Mal-treatment of German POWs

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
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Post by Exxley » 06 Jul 2005 19:37

Also, recently, someone wrote a very dramatic account about himself, a Jew, surviving the Holocaust as a child, surviving awful experiences, including having his father shot before his eyes. Then it came out that he was not a Jew, but a Swiss christian, that he spent the war years in a Swiss bording school, in short, his best-selling book was a total fabrication. And then, some self-appointed "Holocaust educators said publicly: "Wait a minute. It really is a valuable book for our work. If he feels it strongly, (what, the urge for royalties?) it has a certain reality. Let's continue using it." Amazing!

And the relevancy of that story to the current topic being ?

We are all formed by our experiences. Part of mine was being dragged in front of the class in kindergarten and first grade to be knocked about by the teacher as some sort of minature Nazi, although we had lived in New York for 20 years. Or to come close to being chucked into a camp with my mother when I was three, where our family doctor's wife was. (Only about five years ago Congress passed some legistation to further obscure these matters.) Perhaps I have been made overly sensitive to injustice.

Possibly David marched his company about too much in the noon-day sun. (I only marched a company about for one day, and I was able to wear my steel pot, and I think it was cloudy. The next morning I remember standing in a forest at 6 AM in a rainstorm, eating SOS (s--t on a shingle, remember it, David?) in my poncho, M-1 reversed.) Andreas probably has been subverted by the Parisians, who are a breed apart. Walter is the big puzzle.

As I pointed out earlier, Mr Lemke biographical anecdotes arent really of much interest here.

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Re: Basics

Post by Andreas » 06 Jul 2005 19:44

bob lembke wrote: Let me do a little calculation of my own. As I said, the 34.2 per 1000 death rate for the six week period, extrapolated to a one year period, is 297 per 1000. (This calculation requires a number of assumptions, but they are not really terrible.)

Maybe, maybe not, but unless you tell us what they are we won't know. If one of the assumptions is that the initial conditions in the camps remained unchanged, then yes, I would say that is really terrible.

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Post by David Thompson » 06 Jul 2005 20:28

Bob -- You said:
However, let me rudely point out that you guys are not analysts. (Being a good analyst is not simply being able to do sixth-grade arithmatic, although it helps.) Allow me to pompously point out that I have done four degree programs, all professional programs (mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, operations research, regional planning, and regional science), a total equivilant of 9 1/2 full-time years of study (my masters in regional science, really mathematical economics, mostly, at the Wharton School, was done part time while I was working as an Operations Research Specialist in a research office in Philadelphia's government), all at Ivy League universities (Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania). (Have I annoyed you guys enough on this point?) I have worked as an analyst for decades, and as a professional demographer for years. But we don't need a rocket scientist here. But in this long discussion I can't recall seeing you guys put your hand to some figures or a table and not screw it up in some way, either making errors in your arithmatic, or conceptually screwing up the analysis.

I don't think you're just the one to complain about the mistakes of others, given the number of your erroneous factual assumptions and claims in this thread so far. For an analyst, your incautious reliance on multiple undocumented claims, hyperbolic generalizations and anecdotal evidence to support your arguments has been rather surprising.

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Post by Larry D. » 07 Jul 2005 00:14

Bob -

Your last post that begins with -
Let's try to look at this Table IX systematically
- is a sad lament (I think) by someone who seems to be obsessed with righting perceived atrocities and injustices against the German people by the evil Allies bent on retribution. I also detected a sense of great bitterness that the Jews get all of the pity and attention and the poor Germans get none. Well, that's fine, Bob. Maybe if some of us had shared your personal circumstances we would feel the same way. But I was taken back a bit by your implication that perhaps you were better educated and thus better qualified to render a judgement on the Bacque charges than the rest of us. I can't speak for the others, of course, although I suspect David may be a retired attorney, but I have an undergraduate degree in history, followed 10 years later by an undergraduate degree in accounting and 2 years after that by a master's degree in business administration. My universities may not have been up to Wharton and Cornell standards, but they weren't far behind. I am also about your age and I am also of German parentage on my father's side. Further, I am a card-carrying member of the Johannes Schwalm Historical Society ( derived from a great, great, great grandfather who was about the 4th or 5th most senior officer in the large contingent (reinforced regiment) of Hessian troops who came to the United States in 1779 to fight against the Americans. And all of this together with all of what you said plus 99¢ will get us the medium coffee at the corner Seven-Eleven.

The point, Bob, is that you are swimming against the tide. Bacque's charges and claims are a bunch of phoney baloney and are not taken seriously by anyone save for those with obsessive agendas. Your comments about Abu Graib and the American image abroad puts you squarely with the Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch/New York Times/Al Franken crowd, so all I can say is "Good Luck to You, Bob." And, oh yes, Bob, I'm a disabled Vietnam vet who loves his country and votes (gasp!) Republican. So we have little in common other than a shared ancestory.

If David wishes to delete my post he is welcome to do so, but in fairness he should delete Lembke's past post, too, since both contain mostly OT personal commentary.

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Post by David Thompson » 07 Jul 2005 00:29

Larry D. -- You said:
If David wishes to delete my post he is welcome to do so, but in fairness he should delete Lembke's past post, too, since both contain mostly OT personal commentary.

I usually don't delete posts unless they're in gross violation of the forum or H&WC section rules, or continue noncomplying behavior after repeated warnings in the thread, or to the poster.

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Farewell Comments

Post by bob lembke » 07 Jul 2005 04:51


Once again I had thought I had made it out the door, and Larry D. has reached out of the mailslot and grabbed my coattails. I believe that I had prophetized that the ad hominum attacks were about to begin. I will again try to disengage, hopefully in a light and playful fashion, while dealing with Larry D.'s charges: that I am a snivvling German, that I am a Commie pinko, that (even worse) I may be a Democrat, and implying in a left-handed way that I am some sort of anti-Semite. There certainly is a clear implication that I am anti-patriotic. To satisfy his curiosity (and show how full of horse-feathers he is) I will tack my bio to the door on my way out.

I too am half -German, my grandmothers being Danish and English. My mother and her family are probably not much of an influence on me, she was sweet and loving, but not an idea person at all, and also seriously mentally ill, spending perhaps 20 years in mental hospitals.

My father's family were far right, way to the right of the Nazis. On his side, I am the first male in three generations not to have gotten at least one Iron Cross. My father, after volunteering for Gallipoli, was a Prussian Guard flame-thrower operator, wounded four times at Verdun and Reims. (My mother, in a paranoic moment, threw away his Totenkopf insignia, but I still have a piece of his upper left arm bone blown off by a French 75 shell on Dead Man's Hill at Verdun, and other stuff of his, some of his medals, etc.) He loved the war. His father was a Prussian professional officer until his wife poisoned him, and was a staff officer in WW I, earning both the EK II and EK I in about the first two months of the war, which he hated from day one. (I say all this because, as I research these guys, read their letters from the front, I realize I am a lot like them, as is also said by the one living relative who knew them both.) After the war my father was a flame-thrower operator in one of the few Prussian-Guard-based Freikorps, was in the Schwartze Reichswehr, and seemed to have been involved in Orgesh, a rather sinister group, I have heard. He was active in the Stahlhelm in Germany and the US.

I was a Republican at Ithaca, where I was at Cornell for 10 years at school and on staff. I was considering a career as an Army officer, in Armor, and completed ROTC, doing quite well in my ratings. But my eyes would not allow me to have a career in a combat branch, and I felt that being a non-combat officer was a bit like working in the post office. (Probably an unfair opinion, but that is how I felt.). I also am a journey-man bricklayer. I worked for the Department of State in Jugoslavija, but my draft board called me back early, but I was not drafted. (I would have gone, it was a just war, but not a very smart one, as I realized at the time.) I started to work in the mayor's office in Philadelphia, recruited out of Cornell, and I was informed that if I registered Republican I would be fired, so I became a sort of Democrat, everywhere but in the voting booth. I was a member of the NRA for quite a few years, while I was a serious hand-gun target shooter. I have had carry permits on and off for 39 years, and I follow the AX dictum: "Don't leave home without it." I even carry a gun to the opera, everywhere, except complicated places like federal facilities.

A few years after my first visit to Jugoslavija the CIA tried to recruit me to snoop for them in Jugoslavija, which I visited most years, I declined for patriotic reasons to complicated to cite here. (The KGB tried to recruit me in Budapest and Algeria, and the Jugoslav State Security Service tried for about 15 years. Got some good sex there, but no sale. Only 10 years later did I find out that my father had recommended me, he was working for them in the DDR, but I did not know that.) Last fall an Army colonel wrote me and asked me to sign up to go to Iraq as an Arabic translator. I had already been receiving Social Security for over three years. They are smart enough to know I that I speak a bit of Arabic, but not my age? I last worked for the Federal government in 2000.

I am a conservative and a bit of a populist, in a hopefully intelligent way. I was an "early on" supporter of George W., but quickly realized that he and especially much of his cabal are, in my opinion, the most dangerous people we have had in public life in the last 230 years. They are not conservative at all, they are radical, some are intolerant religeous nuts, some are crooks, and some are in the pay of foreign powers.

My wife is my soulmate; her family have been New England farmers for 371 years, now having about 5000 acres of land in Vermont. Her mother, when 16, both lost her hunting license for killing two deer with one shot (both head-shots) and successfully pitched men's semi-pro baseball.

I had the Politically Correct German guilt for about the first 50 or 55 years of my life. That's toast now. I am an amused observer of what I term the "Victimization Olympics".

My fourth book will be about my father, so I am digging in the family history, which is a problem because almost everyone is dead. I have recently made progress on both sides of the family. My relatives in Germany used to snicker about how all the Nazis were the English side of the family, both in Germany and in England. This seems to be true, it was my English grand-mother, then her husband (they had been communists before), and then one of her sons. The new and especially amusing development is that it now looks like my maternal grandmother was not only a Nazi (Party member?, I don't know) but also quite possibly Jewish. My wife, thru a UK-based forum she is active on, will shortly be pursuing this business. So I am quite possibly Jewish.

I was going to blather about a couple of other points, but I have gone on too long, and those discussions would not be as amusing as I hope the above was.

Bob Lembke

PS: David, I thank you for your tireless efforts to run this very difficult corner of the Forum, and your supplying countless useful threads to the combatants. Another Moderator commented to me via PM what a difficult job you have here. I appreciate that I have tried your patience and violated the local norms.

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Re: Farewell Comments

Post by Andreas » 07 Jul 2005 07:02

bob lembke wrote:. I believe that I had prophetized that the ad hominum attacks were about to begin.

Not a difficult prediction to make, since you started them yourself with your implication that people here were not qualified to analyse the matter.

I won't bother reading through the stream of consciousness autobio that followed, so I apologise if somewhere in there you posted your assumptions for why you think the 6-week period is representative of what happened over the year. Can you please repost them, in a focused post.

Thank you.

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Post by walterkaschner » 07 Jul 2005 07:16

I feel like an old alcoholic who has fervently sworn off the bottle but can't resist taking one more drink!

But let me take one more try, making it as simple as I can.

1. James Bacque in his Other Losses (1991 revised edition, Pima Press) asserts that the German POWs, held in US prison camps in Europe, were: to conditions that killed them at the rate of over 30% per year.
p. 65

2. The sole source proffered for this assertion is Bacque's Appendix 2.

3. Appendix 2 contains facsimiles of two Tables, IX and X, taken from the typed manuscript of "Medical History, European Theater of Operations" to be found in the National Archives. I have no question but that the Tables are authentic. They are based on a survey by the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the European Theater in may-June 1945.

4. As indicated in my prior post, the caption to Table IX states that it is a comparison of (a) the number of [hospital] admissions and (b) death rates per 1000 per annum for POWs in the ASCZ, with ETO (less UK) Troops [ie essentially US Troops]. Table X is a listing by causes and number of deaths of the "Chief Causes of Death Due to Disease in ABSZ Prisoner of War Enclosure For Six Week Period Ending 15 June 1945".

5.Table IX shows a number of 2,754 POW deaths from disease and a 34.2 death rate per 1000. In light of Table IX's caption, one would think that the 34.2 death rate per 1000 was a per annum rate. The caption says so.

Bob Lembke, however, disputes this and insists that the stated rate was only for the 6 weeks reviewed, which, if true, would elevate the annual death rate to 296.5 per 1000, or 29.65%. ( 52/6 = 8.67 x34.2 = 296.5) BUT:

(a) Bracque himself states that the rates per 1000 shown in Table IX are annual and not 6 week rates:

.....the rate per thousand for hospital admissions for injuries was 468 per year.
[my emphasis]Appendix 2, p.211.

(b) If the rates shown are on a 6 week basis, then, for example, the POW rate of 5,003 per 1000 for total hospital admissions would be 43,376 per 1000 per annum (52/6 = 8.67 x 5,003 = 43,376), or 43+ admissions for each POW per year, or about 1 every 8-9 days!!! That stikes me as far beyond the stretch of credibility.

(c) Equally incredible would be the resulting death rate for US Troops. If the 3.8 death rate per 1000 shown for US troops excluding battle casualties were computed on a 6 weeks basis, then the total US death rate per annum would be 32.95 per 1000 per annum, or 3.3% - many times higher than the comparable figures supplied in one of David thompson's previous posts.

(d) In my own albeit limited [Iv'e only been around 75 years] experience, unless specifically otherwise indicated, "rates" when quoted are generally understood to be per annum rates. E.G. "I got a 6% interest rate on my mortgage!"

(e) Conclusion: Bob Lembke's old dog still just wont hunt.

6. One would also think from looking at Table IX that the number of hospital admissions and deaths shown are those which actually took place during the 6 week period in question. That seems to me the fair implication of its caption and the arrangement of of the table that follows. But this would demolish Bacque's assertion of an over 30% POW death rate and so he argues that no, the numbers of hospital admissions and deaths shown are not the numbers actually experienced during the 6 week period, but rather those 6 week numbers projected forward throughout the year. So that, for example, the number of 37,713 POW hospital admissions for injuries shown on Table IX are the projected admissions which would occur for the entire year if one were to apply the shown rate of 468 per thousand per annum to the population of POWs surveyed.

7. By cobbeling up that theory, Bacque can play mathmetical mumbo-jumbo and produce a POW death rate of over 30%. Here's how: Bacque first purports to compute the number of POWs in the study by taking his 37,713 assumed hospital admissions per year and dividing that number by the 468 per thousand annual rate stated in Table IX. This results in a computed POW study population of 80,583. Well OK, but so what? If you consider the 2,868 total number of POW deaths shown on Table IX as a projection for the total deaths for the entire year, then if the population of the study is 80,563 the annual death rate is only 3.56% (2,868/ 80,563 = 0.0356, or 35.6 per 1000, as shown on Table IX.)

8. Ah, but wait! Although according to Bacque the POW hospital admission numbers reflect projections for the entire year, the POW death numbers do not! How so? Well, in effect Bacque maintains that the "annual projected" 2,868 POW death total shown on Table IX is simply phony. He gets there by looking at Table X, which shows a total of 2,304 deaths from disease during the 6 week period from the 12 chief causes listed, and which, if you project them out for a full year, results in a total of 19,968 annual deaths from disease. That of course is much better, because against a study population of 80,563 a total of 19,968 deaths per year gives you an annual death rate of 24.78%.

9. But we are still not quite at the over 30% rate. How to get there? It's simple - dredge up a Table 23 included in a 1969 Article published in the History of Preventative Medicine in Word War II which shows the number of POW deaths from disease during the same 6 weeks as 2,754 which when added to the 114 deaths from injury and battle casualty comes to a total death tole of 2,868. When annualized and applied to a study population base of 80,563 the result is a total death rate of 30.86% (52/6 = 8.67 x 2,868 = 24,866/ 80,563 = .3086)

10. But wait! Table IX shows the same number of POW deaths from disease as does Table 23 from the 1969 Article - doesn't that suggest that all numbers in Table IX are actual numbers experienced for the 6 week period? Of course not, silly! That would mean that Bacque's computation of the size of the POW population underlying the study was all wrong and we couldn't get to our 30% plus death rate. We would be back to that 3.56% rate which, although pretty bad, certainly wouldn't sell any books at all. No, the explanation is simple:

The evidence is clear that the author of this History [Table IX] hid the death rate by suppressing evidence.....[He] simply reproduced the POW death figures for six weeks as if they applied to a whole year. He thus apparently reduced the death rate of 29.7 percent per year for disease to 3.42 percent. This is probably why the author of the History did not show Table X complete. Table X's true total of 2,754 would have revealed that he had deceptively used the same number in Table IX......Because in Table IX the disease death rate has been falsified, the rates for injury and battle casualty have almost certainly been falsified downwards to reduce the death rate......

It's a case of falsification, suppression of facts, cover up!!! That should surely sell some books! BUT:

(a) There is nothing whatsoever in Table IX that suggests that the numbers stated are anything other than those actually experienced during the 6 week period reviewed, and certainly no hint that they might be projected annual totals. If the latter was the case, surely the author would have so indicated.

(b) If the numbers stated are annual projection of 6 week actuals, then the figures for US Troops simply make no sense. Let's test Bacque's technique for determining the size of the POW population underlying the study(see 7. above) to determine the size of the US Troops in the ETO European Theater of Operations. The US hospital admissions are shown on Table IX for injuries are 31,070; divide that by the 101 rate per thousand per annum shown and the result is a US troop count of 307,624 in the entire ETO in May - June of 1945. I don't know what the exact number actually was, but it was many times the result of applying Bacque's approach.

(c) Let's test it just once more to make sure the first wasn't a fluke. Take the 1, 162 total US Troop deaths shown and divide it by the total US Troop death rate of 4.1 per 1000 per year. Here we get an even more lidicrous result of 283, 415 for the US Troop comliment in the ETO.

(d) Bacque notices the absurd results produced by application of his methodology to the US TRoop figures, but brushes them away as either statistically unreliable or based on a different survey. And anyway, so what:

These difficulties in Army statistics are typical and usually prevent anyone from discovering the death rate in the camps.
Appendix 2, at p.211.

11. I find it passing strange for a historian to attack the credibility of the only documentary source he has for the theorem he is proposing, but I suppose there is something to the saying that a drowning man will clutch at a sword. As a lawyer, I've been caught myself a few times in desperation to find an argument to save a hopeless case. But I don't think it says much for the integrity of a historian.

13. It seems tolerably clear to me that both Bob Lembke and James Bacque in their different ways have approached Table IX "bassackwards" in the parlance often employed in this part of the world. If you just hone up and apply Occam's well known razor by simply accepting the Table for what it clearly says it is all internal inconsistencies and contradictions vanish into thin air, and one is still left with a shameful 3.56% annual POW death rate, which the Table itself deplores by pointing out that it is nearly 9 times that of US Troops. The only inconsistency is that the POW population derived by applying the various rates per 1000 per annum to the various numbers given the result in each case hovers around 700,000, and that disagrees with a POW population for the study of 70,000 which appears somewhere in the text of the study (which Bacques fails to set out.) Well, its not too hard for me to imagine a tired typist missing a zero - I made the identical mistake on one of my previous posts, and although I'm a superantiquated two finger hunt and peck typist, I at least like to think that others may also be capable of making mistakes too.

14. But then of course without allegations of a shockingly high death rate, outrageous conduct at the highest levels of government, rampant falsifications, suppression of evidence, coverups - how is a book supposed to sell?

15. The above is BORING beyond belief, and I solemly vow that this is absolutely, definitely, finally, without reservation, cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, my very last post on this topic! (Unless, of course, I am once again overwhelmed by temptation.)

Regards, Kaschner
Last edited by walterkaschner on 11 Jul 2005 16:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by WalterS » 07 Jul 2005 07:32

::::Loud applause for Mr Kaschner::::::

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I Can't Believe I am Doing This

Post by bob lembke » 07 Jul 2005 09:21


Why I droned on about my amazing qualifications: I was going to comment on my rather pompous statement about my qualifications as an analyst, but that was one of the things I finally dropped to get out of the discussion. Everyone is entitled to give their opinion, etc. What I was trying to do is short-circuit some of the circular arguements, like when David was still trying to push the enormous German study which seemingly had rediculous summary statistics. As I (sort of) said, on one of the projects I managed, ten analysts and programmers working for three years to project population, economic activity, traffic, etc. over a thirty year period, I worked half time managing my staff and one half time doing all of the demographics, which was very detailed. (For any point in time, I used five year age cohorts from 0 to 90 years, sex-specific rates, and cohorts divided into "white" and "non-white", so for a given county and a given time period {e.g., 1990-1995}, I used 72 seperate death rates.) Assuming that I used the same death rates over the different geographic areas, there were six time periods, so I used a minimum of 432 seperate death rates in my demographic projections.

So I did about one and a half year's extremely detailed demographic work over the three year period. The advantage that gave me is that when, for example, David was trying to sell us some astonishing death rates for POWs that worked out to one prisoner dying in 4500 man-years worth of confinement, I can immediately recognize that such a low rate has never been achieved on earth by any population, not the British Royal Family, forced to eat a healthy diet and keep off the ski slopes; not Swiss nuns between 20 and 30 wrapped in cotton padding and forced to swear off binge drinking; no population on earth. So when a Kommison works 16 years and produces about 10,000 pages of output and has such rubbish as summary statistics, my analyst's instincts tells me to toss the work, don't even waste your breath discussing the numbers.

Again, the market indicates that there is little interest in these very rare books. I have bought over 100 old books in Germany over say the last two years. These books were only released in 431 sets, I think, and most must be held by libraries and institutions. I have had to pay $100 to $200 sometimes to buy books that were produced by the thousands. Why are the going price $31, so cheap? This is a book for the specialist, and it doesn't seem like the specialist has any use for it.

My point is not that I walk on water. My point is that I have done lots of demographic work (and, my results, 25 years later, were dead on), so when I see nutty, physically impossible death rates, they stick right in my face. If you have done no work with death rates, or any demographic work, you can try to argue a point that really is not worth the effort. Its no that you guys are dumb or anything, just that you can tend to chew on a point or some alleged data points that clearly are outside the realm of possibility, if you have worked with these numbers a lot, or even a little.

Going from a rate for six weeks to an annual rate: Your implied suggestion that a death rate observed over a six week period is only imperfectly mechanically extended to a one year period is correct. Such a process implies that the health conditions will remain constant over a year. The problem is that the commission only observed the camps for six weeks. I converted the rates to compare them to other death rates. However, the situation in the European camps developed in such a fashion that this is a conservative projection, that the resultant computed annual death rate should be considerably lower than the rates that actually developed over the following year.

Both Bacque's accounts and my cousin stated that the conditions in the camps dropped sharply the day that the war in Europe was over. This was May 8th. Most of the prisoners had been recently captured, the POWs already in American hands were generally reported to be treated in a reasonable fashion. Supposedly the rations were decreased repeatedly over the succeeding months. Supposedly all shelter was destroyed in the American camps. (I have seen lots of photos of US camps, and some sketches by prisoners. I can not recall seeing a single structure in a single photo. Just lots of men standing or lying in muddy fields.) Then the winter came, one of the worst in history. (My cousin said that when the winter came one of his two blankets was taken from him.) Also, I have never heard about provisions for washing clothes. Over, say, a month, this is a cosmetic question. Over six months it is a medical question that will kill many men. Remember, diarreha was supposedly endemic.

So, unless this is all bogus, the death rates must have risen as time went by. Strong men weakened, became sick. The almost non-existant sanitary conditions worsened, started to kill people. These were many reports of men slipping off the logs thrown over the trenches of faeces, perhaps in the rain, and drowning in the sea of s--t. (Probably another case of "cardiac arrest".) So using the rates observed over the last week of the war, and the first five weeks of the post-war period, and mechanically multiplying it to cover a year's period, should be very conservative, i.e., should result in an estimated figure much lower than the rate that actually occurred over the one year period from May 1945 to May 1946, which included the entire winter.

So the assumptions inherent in the mechanical extension of the rates is flawed, but in a fashion that should sharply under-state the rates that actually developed.

Walter has written the world's longest post. It is 4 AM here. I have to go to sleep. I cannot address his post now, which seems to jump to all sorts of new figures, concerns, rates, etc.

Bob Lembke

PS Just got another encouraging PM. Never have received a negative one. So the score now is about 10 to 0. But these people almost uniformly are scared to death of the rest of you. Bad Karma here, guys.

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Post by Larry D. » 07 Jul 2005 13:47

Bob said:

Both Bacque's accounts and my cousin stated that the conditions in the camps dropped sharply the day that the war in Europe was over.

One final thought, Bob. The father of a neighbor lady down the street from me was one of the victims of what this thread has been all about. He was a Hauptmann in his early forties from Munich and surrendered with his unit on 8 May as did so many others. Incarcerated in a "camp" in Belgium that was really nothing more than an open field without tents or other shelter, he died of pneumonia in July just a few days before he was scheduled for released. Many did perish as a result of disease and exposure, and no one can claim they didn't because the record is clear. But it wasn't intentional, it wasn't in the numbers and percentages that Bacque claims, and it wasn't in all of the camps, detention areas, holding pens, or whatever you want to call them.

An old military friend of mine from Gaithersburg, Maryland, whom I've known since 1961, advanced into Germany with a triple A gun battalion via the Remagen (Ludendorff) bridge in March 1945. A few days after the war ended he and some other men from his battalion were attached to a regional constabulary command and assigned to guard German PoWs at two camps, one at Ziegenhain/47.5 km south of Kassel and the other at nearby Schrecksbach. One of the camps had been previously used for forced (slave) laborers and had barracks, while the other was a bombed out depot of some sort that still have enough roof area to provide shelter from rain and wind (but not the cold). Old Bill and I talked about these camps numerous times over the years and he described how well-treated the prisoners were, how anyone sick was whisked away by Army ambulance or truck to a dispensary that had been set up in a nearby village, how the guards gave them extra rations (C-rations, as I recall), chocolate and even cigarettes, how many of the guards made friends with prisoners even though they weren't supposed to, and on and on. Relatives of the prisoners came every day and brought extra food and clothing for them. By the time he was ordered to Le Havre to board a troop ship back to the States in October 1945, all of the dozens of camps that had been established in the Kassel area had been emptied and closed. PoWs of continuing intelligence or security interest were turned over to the CIC and taken to more permanent camps where there were heated barracks or tents and full-time medical care. I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve any of his recollections as they square against the record.

So based on everything I have read and learned over the years on this subject, I can conclude in my own mind that the U.S. Army did the best it could for the German PoWs after the war ended. They didn't plan adequately for the huge number of prisoners and some did die from disease and exposure, but all-in-all they did the best they could under the most trying of circumstances. Prof. Bacque's "exposé" was nothing more than an unwarranted and scurrilous attack on the government of the United States by a vicious enemy of this country masking himself as a scholarly historian.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think we have pretty well exhausted this thread.

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Post by David Thompson » 09 Jul 2005 16:30

Bob -- At viewtopic.php?p=727623#727623 I said:

I usually don't delete posts unless they're in gross violation of the forum or H&WC section rules, or continue noncomplying behavior after repeated warnings in the thread, or to the poster.

That time has come for you. I have given a general warning in this thread about the section rules requiring sources at:


I have directed requests for and warnings about providing sources in this thread to you specifically at:


A poster also asked you for sources at: viewtopic.php?p=718760#718760 You did not respond to his request either.

I have posted warnings in this thread to stay on topic, some directed specifically to you, at:


Your response has been to ignore the requests for sources and instead provide a lengthy series of agitprop opinion posts, replete with off-topic and undocumented claims, insulting insinuations and slighting personal remarks about other posters. At this point, your continuing and deliberate failure, after repeated warnings, to comply with the minimum requirements for informed discussion here has become abusive. The section rules are posted at: viewtopic.php?t=53962 If you can't or won't comply with these rules, don't bother posting here.

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Virgil Hiltz
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Dizzy from the spin!

Post by Virgil Hiltz » 07 Aug 2005 19:49

This was just beginning to get interesting, What happened next ?

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Post by gewehrdork » 08 Aug 2005 02:05

I have knonw three former "german" POW's. One was captured in italy in 1944 - he was a gregarious old fellow whom lived large and loved life - he stayed in the US after WW2.
Second was a plumber on Long Ilsand ( NY ) whom was an SS veteran captured in 1945.....
... he had no intentions of ever returning to the fatherland and was rather surprised at how well he was treated when he tossed his rifle down and walked into internment.
Third was the grandfather of one of my best freinds growing up.He was in the flak artillery and served in the polish , french , african , eastern fronts and surrendered in 1945 in austria to US forces. He as well mentioned the better conditions he lived under and eventually emigrated to the USA in 1950.
I have known two US pow' would never talk about his time in the german system...he actually got abrasive if pushed. The other dear fellow pretty much said he would like to give some of the sh*t he got in regards to "humane" treatment by "those nazis" as he often said.
I have read books like "We Were Each Others Prisoners" by Lewis Carlson. And it is relatively clear a trend evolves....the POWS the AMERICANS handled , especially those stateside got treatment befit of a stay at the hilton !!!.
I had "surveyed Bacques' work a couple years ago at the behest of a german friend residing in Florida...It pained him to hear me tell him I thought it was major bunk. My simpleton math simply could not make the canuck's numbers work for a holocaust of POW's as it did for the author.

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Klaus Yurk
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Post by Klaus Yurk » 08 Aug 2005 02:54


At least I predicted long ago that this thread would get uncivil, to say the least.

I will say one last thing. I personally have never made assertions that ALL Germans in POW camps run by the US or France were mistreated. (I leave out the Soviets, because that was an entirely different situation.) In fact, I've said the opposite. That in many camps, the treatment was humane and very much in accordance with the Geneva Convention. In fact, many American commanders wrote official letters of complaint concerning the French treatment of POWs in some of their camps.

But there were some camps....

My father was a Prisoner of War for more than 2 and a half years in France. During this time he lost almost half his body weight and almost died of dysentary. Many Germans in his camp died of exposure, starvation, and disease. Number unknown. It was totally the "abuse of neglect." IE, don't feed them, clothe them, house them, or give them medical care, and they will surely die.

My father was also never paid for 2 and a half years of slave labor. What department in France can I write to in order to submit a interest? :lol:


When I have let people read the book I am finishing concerning my father's life, the little ten page chapter on his POW time actually infuriates some of my fellow Americans.?????????? Their comments are curious. They range from "That is a lie. The Western Allies did not run Death Camps and treat Germans this way," to.... "Well, the Germans deserved it."

Huh? :o

I agree with the person that said it will probably be another 100 years before we get a completely accurate and historically unbiassed view of what happened to many Germans in POW camps. Probably 200 years for the POW camps on the Eastern Front. (Our Russian friends are still very defensive :)

Best wishes to all,


(Walter, I tried reading your last post, but it felt like I was back in school reading the very driest book I ever read, which had a title of something like "City Zoning Codes and Their Tax Implications." Yikes! :lol: You have to be a lawyer to have written that "stuff.":D )

(Bob, I hope you are well in your exile.)

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