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And any information regarding allied commanders or soldiers ever being convicted of those crimes.
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Following are the events surrounding the sinking of the German ship, Erich Giese on 13 April 1940 by the British Navy. Captain Karl Smidt explained during his Paris deposition on 23 August 1940:
"While the crew of some 200 men was swimming in the water, the British destroyers opened fire against us with machine guns and cannons. Several times from the pressure in the water, I felt the explosion of a shell. However, I did not see anyone hit. The crew did suffer casualties through machine-gun fire, which was clearly identifiable by its whistling sound... Reports made to me by members of the crew after reaching land indicated that a number of soldiers had been hit. The civilian steward Masula was wounded by a shot that grazed his head, but the wound did not endanger his life. Several days after the battle the engine-man Ospelkaus was washed ashore, and we saw that he had been shot in the head, a wound which he could only have received in the water. Other reports submitted immediately after the battle clearly established that several soldiers were killed while swimming in the water. Those who had been swimming in their vicinity observed that their heads were suddenly all bloody and they ceased moving. According to undisputed testimony the British also directed heavy fire at the rafts, even one raft that had no oars and simply floated in the fjord. The British did take nine men prisoner from this raft.
Investigators digging at the site of a Soviet-run prison camp in the former East Germany have uncovered mass graves containing the bodies of 12,500 people, the Brandenburg state government said today.
The camp was at Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin, and was open from 1945 to 1950. Victims were said to have included real and supposed supporters of the defeated Third Reich, as well as citizens considered unfriendly to Communist authorities.
Until the Communist Government of East Germany collapsed in 1990, it was impossible to conduct research like that now under way at Sachsenhausen. Similar excavations are underway at other sites, and officials expect further discoveries like the one announced today.
The excavation around Sachsenhausen revealed 50 graves, each about 25 feet long and 13 feet wide. Under the earth, bodies were stacked in heaps as high as 15 feet and higher.
Pathologists have determined that most of the victims died of starvation, exposure or communicable diseases. Some had evidently been beaten. Most were children, adolescents and elderly people.
In the years after the end of World War II, occupying Soviet forces imprisoned thousands of Germans. Many were accused of war crimes, and their trials were perfunctory if they were held at all. Some were simply picked off the street, victims of Stalinist crackdowns.
The victims were taken to one of a network of prison camps. Some of them, like the one at Sachsenhausen and another at Buchenwald, were built on the sites of Nazi concentration camps.
The German Government estimated that 65,000 people died in those Soviet run camps or in transportation to them.
During the four decades of Communist rule in East Germany, memorials were built at places like Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. But the memorials implied that the camps closed at the war's end. They did not mention that in the post-Nazi era, the camps became brutal Soviet-run military prisons.
Source : The New York Times - September 24, 1992
At the edge of the town, on the left side of the road, stands the large inn 'Weisser Krug' ... In the farmyard further down the road stood a cart, to which four naked women were nailed through their hands in a cruciform position. Behind the Weisser Krug towards Gumbinnen is a square with a monument to the Unknown Soldier. Beyond is another larger inn, 'Roter Krug'. Near it, parallel to the road, stood a barn and to each of its two doors a naked woman was nailed through the hands, in a crucified posture. In the dwellings we found a total of seventy-two women, including children, and one old man, 74, all dead... all murdered in a bestial manner, except only for a few who had bullet holes in their necks. Some babies had their heads bashed in. In one room we found a woman, 84 years old, sitting on a sofa... half of whose head had been sheared off with an axe or a spade...
We carried the corpses to the village cemetery where they lay to await a foreign medical commission... In the meantime, a nurse from Insterburg came, a native of Nemmersdorf, who looked for her parents. Among the corpses were her mother, 72, and her father, 74, the only man among the dead. She also established that all the dead were Nemmersdorfers. On the fourth day the bodies were buried in two graves. Only on the following day did the medical commission arrive, and the tombs had to be reopened. Barn doors were set on blocks on which to lay the bodies so that the commission could examine them. This foreign commission unanimously established that all the women, as well as the girls from eight to twelve years and even the woman of 84 years had been raped. After the examination by the commission, the bodies were again buried.
(Alfred M. de Zayas, Nemesis at Potsdam: The Expulsion of the Germans from the East, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. 1988. p.63 -64)
Manuel Ruiz was a Spanish soldier, a member of the so-called Blue Division, which was composed of Spanish volunteers. He told his story before Judge Schoene on December 27, 1941.
"After Christmas 1941 the first company of the Spanish Division was attacked by the Russians at its middle section, just north of Novgorod. Many wounded Spanish soldiers were captured. Some hours later another Spanish company was able to reoccupy the area, and I personally saw the bodies of Spanish comrades who had been murdered by the Russians. Three of them had been pierced with a pickaxe through the chest, another had had the ears cut off, another was missing an arm, and still another had the genital organ amputated. Toward the end of December 1941 - after the events described above - I saw a Red Cross ambulance standing on a road... five wounded German soldiers who had been in the ambulance were lying on the ground... All five had been killed with bayonets or knives, and two of them had had their genitals cut off.
(Alfred M. de Zayas, The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. 1989. p. 192-93)
An East German newspaper today reported the discovery of mass graves of thousands of people, including civilians, who died at a former Soviet prison camp set up after World War II.
The dead included Nazi war prisoners, including members of the paramilitary [sic] SS, officials of the Nazi Party and soldiers in Hitler's army, the paper, Berliner Zeitung, said.
But among the victims were "many innocent people," including children, the paper reported. The youngest victims was 12 years old, it quoted a surviving inmate as saying. There was no word on how the victims died.
A local historian discovered the remains this month at the site of the camp, which was in Fuenfeichen, 80 miles north of East Berlin. It was run by the N.K.V.D. state security force, a forerunner of the K.G.B., the report said.
The camp was in operation from April 1945 until October 1948. Many inmates were taken to the Soviet Union when the Soviet Army closed the camp and were never heard from again, the report said.
Source: New York Times, March 25, 1990
Following is a Japanese report on the fire-bombings of Japan.
"America has revealed her barbaric character before in the terror bombings of civilian populations in Hamburg, Berlin, and other German cities, in her destruction of priceless cultural monuments in various parts of Europe, in her sinking of innumerable hospital ships, and in countless other acts of savagery beyond mention. But the raids on Tokyo and Nagoya with the last few days have demonstrated more spectacularly than ever the fiendish character of the American enemy.
"For these recent raids have been the most unquestionable examples of calculated terror bombing. Raining flaming incendiaries over a vast area of civilian dwellings, the raiders can make no excuse of having aimed at military or industrial installations.
"It was an attempt at mass murder of women and children who had no connection with war production or any activity directly connected with the war. There can be no other result than to strengthen the conviction of every Japanese that there can be no slackening of the war effort...
"The action of the Americans is all the more despicable because of the noisy pretensions they constantly make about their humanity and idealism. They are the first to accuse others of atrocities, raising loud protests over claims of alleged Japanese mistreatment of prisoners of war and alleged Japanese destruction in the zones of hostility. But even the most extravagant of the false American charges against the Japanese pale into insignificance beside the actual acts of deliberate American terror against civilian populations. No one expects war to be anything but a brutal business, but it remains for the Americans to make it systematically and unnecessarily a wholesale horror for innocent civilians.
Hoito Edoin, The Night Tokyo Burned: The Incendiary Campaign Against Japan, March - August, 1945, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1987. p.120
Senator Homer E. Capeheart of Indiana in an address before the United States Senate on February 5, 1946.
"The fact can no longer be suppressed, namely, the fact that it has been and continues to be, the deliberate policy of a confidential and conspirational clique within the policy-making circles of this government to draw and quarter a nation now reduced to abject misery.
In this process this clique, like a pack of hyenas struggling over the bloody entrails of a corpse, and inspired by a sadistic and fanatical hatred, are determined to destroy the German nation and the German people, no matter what the consequences.
At Potsdam the representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics solemnly signed the following declaration of principles and purposes:
"It is not the intention of the Allies to destroy or enslave the German people."
Mr. President, the cynical and savage repudiation of these solemn declarations which has resulted in a major catastrophe, cannot be explained in terms of ignorance or incompetence. This repudiation, not only of the Potsdam Declaration, but also of every law of God and men, has been deliberately engineered with such a malevolent cunning, and with such diabolical skill, that the American people themselves have been caught in an international death trap.
For nine months now this administration has been carrying on a deliberate policy of mass starvation without any distinction between the innocent and the helpless and guilty alike.
The first issue has been and continues to be purely humanitarian. This vicious clique within this administration that has been responsible for the policies and practices which have made a madhouse of central Europe has not only betrayed our American principles, but they have betrayed the Gis who have suffered and died, and they continue to betray the American Gis who have to continue their dirty work for them.
The second issue that is involved is the effect this tragedy in Germany has already has already had on the other European countries. Those who have been responsible for this deliberate destruction of the German state and this criminal mass starvation of the German people have been so zealous in their hatred that all other interests and concerns have been subordinated to this one obsession of revenge. In order to accomplish this it mattered not if the liberated countries in Europe suffered and starved. To this point this clique of conspirators have addressed themselves: "Germany is to be destroyed. What happens to other countries of Europe in the process is of secondary importance."
(Ralph Franklin Keeling, Gruesome Harvest: The Allies Postwar War Against the German People, Institute of American Economics (Chicago) 1947, p. 75-76)
Many massacres of prisoners of war were committed by the American 45th (Thunderbird) Division during the invasion of Sicily in 1943. At Comise airfield, a truck load of German prisoners were machine-gunned as they climbed down on to the tarmac, prior to be air-lifted out. Later the same day, 60 Italian prisoners were cut down the same way. On July 14, thirty six prisoners were gunned down near Gela by their guard, US Sergeant Barry West. At Buttera airfield, US Captain Jerry Compton, lined up his 43 prisoners against a wall and machine-gunned them to death. West and Compton were both arrested and convicted of murder. They were sent to the front where both were later killed in action. On April 29, 1945, units of the 45th. liberated the concentration camp of Dachau where more atrocities were committed.
In the village of Chenogne, the US 11th Armoured Division had captured around sixty German soldiers. Marched to behind a small hill, out of sight of enemy troops still holding the woods beyond the village, the prisoners were subjected to a volley of machine-gun fire. On this cold and frosty first day of 1945, the GIs were showing no mercy for their unfortunate prisoners as they crumpled to the ground, shot dead in cold blood. With memories of the Malmedy massacre still fresh in their minds, killing had become impersonal, revenge was now uppermost in their minds.
After 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 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 even more prisoners, sent to the rear by the advancing 9th.US Army.
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.
(April, 1945) The Dachau Concentration Camp, near Munich, was liberated by US forces on the 29th.of April, 1945. First to enter the camp and confront the horror within was Private First Class John Degro, the lead scout of I Company, 3rd. Battalion, 157 Infantry Regiment, 45th Division of the 7th Army. Prior to entering the camp, the troops had come upon a train of thirty nine cattle trucks parked just outside the camp. The train had come from Auschwitz in Poland after a journey of thirty days. The trucks were filled with the corpses of 2,310 Hungarian and Polish Jews who had died from hunger and thirst. Enraged, the Americans rounded up most of the SS guard complement of 560 men, hundreds of whom had already deserted. Included in the round-up was a detachment from the 5th.SS Panzer 'Viking' Division sent to Dachau earlier to maintain security and replace those who had deserted. Guarded by angry GIs, they were lined up against a wall to await the appearance of their commander, SS Obersturmfüher Heindrich Skodzensky. When he appeared, dressed immaculately with polished boots, and giving the military salute, which was ignored by the US company commander, Lt.William Jackson who ordered "Line this piece of shit up with the rest of 'em over there". The GIs lost control and began shouting 'Kill em, kill em'. Filled with murderous rage and with tears streaming down his face, one GI of the 15th Infantry Regiment, US 45th Division, opened fire with his machine-gun. After three bursts of raking fire, a total of 122 SS men lay dead or dying along the base of the wall. A few of the camp inmates, dressed in the familar striped clothing and armed with .45 caliber pistols, then walked along the line of dead and dying guards and administrated the coup de grace to those still alive. Forty other guards were killed by revengful inmates, some having their arms and legs torn apart. At another site near the SS hospital, 346 German guards were machine gunned to death on the orders of 1st Lt. Bushyhead, the executive Officer of I Company, 3rd Battalion. Altogether, a total of 520 persons, acting as camp guards, and including many Hungarians in German uniforms, recently returned from the Eastern Front, were executed that day. The sad fact is that many of these guards were new arrivals at the camp and were not the real culprits, the truly guilty had already fled.
(April, 1945) On the same day that the Dachau Concentration Camp was discovered, a massacre took place in the little hamlet of Webling, about ten kilometres from the camp. A Waffen -SS unit had arrived at the hamlet, which consisted of about half a dozen farm houses and barns, to take up defensive positions in trenches dug around the farms. Their orders were to delay the advance of the American tanks and infantry of the 7th.US Army which was approaching Dachau. The farms, mostly run by women with the help of French POWs, came under fire on the morning of 29th.April causing all inhabitants to rush for the cellars. One soldier of the US 222nd. Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division, was killed as they entered the hamlet under fire from the Waffen-SS unit. The first German to emerge from the cellar was the owner of the farm, Herr Furtmayer. He was promptly shot dead. Informed by the French POWs that only civilians were in hiding, the GIs proceeded to round up the men of the SS unit. First to surrender was an officer, Freiherr von Truchsess, heading a detachment of seventeen men.The officer was immediately struck with a trenching tool splitting his head open. The other seventeen were lined up in the farmyard and shot. On a slight rise behind the hamlet, another group of eight SS were shot. Their bodies were found lying in a straight line with their weapons and ammunition belts neatly laid on the ground. This would suggest that the men were shot after they surrendered. Altogether, one SS officer and forty one men lay dead as the infantry regiment proceeded on their way to Dachau. Next day the local people, with the help of the French POWs, buried the bodies in a field to be later exhumed by the German War Graves Commission and returned to their families.
Just inside the east German border with Poland, the town of Nemmersdorf was the first to fall into the hands of the victorious Red Army. Overrun by General Gatlitsky's 11th Guards Army, his soldiers set about raping, looting and killing with such ferocity that eventually discipline had to be restored to force the soldiers back to fighting the war. From buildings, Russian signs were hanging which read ' Soldiers! Majdanek does not forgive. Take revenge without mercy!'. When the Soviet 4th Army took over the town five days later, hardly a single inhabitant remained alive. Women were found nailed to barn doors after being stripped naked and gang raped, their bodies then used for target practice. Many women, and girls as young as eight years old, were raped so often and brutally that they died from this abuse alone. Children were shot indiscriminately and all those trying to flee were crushed to death under the treads of the tanks. Forty French prisoners-of-war were shot on the spot as spies after welcoming the Red Army as liberators. In other East Prussian villages within the triangle Gumbinnen-Goldap-Ebenrode, the same scenes were witnessed, old men and boys being castrated and their eyes gouged out before being killed or burned alive. In nearby Metgethen, a suburb of Königsberg, recaptured by the German 5th Panzer Division, around 60 women were found in a demented state in a large villa. They had been raped on average 60 to 70 times a day. In nearly every home, the bodies of women and children were found raped and murdered. The bodies of two young women were found, their legs had been tied, one limb each between two trucks, and then torn apart when the trucks were driven away in opposite directions. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an ex captain in the Soviet Army, recalls, "All of us knew very well that if girls were German they could be raped and then shot. This was almost a combat distinction" (Details of these, and other attrocities, are contained in the Eastern Documentation Section of the German Federal Archives at Koblenz).
(Near Hamburg. 1945) A week after the discovery of the Belsen Concentration Camp, a rumour reached the British Army's 'Desert Rats' that the 18th SS Training Regiment of the Hitler Jugend Division, had shot their prisoners at the nearby village of Rather. The 'Rats' were engaged in a fierce battle with the SS defenders in the village of Nahrendorf. Slowly, and in groups, the SS began to surrender. As the noise of battle died away the villagers emerged from their cellars and found the bodies of 42 SS soldiers lying in a shallow grave. The bodies were then interned on a hilltop cemetery near the village. Each year, hundreds of SS veterans visit the cemetery to pay tribute to their fallen comrades whom, they say, were shot in cold blood on the orders of a ‘crazed blood-thirsty British NCO’.
(May, 1945) During the last days of the war, the Croatian armed forces, as well as tens of thousands of civilian refugees, fled towards Austria to escape the wrath of the Yugoslav communist partisans. In Austria, the British army was about to accept their surrender in a field at Bleiburg, on the Austrian-Slovenia border. In this huge open space was crowded an estimated 100,000 Croatian troops and civilian refugees. In the woods surrounding the field, Titoist Partisans had infiltrated and set up defensive positions. As negotiations were proceeding for the Croat troops to lay down their arms, the rattle of machine-gun fire was heard from the woods above. The crowd of troops and refugees, too densely packed to move freely, fell in droves as the machine-guns played their deadly fire back and forth. Within minutes, thousands of bodies lay dead or dying. To add to the horror, hundreds of horses, some still harnessed to their carts, panicked and dragged their wagons over the bodies of the fallen. Those that survived were simply driven back across the border to be dealt with by the waiting partisans. On other parts of the border, masses of Croatian soldiers and civilians were turned back after being disarmed by the British forces. Crammed into trains and military vehicles like sheep, they were told that they were being transported to camps in Italy. At the town of Maribor they were released from the transports and handed over to Tito's partisans, only to be shot down in their thousands in a massacre that lasted over a week. The 17th Partisan Assault Division, under the direction of Serbian officers, carried out the massacre of some 40,000 persons in the Tezen Forest at Maribor. At Sestine, 5,000 were murdered, at Vrgin Most another 7,000 fell to the partisan's bullets. Untold thousands of Serbs and Slovene Home Guard (Domobranci) from the camp at Viktring in Austria were massacred in a most brutal fashion and their naked bodies thrown into a deep chasm at Kocevje after which grenades were thrown in. There were about three of four survivors from this massacre. In total, 12,196 Croats, 5,480 Serbs, 8,263 Slovenes and 400 Montenegrins were handed over to the partisans. It is estimated that around 180,000 Croatian soldiers and civilian refugees were massacred by Tito's communists. Britain and the US relucantly agreed to these transfers but insisted that they should be carried out in an orderly and humane manner. Who was ultimately responsible for the carrying out of these forced repatriations? Winston Churchill had expressly forbidden the sending back of all those unwilling to go. Churchill's political advisor and Resident Minister at Field Marshal Alexander's headquarters, Harold MacMillan (future Prime Minister of GB), is the one that all evidence since unearthed, points to the being the one responsible for the order to force these thousands of soldiers and refugees back into the arms of Tito's communists. Unfortunately his reasons and motives for this shameful behavior of British military authorities have gone to the grave with him.
In 1999, during the construction of the Slovenian section of the Nuremberg to Zagreb Highway, between Pesnica and Slivnica, the bulldozers uncovered an anti-tank ditch containing the skulls of 1,179 Croatian soldiers. This was only in a 60 metre section of the three kilometre long trench.. At the time of the massacres, a state of war existed between Great Britain and Croatia and therefore these victims should have been granted prisoner-of-war status after their surrender and entitled to proper treatment under the Geneva Convention. Thus Britain broke the regulations of the Convention by sending these defenseless beings back to their deaths.
Smolensk. 1939/40) In 1939, during the Russian invasion of Poland, some 14,500 Polish officers were captured and interned in three POW camps in the Soviet Union. The next time the world heard of these prisoners was a news broadcast on April 13, 1943, from Radio Berlin. It stated that the German Army had discovered mass graves at Katyn,18 kilometres north-west of Smolensk, near the village of Gneizdovo and containing the bodies of Polish officers. Eight graves were opened and 4,253 bodies exhumed. All were dressed in Polish uniforms, with badges of rank and medals intact. No watches or rings were found on the corpses. It was established that the bodies were of Polish officers from the camp at Kozielsk, situated in the grounds of a former Monastery, near Orel. Two other camps, at Starobielsk (3,910 men) and at Ostashkov (6,500 men) were wound up and closed in the first days of April, 1940. Whatever happened to these 10,000 odd officers has never been established. They were never seen alive again. From evidence obtained after the war, all prisoners of Kozielsk camp were shot by Stalin's NKVD.
On April 13, 1990, fifty years after the massacre, the USSR for the first time admitted its responsibility for the murders. The whole controversy was finally laid to rest when Boris Yeltsin, handed over the secret files on Katyn to the Polish president, Lech Walesa, on October 14, 1992. In May 1992, in a wood near Kharkov, a Russian private investigation team discovered a mass grave containing 3,891 bodies of Polish officers from the camp at Starobielsk in the Ukraine. In June of that year, Soviet authorities discovered 30 mass graves at Miednoje, one hundred miles north-west of Moscow. They contained the remains of 6,287 Polish prisoners from the Ostashkov island camp on Lake Seliguer. Before the massacre, 245 officers from Kozielsk, 79 from Starobielsk and 124 from the camp at Ostashkor, were transferred, for no apparent reason, to a camp at Pavlishchev Bor, a hundred miles north-west of the Kozielsk camp. These 448 officers proved to be the only survivors of the Katyn massacre. In other parts of the Katyn Forest, other graves were discovered containing the bodies of Russian political prisoners who were executed in pre-war days by the NKVD. It seems that the Katyn Forest was the main execution site for Stalin’s secret police. (Not to be confused with the Khatyn murder site near Minsk).
On July 1st 1941, around 180 German soldiers of the 2nd and 6th Infantry Regiments and the 5th Artillery Regiment were taken prisoner by the Red Army in the town of Broniki. Most were suffering from battle wounds. Next day, the 2nd of July, advancing Wehrmacht troops discovered 153 bodies in a clover field near the town. All had been brutally murdered. According to the twelve survivors of the massacre, they were taken to the field just off the main road and forced to undress. All valuables such as money, rings, watches as well as their uniforms, shirts and shoes were stolen. Standing there naked, the prisoners were then fired upon by machine guns and automatic rifles. A few managed to escape by fleeing to the nearby woods. Similar reports from other regiments gave rise to the suspicion that the Soviets, in the early stages of the war, were not taking any prisoners. There was a division order, according to which every Russian soldier who shoots twenty German soldiers, received a three day leave pass to go home. He also was decorated and raised in rank.
(June 22-29, 1941) During the week of 22/29 June, 1941, thousands of Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners were murdered in their cells by the Soviet NKVD (KGB). Soon after the German attack on the Soviet Union, the retreating Soviets had no time to care for their prisoners locked up in prisons in the Ukraine, so they were simply killed. In some cities the whole prison was set on fire and the helpless prisoners burned to death. In Lutsk, 2,800 out of the 4000 inmates in prison, were murdered. When the German 49th Army Corps occupied the Polish-Ukrainian city of Lvov, now Limberg, around 2,400 dead bodies were found by German troops in the NKVD prison. Some were killed by hand-grenades thrown into their cells, most were killed by a shot in the neck. In the cellars of the Brygidky prison, 423 bodies were recovered. Hundreds more were piled up in the courtyard. In the military prison at Samarstinov, which had been set on fire, 460 charred bodies were found, many showing signs of brutal torture. In the cellars, bodies were piled up layer upon layer almost to the ceiling. Owing to the stench of the decomposing corpses, the German commander of Lvov ordered all doors to the cellars bricked up after the bodies were covered with lime. Altogether, in the Ukraine, around 10,000 Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners were killed in their prisons. It is a sad fact that many members of the NKVD execution squads in the Ukraine, were Jewish collaborators. (A memorial plaque at the former headquarters of the NKVD/KGB in Simferpol, Ukraine, is engraved with the names of thirty NKVD agents who gave their lives in the Great Patriotic War (the Soviet name for World War 11). The amazing thing is that all thirty names are Jewish! About half a million Jews served in the Red Army and approximately 200,000 were killed. A total of 160,000 Jewish soldiers were decorated with Soviet awards, 145 recieving the highest Soviet award, the 'Hero of the Soviet Union'. Two Jewish women were also awarded this honour. Many Soviet soldiers, after capture, joined the Waffen SS, ie. the 30th SS Division was composed of such troops.
Shortly after the occupation of the town of Vinnitsa in July,1941 the German troops discovered a mass grave in the courtyard of the town's prison. The grave, twenty metres long by six metres wide, contained the bodies of 96 Ukrainian political prisoners.They were killed when it was found impossible to evacuate them prior to the arrival of the German troops. Behind the prison, in another courtyard, a second mass grave was found but the bodies were not exhumed. However, persistent rumours among the civilian population of Vinnitsa resulted in the discovery of more graves at three different locations. In a pear orchard, 2kms outside the town, 38 mass graves were found, in the old cemetery 40 graves were discovered and in the People's Park another 35. Digging began on May 25, 1943 and it was soon established that the victims had died some five years before. The digging was interrupted some time later by adverse weather conditions. It was never resumed because the Red Army re-occupied the area soon after. By the time the Soviets entered the town, a total of 9,439 corpses had already been counted. All had a bullet wound in the neck. Ukrainian witnesses testified that since 1938 until the arrival of the German troops in 1941, trucks kept coming and going day and night bringing dead bodies to the burial ground from the NKVD prisons in the area. Most of the victims were farmers and field workers (Kulaks) who were classed as 'enemies of the people' and who had resisted Stalin's collectivization policies.
(Dec.29, 1941) On the shores of the Black Sea, on the Crimean Peninsula, stands the port city of Feodosia. On the 3rd of November the city was captured by the German 46th and 170th Infantry Divisions. As the attack on Sevastopol was about to take place, most of the German forces were withdrawn to concentrate on the forthcoming battle. Left behind in the city were a small detachment of troops and all the wounded soldiers convalescing in the city's hospitals. On the afternoon Dec.29, the city was bombarded by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and a landing was made by Soviet marines followed by infantry. On the 18th of January, 1942, after their failure to capture Sevastopol, the German Wehrmacht was able to return an recapture Feodosia. They found that most of the German military personnel had been murdered. Wounded soldiers had been thrown out of the windows of the hospital to make room for Russian wounded. Water was then poured on the near dead bodies and then left to freeze. On the beach, piles of bodies were found where they were thrown from a wall several metres high after being beaten and mutilated, their bodies left in the surf so that the sea water froze and covered them with a sheet of ice. There were some twelve survivors who had hidden in cellars when the Russian troops arrived. Their testimony before a German court of inquiry confirmed that some 160 wounded soldiers were liquidated this way.
(Sept.18, 1941) During the Soviet army retreat in the direction of Yeletsk, the retreating soldiers came upon a small ravine between Chartsysk and Snizhy stations about sixty kilometres from the city of Stalino. The horrible sight that befell their eyes was the dead bodies of many children aged from 14 to 16 years that partly filled the ravine. They were dressed in the black uniform of the F.S.U. Trade and Craft School in Staline. It was discovered that the children were being evacuated from Staline as the German army neared the city. After walking nearly 60 kilometres they became utterly exhausted and had begged for transport. Their guardians promised to send trucks but instead a detachment of Russian political police (NKVD) arrived. Carrying machine-guns, they starting shooting the children in cold blood and throwing the bodies into the ravine. The Soviet soldiers counted the bodies of 370 slain children.
(USSR February 16/17, 1944) During a violent blizzard on the night of Feb.16, five divisions of General Hube's 8th Army, including the 5th SS Division 'Viking' and the Belgian Volunteer Brigade 'Wallonie', made a last desperate bid to break out of the Russian encirclement around the towns of Korsun and Shandrerovka in the lower Dnieper west of Kiev. At 4am, forming up in two columns of around 14,000 each, they flocked into two parallel ravines in the surrounding countryside, and where the two ravines met, the troops then emerged into open country and headed out towards Lysyanka. There, disaster struck as the Soviet troops, under General Konev, were waiting. Soon after 6am, the slaughter began. Soviet tanks drove into the German columns crushing hundreds under their tracks. Fleeing in panic, the troops were then confronted by units of Cossack cavalry who started hacking them to pieces with their sabres, hands were lopped off of those who approached with their arms raised in surrender. There was no time to take prisoners and the carnage continued till it was all over. In the short space of three hours, over 20,000 German soldiers lay dead. Another 8,000, who had fled the scene, were rounded up during the next few days and taken prisoner.
Unable to stem the onrush of German forces during the invasion of their country, Polish soldiers and civilians started fleeing eastwards. It was during this flight to the east that the ethnic German civilians, resident in Poland for many years, received the full impact of the spite and hate stored up in the hearts of the fleeing Polish soldiers and their civilian followers. German houses were entered and the occupants arrested and then murdered. Not all were shot, many were brutally put to death by all sorts of tools and their bodies severely mutilated. As the soldiers left to search for more German houses, their civilian helpers were left behind to plunder and steal and in most cases, to set the house on fire. Many of the German women were raped before being shot. During this retreat to from the west, the Polish soldiers, together with the civilian irregulars, were responsible for the deaths of around 6,000 German civilians. At a later investigation, the testimonies of 593 witnesses established the fact that at least 3,841 named ethnic Germans were murdered by the Poles prior to the full German occupation.
(Feb 18, 1943) The area of Grischino lies to the north-west of Stalino (now Donets) an important industrial region in the Ukraine. Occupied by German forces, it was recaptured by a Soviet armored division and again recaptured by the German 7th Armored Division during a counteroffensive in February, 1943. What they found was the bodies of 406 German soldiers (POWs), 58 members of the Todt Organization, 89 Italian soldiers, 9 Romanian soldiers, 4 Hungarian soldiers and some civilian workers, Ukrainian volunteers and German nurses. A total of 596 souls had been killed. Most were shot after being dragged from their hiding places in cellars. Many of the bodies were horribly mutilated, ears and noses cut off and genital organs amputated and stuffed into their mouths. Breasts of some of the nurses were cut off, the women being brutally raped. In the cellar of the main train station around 120 Germans were herded into a large storage room and then mowed down with machine guns. It was realized that the 'Russians had killed every single German they had found there'. As with most massacres, there were survivors and in this case, civilian witnesses.
The massacre of 72 German and Italian troops at Biscari, now called Acate in Sicily, in 1943. American troops of the 180th regiment are allegedly guilty of the incident four days after they landed on the island. When 34 Italians and two Germans surrendered, a captain ordered his sergeant to execute them and a further 37 prisoners. The captain and sergeant were court-martialed. In their defence they said they had been ordered not to take prisoners. The captain quoted a pep talk given by Patton to commanders: "When we meet the enemy, we will kill him. We will show him no mercy." The captain was cleared of the charges. The sergeant was sentenced to life in jail but released after a year. This type of info is very difficult to come by and this I found in a book by Christopher Robbins, author of "The Test of Courage" a biography of Michael Thomas, a former American intelligence officer and "Nazi hunter".
This is taken directly from "Wie ein Fels im Meer" by Karl Ulrich and is from the point of view of a member of the 3rd SS Panzer Division Totenkopf in American captivity after the war. This particular instance occured while prisoners of SS Totenkopf were being force-marched into Russian held territory by their American captors to be handed over to the Russains.
"On this road to Freistadt there happened a general massacre of German prisoners of war by American soldiers which the world has not heard of by now. The men and leaders were so much bodily enervated - they simply could not go on anymore. The rate of marching speed was destined by the American panzers and was extremely fast, as 40km had to be covered on foot daily! They dragged themselves to the road-ditch or let themselves fall into it. Already at the cross-road, where the Russian commissary had stood, the escorting American soldiers jumped down from their panzers and shot from the shortest distance with their tommy-guns bullets into the temples or necks of the German prisoners of war sitting or lying at the road-ditch.
There they lay, the old Sergeant-Majors and Corporals, who had fought for years and who had gone with glad confidence into American captivity only four days ago - one beside the other at a distance of a few metres. By reason of one's own bodily condition everybody could judge for himself, when it would be his turn. From time to time, several tried to break out, but were mostly shot down by the elevated panzer machine-guns. It seemed that the American panzer unit wanted to win the same glory which we had acquired before in fair fight and not by massacres. I myself marched with the second group of our Assault Gun Battalion, approximatley in the 5th or 6th row. Shortly before Freistadt the road made a right-hand bend and through various cuts in the side wall (the farmers use them to get to their fields) one could make out that there was a steep downwards slope and a brook behind it. The instinct of self-preservation is known to head no dangers."
Our own treatment of Russian prisoners is having awful con-
sequences. In the retreat from Moscow we had to abandon German field
hospitals as well. The Russians dragged out the sick and injured, hanged
them upside down, poured gasoline over them, and set them on fire. . . .
On another occasion German prisoners were beheaded and their heads
laid out to form the SS symbol.
December 24, 1941
Katyn was not the only Soviet atrocity blamed on the German invader. In the Kuropaty forest in Belorussia roadworkers excavating a new highway in 1957 uncovered human remains. 'An ancient cementery' was the explanation given. In 1987 two schoolboys stumbled across a mass grave. What they had discovered was one of an estimated 500 mass burial sites in the forest around Minsk, all of them filled with the victims of NKVD terror. They contained, according to the estimates of those who investigated them, between 150,000 and 200,000 bodies. The official position of the Byelorussian Government, which authorized a commission of inquiry, was to blame the Germans, and this position was maintained beyond the collapse of the Soviet Communist system, which had kept the lies alive. The evidence from the exhumations damned the NKVD. The bullets were those used in the official-issue Nagan revolver; death was the usual shot through the back of the skull, exactly as in Katyn. There were witnesses who watched the relentless cycle of killing behind the fenced-off area of forest; who saw the forest roads flattened by the constant trafffic of trucks coming in full and returning empty; who recalled the timetables of execution: dawn, two o'clock in the afternoon, dusk. To blame the German invader for Katyn was easy in the 1940s, given the unambiguous evidence of German crimes throughout the occupied Soviet area. To sustain the falsehoods for fifty years and to heap on more when the evidence quite literally surfaced in the 1980s is harder to explain. The image of Soviet righteousness, sustained by propaganda after the German invasion, allowed Stalin, and then the entire Soviet system, to erect a curtain of forgetfulness between the pre-war and the post-war world. The post-Stalinist state had no more interest in owning up to atrocities than had Stalin himself. Honesty on such issues was regarded as corrosive.
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I am particulary interested in crimes/attrocities against the Waffen SS in the field, for exaple the situation between the Canadian and the 12th SS where several troops were used as human shields. Any information on these subjects would be gratefully recieved.
Keep up the good work.