German atrocities against "colored" POWs

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 17 Apr 2002 03:47

Timo wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:I’m not aware of any atrocities against American Jews or Blacks by the Germans
On December 17, 1944, 11 African-American soldiers were brutally murdered in the Belgian hamlet of Wereth....
Interesting story, Timo, thanks.

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Re: Gurkhas and Japanese-Americans...

Post by Dan » 17 Apr 2002 04:12

Kelty and Birgitte, thanks for the information on the Gurkhas. I did not think they actually fought in Europe.
Also the french used Vietnamese. The list kind of goes on....

Also, I did not realize that Japanese-American troops were colonial soldiers. Ha Ha. :)
That was particularly good coming from my dear sister B., who made such a great case for her ethnic Korean friend being a "real" Dane :wink:

Best to all

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Re: German atrocities against "colored" POWs

Post by alsaco » 17 Apr 2002 23:59

formerly known as HETMAN wrote: .... Apparently, the Germans often just shot POWs of African or Indian descent that served in the French and British forces...

In 1940, german regular troops killed soldiers from a colonial regiment after surrender in Lyon.
These were blocked while in retreat at the north entry of the town, around Ecully, and after a short defence, having been told that the town was declared "ville ouverte", could not escape by side roads. The tombs were in cemetaries of nearby villages, but they have been transferred since.
In fact the story, in these days of general turmoil, with half of France on the roads, did not reach the headlines, and can now only be retraced in official military papers. However a ceremony for these ultimate defencers of Lyon was held annually, just after 1944, by the autorities of the units considered, reconstituted as part of the "Premiére Armée", after a participation in Italy for the March to Rome with the Corps Expéditionnaire Français.
The POW killed were West-africans, and the regiment the 2d Tirailleurs Senegalais, so far I remember.

Similar killings of POW have been reported around Lille, but I cannot give details. A similar mass murdering happened also on british troops, also in the Lille region, when retraiting for Dunkerque. However the responsability in this case was attributed to an SS division. I do not remember the nationality of these british soldiers was mentioned in the document I have recently seen.

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Birgitte Heuschkel
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Re: Gurkhas and Japanese-Americans...

Post by Birgitte Heuschkel » 18 Apr 2002 12:32

Dan wrote:
Also, I did not realize that Japanese-American troops were colonial soldiers. Ha Ha. :)
That was particularly good coming from my dear sister B., who made such a great case for her ethnic Korean friend being a "real" Dane :wink:

Best to all
I hate to be a nitpicker, but I'm not the one who mentioned those. I was the one ranting about John Masters' autobiography and the Gurkha regiments. I know very little about US troop formations.

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Post by Dan » 18 Apr 2002 14:25

Oh :oops:

There were ethnic Japanese formations from the US, Brazil, and maybe some other countries that fought in Europe.

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Post by Xanthro » 24 Apr 2002 23:51

I once read an article in the Polish weekly Polityka about this. Apparently, the Germans often just shot POWs of African or Indian descent that served in the French and British forces. In that article there was a story about a couple of French Africans who escaped an execution and were taken in by a Polish family in Silesia.

If they were just shot on capture, how did these two French Africans get to Silesia? There was obviously no fighting there where French Africans would have been used. Are we to believe that these two were captured in France, then fled east across all of Germany to find refuge in Silesia?

It's obvious they were slated to be shot immediately or the story makes no sense. It could be there were captured, and after being placed in a camp were sentenced to death, then escaped. But that's different that immediate execution.

In general, the Germans treated POWs from the west humanely, no matter the ethnicity or color. There are always isolated cases where soldiers commit crimes, but that doesn't make it policy.

As for the 11 U.S. Soldiers killed in the Battle of the Bulge, it would be hard to say if they were killed because they were black, or simply because they were American. Lot's of POWs on both sides were killed in that battle.


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Post by Laurent » 25 Apr 2002 12:02

"French" Africans in Silesia ? Hardly possible according to what I know.

After French defeat in 1940, most if not all of the Black POWs stay in France, serving of labour force for the various German forces. AFAIK, Hitler has no desire to see black people in Germany. Most of these POW worked on airfield construction/repair and then on the Atlantik Wall, and a proportion of them fell under Allied bombs. Most of them were liberated in 1944.

In WWI, colonial formations of the French Army were used on the first assult wave during many battles, such suffering very heavy losses. It is a know fact that a soldier just having lost buddies will not always take prisonners, a good example of this being Omaha Beach. Also in the confusion of an assault and when battle continues, POW were sometimes seen as an handicap, as you have to send troops with them to the rear. So orders 'don't take prisonners' may apply on some cases.

The fact is that in the vast majority of cases, Black troops take POWs. But German soldiers believe the contrary and veteran tell the tales to their sons before WWII.
After the war, a part of French occupation troops in Germany were colonial troops, a fact often used by nazi propaganda until 1940, depicting the black soldiers as killers, rapers and thefts.

In 1940, Germany won the campain in May, trapping the BEF and most of the best French units in Lille and Dunkirk, and forcing Dutch and Belgians to surrender.
Second offensive begins on 5 June on the Somme river, followed on the 9 by a second offensive on the Aisne, and then on the 15 by a force crossing of the Rhine. A fact that has little place in history books is that the majority of German and French casualties occur during this part of the campain !

The front was far more wider and German infantry was far more commited and in some places suffer big losses as French units continue to fight even if Panzer were on their rear, a new fact compared to June.

On the French side, most of the units remaining were active colonial troops or reservist divisions. The first fight of course better and inflict big losses to German units, the cause for most warcrimes that happen in this part of the campain.

On 17 June, Marechal Petain, who had just been given the power in France, made a radio allocution, saying 'It is necessary to stop the fight'. Not well chosen words, what he wanted to say was preparing France to accept the defeat, most understand that the fight must stop immediatly, amongst them many soldiers of both sides.
So when after the date, German soldiers thinking the war was over were fired on by French units and suffer heavy losses, there were cases of executions by furious soldiers.

Main executions of POWs occur in June on the Somme (tens of Black POWs), at Rouen (121 Arabian and Black), on the Eure-et-Loir (at lest 50 Africans of 26 RTS), on east of France (several cases after 17/6, between 5 and 10 POW, only one case Black) and near Lyon (more than 100 black soldiers killed after surrendering on 20-21/6).

On the Eure case, after the killings, German officers try to prove that the African soldiers had killed and mutilated French civilians, that were actually victims of a Luftwaffe raid. Under pressure, the prefect of the aera, Jean Moulin, refuses to sign anything and commit suicide. He was saved at the last moment and then became a leader of Gaullist Resistance, before being arrested in 43, dying under torture soon after that.

In the east of France, there is at least one case where Black soldiers were accused to have killed and mutilated a German NCO. French officers who see the corpse say that all wounds seen on the corpse were battle wounds but that didn't save their soldiers.

African officers were not unusual in the African regiments of French Army in 1940. One is well known for having been killed by a German soldier in captivity after he refused to be sent with the soldiers and tried to join the other (white) officers of his regiment. Something not compatible with Nazi doctrina...


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Africans and Nazis

Post by Iurko » 11 Apr 2007 22:14

In Mein Kampf, Volume II Chapter II we read the following: "One example will suffice to show how much our contemporary world is at fault in this matter. From time to time our illustrated papers publish, for the edification of the German philistine, the news that in some quarter or other of the globe, and for the first time in that locality, a Negro has become a lawyer, a teacher, a pastor, even a grand opera tenor or something else of that kind. While the bourgeois blockhead stares with amazed admiration at the notice that tells him how marvelous are the achievements of our modern educational technique, the more cunning Jew sees in this fact a new proof to be utilized for the theory with which he wants to infect the public, namely that all men are equal. It does not dawn on the murky bourgeois mind that the fact which is published for him is a sin against reason itself, that it is an act of criminal insanity to train a being who is only an anthropoid by birth *** until the pretense can be made that he has been turned into a lawyer; while, on the other hand, millions who belong to the most civilized races have to remain in positions which are unworthy of their cultural level."

If we take into account that he is calling black folks "anthropoid", that is, with human shape but not exactly human, we can figure what Hitler's opinion of people of African origin was, regardless of how African POW s were treated. Evidently he thought they were less than Human. And this would explain why neo-nazis persecute black people, besides, blacks were not a significant minority (as far as I know) in Nazi Germany, as opposed to the US for instance, where blacks are a minority but an important one since their numbers count in the millions. Also, the US had racist groups such as the KKK, which may have also influenced neo-nazi groups there creating some sort of "hybrid" ideology between the two.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is that if black people were not segregated/mistreated in the Nazi Germany it was only because they weren't in contact with them at the time, I mean I'm guessing they would have been treated as any other minority they disliked.

*** Italics are mine

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Post by David Thompson » 12 Apr 2007 01:15

See also:

Black Germans during and after WW2
Black Women in WW2 Germany
Nazi policy towards coloured people??
Nazi executions of Black soldiers
Heroro War warcrimes/genocide & Black C.Camp victims

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