conservative line” had in regard to the NS - leadership, they agreed with it in that the “mood” of the [German] population must under no circumstances be endangered.
It must surely be conceded that even under “normal” circumstances, i.e. if the will had existed to do everything possible in order to save the prisoners, the feeding of the prisoners from the great encirlement battles of Kiev, Vyazma and Bryansk would have been extremely difficult and a high mortality would have been unavoidable: the weather, the roads and the railway connections made transportation and feeding extraordinarily difficult. The development of mass mortality in the General Government shows, however, that this mass problem was by no means the decisive factor. Among the 309,816 prisoners - 85 percent of those in custody in that area - who perished there until 15 April 1942, there were hardly any prisoners from the three encirclement battles, most of the prisoners had been taken before the beginning of September.
Considering the above it must be left open, in the face of the sources available, to what extent the attitude that “it would be quite good if the prisoners of war disappeared” prevailed in the army command and with the troops. The repeated shootings of exhausted prisoners - which in von Reichenau’s 6th Army had even been ordered -, the draconian “reprisal measures” in case of attacks or escape attempts by the prisoners and the assistance of Wehrmacht authorities in the liquidation of “unbearable” prisoners make clear that this attitude indeed was present in various degrees. On the other hand the orders of von Bock, von Schenkendorff and von Tettau on the one hand and the repeated attempts to present the starvation rations as an objective necessity on the other show that this attitude was not universally supported. It should be noted, however, that the orders issued by von Bock and von Shcenkendorff were primarily aimed at safeguarding the discipline of the troops. None of both questioned the priorities set in the feeding of the prisoners and both cooperated without friction with the Einsatzgruppe B; the liquidation of Jews and Communists was accepted, provided that it was camouflaged as the liquidation of “bandits and criminals”, and the commissar order was only criticized when it turned out to be counterproductive from a military point of view.[…]


As Streit’s colleague Christian Gerlach demonstrates on page 39 of his book Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, General Quarter Master Wagner on 21 October reduced the official rations for Soviet prisoners of war by 27 per cent on 21 October 1941, at a time when they should have been increased taking into consideration that winter was approaching and in winter the human body needs more energy and thus more food to survive. On pages 40 and following of the same book, Gerlach writes:

[…]Tatsächlich war die Führung in Staat und Wehrmacht, ob Göring oder Rosenberg, Goebbels, Jodl oder Hitler, entgegen anderen Vermutungen rasch über das Massensterben informiert und hielt es für unumgänglich – unter den völkerrechtswidrigen Prämissen der deutschen Kriegsführung. Göring erklärte am 8. November, in “diesem Kriege werde das größte Sterben seit dem dreißigjährigen Kriege sein”, und am 25 November mokierte er sich über das Dahinsiechen der sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen.[…]


My translation:

[…]As a matter of fact, and contrary to other assumptions, the leadership in state and Wehrmacht, be it Göring or Rosenberg, Goebbels, Jodl or Hitler, was quickly informed about the mass dying and considered it unavoidable – under the premises of the German conduct of war, which were contrary to international law. Göring declared on 8 November, that “in this war there would be the greatest dying since the Thirty Years War”, and on 25 November he mocked the dying of the Soviet prisoners of war.[…]


As to the steps taken in the spring of 1942 to improve the lot of the prisoners of war, they were due to a belated realization that the prisoners could be used and were needed as a labor force, as becomes apparent i.a. from Bräutigam’s memorandum of 25 October 1942, another document that Hoffmann conveniently ignores:

[…]Of primary importance, the treatment of prisoners of war should be named. It is no longer a secret from friend or foe that hundreds of thousands of them literally have died of hunger or cold in our camps. Allegedly there were not enough food supplies on hand for them. It is especially peculiar that the food supplies are deficient only for prisoners of war from the Soviet Unions, while complaints about the treatment of other prisoners of war, Polish, Serbian, French and English, have not become loud. It is obvious that nothing is so suitable for strengthening the power of resistance of the Red Army as the knowledge that in German captivity a slow miserable death is to be met. To be sure the Main Department for Politics has succeeded here by unceasing efforts in bringing about a material improvement of the fate of the prisoners of war. However this improvement is not to be ascribed to political acumen, but to the sudden realization that our labor market must be supplied with laborers at once. We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the occupied Eastern territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed.[b][…]


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/USSR1.htm

Emphases are mine.

Despite such reluctant improvements, the prisoners’ mortality remained high and exceeded three million deaths by the end of the war, as demonstrated in Streit’s above mentioned book – more than 57 % of all prisoners taken.

Hoffmann wrote:Regardless of all countermeasures, over 3.8 million Soviet soldiers surrendered to the Germans by the end of 1941, and a total of 5,245,000 during the entire war. According to the official Soviet definition, all these men were "traitors" and "deserters". Two million of them perished primarily during the first winter of the war from hunger nad epidemics.


Hoffmann’s figures are worth noticing because he apparently doesn’t explain where he got them from, while at the same time accusing Streit of manipulating his own duly backed-up figures.

On pages 10 and following of the 1997 edition of Keine Kameraden. Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941 - 1945, Streit assessed the criticism to which his book had been subjected by other historians, including Alfred Streim and Joachim Hoffmann. This is what he wrote:

[…]Wie nicht anders zu erwarten, löste die von mir berechnete Zahl der Todesopfer - etwa 3 300 000 - Widerspruch aus. Alfred Streim schätzt dagegen eine Zahl von “mindestens 2 530 000”. Seine Berechnung basiert in erster Linie auf einer Aufstellung von OKW/Kgf. vom 1.Mai 1944; er legt eine Gesamtzahl von etwa 5 200 000 Gefangenen zugrunde. Während Streim seinen Berechnungsmodus offenlegt, nennt Joachim Hoffmann bei einer Gesamtzahl von “genau 5 245 882” eine Opferzahl von “rund 2 Millionen”, ohne diese Zahl näher zu begründen; er führt lediglich “unbekannte Originalakten und sonstige Unterlagen” an, ohne sie nachzuweisen. Weder Streim noch Hoffmann begründen, weshalb die von mir einer Aufstellung der Abt. Fremde Heere Ost im OKH entnommene Gesamtzahl von 5 754 528 (für Februar 1945) nicht zutreffen sollte. Diese Größenordnung ist aber in den Akten noch einmal belegt. Der Chef des Kriegsgefangenenwesens schätzte die Gesamtzahl der sowjetischen Gefangenen im Dezember 1944 auf 5,6 Millionen.[…]


My translation:

As was to be expected, the number of deaths I calculated - about 3 300 000 - led to protests. Alfred Streim estimates a number of “at least 2 530 000”. His calculation is mainly based on a listing by the OKW/Kgf. of 1 Mai 1944; and he considers a total number of about 5 200 000 prisoners. [b]Whereas Streim openly shows his way of calculation, Joachim Hoffmann speaks of a total number of “exactly 5 245 882” and a number of victims of “around 2 million”, without providing a detailed justification of this number; he merely refers to “unknown original files and other documents” without providing evidence to their existence. Neither Streim nor Hoffmann explain why the total number that I took from a listing of the Abt. Fremde Heere Ost at the OKH, 5 754 528 (as of February 1945) should not be accurate. For this order of magnitude, however, there is further proof in the files. The Chief of Prisoner of War Matters estimated the total number of Soviet prisoners in December 1944 at 5.6 million.[...]


Such dishonest practices don’t exactly inspire confidence in Hoffmann’s integrity and the accuracy of his statements, in my opinion.

Hoffmann wrote:Large numbers were also shot by totally deluded German Security Police and the SD.


I wonder what the poor fellow, may he rest in peace, means by “totally deluded”.

Never mind.

He also seems to ignore that it was the Wehrmacht, not the Security Police and the SD, who shot the greatest number of prisoners.

In footnote 354 on page 839 of his book Kalkulierte Morde, Christian Gerlach writes (my translation):

Streit assumed 580,000 to 600,000 Soviet prisoners of war handed over by the Wehrmacht to security police and SD. Streim more realistically estimated at least 120,000 handed over in the Wehrmacht High Command area and 20,000 in the area of military operations.


Gerlach on the other hand focuses on an aspect that doesn’t come out very much in Streit’s book: the massacre of Soviet prisoners of war by Wehrmacht units guarding them either during the transports to the prison camps or in the camps themselves. On page 55 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord he writes (my translation):

Hundreds of thousands of them – the number can no longer be established even approximately – were shot between 1941 and 1945. The shooting of commissars, Jewish prisoners and “Asiatics” and the handing over of prisoners to the SS had a lesser weight in this; Wehrmacht units, not SS and police, killed the most prisoners, and this in turn mostly during marches and transports.


Hoffmann wrote:A million Soviet soldiers, nevertheless, did volunteer for military service on the German side, permitting themselves to be armed for combat against the Soviet regime by the Germans.


Wow, what a groundbreaking discovery by Mr. Hoffmann!

In fact he’s telling us nothing that his “leftist” colleagues haven’t told us before:

On page 244 of Keine Kameraden, Christian Streit wrote the following (my translation):

[…]The steady diminution of the number of prisoners was partially due to releases – almost exclusively of “auxiliaries” and volunteers for the “eastern troops”. Until 1 May 1944 818,220 prisoners had been released in the Wehrmacht High Command and Army High Command areas; until the end of the war another 200,000 may have been released in the course of the efforts to strengthen the “eastern troops”, so that in total one may count on about a million released.[…]


As to what was the main factor leading a huge number of Soviet prisoners of war to “volunteer” for the German armed forces as Hilfswillige or as combat troops, Hoffmann should have read Solshenizyn’s Gulag Archipelago, where the point is made that a human being will do just about anything so as not to starve to death.

Grateful though I am for the service, I can’t help wondering why Mills keeps dishing up Hoffmann for me to demonstrate that the fellow’s writings are not worth the paper they were printed on.

More information on the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war (from those who Mills labels “leftist historians”, whatever that is supposed to mean, and who seem to have the evidence on their side) can be found on the following threads of this forum:

Timeline of Soviet POW Mortality (for Viriato)
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 02e9bdbffd

Annihilation of Soviet Prisoners of War in Belorussia
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 02e9bdbffd

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Starinov
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Post by Starinov » 13 Nov 2002 14:31

oleg wrote:
Starinov wrote:
oleg wrote:
Lieutenant-Colonel Liapin, Chief of the Operations Branch of the 1st Motorised Infantry Division, stated on 15 Septemebr 1941 that a Soviet attack had been expected in the Autumn of 1941
that is especially interesting considering that chief of operational department of 1st Moscow Proletariat Motorized division was Capitan Ratner. Moreover, there is no colonel Liapin in division whatsoever. CO – Colonel (future general of the army) Yakov Kreyzer, deputy colonel (future lieutenant-general) Gluzdovskiy, chief of staff colonel Modeev.


As far as I know, the 1st Proletariat division was a infantry unit. Not a motorised infantry. Maybe that's why the officer cannot be found in that listing...
you are wrong


Well, thank you for pointing it out..... :|

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Post by michael mills » 14 Nov 2002 02:15

Roberto blustered:

The contention that “the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the German Army that, by the decrees of August 6, October 21, and December 2, 1941, to the Wehrmacht District Commanders, established food rations in quantities sufficient to maintain the life and health of all prisoners of war in the occupied territories” is nothing but a pious lie.


This is of course Roberto's normal methodology; where a statement is made that he does not like, he simply fumes that it is a lie, without giving any real proof for his accusation.

Nowhere does Roberto quote the three decrees referred to by the late Dr Hoffmann, so he has no way of knowing whether the food rations laid down therein were in fact sufficient to maintain life and health, as claimed by Hoffmann. For him to state that Hoffmann's claim was a lie is simply slander (which of course is Roberto's stock in trade).

Instead, Roberto quotes a passage from Streit, in which some figures for food allocated to a particular group of POWs are given. However, neither Streit nor Roberto tell us whether those figures, claimed to be at starvation level, were the prescribed ration or whether they were below it.

Hoffmann's thesis is that, although rations sufficient to sustain the life and health of the POWs were prescribed in the three decrees referred to above, a number of circumstances prevented their being distributed in all cases, with the result that there was a mass mortality in the winter of 1941/2. Among these circumstances were the sheer number of prisoners captured, and the break-down of the German transportation system.

It may well be, as Roberto claims, that German planning for the maintenance of POWs was based on over-optimistic assumptions about the duration of the campaign. In that case, the German authorities miscalculated, and found themselves with a disaster on their hands. But nothing that Hoffmann wrote in the passage cited by me is inconsistent with that fact.

Roberto continues to trot out the leftist thesis that the mass mortality of Soviet POWs in the winter of 1941/2 was due to a German "policy of extermination". However, the very letter from Rosenberg quoted by him disproves that thesis.

Rosenberg was a senior member of the German Government, and the minister responsible for the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. If such a policy of extermination had existed, he would have been a party to it, and would therefore not have objected to measures designed to implement it, such as the starvation of Soviet POWs, but would have supported them.

However, the letter to Keitel shows him protesting about the treatment of the POWs, in particular the failure to let the Soviet population provide food for the prisoners. Rosenberg specifically says: "Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described"; that in itself shows that it was not the goal of German policy to let the POWs die. Rosenberg is castigating Keitel for not understanding German policy, which was obviously to avoid "dying and deterioration".

Hoffmann, in his enumeration of the reasons for the mass mortality of the Soviet POWs, specifically mentions "human indifference, or even ill will engendered by political resentments, particularly on subordinate levels". The examples quoted in the Rosenberg letter, such as the refusal of POW camp commandants to let the local population feed the inmates, or the shootings of prisoners on the march, would definitely fall into those categories.

However, the difference between Hoffmann and the leftist historians is that the latter take the instances of "ill will engendered by political resentments" and present them as the main cause of the mass mortality, whereas Hoffmann sees logistical problems as the main cause, while not denying that "ill will" was a factor in some cases (as shown by the Rosenberg letter). In other words, the leftist historians, being ideologically driven propagandists, have selected from a range of causes those that fit their ideological agenda, which may be summarised as "four legs [=Soviets] good, two legs [=Germans] bad".

Alert readers will have noticed that Roberto, being his usual slippery and devious self (his logo should be an eel rather than a dragon), totally ignores the mortality rate of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands referred to by Hoffmann. No sane historian accuses democratic Finland of having a policy of "exterminating" the peoples of the East, yet one third of the POWs held by them died, no doubt due to the same factors that caused the mass mortality of the POWs held by the Germans. That fact in itself tends to support Hoffmann's thesis that the high mortality rate of Soviet POWs (which was limited to a short period, after which it fell to normal levels) was not due to a "policy of extermination", as claimed by the leftists.

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Post by michael mills » 14 Nov 2002 02:25

Roberto wrote:

He also seems to ignore that it was the Wehrmacht, not the Security Police and the SD, who shot the greatest number of prisoners.

In footnote 354 on page 839 of his book Kalkulierte Morde, Christian Gerlach writes (my translation):

Quote:
Streit assumed 580,000 to 600,000 Soviet prisoners of war handed over by the Wehrmacht to security police and SD. Streim more realistically estimated at least 120,000 handed over in the Wehrmacht High Command area and 20,000 in the area of military operations.


Gerlach on the other hand focuses on an aspect that doesn’t come out very much in Streit’s book: the massacre of Soviet prisoners of war by Wehrmacht units guarding them either during the transports to the prison camps or in the camps themselves. On page 55 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord he writes (my translation):

Quote:
Hundreds of thousands of them – the number can no longer be established even approximately – were shot between 1941 and 1945. The shooting of commissars, Jewish prisoners and “Asiatics” and the handing over of prisoners to the SS had a lesser weight in this; Wehrmacht units, not SS and police, killed the most prisoners, and this in turn mostly during marches and transports.



What is the proof that "hundreds of thousands" of Soviet POWs were shot, the majority of them by the Wehrmacht? Streim's figure of 140,000 seems reasonable.

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Post by Scott Smith » 14 Nov 2002 03:26

Thanks Walter and Wilf. Don't hesitate to practice things in the Test section of the forum. The posts there will automatically disappear after a while, so don't be shy trying things out.
:)

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Post by neugierig » 14 Nov 2002 03:34

Roberto wrote: That being so, it may be a wise decision on you part not to hand over Topitsch to my dissecting knife, as another fellow poster handed over Topitsch's brother in spirit, Joachim Hoffman


The book is available "Stalins War", by Ernst Topitsch (in German)
Dissect away. I could lend you mine.

Roberto wrote: Given the contents of the documents "we have", I consider it highly improbable that documents "we don't have" (and which were strangely never invoked by e.g. the defendants at the trials of the Wehrmacht High Command) will tell us anything to the contrary- assuming that they exist at all, that is.


To ask me to prove that documents were destroyed is illogical. Of course I can't, why destroy them and than leave a list of them to be found later. When the Allies overran Germany, as many documents as possible were gathered for proof at Nuremberg. They were later shipped to England, the USA and Russia. How many and what was shipped? Were some of them 'lost'? Further more some documents, how many?, are still under lock and key. Are we being lied to? Of course and I don't have to live in the Wolken to believe this, history is full of examples. I think it is naive to believe that we are told/shown the whole truth and nothing but. 8O

The next argument is, why weren't exonerating documents shown at Nuremberg. Well, that's assuming Nuremberg was an unbiased court of law. From everything I have heard and read, it was not. I am always amazed when I hear people talk about the IMT, who have no idea what Germany really looked like in 1945. The only people that could move about freely was military personel. Therefore, if the defence needed anything, they were dependant on the good will of the military. Adding to this, the Russians weren't to keen on sharing info. The name, IMT, is a joke also. Since there was no international law to fall back on, law had to be manufactured after the fact. (forget Briand/Kellog, it was an agreement, not law) There were also procedural problems. Jackson tried to make it look like an International Court of Justice, in fact Anglo-American procedure was followed, which differs from Continental procedure. Just one example and I quote from August von Knieriem's
"The Nuremberg Trials": "In the Anglo-American system, the parties, so to speak, submit their case to the arbitration of the court (the judge acts as umpire to ascertain that proper procedure is followed) In Continental procedure, on the contrary, the exploration of the facts in the trial, the determination of the extent to which evidence is to be presented, particularly the summoning of incriminating and exonerating witnesses, are all in the hands of the court, although the state's attorney and the defence counsel may make motions. The activities of the state's attorney and the defence counsel therefore consist only in assisting the court in it's task of exploring the facts". The defence was familiar with Continental procedures and knew very little, if anything, of Anglo-American ones, which made them, at times, totally ineffective. I know there are lawyers on this board, please let me know were v. Knieriem is wrong. Anyway, stating that just because no evidence to the contrary was presented at Nuremberg and therefore all the charges are substantiated, is wishful thinking.
But, as mentioned before, this aint going nowhere, I'm outta here.

Wilf

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 14 Nov 2002 12:35

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:

He also seems to ignore that it was the Wehrmacht, not the Security Police and the SD, who shot the greatest number of prisoners.

In footnote 354 on page 839 of his book Kalkulierte Morde, Christian Gerlach writes (my translation):

Quote:
Streit assumed 580,000 to 600,000 Soviet prisoners of war handed over by the Wehrmacht to security police and SD. Streim more realistically estimated at least 120,000 handed over in the Wehrmacht High Command area and 20,000 in the area of military operations.

Gerlach on the other hand focuses on an aspect that doesn’t come out very much in Streit’s book: the massacre of Soviet prisoners of war by Wehrmacht units guarding them either during the transports to the prison camps or in the camps themselves. On page 55 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord he writes (my translation):

Quote:
Hundreds of thousands of them – the number can no longer be established even approximately – were shot between 1941 and 1945. The shooting of commissars, Jewish prisoners and “Asiatics” and the handing over of prisoners to the SS had a lesser weight in this; Wehrmacht units, not SS and police, killed the most prisoners, and this in turn mostly during marches and transports.



What is the proof that "hundreds of thousands" of Soviet POWs were shot, the majority of them by the Wehrmacht? Streim's figure of 140,000 seems reasonable.


So writes Gerlach in footnote 114 on page 56 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, which I thought Mills had read:

Streits ursprüngliche Angabe von 600,000 Gefangenen, die an SS und Polizei abgegeben und von ihnen vernichtet worden seien (S. 105), erscheint allerdings weit überhöht. Die von Streim, Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener, S. 244, angegebene Zahl von 140 000 ist wesentlich realistischer.


My translation:

Streit’s original indication of 600,000 prisoners who had been handed over to SS and police and destroyed by them (p. 105), seems far too high. The number of 140,000 given by Streim, Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener, p. 244, is far more realistic.


So Gerlach agrees with Streim against Streit that the number of prisoners of war handed over to SS and police and executed by them was more like 140,000 than 600,000.

As to shootings by the Wehrmacht, it is more than a little disingenuous on the part of Mills to ask for “proof” when Gerlach himself states that “the number can no longer be established even approximately”.

Gerlach is obviously making an estimate on the basis of partial data about massacres of Soviet prisoners by the Wehrmacht that I translated on the thread

Annihilation of Soviet Prisoners of War in Belorussia
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 02e9bdbffd

And he’s honest enough to make clear that it’s just an estimate – although hardly an unreasonable one, in my opinion.

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Post by Roberto » 14 Nov 2002 12:56

michael mills wrote:Roberto blustered:


Poor Mills.

Like a raging bull running against my red cape.

Let's have a ball with the fellow.

michael mills wrote:
The contention that “the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the German Army that, by the decrees of August 6, October 21, and December 2, 1941, to the Wehrmacht District Commanders, established food rations in quantities sufficient to maintain the life and health of all prisoners of war in the occupied territories” is nothing but a pious lie.


This is of course Roberto's normal methodology; where a statement is made that he does not like, he simply fumes that it is a lie, without giving any real proof for his accusation.

Nowhere does Roberto quote the three decrees referred to by the late Dr Hoffmann, so he has no way of knowing whether the food rations laid down therein were in fact sufficient to maintain life and health, as claimed by Hoffmann. For him to state that Hoffmann's claim was a lie is simply slander (which of course is Roberto's stock in trade).

Instead, Roberto quotes a passage from Streit, in which some figures for food allocated to a particular group of POWs are given. However, neither Streit nor Roberto tell us whether those figures, claimed to be at starvation level, were the prescribed ration or whether they were below it.


Mills obviously didn’t read my post carefully enough, or then he expects readers to be dumb enough to rely blindly on the crap he writes.

How Mills and Hoffmann can speak of sufficient rations for prisoners of war having been officially established when the General Quarter Master on 21 October reduced the allotment by 27 percent (to 1,490 calories, according to Gerlach) at a time when he should have raised it in the face of the oncoming winter, and on 13 November expressly condemned the non-working prisoners of war to death by starvation, remains the mystery of these sworn apologists of the Nazi system who, as I demonstrated in the post that Mills is now making a fuss about, conveniently ignore all evidence that doesn’t fit into their bubble - unless of course they think they can distort it so as to match their requirements.

It is true that, as Gerlach mentions on page 33 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, the rations established by the Commander of the Reserve Army on 6 August 1941 were "relatively high" – ca. 2040 calories for non-working prisoners and 2200 calories for working prisoners. These rations were sufficient under ideal conditions, according to Streit (Keine Kameraden, pages 142 and 189) - assuming they were actually issued.

As Gerlach and Streit also point out, however, these rations could often not be issued due to the premises of the German food distribution system, which placed Soviet prisoners of war at the bottom of the ladder.

In other words, the POW's got the official rations when available – which due to the absolute priority given to the Wehrmacht , followed by the German home front and the local civilian population, was often not the case.

The consequences were such as described by Streit in the already quoted passage, translated from pages 131 and following of Keine Kameraden:

[…]That the mortality at least in the area of Army Group Center soon exceeded a “normal” level must also be concluded from the food rations granted to the prisoners. The prisoners transported through the area of the District Commandant J for Prisoners of War, Colonel Marshall, in the rear area of Army Group Center, received daily rations of “20 grams of millet and 100 grams of bread without meat”, “100 grams of millet without meat”, “according to the work performed, up to 50 grams of millet and 200 grams of bread, if available fresh meat” – rations that with a nutritional value of 300 to maximally 700 calories were far below half the absolutely necessary survival minimum, and this at a time when a mass problem was not yet in sight. The consequences of this hunger ration were clearly recognized. The supply officer of a security division involved in the transportation to the rear called to attention

that the food rations (20 – 30 g millet, 100 – 200 grams of bread) are insufficient even for a march of 30 – 40 kilometers and it must be expected that a great part of the people don’t reach their goal due exhaustion.

How quickly this happened cannot be determined. In the activity reports of the quarter master of the commander of the Army Rear Area Center there is no indication about the health situation of the prisoners for the month of July; in August it is described as “generally satisfactory”, in September as “normal, partially […] good”. These indications are meaningless, as the standard of measure is not revealed. Already in September, however, the transit camp Molodechno recorded an increased mortality due to exhaustion and dysentery-like disease. At least for a time a daily mortality of one per cent was already exceeded. From a later report by the quarter master it results that the mortality already before the influx of prisoners from the battle of Brjansk (mid-October) was enormous – “on average only 0.3 per cent per day” – i.e. 10 per cent monthly.[…]


In October and November of 1941, as Gerlach points out, the policy was then changed from one of giving Soviet POWs last priority in the allocation of food supplies (which was a clear violation of international law already) to one of letting non-working prisoners of war – i.e. the overwhelming majority of the prisoners – starve to death, expressed most clearly in Wagner’s quoted directive of 13 November 1941.

This, not the number of prisoners and not any transportation difficulties, was the key factor leading to the spectacular mortality of Soviet prisoners of war in the following months.

On pages 50 and following of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, Gerlach writes (my translation):

The feeding of the prisoners was completely insufficient. The rations actually issued were considerably lower than the official allotments of slightly over 2000 calories, for non-workers since 21 October less than 1500 calories. This was due less to suppression by the camps’ personnel than to the use of replacement substances, for instance in the so-called Russian bread, and of spoiled food. But the rations were mainly reduced by the fact that their issue in the occupied Soviet territories always stood under the reservation of the food being obtained “out of the land”, often from the area where the respective camp was located – after satisfaction of the needs of the German troops.[emphasis mine]. […] As foreseen and further required in the regulations, the rations for working and non-working prisoners were indeed strongly differentiated. The prisoners considered as no longer able to work were often separated from the others, sometimes placed in separate barracks to let them die there. Not rarely extremely weak prisoners, who could no longer defend themselves, were simply thrown by the German camp personnel or at its instructions onto the corpse heaps or into the corpse pits, where they were squashed or froze to death during the night.[…]


michael mills wrote:Hoffmann's thesis is that, although rations sufficient to sustain the life and health of the POWs were prescribed in the three decrees referred to above, a number of circumstances prevented their being distributed in all cases, with the result that there was a mass mortality in the winter of 1941/2. Among these circumstances were the sheer number of prisoners captured, and the break-down of the German transportation system.


Hoffmann’s thesis amounts to the apologetic junk that members of the Wehrmacht High Command tried to sell in their defense after the war. That the number of prisoners was hardly an excuse becomes apparent from the German operational planning, which clearly foresaw such high numbers of prisoners. Streit, page 130, my translation:

[…]It has already been pointed out that the whole conception of the war in the East made higher numbers of prisoners of war in a shorter time than actually occurred expectable a priori. At least the masses of prisoners from the first two great encirclement battles of Army Group Center (Bialystok/Minsk, beginning of July, 323,000 prisoners and Smolensk/Roslavl, beginning of August, 348,000 prisoners) should not have presented any organizational problems, especially as it was not the first time that the Wehrmacht was confronted with huge numbers of prisoners – a consequence of the tactic of lightning campaigns and the encirclements of huge bodies of troops.[…]


As Gerlach points out on pages 44 and following of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, even in the great encirclement battles of October 1941 the Germans captured less prisoners than in France in 1940, where in a similar period of time 1.9 million prisoners had been captured and by no means allowed to starve to death.

That transportation problems were also not a determining cause is shown e.g. by the fate of prisoners of war in the General Government, where – contrary to what was the case in the area of military operations of Army Group Center in the autumn of 1941 – such problems hardly existed. As Streit writes on page 189 of Keine Kameraden (my translation):

[…]It must surely be conceded that even under “normal” circumstances, i.e. if the will had existed to do everything possible in order to save the prisoners, the feeding of the prisoners from the great encirlement battles of Kiev, Vyazma and Bryansk would have been extremely difficult and a high mortality would have been unavoidable: the weather, the roads and the railway connections made transportation and feeding extraordinarily difficult. The development of mass mortality in the General Government shows, however, that this mass problem was by no means the decisive factor. Among the 309,816 prisoners - 85 percent of those in custody in that area - who perished there until 15 April 1942, there were hardly any prisoners from the three encirclement battles, most of the prisoners had been taken before the beginning of September.[…]


michael mills wrote:It may well be, as Roberto claims, that German planning for the maintenance of POWs was based on over-optimistic assumptions about the duration of the campaign. In that case, the German authorities miscalculated, and found themselves with a disaster on their hands. But nothing that Hoffmann wrote in the passage cited by me is inconsistent with that fact.


Neither Hoffmann nor Mills seem to have bothered to ask themselves why the hell an army that, after all, had experience in the handling of enormous numbers of prisoners, made such “over-optimistic assumptions”, which strongly contrasted with the preparations that had been made for the handling of French prisoners of war the year before. Back then, as Streit writes on pages 187 and following of Keine Kameraden, an order had been issued on 28 May 1940 calling for extensive measures in the face of the expectable high number of French prisoners. Insofar as the prisoners could not be transported by rail and had to march on foot, the troops and their supply trains were called upon to assist in the establishment of bivouac areas. Where orders to allocate enough food to the prisoner collection centers had not yet been carried out, the Army Group called expressly authorized such centers to help themselves by taking what they needed from army supply trains up to 10 % of the contents thereof on their own initiative.

As Streit points out, such an order, which did not give the German troops the absolute priority in regard to food supplies, was unthinkable a priori on the Eastern front, not only for the NS leadership but also for the military command.

michael mills wrote:Roberto continues to trot out the leftist thesis


Remarks like this may have one or the other reader wondering if Mills doesn’t have a few screws loose – a piece of well-meaning advice.

michael mills wrote:that the mass mortality of Soviet POWs in the winter of 1941/2 was due to a German "policy of extermination".


Well, this is what the policies adopted by the Nazi government and the Wehrmacht High Command since October 1941 clearly point to, and they become clear enough in Wagner’s imperative statement of 13 November 1941 that non-working prisoners of war were to starve to death.

"Extermination" in the strict sense of the physical annihilation of all prisoners of war is not what the "leftist thesis" contends, by the way. On page 188 of Keine Kameraden, Streit writes the following (my translation):

[...]There can be no doubt that it was one [italic are Streit's] of the goals of the NS leadership in the war in the East "to weaken the Russians in such a way that they can no longer overwhelm us with the masses of their people". Hitler and Himmler by no means intended to kill the prisoners of war in their entirety (italics are Streit's) - except for the "undesirables". They knew that one would need them as slave laborers for the "Building of the East" [Aufbau im Osten]. A decimation of the prisoners as well as the civilian population by hunger, however, was seen by them as altogether desirable, given that in their opinion there were "far too many of them anyway".[...]


Gerlach also makes clear that the German policy from the autumn of 1941 onward was one of "selective[my emphasis] murder of the majority of the prisoners through starvation" (Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, page 36, my translation) - the selection criterion being the extent to which the prisoners were able to work and to which their workforce was required.

michael mills wrote:However, the very letter from Rosenberg quoted by him disproves that thesis.


I knew Mills was prone to wishful thinking, but it seems that so far I underestimated the extent of that tendency.

michael mills wrote:Rosenberg was a senior member of the German Government, and the minister responsible for the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. If such a policy of extermination had existed, he would have been a party to it, and would therefore not have objected to measures designed to implement it, such as the starvation of Soviet POWs, but would have supported them.


Nonsense.

Rosenberg was the Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, IIRC, and contrary to other Nazi officials he - from a certain point in time on, at least - pursued a policy of “winning hearts and minds”, which collided with that of other high-ranking Nazi officials and of Hitler himself.

Mills would have us believe that the Nazi government apparatus was a homogeneous entity where everyone had the same views and pursued the same goals.

It was not.

michael mills wrote:However, the letter to Keitel shows him protesting about the treatment of the POWs, in particular the failure to let the Soviet population provide food for the prisoners. Rosenberg specifically says: "Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described"; that in itself shows that it was not the goal of German policy to let the POWs die.


It was not the goal of German policy as understood by Rosenberg, that is.

Keitel obviously had another view of those goals.

So had Göring:

File note on a meeting about economic policies and organization of the economy in the newly occupied territories with Hermann Göring on 8.11.1941
Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, WI ID/1222

[…] Hinsichtlich der Ernährung bemerkte er [Göring], daß die Truppe ihren Bedarf an Konserven wesentlich einschränken müsse. Der Wehrmacht machte er den Vorwurf, dass sich im Gebiet um Minsk in den Wäldern noch grosse Viehherden herumtreiben, die aber wegen der Partisanen nicht geborgen werden können. Einsatz von Truppen sei unbedingt notwendig.
Das Schicksal der Grosstädte insbesondere Leningrads sei ihm völlig schleierhaft. In diesem Kriege werde das grösste Sterben seit dem dreissigjährigen Krieg sein.
Wenn das Getreide nicht abbefördert werden kann, soll dieses zur Schweinezucht verwandt werden. Ab 1943 verlange er eine Höchstausnutzung der Ukraine. Die Versorgung ganz Europas müsse dann sichergestellt sein. […]


My translation:

[…] In regard to food matters he [Göring] remarked that the troops must significantly reduce their consume of conserves. To the Wehrmacht he addressed the reproach that in the area around Minsk there are still huge herds of cattle running around in the woods which cannot be collected due to the partisans. The deployment of troops was absolutely necessary.
The fate of the major cities, especially Leningrad, was completely indifferent to him. [Translator’s note: the German term “schleierhaft” literally means “veilful” and may also be translated as “unexplainable”. Translating the term as “indifferent” (in the sense of “I don’t know what will happen to them, and I couldn’t care less”) was considered to better fit the context, however] This war would see the greatest dying since the Thirty Years War.
If the grain could not be shipped off it should be used for raising pigs.
From 1943 onward he required a maximum exploitation of the Ukraine. The food supply of the whole of Europe must then be guaranteed. […]


Emphases are mine.

So had Secretary of State Herbert Backe, one of the officials responsible for the development of the Hungerplan:

Protocol of a meeting of the secretaries of state on 21.5.1941
Source: International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1948, Volume 31, page 84

[…]1.) Der Krieg ist nur weiterzuführen, wenn die gesamte Wehrmacht im 3. Kriegsjahr aus Rußland ernährt wird.
2.) Hierbei werden zweifellos zig Millionen Menschen verhungern, wenn von uns das für uns Notwendige aus dem Lande herausgeholt wird.
3.) Am wichtigsten ist die Bergung und Abtransport von Ölsaaten, Ölkuchen, dann erst Getreide. Das vorhandene Fett und Fleisch wird voraussichtlich die Truppe verbrauchen.[…]


My translation:

[…]1.) The war can only be continued if the whole Wehrmacht is fed out of Russia in the 3rd war year.
2.) Due to this umpteen million people will doubtlessly starve to death when we take what is necessary for us out of the land.
3.) Most important is the collection and shipment of oil seeds and oil cake, only thereafter of grain. The available fat and meat will presumably be consumed by the troops.[…]


Emphasis is mine.

michael mills wrote:Rosenberg is castigating Keitel for not understanding German policy, which was obviously to avoid "dying and deterioration".


The same Rosenberg actually approved the above mentioned Hungerplan, as Gerlach writes on page 17 of Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord.

His letter to Keitel of 28 February 1942, on the other hand, suggests that he was among the first Nazi officials to realize that a change in policy was required when it dawned upon him that the war would not be won so easily and might not be won at all.

His approval of the Hungerplan makes it seem doubtful whether he would have professed the understanding of “goals aimed at by German politics” expressed in his letter of 28 February 1942 half a year earlier.

michael mills wrote:Hoffmann, in his enumeration of the reasons for the mass mortality of the Soviet POWs, specifically mentions "human indifference, or even ill will engendered by political resentments, particularly on subordinate levels". The examples quoted in the Rosenberg letter, such as the refusal of POW camp commandants to let the local population feed the inmates, or the shootings of prisoners on the march, would definitely fall into those categories.

However, the difference between Hoffmann and the leftist historians is that the latter take the instances of "ill will engendered by political resentments" and present them as the main cause of the mass mortality, whereas Hoffmann sees logistical problems as the main cause, while not denying that "ill will" was a factor in some cases (as shown by the Rosenberg letter). In other words, the leftist historians, being ideologically driven propagandists, have selected from a range of causes those that fit their ideological agenda, which may be summarised as "four legs [=Soviets] good, two legs [=Germans] bad".


Propagandists like Mills like to accuse their opponents of their own fallacies, that’s nothing new.

Mills’ rhetorical verbosity, however, will hardly help him get over the fact that those he labels as “leftist historians” have convincingly demonstrated that the “logistical problems” invoked by Hoffmann as the main cause are but a lame apologetic excuse, because the main cause was a policy contrary to international law that first placed Soviet prisoners of war at the very bottom of the food distribution chain and in the autumn of 1941 was radicalized into a policy of selectively allowing those prisoners of war who were not able to work or not needed as workers for the German war effort – the overwhelming majority of the prisoners, that is – to starve to death.

Logistical difficulties there were, for sure, yet they influenced events not insofar as they kept the Germans from feeding their Soviet prisoners, but insofar as the Germans tried to solve them - within the premises of their policy of feeding the armed forces out of the occupied Soviet territories an keeping home front rations at peacetime level - by letting the “non-working” portion of the prisoners of war starve to death.

As Bräutigam pointed out in the already quoted memorandum of 25 November 1942 that Mills wisely chose to omit in his ramblings:

[…]Of primary importance, the treatment of prisoners of war should be named. It is no longer a secret from friend or foe that hundreds of thousands of them literally have died of hunger or cold in our camps. Allegedly there were not enough food supplies on hand for them. It is especially peculiar that the food supplies are deficient only for prisoners of war from the Soviet Unions, while complaints about the treatment of other prisoners of war, Polish, Serbian, French and English, have not become loud. It is obvious that nothing is so suitable for strengthening the power of resistance of the Red Army as the knowledge that in German captivity a slow miserable death is to be met. To be sure the Main Department for Politics has succeeded here by unceasing efforts in bringing about a material improvement of the fate of the prisoners of war. However this improvement is not to be ascribed to political acumen, but to the sudden realization that our labor market must be supplied with laborers at once. [b]We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the occupied Eastern territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed.[b][…]


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/USSR1.htm

Emphases are mine.

The contribution of the camp guards to the enormous mortality in the winter of 1941/42 must not be underestimated, for sure. As Gerlach writes on pages 848 and following of his book Kalkulierte Morde (my translation):

[…]Together with the inhabitants of the encircled city of Leningrad, the prisoners of war were the only Soviet population group against whom the Hunger Plan developed at the beginning of 1941 could be carried out, as the Germans could effectively keep them from uncontrolled access to food. Thus rations that theoretically were higher than those of the Soviet civilian population in the cities led to a horrendous mass dying among the prisoners such as did not occur among the civilians. The same applied to the obtaining of fire material. The carrying out of the Hunger Plan towards the prisoners entered a new phase in September of 1941, at the same time as the genocide of the Jews in Belorussia, when new difficulties in the supply of the Wehrmacht and the German food economy came up. Previously vague ideas of underfeeding were replaced by a concrete strategy of annihilation by underfeeding. At the same time, insofar as can be deducted from the sources, the treatment of the prisoners in Belorussia also became more radical, especially the practice of shootings. The main responsibility for the sharper hunger policy lied with the civilian and military central authorities seated in Berlin and East Prussia, especially Göring, the Reich Ministry for Nourishment, the office Army High Command / General Quarter Master and the prisoner of war department of the Wehrmacht High Command. The camp commands often still showed the effort to improve the feeding of the prisoners, without being able to obtain enough food due to the lower priority given to this matter. The catastrophic accommodation at many places, which was the camp staffs’ own responsibility, the inhuman treatment and the completely emotionless reports about this unparalleled mass dying, however, show their participation in the death of the prisoners. These did not fall victim to anonymous forces, but the responsibilities can very well be delineated.[…]


michael mills wrote:Alert readers will have noticed that Roberto, being his usual slippery and devious self (his logo should be an eel rather than a dragon),


Careful with those alert readers, Mills.

Some of them may be awakening to the realization that Mills is but a blundering Nazi propagandist in urgent need of psychiatric assistance.

michael mills wrote:totally ignores the mortality rate of Soviet POWs in Finnish hands referred to by Hoffmann. No sane historian accuses democratic Finland of having a policy of "exterminating" the peoples of the East, yet one third of the POWs held by them died, no doubt due to the same factors that caused the mass mortality of the POWs held by the Germans.


That’s my Mills.

First thing, he takes Hoffmann’s contention at face value without even asking what Hoffmann, whose reliability also in regard to figures and ratios leaves much to be desired, may have got them from (some of our Finnish forum members may want to confirm or disprove Hoffmann’s contentions).

Then he postulates that “no doubt” the causes of high mortality in Finnish captivity were the same (conveniently ignoring that the mortality of Soviet prisoners in German captivity was much higher: ca. two million out of 3.35 million, or 60 % of the total, died in the winter of 1941/42, according to Streit, the proportion in some areas being even much higher).

Does he know anything about how the Finns treated their Soviet prisoners of war and why a proportion of them quite high, assuming that Hoffmann’s data are accurate (though much lower than the proportion in German captivity) perished?

Of course not.

He merely places a rhetorical “no doubt” in front of what he would like to believe, and to sell to readers he obviously considers rather gullible.

michael mills wrote:That fact in itself tends to support Hoffmann's thesis that the high mortality rate of Soviet POWs (which was limited to a short period, after which it fell to normal levels) was not due to a "policy of extermination", as claimed by the leftists.


If the mortality rate of Soviet prisoners of war in German captivity had not been much higher (see above), and if it was not for the evidence to German policies that emerged before the war and became more radical in the autumn of 1941 (lowest feeding priority for Soviet POWs, reduction of official rations on the eve of winter, statement that non-working prisoners were to starve to death and corresponding treatment, see above), the above contention might be arguable.

As it is, Hoffmann, may he rest in piece, comes over as an apologetic propagandist of the Nazi regime.

And so does Mills, who is invited to continue racing against my red cape and thereby make my day.
Last edited by Roberto on 14 Nov 2002 23:48, edited 2 times in total.

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