50,000 Germans died in US captivity in one small area ??

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Peter
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50,000 Germans died in US captivity in one small area ??

Post by Peter » 29 Dec 2002 17:31

I stumbled across this on the net somehere recently, is it true ?

REMAGENAfter the capture of the Remagen Bridge, the US Army hastily erected dozens of Prisoner of War cages around the bridge-head. The camps were simply open fields surrounded by concertina wire. Those at the Rhine Meadows were situated at Remagen, Bad Kreuznach, Andernach, Buderich, Rheinbach and Sinzig. The German prisoners were hopeful of good treatment from the GIs but in this they were sadly disappointed. Herded into the open spaces like cattle, some were beaten and mistreated. No tents or toilets were supplied. The camps became huge latrines, a sea of urine from one end to the other. They had to sleep in holes in the ground which they dug with their bare hands. In the Bad Kreuznach cage, 560,000 men were interned in an area that could only comfortably hold 45,000. Denied enough food and water, they were forced to eat the grass under their feet and the camps soon became a sea of mud. After the concentration camps were discovered, their treatment became worse as the GIs vented their rage on the hapless prisoners. In the five camps around Bretzenheim, prisoners had to survive on 600-850 calories per day. With bloated bellies and teeth falling out, the died by the thousands. During the two and a half months (April-May, 1945) when the camps were under American control, a total of 18,100 prisoners died from malnutrition, disease and exposure. This extremely harsh treatment at the hands of the Americans resulted in the deaths of over 50,000 German prisoners in the Rhine Meadows camps, in the months just before and after the war ended.
It must however be borne in mind that with the best will in the world it proved almost impossible to care for the prisoners under the strict terms of the Geneva Convention. The task of guarding these prisoners, numbering around 920,000, fell to the 40,000 men of the US 106th. Infantry Division. The Remagen cage was set up to accommodate 100,000 men but ended up with twice that number. On the first afternoon 35,000 prisoners were counted through the gate. About 10,000 of these required urgent medical attention which in most cases was completely absent. All roads leading to the camps were clogged with hundreds of trucks bringing in even more prisoners, sent to the rear by the advancing 9th.US Army. Tourists, cruising down the Rhine today can pick out a small memorial and plaque built on the site of the former POW cage. In the Remagen cemetery there are 1,200 graves and at Bad Kreuznach, 1,000 graves.
Has anybody seen the memorial or got more details ?

cheers
Pete

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Post by Maple 01 » 29 Dec 2002 18:31

I stumbled across this on the net somehere recently, is it true ?
I've got a copy of 'Crimes and Mercies' by James Bacque, a revisionary historian discussing the fate of German civilians 1944-50 (for revisionary read 'makes it up as he goes along') he also wrote a book called 'Other losses' which claims to tell the story of the 'Allied Death camps' - POW cages, mainly French and American. How much you can rely on his frequently emotional reserch is another matter, he is clearly out to prove a point IMO.

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-Nick

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Post by Roberto » 30 Dec 2002 18:47

Iltis wrote:I stumbled across this on the net somehere recently, is it true ?

REMAGENAfter the capture of the Remagen Bridge, the US Army hastily erected dozens of Prisoner of War cages around the bridge-head. The camps were simply open fields surrounded by concertina wire. Those at the Rhine Meadows were situated at Remagen, Bad Kreuznach, Andernach, Buderich, Rheinbach and Sinzig. The German prisoners were hopeful of good treatment from the GIs but in this they were sadly disappointed. Herded into the open spaces like cattle, some were beaten and mistreated. No tents or toilets were supplied. The camps became huge latrines, a sea of urine from one end to the other. They had to sleep in holes in the ground which they dug with their bare hands. In the Bad Kreuznach cage, 560,000 men were interned in an area that could only comfortably hold 45,000. Denied enough food and water, they were forced to eat the grass under their feet and the camps soon became a sea of mud. After the concentration camps were discovered, their treatment became worse as the GIs vented their rage on the hapless prisoners. In the five camps around Bretzenheim, prisoners had to survive on 600-850 calories per day. With bloated bellies and teeth falling out, the died by the thousands. During the two and a half months (April-May, 1945) when the camps were under American control, a total of 18,100 prisoners died from malnutrition, disease and exposure. This extremely harsh treatment at the hands of the Americans resulted in the deaths of over 50,000 German prisoners in the Rhine Meadows camps, in the months just before and after the war ended.
It must however be borne in mind that with the best will in the world it proved almost impossible to care for the prisoners under the strict terms of the Geneva Convention. The task of guarding these prisoners, numbering around 920,000, fell to the 40,000 men of the US 106th. Infantry Division. The Remagen cage was set up to accommodate 100,000 men but ended up with twice that number. On the first afternoon 35,000 prisoners were counted through the gate. About 10,000 of these required urgent medical attention which in most cases was completely absent. All roads leading to the camps were clogged with hundreds of trucks bringing in even more prisoners, sent to the rear by the advancing 9th.US Army. Tourists, cruising down the Rhine today can pick out a small memorial and plaque built on the site of the former POW cage. In the Remagen cemetery there are 1,200 graves and at Bad Kreuznach, 1,000 graves.
Has anybody seen the memorial or got more details ?

cheers
Pete
The above quote is from the website

http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/massacres.html

hosted by my friend George Duncan.

Nice chap, old George, but he seems to have been taken in by the fantasies of Mr. James Bacque:
THE BIG LIE

Just how many German POWs died in Allied camps?. For over forty years we have been told that many hundreds of thousands of German soldiers had died in Soviet prison camps while at the same time keeping quiet about the number of prisoners who had died in American, French and British camps. In 1997, around 1.1 million German soldiers were still officially listed as missing. According to the recently opened Soviet archives, which have been proved to be extremely precise and detailed, the Red Army captured 2,389,560 German soldiers. Of these, 423,168 died in captivity. In October, 1951, the West German government stated in the United Nations that 1.1 million soldiers had not returned home. In other words, we were led to believe they had died in Soviet camps. If we subtract the proven number of deaths in Soviet camps from the missing in Germany we arrive at the figure of around 677,000. Where are these men?. They must have been interned by the western Allies, the greatest majority being held in American and French camps where they died in their hundreds of thousands through deliberate starvation, disease and hard work.
which gives me a bad conscience for not having made him familiar with the assessment of German military casualties in World War II by German military historian Rüdiger Overmans, which leave little room for Bacque's farcical calculations:
4.2.5.3 Prisoners of War
Now to the last section of the assessment: captivity, which for many German soldiers was the last stage of their military career. Unlike in the previous sections it will be necessary in the following to explain the methodological aspects first of all. Only after this can we proceed to an interpretation of the contents of the data.
In the explanation of the conception it was pointed out that the variable “type of death” can be understood as a continuum, with a great degree of accuracy of information being linked to the two extremes “died on the German side” and “died in captivity”, whereas the middle category, “missing”, is a consequence of the fact that, whereas death is a certainty, the circumstances are not exactly known. The quantitative dimensions of this margin of insecurity are shown in table 63.

Table 63: Deaths by year and type of death

(i) Died on the German side
1941 and before 428,066
1942 451,066
1943 501,066
1944 911,561
1945 559,726
1946 and after 0
Sum 2,851,485

(ii) Missing
1941 and before 30,495
1942 115,881
1943 288,686
1944 844,695
1945 727,814
1946 0
Sum 2,007,571

(iii) Died in captivity
1941 and before 0
1942 5,033
1943 22,297
1944 45,330
1945 252,188
1946 and after 134,627
Sum 459,475

Sum of (i) +(ii)+(iii) 5,318,531

The first thing that becomes visible is that the part of deaths that clearly occurred on the German side is very high until about 1941, ca. 90 %. This part diminishes in every following year of the war until reaching only about one-third in 1945. On the other hand, the percentage of those who died as prisoners of war increases from marginal parts to about 16 % in the year 1945 – the later years are not taken into consideration given that after 1945 deaths can only have occurred in prisoner of war camps. What important for the present study, however, is mainly the part of the category “Missing” – which rises from less than 10 % to almost 50 %. The cases are not equally distributed over all fronts, however.
Table 64 still shows a rather clear distribution – mainly in the West, but also in the other theaters of war the number of those who died on the German side is very high. Altogether there are only about 180,000 persons regarding whom the exact circumstances of death are not known – a part of whom may thus have died in captivity.

Table 64: Deaths by Theaters of War and Destiny

Other Theaters of War
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 84,000
Missing: 0
1942
Died on the German side: 40,000
Missing: 8,132
1943
Died on the German side: 72,000
Missing: 6,099
1944
Died on the German side: 199,132
Missing: 79,287
1945
Died on the German side: 27,000
Missing: 30,495

Sum Other Theaters of War
Died on the German side: 422,132
Missing: 124,013

West (until 31.12.1944)
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 68,000
Missing: 4,066
1942
Died on the German side: 12,000
Missing: 0
1943
Died on the German side: 11,000
Missing: 0
1944
Died on the German side: 198,132
Missing: 46,759

Sum West (until 31.12.1944)
Died on the German side: 289,132
Missing: 50,825

East (until 31.12.1944)
1941 and before
Died on the German side: 276,066
Missing: 26,429
1942
Died on the German side: 399,066
Missing: 107,749
1943
Died on the German side: 418,066
Missing: 282,587
1944
Died on the German side: 514,297
Missing: 718,649

Sum East (until 31.12.1944)
Died on the German side: 1,607,495
Missing: 1,135,414

Final Battles 1945
Died on the German side: 532,726
Missing: 697,319

Wholly different is the distribution in the categories “Eastern Front” and “Final Battles”. Already in 1944 the part of the not clearly established cases is higher than that of those who are died on the German side. This applies even more to the Final Battles, the examination of the concrete cases having shown that two thirds of the losses of this phase were incurred by the units fighting in the East – especially in what concerns the not clearly established cases.
What do these considerations imply for the results of the present study? They show that the tables about deaths in captivity are to be looked at with reservations insofar as they, one the one hand, show not to the sum of those who died there but only to the sum of documented deaths. On the other hand it becomes clear where there are still greater margins of uncertainty – not in the West or in the other theaters of war, but mainly in the East. What relevance does this realization have for the central question of the examination, about the sum of deaths? None at all at right away, given that the death of those in question cannot be doubted – the sum of losses therefor doesn’t change. What changes, however, is the distribution of the variables with regard to the various theaters of war – not so much in the West, but mainly in the East. The dimension of these inexactitudes is what is to be examined in the interpretation of the contents of the results.
First of all an overview of the number of deaths in captivity:

Table 65: Deaths in captivity (by custodian state)

Total number of prisoners of war
France 940,000
Great Britain 3,640,000
USA 3,100,000
Yugoslavia 190,000
Other States 170,000
USSR 3,060,000
Sum 11,100,000

Deaths in captivity according to present study
France 34,000
Great Britain 21,000
USA 22,000
Yugoslavia 11,000
Other States 8.000
USSR 363,000
Sum 459,000

Deaths in captivity according to Maschke Commission
France 25,000
Great Britain 1,300
USA 5,000
Yugoslavia 80,000
Other States 13.000
USSR 1,090,000
Sum 1,214,300

When comparing the data about deaths related to the various custodian states, hardly a case of coincidence can be observed. The figures do, however, show a similar trend – custodian states with high death rates according to the data of the Maschke Commission also show an above average death rate in the present study. The same goes for states with low death rates. The question how the nevertheless existing differences in the absolute values can be explained will be examined in the following.
First it should be pointed out that – except in case of the Soviet Union – the losses in captivity in all custodian states are but fractions of percentages of the total losses and are thus in an order of magnitude that cannot be evaluated accurately even with the present, relatively large sample. Furthermore the methods of establishing the figures vary. The data of the Maschke Kommission are based on files of the custodian state and numerous testimonials of German prisoners of war. In matters of content they refer, in what concerns to the Western Allies, to those who died in Allied custody in a narrower sense. The compilation techniques of the present study, however, mandate the inclusion in the category “captivity” also of such cases that formally fall under that category but for which the respective custodian state was not responsible in material terms. This applies especially to the differences in the data related to Great Britain, the USA and the “other countries”.

Things are different in the case of France, where the numbers of the Maschke Commission are based on the official French data and there are substantial indications for the assumption that, of the ca. 180,000 missing in the West, a great number died indeed in French custody – or as mercenaries in Indochina. Even more difficult is the situation regarding deaths in Yugoslavian custody – apart from rather contradictory German testimonials on the one hand and the documented cases underlying the present study on the other there is no examination that could contribute to the clarification of the question.
Given this unsatisfactory state of research the question arises how reliable data about the deaths in captivity could be obtained. Not by means of an empiric compilation analogous to the present one, given that the information deficits pointed out are not caused by methodological deficiencies of the study – the study only demonstrates the fact that the information available to the German authorities is insufficient. Only the evaluation of reports presently coming in from the former Soviet Union, the recovery of unburied dead presently under way both in the former USSR and in Eastern Germany as well as the registration of graves in the Soviet Union by the VDK will lead to an improvement of the state of information in the next years or decades.
But independently of what the number of deaths in captivity actually is, the differences – at least in what concerns the Western Allies – are so small that they cannot significantly affect the results of this study so far. This does not apply in regard to Yugoslavia let alone for the Soviet Union – here the difference between 300,000 or a million deaths is so huge that it influences the distribution of the variables. It will thus be attempted in the following to localize the differences more closely.

Table 66: Deaths in Soviet custody by years

Deaths in Soviet captivity according to present study
1941/42 5,000
1943 21,000
1944 41,000
1945 178,000
1946 and after 118,000
Sum 363,000

Missing according to present study*
1941/42 134,000
1943 283,000
1944 719,000
1945 ca. 400,000
1946 and after -
Sum 1,536,000

* The number of missing in 1945 was estimated for the present study on the basis of the established fact that about two thirds of deaths during the Final Battles occurred in the East of Germany.

Deaths in Soviet captivity according to Maschke Commission
1941/42 166,000
1945 154,000
1946 224,000
1945 550,000
1946 and after included in 1945
Sum 1,094,000

Table 66, which differentiates the number of deaths by years, shows first the number of prisoners of war in Soviet custody and the missing on the Eastern Front, followed by the data of the Maschke Commission. According to the present study a total of ca. 363,000 German soldiers died in Soviet captivity – the sum of individually documented deaths. The approach of the Maschke Commission was another: they established, on the basis of various sources, the number of soldiers taken prisoner as well as the percentage of those who died every year. Although it is an estimate, it can be considered as well founded. When comparing the number of the missing established in the present study, ca. 1.5 million, with the difference in deaths considered by the present study on the one hand and the Maschke Commission on the other, it becomes visible that the difference, ca. 700,000 deaths, corresponds to about half of the number of missing. And it seems altogether plausible, although it cannot be proven, that half of those missing were killed in battle and the other half actually died in Soviet custody . Parting from this consideration the question arises how these ca. 700,000 cases are distributed temporarily. For this it is necessary to recall the conduction of military operations. In the first year, i.e. until ca. the middle of 1943, when the German armies were attacking, they were usually in conditions to recover their own dead in the conquered areas. This means that, at the beginning, the overwhelming majority of missing were taken prisoner and died in Soviet custody – out of the Germans taken prisoner at Stalingrad alone ca. 90,000 died rather soon in captivity. The more the initiative went over to the Soviet side and the more often large units were destroyed and taken prisoner, the greater the number of men killed in battle among those missing is likely to have been.
In relation to the above data this plausible if not provable consideration has the consequence that the results of the present study should be modified. Presumably the number of missing in the years 1941/42 must be almost wholly added to the deaths in captivity, whereas in the following years an ever growing part must be added to those killed on the German side. If the numbers of the present study are nevertheless used for the further assessment, this is only because the above considerations, while plausible, are not based on documented individual fates like the remaining results of the present study. As already mentioned, it must be left to a complementary study to evaluate the information arriving from the former Soviet Union at present and in the future, in order to obtain more accurate results in what concerns captivity.[...]
I translated the above from Rüdiger Overmans, Deutsche Militarische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg.

The total figure for German POW deaths in American captivity given by Overmans is 22,000, which is somewhat higher than the figure established by the West German government's Maschke Commission in 1974 (5,000). The figures of the Maschke Commission include 4,537 deaths at the Rhine Meadows camps of Remagen, Bad Kreuznach, Andernach, Buderich, Rheinbach and Sinzig camps, established in an investigation conducted by the surrounding communities - US authorities only admitted to 3,053 deaths at these camps.

For further information on the Rhein Meadows camps, I suggest you contact the webmaster of the "POW" web site, who seems to have done a lot of research on them. You may find the site under

http://home.arcor.de/kriegsgefangen/index.html

Peter
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Post by Peter » 30 Dec 2002 21:53

fascinating and very detailed information
thank you
Pete

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Re: 50,000 Germans died in US captivity in one small area ??

Post by Topspeed » 29 Sep 2004 17:09

Iltis wrote: They had to sleep in holes in the ground which they dug with their bare hands. In the Bad Kreuznach cage, 560,000 men were interned in an area that could only comfortably hold 45,000. Denied enough food and water, they were forced to eat the grass under their feet and the camps soon became a sea of mud.

--------------------------------------------------------------

With bloated bellies and teeth falling out, the died by the thousands. This extremely harsh treatment at the hands of the Americans resulted in the deaths of over 50,000 German prisoners in the Rhine Meadows camps, in the months just before and after the war ended.
Any truth in this story ? I find it hard to believe.

rgds,

Juke

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Sep 2004 17:19

Most people do. For other discussions of this claim, see also:

Eisenhower's guilt?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=10112
James Bacque's work on the deliberate starvation
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=49317
USA dismissed Switzerland as protecting power of German POWS
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=48193
Guess who’s Bacque
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=43792
One million German POWs killed by US/UK?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=27723
Chock Full of Death; German POWs by James Baque
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=17360
American and Franch (post) war crimes
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=8288
German POW treatment by Americans
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=8614
German POWs
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=141

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Post by Fugazi » 02 Oct 2004 10:16

Eisenhower's guilt?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=10112
James Bacque's work on the deliberate starvation
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=49317
USA dismissed Switzerland as protecting power of German POWS
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=48193
Guess who’s Bacque
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=43792
One million German POWs killed by US/UK?
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=27723
Chock Full of Death; German POWs by James Baque
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=17360
American and Franch (post) war crimes
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=8288
German POW treatment by Americans
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=8614
German POWs
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=141
Thanks very much for posting this list, I've been reading through some of it and felt inclined to comment.

The German historian Ernst Nolte wrote "...since the time of Herodotus, large numbers, unless they come from statistical specialists, can only be questionable..." and to that I'd have to add, "and even when they come from statistical specialists". It seems that Bacque's work suffers from this, as does also so much writing on the holocaust. The reasoning seems to go "there were x million people here at this point, later there were only x - y million, so it seems y million were killed". Unfortunately, you can't prove Eisenhower killed a million prisoners on that basis, you can't prove 2 million Germans were killed during the Vertreibung that way, and holocaust writers using this approach have only provided the revisionists with ammunition.

Elsewhere in the forum I've read estimates of Soviet civilian casualties of WW2 of 11 million, or even 16 million. Hell, why not 26 million? Unless you've got a collection of death certificates, you might as well just call it "lots and lots"...

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Post by David Thompson » 03 Oct 2004 02:52

An off-topic and sourceless opinion post from Tancred, dealing with his doubts about holocaust statistics, was deleted by the moderator.

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Post by finnjaeger » 03 Oct 2004 12:30

I´m not familiar with all the statistics, but is it possible that these numbers (germans died in US prison camps) have been "embellished" by US authorities and german researchers after ww2, to make "the good guys" look good? I mean, these figure are so far away from each others, that it looks like somebody has made a really big mistake in body count. After all, cleaning up the statistics is nothing new in world of propaganda.
just a thought.

best regards, TK

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Post by Freulein » 06 Oct 2007 15:17

I can assure you that these numbers are on the low side, if anything. My father was 17 when he was interred at the camp in Buderich and I have heard all of the horrific stories of the conditions there first hand. He was a survivor and is 79 years of age now. We came to America in 1955, when I was 2. My father has written about some of the hardships he faced while at the camp and I read them periodically to remind myself of all of the things I have to be grateful for, including life itself, thanks to his "never giving up" under the severest of treatment in that American POW camp. If you would like to know more, I will include excerpts from his memoirs in future postings.

Sincerely,
Gabriele (Freulein)

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Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Oct 2007 15:41

We need to distinguish between two separate issues in this thread - the deaths of German POWs, and the conditions they were kept in.

On the issue of conditions, I've read a lot of recollections by vets from these camps, and conditions were NOT good. The comments on the lack of shelter, blanketing, protection from the elements etc. seem to be more correct than not - and in this case there IS a degree of visible proof of this. Check out the available pictures of German POW pens in Europe and the Middle East - there's a suprising lack of buildings and shelterage in them!

There are also more concrete items; Eisenhower laid down a rule that families and loved ones were NOT to supply food and clothing to prisoners, and though there is anecdotal evidence of Americans in certain commands allowing this - there are also officially-reported incidents iof the US Army indeed shooting civilians who atempted to break this rule. The camps themselves were not monitored by the Red Cross and relief brought by them, as had happened in most locations during the war in nations that were signatories of the Hague and Geneva Conventions...as the Allies had closed DOWN the German Red Cross and didn't allow it to re-form for some time!

These are just a few of the readily-apparent issues that have arisen over the years on the treatment of German Service personnel after the end of the war. As far as I am aware, while there has been study of losses, there is as yet not historical study of the conditions in which they were incarcerated.

Regarding all this, and the study on losses that has been carried out;

1/ Please note that even Rudiger Overmans' work still doesn't account for the 2 million german service personnel he has to mark as "Missing", so this has to remain a conditional on his work - though his work up to those limits is certainly more rigorous than Bacque.

2/ the Allies issued figures on the deaths of "POWs" - but noone has ever since confirmed that given the change in status Eisenhower approved at the end of hostilities, from "POW" to "Disarmed Enemy Personnel", in order to cut the rations made available to them - do the figures they issued actually include DEPs???

3/ The Red Cross arguably after the end of the war had access to these people when they were POWs - but didn't when they were reclassified as DEPs, a term of reference outside the provisions of the Conventions allowing them access; (I say "arguably" because the Conventions only applied before 1949 to "time of war")

4/ Given the prevention of Red Cross access there is no independent verification of any of the figures issued officially on deaths in confinement.

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Post by Andy H » 06 Oct 2007 16:06

On the issue of conditions, I've read a lot of recollections by vets from these camps, and conditions were NOT good. The comments on the lack of shelter, blanketing, protection from the elements etc. seem to be more correct than not - and in this case there IS a degree of visible proof of this. Check out the available pictures of German POW pens in Europe and the Middle East - there's a suprising lack of buildings and shelterage in them!
Conditions were not 'good' however one wants to interpret that, but the only caveat I have to add to Phylo's statement is that depending on what particular pictures we are talking about.
The sudden influx of several million POW's within the system cannot have been catered for in terms of pre-building camps. The Allies had a certain responsibility to the POW's but more importantly aswell to the liberated civilain popn in various countries who were without similar food and shelter and there own tropps who needed billiting, food and other supplies.
So I think the use of the word Surprising is somewhat absurd in this context.

Regards

Andy H

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Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Oct 2007 16:37

Andy, not necessarily; wonders CAN after all be done with tents...and let's face it, these were personnel trained to kip out under Zeltbahns! You don't have to build 50,000 men a camp before you out them in it....point them and a pile of lumber and canvas and they'll take care of it themselves....or freeze. After all, this was how the first "political" concentration camps were built in Germany that weren't older jails or factories etc., how the Gulags were built....and the Foreign Legion "Built them then died in them" One of the main issues is that this wasn't done, and didn't seem to be allowed. I've seen at least two accounts of the British Army - who had a strange reputation in Germany at this time because their extremes of treatment were VERY extreme! Evrything from very good...to Bad Nemsdorf...- going in and removing makeshift shelters in camps!

Remember - they DID have a responsibility to POWs, and liberated civilians, yes....but NOT to "disarmed enemy personnel"....

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Post by Andy H » 06 Oct 2007 17:20

phylo_roadking wrote:Andy, not necessarily; wonders CAN after all be done with tents...and let's face it, these were personnel trained to kip out under Zeltbahns! You don't have to build 50,000 men a camp before you out them in it....point them and a pile of lumber and canvas and they'll take care of it themselves....or freeze. After all, this was how the first "political" concentration camps were built in Germany that weren't older jails or factories etc., how the Gulags were built....and the Foreign Legion "Built them then died in them" One of the main issues is that this wasn't done, and didn't seem to be allowed. I've seen at least two accounts of the British Army - who had a strange reputation in Germany at this time because their extremes of treatment were VERY extreme! Evrything from very good...to Bad Nemsdorf...- going in and removing makeshift shelters in camps!

Remember - they DID have a responsibility to POWs, and liberated civilians, yes....but NOT to "disarmed enemy personnel"....
One still has to provide the pile of lumber and canvas, which know doubt were also needed by countless other and more needy people. One only has to look at the ongoing aftermath of the Katrina & Asian Tsunami disasters to see that even without war, that societies struggle with such mass events.

I dont doubt that illogical extremes did take place but I for one am not surprised by there treatment, be they POW or DEP's given the current environment they faced.

Regards

Andy H

Freulein
Member
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Joined: 06 Oct 2007 15:01
Location: New Mexico

Post by Freulein » 06 Oct 2007 17:47

From my father's diary, 1944:

" In August, 1944, at the age of 16, I was called to Airforce duty. For 1 week I took emergency examinations to become a Journeyman Painter before I went to war. I became a crew member on an 88mm anti-aircraft gun. We were deployed in Hanover during the aerial bombings by American and British bombers. On our first encounter with the bombers we had bad ammunition and the empty shells would not come out of the breach. Every time we fired, I had to jump on the 7 foot rampart, and push the empty shell out of the barrel of the gun. I don't believe we ever hit a target. At 17, I was the oldest on that crew, aside from the officer in charge. I could not hear for a week from the noise the guns made. On January 1st, 1945 , we were replaced by women. We boys got trained on 37mm guns and in April 1945 were sent to the front line on the Elbe River. After two weeks of quiet we were bombarded for 2 days and nights by artillery and mortar. On the afternoon of May 1st, 1945 American amphibious tanks crossed the Elbe River. We did not return fire because we knew it was all over and we were grossly outnumbered. On the morning of May 2nd we surrendered. The American front line soldiers treated us very well, but as soon as we got further back, they confiscated our watches and valuables. The next day we were stacked like herrings on trucks and transported farthur back. On the way, the trucks were moving so fast that when we rounded a curve we were thrown into a ditch. One boy died, but I only received scrapes and bruises on my arms and legs.
That night was spent in a soccer stadium in Herefort with a few thousand other POWs. During the night one of the guards got drunk and started shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. I counted 7 dead prisoners. The next day we were transported farther west to a large field near Buderich. We received no food on the entire 3 day trip. At Buderich the army was in the process of building a barbed wire fence around us. There were no tents or kitchens. The first 4 days we got nothing to eat or drink. After the 4th day we got only a very small amount of food, ground coffee, powdered milk, one raw potato, but no water or fire yet. After one week, the first water well was finished, and by that time there were 100,000 POW, so we stood in line for 8 hrs to get 16 oz of water daily."

There is more, much more, from the memories of a boy who was there. I post this not to condemn, just to give some facts. My father hated The Nazis and the Communist Party and was beaten many times for refusing to "Heil Hitler" his school master as a boy. He was forced to become a man quickly and unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wrote of it for his children so we might know and be grateful for what we have and know how he fought to survive in those harshest of conditions.

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