War crimes against Germans in France prior Tulle & Orado

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Panzermahn
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War crimes against Germans in France prior Tulle & Orado

Post by Panzermahn » 27 Feb 2005 08:14

In the light of day on June 9, Das Reich took stock of the situation in Tulle. Forty men of III./95 were discovered dead near a school. They showed signs of execution, and local civilians reported the men had been killed after dropping their weapons and surrendering. Only an SD officer with them had a pistol in his hand. Most of the bodies were mutilated, some had had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths. Others had been covered with excrement. One man had holes in his heels with a rope through them, and a ruined face, indicating that he had been tied to the back of a truck and driven around. Other bodies were found around town, bringing the total German dead to 64. The III./95 had reported 80 missing, meaning several were unaccounted for. And 9 more Germans died in rescuing the garrison, as mentioned before. (1, 18-19)


At the edge of Oradour 3./DF had found a German ambulance with two medics and four wounded men. The driver and the other medic had been chained to the steering wheel, and then they and the wounded had been burned alive. To establish order in the town Diekmann had the population gathered. The women and children had been placed in the church while the houses were searched. The men were kept under guard in some stables. Munitions were found in many houses, which was yet more evidence of collaboration with the Maquis. Several houses had been burned down when the church suddenly, without warning, had blown up. Diekmann concluded he was under attack, and had the men shot. This may actually have been a moral crime, and it went against Stadler’s orders, but it fit within the Sperrle orders. This was the only part of the Tulle-Oradour incidents that was a crime, and Diekmann obviously felt himself guilty. He had concluded that Kaempfe was dead and that hostages were useless. Survivors were pulled from the rubble of the church, and then Diekmann mounted up his men and drove off. (1, 36-38)

Article by Marc J. Riksmenpoel, American researcher of Waffen SS

http://www.dasreich.ca/ger_oradour.html

Finally it was proven that the French Bolshevik partisans (FTP) provoked the Waffen SS of the Der Fuhrer into committing war crimes at Oradour-Sur-Glane

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Post by David Thompson » 27 Feb 2005 11:16

Panzermahn -- (1) The linked essay you provided contains the caution:

The following article outlines an examination of the Oradour events using German sources

The events at Tulle and Oradour in the French Dordogne province in early June 1944 have long been considered a black mark against the 2. SS-Panzer Division Das Reich, and against the German forces as a whole. The case against them is widely told, but the German version of these events is barely known. The French version is based largely on the testimony and accounts of Communist Party members. Sometimes these were not even French citizens, but Spaniards in exile after their Civil War, Poles in exile from Poland, or Soviet citizens who fled from service in German units. These stories were told at a time when emotions still ran high from the Second World War. This renders their accounts suspect, and, in all fairness, they should be balanced against the admittedly self-interested German version of the events. (emphasis added)


This is fair enough. However, you quoted from this German version as though it were the established truth, without attempting to follow the author's suggestion of using the German version as a balance to the French accounts. Your post doesn't even mention the French accounts.

(2) The article discusses two different incidents, viewed through German eyes. One took place at Tulle on 9 June 1944, and the other took place at Oradour-sur-Glane the next day, 10 June 1944. However, you have omitted relevant portions of the German accounts in order to make your point.

(a) Tulle

You provided this quote:
In the light of day on June 9, Das Reich took stock of the situation in Tulle. Forty men of III./95 were discovered dead near a school. They showed signs of execution, and local civilians reported the men had been killed after dropping their weapons and surrendering. Only an SD officer with them had a pistol in his hand. Most of the bodies were mutilated, some had had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths. Others had been covered with excrement. One man had holes in his heels with a rope through them, and a ruined face, indicating that he had been tied to the back of a truck and driven around. Other bodies were found around town, bringing the total German dead to 64. The III./95 had reported 80 missing, meaning several were unaccounted for. And 9 more Germans died in rescuing the garrison, as mentioned before. (1, 18-19)


There were 64 Germans killed in the partisan attack on 9 June 1944 at Tulle. The article giving the German side of the incident states that the same day:
All civilian men found in Tulle were gathered in the yard of the local ammunition factory. The operation was directed by Das Reich 1c (third general staff officer, responsible for intelligence) SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Aurel Kowatsch. He was aided by the Mayor of Tulle, local officials, and the manager of the factory in selecting all non-residents and suspicious individuals. The remaining men were released. From the suspects 120 men were selected for execution as guerrillas by SD official Walter. A number were released because of their youth, and then the remaining 98 were executed, at the direction of Kowatsch, by the Pioneer platoon of SS-Panzer Aufklarungs Abteilung 2. Since the suspects were not soldiers, and since they fought in violation of the Hague Convention, the executions were by means of hanging instead of the shooting. Additionally, it was hoped that the many dead bodies hanging in plain site would deter future Maquis attacks. (1, 19-21)


In other words, in the German version, the Waffen-SS unit executed 98 civilian men by hanging at Tulle on 9 June 1944, without a trial or proof that they had committed any crime. The suggestion from the quoted passage is that the Waffen-SS just left the dead bodies hanging. The provocation was the deaths of the 40 soldiers who had apparently surrendered and then were shot by the partisans. There is no claim that every Waffen-SS trooper in the village had surrendered, so the remaining dead soldiers were probably killed in the fighting before the last group gave up.

(b) Ouradour

You provided this quote:
At the edge of Oradour 3./DF had found a German ambulance with two medics and four wounded men. The driver and the other medic had been chained to the steering wheel, and then they and the wounded had been burned alive. To establish order in the town Diekmann had the population gathered. The women and children had been placed in the church while the houses were searched. The men were kept under guard in some stables. Munitions were found in many houses, which was yet more evidence of collaboration with the Maquis. Several houses had been burned down when the church suddenly, without warning, had blown up. Diekmann concluded he was under attack, and had the men shot. This may actually have been a moral crime, and it went against Stadler’s orders, but it fit within the Sperrle orders. This was the only part of the Tulle-Oradour incidents that was a crime, and Diekmann obviously felt himself guilty. He had concluded that Kaempfe was dead and that hostages were useless. Survivors were pulled from the rubble of the church, and then Diekmann mounted up his men and drove off. (1, 36-38)


You omitted to add the sentence immediately before the quote:
He [Diekmann] sought and found death in Normandy soon after Das Reich arrived there later that June. Between the testimony gathered by Das Reich’s judiciary branch for the court-martial, and that obtained at the French sponsored Oradour trial in 1953, a more complete picture of events emerged.

In other words, Diekmann was killed during the war. The passage "Diekmann concluded he was under attack, and had the men shot. This may actually have been a moral crime, and it went against Stadler’s orders, but it fit within the Sperrle orders. This was the only part of the Tulle-Oradour incidents that was a crime, and Diekmann obviously felt himself guilty," was Diekmann's defense against charges on which the Waffen-SS intended to court-martial him. Your failure to include this information misleads the readers into thinking that the incident actually happened the way Diekmann described it.

In addition, immediately after the passage you quoted from the article, is this paragraph, which you did not quote:
An alternate version some Germans offered was that once the men and women were separated, Diekmann gave the mayor of Oradour half and hour to secure Kaempfe’s release. If this was not done, all the men would be shot. When the time expired with no sign of the mayor, or of Kaempfe, the men were indeed shot. (2, 6-7)

In other words, your quote only gives one -- the most self-serving -- of the two German versions of the event. Let's see what the likelihood is of it being true, balancing it against the other German accounts.

According to the article, on 10 June 1944 Diekmann went to Oradour to try and recover an officer who was missing in an unrelated incident. You omitted to mention the rest of the story, in which Diekmann gives a conflicting account:
Diekmann reported back to Stadler late in the afternoon of June 10. He said he had driven with his 3./DF under SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Kahn to Oradour-sur-Glane. There he had met resistance from Maquis, including the town’s population. Murdered German Army soldiers had been found in the town after it had been occupied. Weapons and ammunition had been found in many of the houses. All the men in Oradour, about 180, had been rounded up and shot. The houses containing munitions had been burned down, with the flames eventually spreading to the church. It had burned down accompanied by violent explosions.

In other words, Diekmann at first reported to his superiors that all the men in Oradour -- about 180 -- had been rounded up and shot. When he was facing a court-martial, he provided the version given in your quote: "Several houses had been burned down when the church suddenly, without warning, had blown up. Diekmann concluded he was under attack, and had the men shot." This version is contradicted by Diekmann's own report, and by the "alternate version some Germans offered."

In other words, Diekmann's story in the quote you provided is most likely false.

You also said:
Finally it was proven that the French Bolshevik partisans (FTP) provoked the Waffen SS of the Der Fuhrer into committing war crimes at Oradour-Sur-Glane


The bottom line, according to the German version: Diekmann ordered the execution of about 180 civilians by gunfire, without a trial, at Oradour on 10 June 1944. He also burned the town. The claimed provocation: 6 dead German soldiers and a missing officer.

The fact that this was considered insufficient provocation, even by the Waffen-SS, shows that your conclusion is mistaken. Diekmann's commander planned to court-martial him for the incident:

Diekmann requested permission to drive with one of his companies to Oradour to try to free his friend, Kaempfe. Stadler agreed, stipulating that Diekmann was to negotiate for Kaempfe’s release if at all possible. He was only to occupy the town and use force as a last resort. He could take hostages to trade for Kaempfe if the officer could not be recovered otherwise. Stadler wanted Kaempfe kept alive, and was willing to take unusually lenient measures to make sure of this, because Kaempfe was his friend, an outstanding officer, and a valuable SPW specialist.


All the men in Oradour, about 180, had been rounded up and shot. The houses containing munitions had been burned down, with the flames eventually spreading to the church. It had burned down accompanied by violent explosions. No captive hostages had been brought back, and Kaempfe had not been found. Stadler was furious about this report, since it did not comply with his orders. He promised to bring court-martial proceedings against Diekmann, and later did so. (1, 31-32)


By the way, if I'm not mistaken the author of the article you provided is also a member of the forum. His article provided some valuable insights into the incident. Your selective quotes from it did not.

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Post by Georg_S » 27 Feb 2005 21:37

I know several people who participated in the hanging of the People in Tulle,
and they have talked a lot about it to me, the SD-Ustuf (or was he Hstuf) said that
for every German soldier who got killed in the Garnision of Tulle 2 French should be hanged.
Several members of the "Das Reich", never reallt understood why he stopped the hanging by the
nr of 99 people.

They also told me that when they arrived to Tulle several German soldiers was laying wounded
together with their dead comrades, and no one of the population of Tulle didn´t anything to help the wounded
soldiers.

They also told me how he selected the people who to be hanged, the SD officer said that everyone of the village
had to line up, and that decent citypeople didn´t have muddy shoes, so if they found one with mud on their
shoes they must be Maquis.

Oneof them also told me how he managed to save a 17 year old boy from to be hanged.

One of the people who participated in the hanging was SS-Oscha Otto Hoff, lated awarded with DKiG,
after the war he was condemned to Lifetime, but only 4 years later he was pardoned and released
and returned to Germany.

I have letters written by members of that Das Reich unit (SS-Pz.A.A.2) telling the story what happened in Tulle,
but of course there is always two sides of a story.

Best reg.

Georg

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Post by David Thompson » 27 Feb 2005 21:51

Georg -- If can shed more light on these incidents, I'm sure it would be appreciated.

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Post by Panzermahn » 28 Feb 2005 12:59

Several members of the "Das Reich", never reallt understood why he stopped the hanging by the
nr of 99 people


They ran out of rope was the story that widely circulated after the hangings at Tulle

Georg,

Perhaps you can share some of the letters about the members of the DAs Reich AA that told the story about Tulle?

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Re: War crimes against Germans in France prior Tulle & O

Post by Curioso » 28 Feb 2005 17:15

Article by Marc J. Riksmenpoel, American researcher of Waffen SS

http://www.dasreich.ca/ger_oradour.html

Finally it was proven that the French Bolshevik partisans (FTP) provoked the Waffen SS of the Der Fuhrer into committing war crimes at Oradour-Sur-Glane


What you have reported is the guilty party's version of the facts. What it "proves" is that the guilty party will tend to downplay its responsibilities.
The documents are interesting, provided one remembers that it's nothing but the culprits' version. Stating that it "proves" anything is like posting the version of the facts given by, say, Goering's lawyer at his trial, and ending it with a statement that Goering's innocence is thus "proven". That's either naive or disingenuous.
Also, your quoting from that site only weakens the credibility of the claim.
You'd be surprised by how many of the inmates of any prison claim they are innocent, or at least that some extenuating circumstance was not taken in due account at their trial. The fact that they claim this doesn't "prove" they are right.

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Post by Snafu » 28 Feb 2005 17:42

Perhaps, but the German version(s) does make the massacres more explainable and with nothing further in form of evidence to add, their explanation becomes more plausible. There is little sense in suggesting that regular combat troops of Das Reich would have nothing better to do than roaming about the countryside killing entire villages just for fun, which is the image the popular version of these occurances invariably convey.

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Post by Georg_S » 28 Feb 2005 19:21

I will look through my files and see what I find about Tulle regarding members of SS-Pz.A.A.2.
But if it´s possible to other try to get a copy of "SS-Beutedeutsch", written by a member (Born in Elsass)
of the SS-Pz.A.A.2, Pseudo: Sadi Schneid.
He was the one who saved the 17 year old boy, and he was also one of them who escorted the people
to the hanging spot where other people waited to hang them, one of them Otto Hoff.

It´s funny, "Sadi" have never mentioned that they was lack of ropes. Maybe you can give some source about
that statement?

Best reg.

Georg

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Post by walterkaschner » 28 Feb 2005 22:32

I see that Panzermahn once again is employing the tactic of quoting sources out of context and omitting those portions unfavorable or contradictory to his view. Perhaps in his treatment of evidence he has fallen under the influence of David Irving, who seems to be one of his favorite authors.

The atrocity committed by a unit of the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" at Oradour-sur-Glane seems to be one of Panzermahn's favorite targets for this sort of treatment. Just two weeks ago, he revived the year-old topic "Oradour sur Glane" on this very Section and attempted to lay the entire blame on the French Resistance by cherry-picking certain sentences from Mike William's comprehensive and overall outstanding web site, while of course omitting Mike's scathing conclusory indictment of the SS.

Exxley's response (February 18 last) to Panzermahn's previous and similar ploy is well worth repeating here:

How come Im not even surprised Panzermahn forgot to quote the whole conclusion of Michael Williams:

here is what Panzermahn quoted:


This is a very brief summary of what I think are the salient points concerning the events at Oradour:

The highly disciplined and politically motivated troops of the SS were provoked by the highly politically motivated and undisciplined members of the FTP (French communist resistance) into acts of reprisal.


As a direct result of their reckless attacks upon a far from beaten enemy, the resistance caused a build-up of anger and frustration within the ranks of Das Reich. This anger led to the two major incidents at Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane.


Since the end of the war, members of the resistance have constantly played upon their glorious role in deifying the enemy throughout the occupation and have consistently ignored any responsibility for their actions, no matter how inadvisable.


A crucial question for the resistance to answer is to fully explain what happened to Kämpfe after his kidnap, that they have not done so points to a bad conscience. The almost hysterical demands for the death penalty, from the communists (ex-FTP members) in the Limousin during the 1953 trial can be seen as an attempt to distance themselves from any responsibility. In fact to provide a smoke-screen for their own actions. This attitude persists to this day.


here are the missing points (emphasizes in bold are mine)


This is a very brief summary of what I think are the salient points concerning the events at Oradour:

* The highly disciplined and politically motivated troops of the SS were provoked by the highly politically motivated and undisciplined members of the FTP (French communist resistance) into acts of reprisal.

* As a direct result of their reckless attacks upon a far from beaten enemy, the resistance caused a build-up of anger and frustration within the ranks of Das Reich. This anger led to the two major incidents at Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane.

* Since the end of the war, members of the resistance have constantly played upon their glorious role in deifying the enemy throughout the occupation and have consistently ignored any responsibility for their actions, no matter how inadvisable.

* A crucial question for the resistance to answer is to fully explain what happened to Kämpfe after his kidnap, that they have not done so points to a bad conscience. The almost hysterical demands for the death penalty, from the communists (ex-FTP members) in the Limousin during the 1953 trial can be seen as an attempt to distance themselves from any responsibility. In fact to provide a smoke-screen for their own actions. This attitude persists to this day.

* As for the SS they would enjoy a better post-war reputation if they had, 'come clean' and admitted their full responsibility. Weidinger, up to his death in the 1990's, continued to try and justify events. This was either denial, pure and simple, or he genuinely, right up to his death continued to believe in the Nazi nonsense. I mention Weidinger by name, but he was (and still is) not alone.

* It must be very hard for men to admit either publicly, or even to themselves, that they have been a part of a totally evil, pitiless regime. But nevertheless, surviving SS-men must realise that they have committed crimes against their fellow men. That they, their friends and colleagues have murdered people, all in the name of a blind and stupid cause.

* The French nation itself must regret bitterly the events of 1939 - 40, when they went to war in such an unprepared condition. Really this is the main link in the chain that led to Oradour. No war, no Oradour.




When quoting someone else's opinion, the minimal intellectual honesty would be to quote the entire opinion, instead of quoting only the parts that suit best your own agenda.


I not only agree that this practice presents an issue of intellectual dishonesty but I resent being forced to distrust the accuracy of quotations submitted by a poster to support his own viewpoint. Immaturity may be an explanation, but not an excuse.

Mike William's web site, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in the topic, is found at:

http://www.oradour.info

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by Snafu » 28 Feb 2005 23:02

So the real reason that Communists and SS-troops should be held responsible for acts of atrocities and retribution is because the French army lost in 1940? A "totally evil, pityless regime"? C'mon, these are just sweeping statements that perhaps might bear witness to the author's honest opinion.

I call the three highlighted paragraphs you quoted - figleaf.

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Post by David Thompson » 28 Feb 2005 23:27

Snafu -- The topic being discussed above involves misrepresentations in posting off-site quotes about the killings at Tulle and Oradour in 1944. Misrepresentations undercut the purpose of a research area of the forum, which is to provide factual information and hold fact-based discussions. You may certainly raise questions about Michael Williams' article, but let's distinguish between the misrepresentation problem and your characterization of Mr. Williams' "sweeping opinions."

You also said:
I call the three highlighted paragraphs you quoted - figleaf.

Please don't leave the readers guessing at what you mean by this metaphorical opinion on the quotations from Michael Williams' off-site article. If you express yourself clearly, there's a chance something useful to the readers may come of it.

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Post by Snafu » 28 Feb 2005 23:55

Figleaf in this context refers to something you hold up in an ideologically, politically or otherwise oppressive environment in order to get your point across without causing repurcussions to your person or having your work or credibility surpressed.
It's very much akin to techniques employed by scholastic intellectuals during the Middle Ages where they first pay total allegiance to the doctrines of the church only to go on and in following paragraphs totally demolish the very foundations these doctrines rest upon.

I do take your point, however, and will take the opportunity to read the forum rules throughly before I post again. I do not intend to get banned simply because an inability not to refrain from what is considered reckless and irritating behaviour.

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Post by walterkaschner » 01 Mar 2005 03:43

Snafu wrote:Figleaf in this context refers to something you hold up in an ideologically, politically or otherwise oppressive environment in order to get your point across without causing repurcussions to your person or having your work or credibility surpressed.
It's very much akin to techniques employed by scholastic intellectuals during the Middle Ages where they first pay total allegiance to the doctrines of the church only to go on and in following paragraphs totally demolish the very foundations these doctrines rest upon..


Huh?

I do take your point, however, and will take the opportunity to read the forum rules throughly before I post again.


I'd caution against it; they might leave you speechless.

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 01 Mar 2005 03:55

At the edge of Oradour 3./DF had found a German ambulance with two medics and four wounded men. The driver and the other medic had been chained to the steering wheel, and then they and the wounded had been burned alive. To establish order in the town Diekmann had the population gathered.


The "ambushed ambulance" story has been often used to justify SS actions at Oradour.

I have never seen any mention of this supposed incident in any of the "Der Führer" regiment after-action reports from the time. Military historian Max Hastings, author of Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France (Henry Holt & Co, 1981) has this to say about Oradour being an "justified" reprisal for an ambulance ambush on p164 in the chapter "...A Rapid and Lasting Clean-Up":

Secondly, some Germans allege to this day that the maquis had perpetrated an abominable atrocity against Wehrmacht soldiers - some say an ambulance convoy - near Oradour. Had this been the case, it is unthinkable that the Das Reich and for that matter the propaganda apparatus of Berlin would have failed to proclaim that fact at the time, as the did the alleged killing of prisoners at Tulle. This possibility can be discounted.

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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 01 Mar 2005 04:31

They also told me that when they arrived to Tulle several German soldiers was laying wounded
together with their dead comrades, and no one of the population of Tulle didn´t anything to help the wounded
soldiers.



Here's what Max hastings has to say about the incident [Ibid. p 117:]

...The Prefect, Pierre Trouillé, had come close to summary execution himself when a case of grendades was found in his office, but he convinced the Germans that he had been an innocent spectator of the FTP takeover. Now, he asked Major Kowatsch, the divisional 1c or third-ranking staff officer, if there were to be any reprisals. He pointed out with perfect justice that the citizens of Tulle had been totally uninvolved in the events of the past two days. Kowatsch told both Trouillé and the German-speaking secretary-general, Maurice Roche, that no punitative action would be taken. This assurance was echoed at more junior levels. Private Schneid was summoned to interpret for one of his company officers who was commandeering a schoolteacher's house for quarters. In answer to her frightened question, the officer said that reprisals had indeed been considered, but had now been decided against. Kowatsch told Trouillé that a decisive factor in the decision to show mercy was the care with which German wounded had been treated in the town hospital."


Das Reich troops rounded up 3,000 Tulle townsfolk near the arms factory. Rumors swept both the terrified French civilians and their SS captors that no reprisals will be taken, due in part to the lack of involvement of the townsfolk in the insurrection and the good medical treatment given to wounded German soldiers in the local hospital. The rumors are false. The Das Reich divisional doctor reports that 40 of the garrison's dead were horribly mutilated. This news, combined with the instigation of Walter Schmald, commander of the Tulle SD, prompt the German commander to order reprisals against Tulle civilians to proceed. The terms of the reprisal mirror Lammerding's June 5th memo, with the macabre twist that the corpses will be thrown into the nearby river.


There is little sense in suggesting that regular combat troops of Das Reich would have nothing better to do than roaming about the countryside killing entire villages just for fun, which is the image the popular version of these occurances invariably convey.


During its resting and refitting period in Toulouse during May 1944, Das Reich had seen increased Resistance attacks against it troops, losing an estimated 20 men and 100 vehicles. It begain reprisal actions against French civilians that month. Das Reich troopers burned and loot Montpezat-de-Querzy in reprisal for coming under fire on May 2. On May 11, the division looted the village of Orniac, seizing 64 civilians for deportation to Germany as slave laborers. Divisional troops executed 15 civilians seized 400 cars and 200 trucks in an "atonement action" at Cahours. On June 1, the division shot nine French civilians near Caylus. On June 2, divisional troops burned 29 farms near Terrau as a reprisal for Resistance activity.

On June 5, Division CO Lammerding drafted a memo to Heer LVIII Corps about suggested steps to combat the growing resistance activity in the region. "Plan Lammerding" recommended a wholesale siezure of all vehicles and gasoline stocks, the deportation of 5,000 male civilians, and the reprisal policy of three French civilians executed for every German soldier wounded and ten three French civilians executed for every German soldier killed. LVIII Corps endorses the memo and forwards it to Army Group G.
German Army Group G ordered Das Reich to "pacify" the Tulle-Limoges region on June 7, 1944. Field Marshall Von Rundstedt admonished "...Limited success in such operations is useless...the most energetic measures must be taken in order to frighten the inhabitants of this infested region."

On June 8, the OKW wired orders to the LXVI Corps and the 2nd SS division, part of which stated: "In those areas partly infested, it is necessary to use intimidatory measures against the inhabitants. It is necessary to break the spirit of the population by making examples..."

It's perhaps important to see Oradour and Tulle not as isolated incidents but the culmination of an established pattern.

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