Oradour-Sur-Glane

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TH Albright
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Oradour-Sur-Glane

Post by TH Albright » 07 Jan 2004 19:50

Latest news from Michael William's excellent Oradour-Sur-Glane Website

A potential "bombshell" for Oradour scholarship if true...

1) I have just returned from a trip to France which included a visit to Oradour where I had a face-to-face meeting with one of the staff there. She told me that documents have been found in Germany from the Das Reich archives that show a clear and unambiguous order to destroy Oradour. The unknown factor still remaining being why Oradour was singled out for destruction. This new data is to be incorporated into a documentary being produced in France, timed for release to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the massacre on 10th June 2004. My informant told me that she has not personally seen these papers, but she has been informed of their content.

One effect of this revelation would be of course to prove Otto Weidinger to be a bare faced liar, as he has repeatedly denied in his various books that any such order was ever given. It will also destroy the reputation of Sylvester Stadler and Heinz Lammerding, both of whom have denied throughout their lives that any such order was given. Stadler in particular has enjoyed something of a 'good guy' image, post war and his reputation will be particularly tarnished by these revelations if shown to be true.

Note: I have not seen these documents, I am just repeating what I have been told in good faith, time and the release of the documentary will settle the matter.

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 07 Jan 2004 23:26

I read of this some weeks (months?) ago in either Le Figaro or Le Monde, but the text of the document was not given. I felt it best, as Williams does, to await further information before giving it any credence. I was not, however, aware that the French were planning a documentary - presumably for TV?- in memory of the destruction opf Oradour-sur-Glane. If on TV, it may be accessible in the U.S. if one subscribes to French TV5. I'll be on the lookout.

Regards, Kaschner

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 08 Jan 2004 00:55

I am left wondering why, if documents actually have been found, why they were not immediately released, and are being withheld for inclusion in a media documentary.

The best method for assessing new documents is to make them available for study by competent historians, rather than quoting bits of them in the sensationalised atmosphere of the media.

I know from experience how these documentaries work. Some person with unknown credentials holds up a document, saying that it is a bombshell, then the camera zooms in on a particular phrase or signature, leaving the viewer with no idea of what is in the rest of the document, or what its context is.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 08 Jan 2004 00:56

PS: Could we have a link to the website mentioned?

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 08 Jan 2004 05:35

Hi everyone - Thanks Tom for the update!


included a visit to Oradour where I had a face-to-face meeting with one of the staff there



Tom is referring to Michael Williams site http://www.oradour.info/ - the specific announcement is at

http://www.oradour.info/general/news.htm



BTW the "Martyred Village" memorial center also has a website at http://www.oradour.org/

She told me that documents have been found in Germany from the Das Reich archives


OK - the "Das Reich archives" are probably in the BAMA, BAK, BAP or BDC. (The first three and the Bundesarchiv Freiburg, Koblenz & Potsdam; the latter is the Berlin Document Center.) The "Martyred Village" museum also apparently contains primary source documents on the 2nd SS division.

If the documents actually have been found, why they were not immediately released, and are being withheld for inclusion in a media documentary.


Dunno - They either weren't found, were filed under another topic, or are recent additions to the collection.

Guess we'll just have to be on the lookout for more information on the upcoming documentary...

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 08 Jan 2004 06:36

Michael Mills wrote:

I am left wondering why, if documents actually have been found, why they were not immediately released, and are being withheld for inclusion in a media documentary.

The best method for assessing new documents is to make them available for study by competent historians, rather than quoting bits of them in the sensationalised atmosphere of the media.

I know from experience how these documentaries work. Some person with unknown credentials holds up a document, saying that it is a bombshell, then the camera zooms in on a particular phrase or signature, leaving the viewer with no idea of what is in the rest of the document, or what its context is.


I could not agree more! Remember the "Hitler Diaries" episode? and even then at first blush they fooled some of the purported "competent historians". I'm in a wait-and-see mode on this one - it has the faint smell of fish about it.

Regards, Kaschner

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 08 Jan 2004 15:40

The best method for assessing new documents is to make them available for study by competent historians, rather than quoting bits of them in the sensationalised atmosphere of the media.


Like David Irving, who found the Hitler diaries to be false, then true... (he doesn't like to advertise the last part)

I'm in a wait-and-see mode on this one - it has the faint smell of fish about it.


Then are you already biased against the possibility of the new evidence to be genuine?

You know what I just realized recently? Heinz Lammerding, former SS-TK officer and eventual commander of the 2nd SS division, spent much of 1943 as chief of staff of von dem Bach's Bandenkampfverbande (i.e. anti-partisan or counterinsurgency command) Given what Bach's SS and Orpo units were doing in the Pripet Marshes in 1943, why is it so inconceiveable that Lammerding would use the same tactics in 1944 France?

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 08 Jan 2004 18:07

Like David Irving, who found the Hitler diaries to be false, then true... (he doesn't like to advertise the last part)


Actually he believed them to be true, then discovered they were fake. IIRC

Tony

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 08 Jan 2004 18:32

Nizkor's documented Irving flip-flopping, citing Robert Harris' book Selling Hitler (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986) at


http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i/irv ... ng-01.html


"Ever since 10 a.m. [April 22, 1983], when a reporter from Der Spiegel had called to tell him of Stern's impending announcement, he had been inundated with inquiries from around the world -- Reuters, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Observer, the Sunday Mirror, Bild Zeitung, Independent Radio News, the BBC.... 'As soon as I rang off, the phone rang again,' he noted in his diary. 'Quite extraordinary.' His answer to all of them was the same: the Hitler diaries were fakes, and he had the evidence to prove it

...One of the Sunday Times's main rivals, the Observer, paid him L1000 for his help in compiling an article which derided the diaries' authenticity; another, the Mail on Sunday, gave him L5000 for his documents and a statement that the diaries were forged.


"This was only the beginning of an extraordinary resurgence in Irving's fortunes. No one now cared about his reputation as a right-wing maverick. Seeing their circulations threatened by the Hitler scoop, newspapers and magazines which would have treated him as a pariah twenty-four hours earlier queued up for quotes. By the end of the afternoon Irving had emerged as Stern's most vociferous and dangerous assailant.

"Since his return to Duke Street, Irving had been pondering the events of the past few days. He was forced to admit that as far as attacking the authenticity of Stern's diaries went, he had 'squeezed the lemon dry'. He asked himself what he could do to recapture the initiative, and he came up with one answer: he could announce that he had changed his mind and declare the diaries genuine.

"There were a number of factors which made this an attractive idea, apart from the obvious injection of fresh publicity it would provide. One was temperamental. Irving had always relished his role as an enfant terrible. He liked being outrageous, making liberal flesh creep. Now, for the first time in his career, his stand on the diaries had put him on the side of conventional opinion. It was not his style and he found it disconcerting.

"He had also begun to have genuine doubts about the wisdom of the uncompromising line he had adopted. He had been shaken by the sheer quantity of Stern's archive when he had seen it in the ZDF studio on Tuesday night. Perhaps there was a genuine set of Hitler diaries somewhere, which had served as a model for the forgery in his possession? One of his objections to the Stern material had been that Hitler had suffered from Parkinson's Disease in the final weeks of his life. Now he had to admit, having seen them, that the final entries did slant sharply to the right, as if oblivious to the lines on the page -- a classic symptom of Parkonsonism. And finally, there was the fact that the diaries did not contain any evidence to suggest that Hitler was aware of the Holocaust -- Stern might help substantiate the thesis of Hitler's War.

"Irving told Heidemann that he was on the point of changing his mind. He had given an interview to the BBC that morning announcing his reservations. Heidemann asked him when it would be broadcast. Next Wednesday, replied Irving. 'Heidemann,' he wrote in his diary, 'urged me to say it now as Peter Koch is going on television in New York on Monday with his counter-attack.' Irving promised to think it over." [Harris, 338-339]

"David Irving spent the day [May 1] sending out invoices to newspapers and magazines, billing them for his work attacking the diaries' authenticity. Shortly before noon, a reporter from the Daily Express rang to ask if it was true that he was suing the Sunday Times for failing to pay him his commission for putting them on to the Hitler diaries. 'Not suing,' replied Irving, 'just asking.' He then told him to 'hold on to his hat' and gave him what he modestly described as 'the story of the day': that he now believed the diaries were genuine.

"The following morning, as The Times in Britain announced Irving's belief that the diaries were genuine, Der Spiegel appeared in Germany carrying his assertion that they were fakes. 'Hitler's Diary: Find or Forgery?' was the title on the magazine's cover; the contents left little doubt of Der Spiegel's opinion as to the correct answer. It was a devastating assault, attacking the Stern scoop for 'bad German, bad punctuation and banality'. Der Spiegel's reporters had tracked down the SS man who discovered the Boernersdorf crash and using his testimony they picked Heidemann's research apart." [Harris, 344]

"[The same day] David Irving was in Duesseldorf on another speaking tour for the DVU when he heard the news from his secretary in London. It was a disastrous turn of events. He hastily dictated a statement for the press accepting the Bundesarchiv's ruling but drawing attention to the fact that he was the first person to declare the diaries fakes. ('Yes,' said a reporter from The Times when this was read out to him, 'and the last person to declare them authentic.') NBC sent a television crew to interview him after his speech to an audience of right-wing extremists in the nearby town of Neuss. 'They questioned who I was speaking to,' Irving recorded in his diary, 'but I ducked the issue. As I was sitting down for the interview the whole audience streamed past behind the cameraman, several of the nuttier of them wearing the uniform and badges of the Vikinger Jugend [a fanatical sect of young neo-Nazis]. Fortunately NBC did not observe them.'" [Ibid., 359]


I believe the book The Holocaust on Trial also has a section on Irving's flip-flopping on the issue.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 09 Jan 2004 02:44

Rob-WSSOB wrote:

Like David Irving, who found the Hitler diaries to be false, then true... (he doesn't like to advertise the last part)



That is just plain silliness. Any new document discovered should be made available to historians who are specialists in the particular area of partisan warfare in France, and would have the background knowledge to make a reasoned assessment of it. Withholding it for inclusion in a TV documentary invites sensationalist treatment.

Then are you already biased against the possibility of the new evidence to be genuine?



That is even siller. Mr Walter Kaschner has a wealth of knowledge about events in wartime France, and is certainly no partisan of National Socialist Germany. If he prefers to suspend judgement on this supposed new find, then I suggest we should all take our cue from him.




You know what I just realized recently? Heinz Lammerding, former SS-TK officer and eventual commander of the 2nd SS division, spent much of 1943 as chief of staff of von dem Bach's Bandenkampfverbande (i.e. anti-partisan or counterinsurgency command) Given what Bach's SS and Orpo units were doing in the Pripet Marshes in 1943, why is it so inconceiveable that Lammerding would use the same tactics in 1944 France?


Rob-WSSOB is a bit behind the times here. Every interpretation of the events at Oradour that I have read suggests that it was a result of the transfer of the methods of anti-partisan warfare used in the occupied Soviet Union to France by a unit that had served in the East and become brutalised by its experiences there.

In fact, the men of Das Reich appear to have acted against Oradour much as they did against villages in the East that were suspected of harbouring and supporting partisans; they moved in, shot the inhabitants, and burned the place down. The question is whether they were acting in accordance with an order received, or on their own initiative, reacting to attacks by local Resistance units.

An interesting element in the whole affair is that many of the men who participated in the massacre were Alsatians, drafted into the Waffen-SS, the so-called "malgre-nous". It was that element that made the issue so contentious in France.

xcalibur
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Post by xcalibur » 09 Jan 2004 05:49

michael mills wrote:Rob-WSSOB wrote:

Like David Irving, who found the Hitler diaries to be false, then true... (he doesn't like to advertise the last part)



That is just plain silliness. Any new document discovered should be made available to historians who are specialists in the particular area of partisan warfare in France, and would have the background knowledge to make a reasoned assessment of it. Withholding it for inclusion in a TV documentary invites sensationalist treatment.

Then are you already biased against the possibility of the new evidence to be genuine?





You know what I just realized recently? Heinz Lammerding, former SS-TK officer and eventual commander of the 2nd SS division, spent much of 1943 as chief of staff of von dem Bach's Bandenkampfverbande (i.e. anti-partisan or counterinsurgency command) Given what Bach's SS and Orpo units were doing in the Pripet Marshes in 1943, why is it so inconceiveable that Lammerding would use the same tactics in 1944 France?


Rob-WSSOB is a bit behind the times here. Every interpretation of the events at Oradour that I have read suggests that it was a result of the transfer of the methods of anti-partisan warfare used in the occupied Soviet Union to France by a unit that had served in the East and become brutalised by its experiences there.

In fact, the men of Das Reich appear to have acted against Oradour much as they did against villages in the East that were suspected of harbouring and supporting partisans; they moved in, shot the inhabitants, and burned the place down. The question is whether they were acting in accordance with an order received, or on their own initiative, reacting to attacks by local Resistance units.

An interesting element in the whole affair is that many of the men who participated in the massacre were Alsatians, drafted into the Waffen-SS, the so-called "malgre-nous". It was that element that made the issue so contentious in France.



Now who's "obfuscating"? The poor men of the Das Reich Division, "brutalised" as they were by anti-partisan operations, decided to kill some French folks because that's what they were used to doing in Russia.

And then we have the evil Americans liberating Dachau who aren't accorded even one of your rather cold, "rational" explanations for their behavior.

TH Albright
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Post by TH Albright » 09 Jan 2004 13:40

I agree with Michael to the extent that "The Blood and Ashes" campaign as conducted by DR, which merely culminated in Oradour, had all the hallmarks of typical Eastern Front anti-partisan measures. The division's elements applied rapidly escalating punitive "measures" in response to every Maquis attack. Now whether this was unique to the WSS or to the German Armed forces is interesting, and how did Lammerding's "unique" experience in this area play in the tragedy. Similar situations in Italy involving the "HG" division and fallschirmjager/gebirgsjager units also resulted in savage reprisals where women and children were also massacred. These units also had experienced partisan warfare to some extent in Russia or the Balkans. So if you did a "what if"....the 21 Panzer Division had been in Southern France rather than DR, I believe the same measures would have been taken at least up to the level of Tulle. Whether a Heer unit would have massacred an entire village is definitely pure conjecture. Here is where the personality of the division commander might come into play. If there is a "smoking gun" for Lammerding at Oradour, here it is: the company of the DF regiment which carried out the "operation" was commanded by Otto Kahn, who happened to have spent most of his career as the feldgendarmie company commander of DR; of any of the junior officers of the division, Kahn was the most "equipped" to carry out a dramatic operation designed to finally terrorize the Maquis into inactivity. But until those records are open, we should reserve judgment. However, Lammerding certainly had the stomach to initiate such measures and was uniquely qualified in such matters.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 09 Jan 2004 14:07

Xcalibur wrote:

And then we have the evil Americans liberating Dachau who aren't accorded even one of your rather cold, "rational" explanations for their behavior.


Is the above addressed to me? I assume it is, since it is written in response to a post by me.

I am rather puzzled by it. Did I ever refer to "evil" Americans liberating Dachau? Did I ever advance any explanation at all for their behaviour?

I do not believe that I did either of those things. I did address the question of exactly who the men in SS uniform were who were summarily executed by American soldiers or killed by inmates (up to 100, according to figures posted by Rob-WSSOB), and whether it can be assumed that because they were found in the area of the camp they must necessarily be guilty of the atrocities committed there.

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 14 Jan 2004 08:44

Mr Walter Kaschner has a wealth of knowledge about events in wartime France, and is certainly no partisan of National Socialist Germany. If he prefers to suspend judgement on this supposed new find, then I suggest we should all take our cue from him


Well, let's let Walter answer for himself.

In fact, the men of Das Reich appear to have acted against Oradour much as they did against villages in the East that were suspected of harbouring and supporting partisans; they moved in, shot the inhabitants, and burned the place down. The question is whether they were acting in accordance with an order received, or on their own initiative, reacting to attacks by local Resistance units.


If you check out http://www.wssob.com/002divdsr.html you'll notice that the 2nd SS Division didn't spend a lot of time on antipartisan actions, but in front line combat against Red Army troops in campaigns such as Kharkov and Kursk. As THAlbright pointed out, military policemen like Otto Kahn were the "Das Reich" members who would be most experienced in counterinsurgency warfare.

BTW this is no "question" as to the why SS units used draconian procedures in partisan warfare - it was standard operating procedure, something Lammerding would have learned under von dem Bach.

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 14 Jan 2004 10:51

Since TH Albright has brought forward the Italian case, I would also like to point at the striking similarities between the events in the Oradour area and the almost contemporary “spree” of massacres perpetrated by the 16th SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division in the Apennine region from August to October 1944 which led to the killing of some 2000 civilians in Sant’Anna di Strazzema, Vinca, Marzabotto as well as in other places.
I cannot say if there was a “structural” similarity between the two divisions. The RF-SS at least was composed by barely 18 years old Waffen-SS soldiers (many of them conscripted), a large amount of ethnic Germans from Hungary, Rumania and Serbia, a few hundred Alsatians, and was led by experienced NCO and Officers, many of them coming from Theodor Eicke Totenkopf units and from the concentration camp SS (SS-TV Oberbayern and Brandenburg for exemples).
Some of the men responsible for the larger massacres, Sant’Anna di Stazzema (II./Pz.Gren.Rgt. 35 under Anton Galler), Valla, Vinca, Bergiola, Marzabotto (SS-Pz.Aufkl.Abt. 16 under Walter Reder) had very specific experiences. I have researched – and published – a profile of these units in which I was able to demonstrate that a large amount of its officers and NCOs came not only from the Totenkopf units but also from the Kommandostab RF-SS units of 1941/42 and police batallions highly engaged in blood-baths in the Eastern territories.
A most interesting case is the one of Helmut Looss, an SD man that in 1942 went to the Ukraine and Bielorussia and was there head of a Sonderkommando. In Bielorussia Looss units was at least responsible for murdering the 700 civilians inmates of the Roslawl’s detention camp (another similarity to some of the later massacres in Italy), around 1000 Jews in the Bobruisk area and finally took part in the so-called “Enterdungsaktion”. From July 1944 onward he was Ic-Officer ot the Reichsführer-SS and so responsible for the direction and planning of antipartisan warfare operations conducted in the field by Reder and Galler. There is no doubt - as I see it - that he was foremost in transfering the Bielorussian standards of operation to the divisional area. His presence at the briefings held before the actions took place as well as him being given "carte blanche" for security actions in the divisional rear area by Max Simon are stated facts.


If I am now to take a guess at what the new documents on Oradour might be, I can only imagine them coming from two sources:
a) the eastern German trial of Heinz Barth, or
b) the huge amount of original Das Reich papers from the Czech Military Historical Archive (Historický ústav Cecoslovenské armády) in Prague.

The archive, BTW, holds apparently 106 “Das Reich” original items going from 1941 to 1944 containing war diaries etc. of Divisional command, Regiment DF, Regiment Langemarck, Regiment Deutschland, Artillery Regiment 2, Panzer-Regiment 2, Panzerjäger-Abteilung, Flak-Abteilung, Wirtschaft-Battalion and Kampfgruppe DF. I am not aware that these documents have ever been researched by historians. Microfilms are supposed to be at the Bundesarchiv-Freiburg and probably in DC’s USHMM.
Best
C.G.

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