Friday, March 4, 2016

Day 4: Debunking the Myth of the "Clean Wehrmacht."

WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES AND DESCRIPTIONS OF CRIMES COMMITTED BY GERMAN FORCES DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR, INCLUDING RAPE, MASS MURDER, AND TORTURE. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK. IF THIS DOES NOT SOUND LIKE IT IS FOR YOU, IT MAY BE BEST TO SKIP THIS ONE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


If you are at all familiar with the vast community of World War II enthusiasts and amateur historians, both on the internet and in real life, you have no doubt at some point encountered individuals who commonly spout what commonly known as the "Clean Wehrmacht" myth: the legend that the Wehrmacht was a simply professional fighting force that fought for the honor and glory of Germany and stayed within the laws of war set out by the Geneva convention, and that horrific, disgusting atrocities committed against Jews, Communists, Slavs, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc., were solely the actions of the Schutzstaffel (S.S), and, to a lesser extent, the Sturmabteilung (S.A). Its a myth commonly spouted not only by Nazi sympathizers and Right-Wing Militarists, but also regular people who only have a casual interest in history. Often times it will be accompanied by statements like "The Allies committed just as many war crimes" or "The victors write the history books." At one time, I was no different: I was (and, to a lesser extent, still am) very much interested in the World War II-era German Military, and oftentimes found myself defending the Wehrmacht from what I believed, at the time, to be "Baseless" accusations. I look back on my opinions during those days with disgust. I hate this myth: it's baseless, it's objectively incorrect, and, worst of all, it is a whitewashing of the horrific actions committed by one of the worst regimes in history. So, today, on Swords and Socialism, I'm going to spend some time going over the Origin and MANY problems with the myth of the "Clean" Wehrmacht.
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Part 1: Origins

          Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein, famous Wehrmacht commander and early proponent of the "Clean Wehrmacht" myth
So, before we debunk the Myth, let us first delve a little bit into the origins of the Clean Wehrmacht legend. In spite of it's increased attention and growing popularity since the beginning of the internet age, thy myth actually dates back all the way back to the end of the war. Imagine yourself as a Wehrmacht General in early 1945. Germany is losing the war: her armies are in retreat all across Europe, the Armies of Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union are at your borders, and now, the Allied Powers have discovered the Concentration Camps, and news of the atrocities carried out by German troops are being spread across the globe. If you had a head on your shoulders (which, if you're a general, you really should), you would do everything you could to distance yourself from Hitler and the Nazi Regime that, only 4 years ago, you unquestioningly served. This is exactly what happened: While the SS and people like Heinrich Himmler were forced into full blown coverups and engaged in vain attempts to liquidate all the camps to prevent them being found, the Wehrmacht took the “we didn't know” approach and feigned ignorance of the camps and the various orders from Hitler to kill Jews, Communists, and other such "Undesirables." Soon after the end of the war, many Wehrmacht officers, like Erich von Manstein (pictured above), Heinz Guderian, and Franz Halder rushed to publish their own memoirs of their service during World War II and the Third Reich. The overwhelming majority of these memoirs placed heavy emphasis on the distinction between the “Criminal” SS and the “Clean, Efficient” Wehrmacht, and the subject of the holocaust and the Wehrmacht's culpability in the various war crimes committed by the Germans were often glossed over or outright ignored (Franz Halder's memoirs went so far as to push the idea that the war was “Hitler's War”, as in the Wehrmacht was opposed to the idea of war and was pushed into it by Hitler). This narrative of history, that of the honorable, apolitical German Wehrmacht soldier simply fighting for his country who didn't know of the atrocities being committed behind the front lines was very popular in postwar Germany because it shifted much of the blame for the Holocaust off of their shoulders of the average German and onto an abstract "SS" monolith. It also had overt racial undertones: by the end of the war, the overwhelming majority of formations of the Waffen SS (some estimate upwards of 80%) were made up of non-German recruits and conscripts from occupied territories: Ukrainians, Balts, Scandinavians, Slavs, Bosnians, etc., while the Wehrmacht, for the most part, remained a generally all-German force. Shifting all the blame on the SS allowed the German populace to subvertly place the majority of the blame on non-Germans, absolving them (in their minds) of guilt or concupiscence in the atrocities committed in their name.

Albert Schenz, a former Wehrmacht Colonel 
who went on to become Inspector 
of the West German Army, in his West German 
Lieutenant-General's Uniform, 1967
So, as you can see, the myth of the Clean Wehrmacht was born in  the ruble of the defeated Nazi Germany in the early post-war years (1946-55). And it should have died there, as well, had it not been for the Cold War. You see, as the Cold War started to get seriously underway, the Western and Eastern Block countries both realized that, in the (at the time) probable event that war would break out, Germany would be the First battleground: Germany had been divided into East and West Germany at the end of the war (East Germany falling under the Soviet Block, West Germany under the American Block), and Germany was where the Western and Eastern world met. So both countries began pouring money into the two German states to develop armies: West Germany was first in 1955 with the foundation of the Bundeswehr, with East Germany following suit with the formation of the Nationale Volksarmee in 1956. Both of these forces needed militarily-trained individuals to form their respective officer corps, and, as you guessed, they turned to former Wehrmacht soldiers. Both sides recruited vast amounts of Wehrmacht veterans (Up to 27% of the Officers in both the Bundeswehr and Nationale Volksarmee were ex-Wehrmacht). Notable examples include Reinhard Gehlen, Adolf Heusinger, Johanness Stienhoff, and our old friend Erich von Manstein for West Germany, and Vincez Muller, Rudolf Bamler, Wilhelm Adam, and Arno von Lenski for East Germany. Because of this, both blocks usually did not bring Wehrmacht atrocities to light, and were content enough to lay all blame on the SS. In addition to this, because Soviet Archives were closed to the western world until the fall of the USSR, the only accounts of the Eastern front (where an overwhelming majority of German Atrocities were committed) were from generals like Manstein and Guderian, who lied through their teeth and denied that they even knew about the atrocities being committed WHEN THEY OBVIOUSLY DID AND CONDONED THEM. And so, this narrative, of the Brave Wehrmacht Volunteer, who was simply fighting for "The Fatherland," who was free from Anti-Semitism, free from Political Influence, and never did anything that could be even considered immoral persisted. And it's complete, utter horseshit. Here's Why:
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Part 2: Debunking the Myth.

Wehrmacht Officers executing a Soviet POW, 1941

So, where do I begin?

Well, the best place to start (as if there's a "Best" place to start when discussing war crimes) would probably be where the war started itself: Poland. The Wehrmacht's behavior in Poland not only set the tone for how the Wehrmacht would act in the Soviet Union, but it also foreshadowed just how brutal the entire war would be. At Mogilno, in Central Poland, German forces, incited by members of the Mogilno German minority killed 40 Poles. In the village of Wawer, near Warsaw a drunk Polish farmer got into a fight with a German soldier, the Pole produced a knife and managed to wound the German soldier. The reprisal was savage. The local German unit carried out mass killings in the village, and ended up slaughtering 122 people. But that wasn't enough, they proceeded to stop a commercial train heading for Warsaw, the Germans pulled random people off of the train and executed them as well. Their corpses were left hanging in the train station as a warning. There is an account of a German soldier who's unit was attacked by a Polish sniper. They burned the village to the ground and his account of the event is chilling, and shows the inhumanity that the Wehrmacht cultivated:
"Burning houses, weeping women, screaming children, A picture of misery. But the Polish people didn't want it any better. In one of the primitive peasant houses we even surprised a woman servicing a machine gun. The house was turned over and set alight. After a short while the woman was surrounded by flames and tried to get out. But we stopped her, as hard as it was. Soldiers can;t be treated differently just because they're in skirts. Her screaming rang in my ears long after. By the time the military administration of Poland ended in late October, the Germans had killed over 16,000 Poles and burned over 500 villages."
There is another case where a German colonel, angered by the loss of some his men in a gun battle near Ciepielow, had nearly 300 Polish POWs lined up against a wall and shot. This incident was not uncommon: the Wehrmacht often committed atrocities upon the Polish troops they captured. The prisoners of the POW camp in Żyrardów, captured after the Battle of the Bzura, were denied any food and starved for ten days. In many cases Polish POWs were burned alive. Units of the Polish 7th Infantry Division were massacred after being captured in several individual acts of revenge for their resistance in combat. On September 11, Wehrmacht soldiers threw hand grenades into a school building where they kept Polish POWs. The German army also collaborated with local militias to round up Poles and Jews and execute them. The conduct of the Wehrmacht in Poland during the 1939 campaign was so atrocious, that even Reinhard Heydrich, the "Blond Beast" who organized the FINAL SOLUTION said:
"...compared to the crimes, robberies and excesses committed by the army [part of the Wehrmacht], the SS and the police don't look all that bad".
The examples given are just a small smattering, a taste of the horror the Wehrmacht wrought on innocent Polish People: In total, the Wehrmacht murdered some 35,000 Poles and Jews during the Polish Campaign. But this was only the start of the crimes that the Wehrmacht would carry out.

A pair of photos taken by the Polish Underground showing the Wehrmacht rounding up Polish Civilians in Palmiry, Near Warsaw, 1940. These Civilians were murdered shortly after this photo was taken.
The next campaigns in France and Belgium were (Comparatively) murder-free, although there was a notable incident at Vinkt, in Belgium, where the Wehrmacht used Belgian civilians were used as Human Shields, and. in response to continued resistance by Belgian troops in the area, murdered 86 civilians (upward of 600 Belgian Civilians were murdered by Wehrmacht forces in Belgium). In general, the Wehrmacht's conduct in the West was not as terrible as its conduct in the east: while individual examples of rape, murder, and looting occurred, the systematic, regular mass killings that characterized the eastern front were generally less common (though they still happened), and were usually carried out by either the SS or Collaborators rather than the Wehrmacht. HOWEVER, the Wehrmacht's hands in the west WERE NOT CLEAN. Far from it. Some notable examples of Wehrmacht crimes in the western front include:
  • the massacre of 1500 black French POWs of West African origin after the fall of France in 1940.
  • The razing of many Greek Towns and murder of their inhabitants in response to Partisan Operations. Examples are: Kondomari, Distomo, Mousiotitsa, Kommeno, Drakeia and Kalavryta, Kandanos, Viannos and Kedros.  
  • The sack of the Dutch town of Putten, and the deportation of its population (602 people) to concentration camps
  • The murder of nearly 30,000 hostages over the course of the war, in reaction to western Partisan Activity
  • Famously, The execution of 15 uniformed American Officers at La Spezia in Italy, on the order of General Anton Dossler, in 1944.
  • The mass execution of Italian soldiers and POW's after the Italian armistice in 1943. Of particular note is the Cephalonia massacre, on the Island of Cephalonia, Greece, where 5,155 POW's of the Italian 33rd Acqui division by forces of the Wehrmacht 1st Mountain Division (this unit would become famous after the war for the numerous war crimes it committed)
That sounds like a lot, and it is. It is much more than can be excused. These atrocities are enough, in my eyes, to completely condemn the German Wehrmacht and dispel the careful lie their General's weaved in post-war Germany. But it is only the beginning. Oh boy, is it only the beginning.

Memorial to Belgian Civilians murdered by Wehrmacht troops at Vinkt in 1940
Ok. At this point I want to say something: I know I said it at the start of this post, but I will say it again: if the previous paragraphs have made it clear that this post is not for you, for any reason, you should probably stop reading now, as it will only get worse from here. 

Alright. The Eastern Front. Oh God, the Eastern front. I'm going to say this right off the bat: the conduct of the Wehrmacht in the East, when it comes to the treatment of the civilian population, was nothing short of horrifically brutal.

So, in order to dispel the idea that German atrocities in the East were scattered instances and not pre-planned, let's start with on of the more famous examples of German political and racial thought being put in action: the Commissar Order. Issued on June 6, 1941, just days before the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union, the order was as follows:
Guidelines for the Treatment of Political Commissars:
In the battle against Bolshevism, the adherence of the enemy to the principles of humanity or international law is not to be counted upon. In particular it can be expected that those of us who are taken prisoner will be treated with hatred, cruelty and inhumanity by political commissars of every kind.
The troops must be aware that: 
1. In this battle mercy or considerations of international law is false. They are a danger to our own safety and to the rapid pacification of the conquered territories. 
2. The originators of barbaric, Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars. So immediate and unhesitatingly severe measures must be undertaken against them. They are therefore, when captured in battle, as a matter of routine to be dispatched by firearms. 
The following provisions also apply: 
3. ...Political commissars as agents of the enemy troops are recognizable from their special badge—a red star with a golden woven hammer and sickle on the sleeves.... They are to be separated from the prisoners of war immediately, i.e. already on the battlefield. This is necessary, in order to remove from them any possibility of influencing the captured soldiers. These commissars are not to be recognized as soldiers; the protection due to prisoners of war under international law does not apply to them. When they have been separated, they are to be finished off. 
4. Political commissars who have not made themselves guilty of any enemy action nor are suspected of such should be left unmolested for the time being. It will only be possible after further penetration of the country to decide whether remaining functionaries may be left in place or are to be handed over to the Sonderkommandos. The aim should be for the latter to carry out the assessment.
In judging the question "guilty or not guilty", the personal impression of the attitude and bearing of the commissar should as a matter of principle count for more than the facts of the case which it may not be possible to prove.
In basic terms, this meant that all Soviet POWs considered to be commissars or active politically within the Soviet Union, together with all Jewish POWs were to handed over to the Einsatzgruppen to be shot. The result of this was that, between July and October 1941, 580,000–600,000 POWs in Wehrmacht custody were turned over to the SS to be killed. Officers and Generals in the Wehrmacht fully knew that this order was breaking international law under the Geneva Convention: In September 1941, both General Helmuth James von Moltke and Admiral Wilhelm Canaris wrote memos pointing out to Supreme Command that the order of July 17, 1941 was illegal under international law. These concerns were disregarded, with Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel writing in response:
"These scruples accord with the soldierly concepts of a chivalrous war! Here we are concerned with the extermination of an ideology. That is why I approve and defend this measure!"
It should come as no surprise, by the way, that Keitel was executed at Nuremberg after the war for war crimes.
In addition to the more famous "Commissar Order," the Wehrmacht also issued the less famous but decidedly more insidious "Barbarossa Decree" in May of 1941. The full text can be found HERE, but in a nutshell, the main points of the decree are:
  • "The partisans are to be ruthlessly eliminated in battle or during attempts to escape", and all attacks by the civilian population against Wehrmacht soldiers are to be "suppressed by the army on the spot by using extreme measures, till [the] annihilation of the attackers;
  • Every officer in the German occupation in the East of the future will be entitled to perform execution(s) without trial, without any formalities, on any person suspected of having a hostile attitude towards the Germans", (the same applied to prisoners of war);
  • "If you have not managed to identify and punish the perpetrators of anti-German acts, you are allowed to apply the principle of collective responsibility. 'Collective measures' against residents of the area where the attack occurred can then be applied after approval by the battalion commander or higher level of command";
  • German soldiers who commit crimes against humanity, the USSR and prisoners of war are to be exempted from criminal responsibility, even if they commit acts punishable according to German law.
This order, among many other things, is what enabled the Wehrmacht to carry out the massive volume of violent crimes on the Slavic Populace that it did during the war. There really isn't much else to say about this order. It's disgusting nature stands on its own, without any need for explanation. It is a clear, obvious proof of the way Nazi Racial permeated throughout the Wehrmacht. And we haven't even gotten to the crimes committed yet. Jesus, this is gonna be a long one.


Mass Hanging of Soviet Civilians in the Soviet Union,
Carried out by Wehrmacht Forces, 1943.
In May of 1941, a month before the start of Operation Barbarossa, General Erich Hoepner, commander of the 4th Panzer Group, issued this directive to his men about the upcoming war in Russia:
"The war against Russia is an important chapter in the German nation's struggle for existence. It is the old battle of the Germanic against the Slavic people, of the defence of European culture against Muscovite-Asiatic inundation and of the repulse of Jewish Bolshevism. The objective of this battle must be the demolition of present-day Russia and must therefore be conducted with unprecedented severity. Every military action must be guided in planning and execution by an iron resolution to exterminate the enemy remorselessly and totally. In particular, no adherents of the contemporary Russian Bolshevik system are to be spared."
This attitude would set the stage for the way the Wehrmacht behaved itself on the Eastern Front.

When the Wehrmacht entered the Soviet Union in June of 1941, thew swept across the Russian Landscape like a horde of locusts. Germany was determined to take advantage of the material wealth of the Soviet Union, as such units were ordered to live off the land. This meant that the Wehrmacht had full clearance to loot Soviet villages and to take whatever materials they felt were necessary to keep themselves alive. These requisitions came at the expense of the local population. In the span of one month, the 12th Infantry Division took over forty tons of meat, 112 tons of oat, 760 tons of hay, 32 heads of cattle, 65 sheep, 94 pigs, 2 tons of potatoes, 770 pounds of butter, 2000 eggs, and over 2000 litres of milk. I will remind the readers that this was the requisition numbers of only one division, and that there were over 150 divisions involved. This result of this mass looting of Soviet land was that the civilian population of the areas under German control had no food, and due to the German policy of burning villages suspected of harboring partisans, had no shelter. The Germans introduced a ration system for civilians, but the Army only gave rations to those who could work in the fields, meaning that pregnant women, children, the elderly, and the sick were left to starve. On the retreat, the Wehrmacht behaved even worse: in attempts to slow the Soviet advance, the Wehrmacht created what were called “Desert Zones” which were areas where all the villages had been burned, and all the local wells poisoned, meaning that no life could be sustained in these areas. The Civilian population in these areas suffered tremendously: all the local males would be conscripted for building duty or sent back to Germany as slave labor. The women and children would be left for dead, or, sometimes, forced at gunpoint into Wehrmacht-Run Brothels (We'll get to those in a minute).

We briefly mentioned the Wehrmacht's policy of burning villages suspected of harboring partisans earlier. This was a sickeningly common occurrence: the aforementioned Barbarossa decree gave German troops permission to do whatever they deemed "necessary" to suppress "partisan operations," and boy did they. As Partisan activity increased behind German lines, the Wehrmacht stepped up the brutality of their reprisals: entire villages were liquidated on the mere suspicion that they were harbouring soldiers. In one case, in Belorussia, a Wehrmacht commander claimed that he had taken 10,940 “partisans” hostage (in fact they were most likely unarmed civilians) and then went on to have 10,400 of them shot. In one year from 1941 to 1942, security units of the Army had killed 80,000 Partisans and “Suspected Partisans,” many of whom were innocent men, women, children, and the elderly. This treatment of "Partisans" would set the standard for what would come next: the systemic targeting of what the Germans viewed as "Lesser Peoples" that characterized the war on the eastern front.
German Forces burning a village in western Russia, 1941

And now, we come to the most famous of the crimes of Nazi Germany: the systemic murder of "undesirables." In the spring of 1941, Reinhard Heydrich and the First quartermaster of the German Army, General Eduard Wagner successfully completed negotiations for co-operation between the Einsatzgruppen and the German Army to allow the implementation of "special tasks." The Einsaztgruppen were mobile squadrons of Waffen SS military and police forces, responsible for the "cleansing" of "Racial and Political enemies of Germany" behind German lines, particuarly on the eastern front (it is estimated that between 1941 and 1945 the Einsatzgruppen and related auxiliary troops killed more than two million people, including 1.3 million Jews). Following the Heydrich-Wagner agreement on April 28, 1941, Feldmarshal Walther von Brauchitsch ordered when Operation Barbarossa began that all German Army commanders were to identify and register all Jews in the occupied areas in the Soviet Union at once and to co-operate fully with the Einsatzgruppen." But it didn't stop there. Oh no. In addition to playing a central role in rounding up Jews and aiding the Einsatzgruppen, the Wehrmacht themselves were involved heavily in the massacres of Jews in the Eastern Front, most famously at Babi Yar, where they were responsible for rounding up the Jews in Kiev, and guarding the area while the Einsatzgruppen carried out the executions of some 33,000 people. The Wehrmacht also played a vital role in supplying and aiding the various Nazi-Allied militias that sprang up in areas like Lithuania and Ukraine, such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army under Stephan Bandera, who carried out a war of extermination against the Polish Population of Ukraine, and the Ypatingasis būrys in Lithuania, partially responsible for the wholesale destruction of the Jews of Lithuania, a country which went from having the Highest Jewish population in Europe to losing 95% of that population overnight. The instances of Wehrmacht forces being taught, instructed, and carrying out assaults and attacks on the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe are numerous and well documented. Here are a few choice examples of Wehrmacht orders, directives, or actions that showed the nature of their crimes:
  • After Anti-Jewish operations carried out by units of the SS Cavalry Brigade that killed nearly 2,000 Soviet solders and Partisans and over 14,000 Jews in August 1941, General Max von Schenckendorff, who commanded the rear areas of Army Group Centre ordered on August 10, 1941 that all Wehrmacht security divisions when on anti-partisan duty were to emulate the Brigades' Example
  • Between September 24 and 26, 1941 in Mogilev, again on the orders of General Von Sckenckendorff, a joint SS-Wehrmacht seminar was organized on how best to murder Jews. The seminar ended with the 7th Company of Police Battalion 322 shooting 32 Jews at a village called Knjashizy before the assembled officers as an example of how to "screen" the population for partisans.
  • During November of 1941, 707th Infantry division carried out an "anti-partisan" sweep that saw the division shoot 10,431 people out of the 19,940 it had detained. The 707th would later go down infamously as carrying out the most war crimes of any Wehrmacht unit in the east.
  • At Mirgorod, the 62nd Infantry Division executed "the entire Jewish population (168 people) for associating with partisans
  • At Novomoskovsk, the 444th Security Division reported that they had killed "305 bandits, 6 women with rifles (Flintenweiber), 39 prisoners-of-war and 136 Jews"
  • In revenge for a partisan attack that had killed one German soldier, the Ersatz-Brigade 202 "as an act of retaliation shot 20 Jews from the villages of Bobosjanka and Gornostajewka and burnt down 5 Jew-houses".
  • On October 10, 1941 General Walther von Reichenau drafted an order to be read to the troops under his command stating that: "the soldier must achieve full understanding of the necessity for a harsh but just vengeance against Jewish subhumanity."[64] Upon hearing of Reichenau's Severity Order, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the commander of Army Group South announced his "complete agreement" with it, and sent out a circular to all of the Army generals under his command urging them to send out their own versions of the Severity Order, which would impress upon the troops the need to exterminate Jews.
  • On November 20th, 1941, Erich von Manstein (yes, him again), issued an order in which he stated: "Jewry is the middleman between the enemy at our rear and the still fighting remnants of the Red Army and the Red leadership; more than in Europe, it [Jewry] occupies all key posts of the political leadership and administration, of trade and crafts and forms the nucleus for all disquiet and possible revolts. The Jewish-Bolshevist system must be exterminated once and for all."
  • The Holocaust in Serbia stands out as a particularity huge example of the Wehrmacht's participation in the Holocaust. At Šabac, "Central European Jewish refugees, mostly Austrians, were shot by troops of predominantly Austrian origin in retaliation for casualties inflicted by Serbian partisans on the German Army". The orders issued by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in September 1941 called for the German Army to shoot 100 Serbs for every German soldier killed by the Serb guerrillas and did not call for Jews to be singled out. But because of rampant anti-Semitism in the German officer corps, it was more or less automatically assumed that the Serbian Jewish community were behind all of the partisan attacks, hence the targeting of Jews in the mass shootings carried out in retaliation for guerrilla attacks. To day, it is thought that the Wehrmacht in Serbia was responsible for the majority of the killings of Jews, not the SS.
Executed Soviet Prisoners of war, 1942
When it comes to the treatment of Prisoners of war, The Wehrmacht continued it's trend of brutality. Whilst Camps for Western POWs (French, British, US, etc.) were usually up to humanitarian standards, their camps for Soviet POWs were woefully and purposefully inadequate. By December 1941, the German army had taken nearly 2.4 million Soviet Soldiers prisoner. These men suffered from malnutrition and diseases such as typhus that resulted from the Wehrmacht's purposeful denial sufficient food, shelter, proper sanitation and medical care. Prisoners were regularly subject to torture, beatings and humiliation. And then there were the purposeful killings: All Jews, commissars, "intellectuals" and Muslims serving in the Red Army were either executed by the Wehrmacht or handed over to the SS to be shot. The Muslim POWs were shot because they were circumcised, and therefore might be Jewish; it was felt to be safer to simply shoot all circumcised POWs rather run the risk that a Jewish POW might escape execution by claiming to be a Muslim. . A grand total of 5.7 million Soviet soldiers were taken prisoner during the war, of whom at least 3.3 million (58 percent of the total) died in captivity.
German soldiers entering a Soldatenbordell in Brest, France (1940). The building is a former Synagogue.
I'm going to end this Rant (because i can't stomach it anymore) with coverage of the Wehrmacht Brothel System. Army brothels, known as Soldatenbordell in Germany, were set up by the 3rd Reich throughout both Germany and the territories that the conquered. By 1942, there were upwards of 500 German Soldatenbordell set up throughout Europe. Similar to the Japanese "Comfort Women" system (There will be a separate article discussing the crimes of the Japanese army), these brothels were staffed by upwards of 35,000 women from about 15-35, mostly from Poland and the Soviet Union, who had been kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. The Polish Government in Exile issued a document on May 3, 1941, describing the mass kidnapping raids, known as łapanka or rafle, conducted in Polish cities with the aim of capturing young women for sexual slavery at brothels run by the German military. At the same time, Polish girls as young as 15, classified as suitable for slave labor and shipped to Germany, were sexually exploited by German men at their place of destination. The Swiss Red Cross mission driver Franz Mawick wrote this passage in 1942 about the rampant rape he saw committed by German Soldiers in Warsaw:

 "Uniformed Germans [...] gaze fixedly at women and girls between the ages of 15 and 25. One of the soldiers pulls out a pocket flashlight and shines it on one of the women, straight into her eyes. The two women turn their pale faces to us, expressing weariness and resignation. The first one is about 30 years old. "What is this old whore looking for around here?" – one of the three soldiers laughs. "Bread, sir" – asks the woman. "A kick in the ass you get, not bread" – answers the soldier. The Owner of the flashlight directs the light again on the faces and bodies of girls. [...] The youngest is maybe 15 years old. They open her coat and start groping her with their lustfull paws. "This one is ideal for bed" – he says."

In the Soviet Union women were kidnapped by German forces for prostitution as well; one report by International Military Tribunal writes: "in the city of Smolensk the German Command opened a brothel for officers in one of the hotels into which hundreds of women and girls were driven; they were mercilessly dragged down the street by their arms and hair."

I will stop the description of the crimes of the Wehrmacht here, as I cannot stomach writing about them any more. If you are still interested in learning more about this subject, I suggest Roland Binet's excellent article on the subject found HERE

The myth of the Clean Wehrmacht, born out of the lies of the people who carried out these actions, and prolonged by Cold-War militarism, has lasted far longer than it ever should have. 17 million men served in the Wehrmacht: far too numerous among them were those mindless men who supported Hitler to the bitter end, passively or actively, morally, politically, lethargically, or even by working hard, in an effective manner, within that gigantic hate and killing machine. And now, as the population of those who saw and experienced such brutality at the hands of the Wehrmacht is decreasing rapidly, it is our duty to maintain this horrific memory. To make the oft-quoted words "Never again" actually MEAN something. This myth has lived on long enough. Let's destroy it now.

1 comment:

  1. Jag vet att det var på detta vis.
    I Sverige ljög man om Nazityskland.
    Jag levde då så jag vet. Sverige var med på Nazitysklands sida genom att leverera Boforskanoner, Mat, Kullager, Järnmalm, och så vidare till Nazityskland. Före kriget hade vi inga kuponger på mat. Sverige var självförsörjande. Men så skulle plötsligt Nazityskland ha all mat, så vi fick svälta i Sverige. Jag levde då så det är sant. Det fanns många Nazister i Sverige då. Det var också frivilliga svenskar som krigade för Nazisterna. Det är sanningen.
    Nazisterna samarbetade med Islam under kriget. Nu år 2016 samarbetar Sverige med Islam. Sveriges regering har Kaplan som är medlem i "Det muslimska brödraskapet" Och vad står det för? Läs här, https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslimska_br%C3%B6draskapet
    Sanningen är svår att ta in ibland

    ReplyDelete