PDA

View Full Version : German Veterans Begin to Add Narrative Piece to WWII



georgeo76
07-24-2004, 10:37 AM
Found this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10191-2004Jul23.html) article in today's Washington Post.

georgeo76
07-24-2004, 10:37 AM
Found this (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10191-2004Jul23.html) article in today's Washington Post.

Udidtoo
07-24-2004, 10:46 AM
Says I have to register to view? I don't wanna.

..............................
I always have just enough fuel to arrive at the scene of my crash.

georgeo76
07-24-2004, 11:47 AM
By Glenn Frankel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, July 24, 2004; Page A01

METZINGEN, Germany -- The shifting current funneled the landing craft toward the eastern end of Omaha Beach, where they disgorged men directly below Hein Severloh's camouflaged machine gun nest. He recalls emptying belt after belt of ammunition, raking the shoreline for hours as wave upon wave of American GIs struggled through the blood-red surf.


"I did not shoot for the lust of killing but only to stay alive," said Severloh, 81, a tall, soft-spoken man who said he must have shot hundreds of Americans on June 6, 1944. "I knew if only a single one survived he would shoot me."

For years Severloh told no one but his wife of what he did on D-Day. He said it was partly out of fear he would be labeled a Nazi and a killer, but also because fellow Germans didn't want to discuss World War II or hear about the experiences of army veterans. But over the past few years, historians, journalists and admirers have beaten a path to his farmhouse in this sleepy village in western Germany; Severloh has published a war memoir, been interviewed repeatedly by television, newspapers and magazines and been the subject of a televised documentary. He said he is gratified and amazed at the attention he has received.

As this country focuses on World War II more than 60 years after it began, Severloh's memories of the Allied invasion of Europe are part of an examination long suppressed by Germans. After decades of shame, fear and self-imposed silence, German soldiers and civilian victims are now venturing to describe their perspectives of the war. Beyond the traditional portrait of World War II as an epic battle of good vs. evil, the emerging view reveals a more complex narrative. Severloh's story has become part of the modern mix.

"We have new generations with new questions, and people are interested in what happened during the war without prejudging," said Johannes Tuchel, director of the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin, a museum devoted to chronicling opposition to Adolf Hitler's rule. "We see, we know and we accept that Germany caused the war, but for the first time we are looking at all the aspects of what happened."

Unlocking the Memories

Germany officially participated this year for the first time in commemorating D-Day alongside the United States, France and Britain. Other moments for reevaluation have included the 60th anniversaries of the July 20, 1944, failed assassination attempt against Hitler and the Aug. 1, 1944, beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, a savage 63-day battle against Nazi occupation forces that ended in a tragic defeat for Poland.

Recognition of these events follows a wave of books, television documentaries and articles focusing for the first time on German victims of the war -- both the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in the Allied fire bombings of major cities and the 13 million expelled from their homes in Eastern Europe. Next spring will bring celebrations of V-E Day -- Allied victory in Europe on May 8, 1945 -- and two films about Hitler that are expected to break the longstanding German taboo against portraying the Nazi dictator on-screen.

One reason for the renewed interest, analysts and historians say, is that members of the World War II generation are dying out, and people are keen to hear their stories firsthand before they vanish. Another reason stems from Germany's new role as a world power, with a more activist foreign policy and a willingness to dispatch peacekeeping troops to international trouble spots.

"If we want to participate in the world, we have to stand on firm soil as to the past," said former president Richard von Weizsaecker, 84, who also served as a young soldier in the German army in World War II.

Reinhard Hesse, the main speechwriter for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's D-Day and July 20th addresses, said the anniversaries have marked Germany's coming of age as a modern democracy. While the lessons of World War II used to be invoked as a rationale for Germans to avoid military operations, Hesse said, they are increasingly cited as a reason for Germans to become more involved.

For many Germans, the past was another country, a dark place shrouded by anguish, introspection and resentment. Gerhard Beick and Lothar Nickel are combat veterans who were drafted at age 19 and served in the legendary Afrika Korps -- in North Africa under Erwin Rommel. They recall coming home after the war from prisoner internment camps to cities in ruins and people obsessed with day-to-day survival, expressing no interest for the returning soldiers or their experiences.

"No one cared to hear about it and no one asked," Beick recalled. "We had all suffered, an entire generation. We came back to a destroyed country, destroyed cities, and we were interested only in personal survival. We tried to forget the war as much as possible."

There was always an undercurrent of guilt and suspicion. Nickel recalled that when Afrika Korps members began forming veterans groups in the 1950s, newspapers would not publish notices of their meetings, fearing that the men were surreptitiously reconstituting their old units.

"In the minds of a lot of people, we were seen as old Nazis," Nickel said. "But we were just young people dragged into the war."

One of the most abiding controversies centers on the failed assassination attempt against Hitler by military officers and civilians led by Col. Claus von Schenk Stauffenberg. In the first decade after the war, said Winfried Heinemann, a historian with the German army's Military Research History Institute, many Germans viewed the conspirators as traitors who had violated their personal oath to Hitler. At the same time, the communist government of East Germany depicted the plotters as right-wing reactionaries who sought to kill Hitler to save their own necks when it was clear the war was lost. But in later years, the conspirators came to be honored as shining examples of German resistance in a manner that seemed to suggest their actions absolved other Germans of complicity with Hitler.

Adblock

The popular view has evolved to the point where a recent poll in Der Spiegel, a weekly magazine, showed that 73 percent of those polled felt admiration or respect for the plotters and 10 percent expressed disapproval or contempt. This year's solemn anniversary ceremony, held in the cobblestone courtyard where Stauffenberg and three of his fellow conspirators were executed by firing squad on the night of the failed coup, brought together dignitaries and more than 100 relatives of the four executed men.

Schroeder's speech sought to connect the German dissidents with resistance movements in Poland, France and the Netherlands, saying these disparate groups constituted the first seeds of modern European unity. But he acknowledged that in Germany, the resistance constituted a very small minority.

One of those in attendance was Georg Freiherr von Loe, a high school science teacher in his early fifties whose grandfather was one of hundreds of conspirators executed after the plot failed. Von Loe said that he had not attended previous commemorations but that his feelings of guilt now that the older generation is passing and his attempt to deal with questions from his children compelled him to make the six-hour drive from his home in western Germany, along with his wife and two of his children.

He and his family found the experience both moving and disturbing. "We have not slept well these last few nights because we have been discussing it," he said. "We need time to process what we have experienced."

A Killing Machine

Severloh took 40 years to begin to process what happened to him on Omaha Beach. He had taken up a concealed position on the eastern side of the beach along with 30 other German soldiers, and he recalls watching the horizon turn black with dozens of ships and landing craft racing for the shore. His commanding officer, Lt. Bernhard Frerking, had told him not to open fire until the enemy reached knee-deep level, where he could get a full view.

"What came to mind was, 'Dear God, why have you abandoned me?' " he recalled. "I wasn't afraid. My only thought was, 'How can I get away from here?' "

But rather than run, Severloh slipped the first belt of ammunition into his MG-42 machine gun and opened fire. He could see men spinning, bleeding and crashing into the surf, while others ripped off their heavy packs, threw away their carbines and raced for the shore. But there was little shelter there. Severloh said he would occasionally put down the machine gun and use his carbine to pick off individual men huddled on the beach. He is still haunted by a soldier who was loading his rifle when Severloh took aim at his chest. The bullet went high and hit the man in the forehead.

"The helmet fell and rolled over in the sand," Severloh said. "Every time I close my eyes, I can see it."

Severloh said he was the last man firing from his position. By mid-afternoon, his right shoulder was swollen and his slender fingers were numb from constant firing. When a U.S. destroyer pinpointed his position and began to shell it, he fled to the nearby village of Colleville-Sur-Mer, where he was captured that evening.

In Severloh's telling of D-Day, there are few heroes and several surprises. The German occupiers had warm relations with their French farm hosts before the invasion, he contends. Lt. Frerking, who died on D-Day, was an honorable man who spoke fluent French and once gave one of his men 10 days' punishment for failing to help an elderly French woman with her shopping bags, Severloh said. The U.S. invaders slaughtered farm animals and soldiers, he said, yet that evening he and his ravenous U.S. captors shared a baguette.

Severloh said he first told his tale to an inquisitive correspondent for ABC News during the 40th anniversary of D-Day in 1984. But the real breakthrough came when an amateur war historian named Helmut Konrad von Keusgen tracked Severloh down. Von Keusgen, a former scuba diver and graphic artist, said he had heard from U.S. veterans about the machine gunner they called the "Beast of Omaha Beach" because he had mowed down hundreds of GIs that day. Severloh confessed he was that gunner. Von Keusgen ghost-wrote Severloh's memoirs, published in 2000, and still visits him regularly.

The two men contend that Severloh might have shot more than 2,000 GIs. That's an impossible figure, according to German and American historians, who say that although the numbers are far from exact, estimates are that about 2,500 Americans were killed or wounded by the 30 German soldiers on the beach.

"My guess is yes, he helped kill or wound hundreds, but how many hundreds would be hard to say," Roger Cirillo, a military historian at the Association of the U.S. Army in Arlington, wrote in an e-mail. He added: "Omaha is like Pickett's Charge. The story has gotten better with age, though no one doubts it was a horror show. Men on both sides were brave beyond reason, and this is the sole truth of the story."

Hein Severloh said he takes no pride in what he did, but telling his tale has given him a sense of relief.

"I have thought about it every single day that God gave to me," he said. Now, he said, "the pressure is gone."

Researcher Shannon Smiley in Berlin contributed to this report.

LeadSpitter_
07-24-2004, 12:06 PM
Im glad he told his story, its so hard for the vets to tell what happened and most cases its brought with them to the grave.

My two uncles made it through utah beach and the war. william and ben. I have a old letter from william which writes in detail about the invasion, he also writes about one of the mg42 gunners they killed being no more then 13 years of age and shackled to the base of the mg42 stand so he wouldnt run away and would defend.

My uncle ben "not the rice guy" passed away in the late 90s. William killed himself after the war because I guess he could not take all that he had been through. I should probally scan all the letter from him for some wwii historians

http://img14.photobucket.com/albums/v43/leadspitter/LSIG1.gif

Udidtoo
07-24-2004, 12:36 PM
Ty for the paste georgeo.

..............................
I always have just enough fuel to arrive at the scene of my crash.

AirBot
07-24-2004, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the paste georgeo.
I'm glad to hear more veterans are finally able to share what they had been through. No one should be forced to live with that burden kept inside.

TgD Thunderbolt56
07-24-2004, 12:57 PM
Interesting

http://www.greatergreen.com/il2

Bearcat99
07-24-2004, 01:01 PM
This is a really great thread.... thought provoking. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-indifferent.gif

<UL TYPE=SQUARE>http://www.jodavidsmeyer.com/combat/bookstore/tuskegeebondposter.jpg (http://www.tuskegeeairmen.org)[/list]<UL TYPE=SQUARE>vflyer@comcast.net [/list]<UL TYPE=SQUARE>99thPursuit Squadron IL2 Forgotten Battles (http://www.geocities.com/rt_bearcat)[/list]
UDQMG (http://www.uberdemon.com/index2.html) | HYPERLOBBY (http://hyperfighter.jinak.cz/) | Sturmovik Essentials (http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=400102&f=23110283&m=51910959) | MUDMOVERS (http://magnum-pc.netfirms.com/mudmovers/index.htm)

IMMERSION BABY!!

SComo4076
07-24-2004, 01:38 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Thank you for the post !!!
This is one of the reasons I really enjoyed History class when I went to school !! This is the type of stuff that NO BOOK could ever tell !!!It is funny when I was growing up my dad would take me to the local VFW Post and I would just sit in the corner and listen to all the interesting stories from the different men who served in the different branches of the service.I could sit there for hours on end and be mesmerized(sp?) on how the history books would be off from the real truth.Now I know with some stories you have to be careful to tell the difference from fact to fiction especially when any type of alcohol is involved! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gifBut mostly the stories I have heard from different GI`s are very sincere and very very real.Just my dad alone serving in the Navy for 14 years which 3 of them he served in Vietnam would make your freekin hair stand up on end !!! Dont get me wrong I dont approve of unprovoked killing but when push comes to shove a person or in this case and man in a small squadron must fight to survive or die.It kinda reminds of the quote" Dead Man Waliking " because at any time you could be killed in a blink of an eye when at war...georgeo76 thank you again this also gives a different aspect from the "enmenies" outlook on what happened in his life that bloody day!!!

Steve

PBNA-Boosher
07-24-2004, 03:26 PM
Finally, after all these years, the defeated side may tell its story. I'm glad it is out of the shadows now. I hope that the world will print these, and our children, and their children, and so on and so forth, will no longer have a completely biased view of the German people during WW2.

Boosher
_____________________________
"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you..."
-Gandalf

TX-Gunslinger
07-24-2004, 03:54 PM
Amen Boosher

Bump
Bump
Bump

Here's to praying that this spirit of understanding, truth-seeking and forgivness pervades these boards and this sim....

FW-Raptor
07-24-2004, 07:02 PM
well steve,

i am 13 yrs old and am FASIDATED with ww2, i to sit with my uncle who served in burma and listen to his stories, they arnt action packed by i just love to her them

johann_thor
07-24-2004, 07:19 PM
My mother lived in Germany - Stuttgart for a long time and when i came to visit her from Iceland for the first time at the age of 12 I met the father of her boyfriend. He was 15 when he was sent to Prag to meet russian tank armadas in his shorts - with his Panzerfaust. Needless to say they were wiped out entirely - but he was lucky enough to be arrested while crying his lungs out and sent to a polish coalmine for slave labour from the age of 15-21.

i had so much interest in the war - and heard later (just recently) that what i did with my visit was breaking a code of silence - not discussing the war - which had been ongoing in that german family from 1945-1991. for the FIRST TIME the man spoke of the war just because he met a young lad interrested in knowing the real facts about what happened in that time.

i still remember every single word he said - nothing is as heartbreaking as a real personal account of the terrible war we all like to virtually recreate.

Tooz_69GIAP
07-24-2004, 09:56 PM
I asked my grandfather whether he had served in the war. He said he served with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E.) and he refused to say anything more.

I have no clue what he did, or where he served, but he served for most of the war I believe.

He died in 1995.

I have other relatives from Denmark who fought as resistance fighters, and as soldiers in the german army. I never met any of them.

We need to get rid of this idea that Germany was an evil war mongering state, and everyone within that country was hellbent on world domination. They weren't, they were just serving their country.

I am sure if you had been a young lad in Germany in 1939, you probably would have joined the german armed forces. You would have seen it as being "your duty", just as it was the "duty" of men and women from the USA, or the UK, or Australia, or South Africa, and everywhere else to fight.

Thanks for posting the article!!

Tooz

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

http://www.baseclass.modulweb.dk/69giap/fileadmin/Image_Archive/badges/69giap_badge_tooz.jpg (http://giap.webhop.info)
Executive Officer, 69th GIAP
Za Rodinu!
Petition to stop the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne Valley in Co. Meath, Ireland (http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition.html)

Templar_4450th
07-24-2004, 10:06 PM
Excellent read, thanks for posting it Georgeo. Hollywood directors need to read this methinks, i'm so tired of the Germans being demonized on film. For the most part they were duped by a charismatic "leader" and simply trying to stay alive (with the exception of some SS fanatics and the actual Nazi party itself). I hate it when someone tells me that the Germans were all Nazi's, when in fact only a fraction actually were.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill

C.L.B.
07-24-2004, 11:23 PM
Well I would say that more than a fraction were nazis, but you are right, there were crazy amounts of Germans who were not. I am an American, and had two grandfathers who served in the war, plus a great uncle who died there. I have a wonderful German friend who had both of his grandfathers serve also, and they were not nazis. We have great conversations about the war and an understanding of each others countries during the conflict. Because I don't yet know how my great uncle was killed (all I know is it was in germany 45') and for all I know my friends grandparent could have done it. But my point is this: I like to think some part of his loss, and everyone elses is so that we can all get along 60 years later and to the future. I guess any relavence to this topic would be that I for one LOVE hearing the German side of the stories too! And all countries for that matter. Education and rememberance is the best way that this can never happen again.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> my dad would take me to the local VFW Post and I would just sit in the corner and listen to all the interesting stories from the different men who served<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's great, and I often wonder, because my grandparents both passed away before I had the opportunity to ask them myself, if I as a 30 year old man could join the VFW and just listen to some willing storytellers http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

http://members.cox.net/c.l.b/ubi.jpg

SComo4076
07-25-2004, 05:46 AM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif C.L.B.,

As far as I know you dont have to be a member but a guest of a member of a VFW Post most of the guys like to invite guest.I have not been in many but the ones that I have been in enjoy guests and MAY possibly be able to led you in the right direction to help you find out more info on your Grandfathers military service!!!

Steve

johann_thor
07-25-2004, 06:13 AM
indeed very many were nazis - but in very different ways. the youngsters were simply having fun in the hitler youth - camping, playing with weapons and learning tactics ..... what more fun can a 12 year old ask for .... hehe

ridding germany of communism and uniting the german speaking nations (sort of finishing what bismarck did) was not such a bad idea either for the normal german.

but this madness that followed ..... i dont think any normal german expected a war against the whole world .... or that the jews were to be led to the slaughterhouse like they were.

but still ...... "ich habe das nicht gewusst" is not a valid excuse

Red_Storm
07-25-2004, 06:19 AM
My grandma owned a farm in WWII and during the invasion of Holland the Germans used it as a field HQ, but at the same time American paratroopers were stationed there. They actually ate together and joked around with eachother. Weird stuff.

---
http://www.albumsnaps.com/viewPhoto.php?id=42993

FbusterMk3
07-25-2004, 07:44 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tooz_69GIAP:
I asked my grandfather whether he had served in the war. He said he served with the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E.) and he refused to say anything more.

I have no clue what he did, or where he served, but he served for most of the war I believe.

He died in 1995.

I have other relatives from Denmark who fought as resistance fighters, and as soldiers in the German army. I never met any of them.

We need to get rid of this idea that Germany was an evil war mongering state, and everyone within that country was hellbent on world domination. They weren't, they were just serving their country.

I am sure if you had been a young lad in Germany in 1939, you probably would have joined the German armed forces. You would have seen it as being "your duty", just as it was the "duty" of men and women from the USA, or the UK, or Australia, or South Africa, and everywhere else to fight.

Thanks for posting the article!!

Tooz

While your empathising with a German machine gunner who slaughtered hundreds of hapless Americans spare a thought for their families who lost a son, brother or father, their lives lost cheaply while their killer lives out his full span and is given solace by platitudes from people who weren't there to witness it.
Spare a thought for the piles of gassed human beings destroyed like insects on an industrial scale, the innocent women and children summarily executed, the grief and terror propagated throughout Europe, the total sum of human misery and suffering.
I too have images I can never forget seen through film and television but no less horrific for that, piles of decapitated heads - a result of "experiments", a woman clutching her tiny child standing on a frozen landscape as a German soldier levels his rifle then shoot each in turn.....

And in case anyone thinks I'm just being partisan, I'm not even American.

Brotrob
07-25-2004, 12:06 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FbusterMk3:

While your empathising with a German machine gunner who slaughtered hundreds of hapless Americans spare a thought for their families who lost a son, brother or father, their lives lost cheaply while their killer lives out his full span and is given solace by platitudes from people who weren't there to witness it.
Spare a thought for the piles of gassed human beings destroyed like insects on an industrial scale, the innocent women and children summarily executed, the grief and terror propagated throughout Europe, the total sum of human misery and suffering.
I too have images I can never forget seen through film and television but no less horrific for that, piles of decapitated heads - a result of "experiments", a woman clutching her tiny child standing on a frozen landscape as a German soldier levels his rifle then shoot each in turn.....

And in case anyone thinks I'm just being partisan, I'm not even American.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Fbuster, your reaction to this article and some of this comments is comprehensible. I am a german from the younger generation, and I can tell you, that allthough soon everyone involved in this conflict is dead now,and no one of us never lived in that time, most of my friends with whom I discussed this toppic feal strangely guilty. And of course all germans know that this marks the darkest capitle in our history. They hushed to this topic mainly couse they feel ashamed and wanted to crowd this part of history of their nation out. And I too personally dont like the way this german spoke about his experiences in the "Spiegel", a german Magazine.

One should see this article not as the try to heroisise the acton of one soldier, but as the try to focus out the point of view of the other side. I think its time to adjust the picture of the german given in nearly every hollywood movie. Allthough we germans are not in the position to complain about, you can perhaps understand, that its difficult for people to come alonge with the knowledge, that most of their neighbours in the whole world still see them as that,what they are made in such movies: tumb, blonde, barbarian, evil nazis. I am around in this Forum for a while, and how often some members were acused of being nazis just showed me, that this wont be an easy thing. Perhaps its quite difficult to understand, but for most germans this is the biggest vilification one can make. I know from experience, that many europeans dislike us .

I think its very important to remember the Holocoust and Crimes done by our nation, and to teach the younger ones what happened. And on the other hand its important not to generalise.

I agree, that an articke about this man is not the most dapper way to do this.

Best Greetings and sorry for my english,

Brotrob

sposocke
07-25-2004, 03:50 PM
Actually came in here to post about the FW190 but this subbie interests me too, so I'll add my 2 cents.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FbusterMk3<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>While your empathising with a German machine gunner who slaughtered hundreds of hapless Americans spare a thought for their families who lost a son, brother or father, their lives lost cheaply while their killer lives out his full span and is given solace by platitudes from people who weren't there to witness it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Did you even consider before posting your reply that the German machine gunner might have had a family too, a brother a father, a home he wanted to return to?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Spare a thought for the piles of gassed human beings destroyed like insects on an industrial scale, the innocent women and children summarily executed, the grief and terror propagated throughout Europe, the total sum of human misery and suffering.
I too have images I can never forget seen through film and television but no less horrific for that, piles of decapitated heads - a result of "experiments", a woman clutching her tiny child standing on a frozen landscape as a German soldier levels his rifle then shoot each in turn.....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

According to the text the machine gunner is a little over 20 at the time, that means he was around nine when Hitler came to power, obviously this means he might aswell be held responsible in your eyes. Not to mention him doing his duty in the army, it says nowhere that he shot civilians or had any part in any war crimes whatsoever.
Fact is for most Germans the crime they commited and the reason they are being subjected to continous harassment is not because some of them commited war crimes (that was in fact a minority) but because they happened to fight on the wrong side. Unless you're from Disneyland FbusterMk3 chances are your country too has some history it can't be too proud of and you wouldn't really go as far as saying that there are no serial killers, no child murderers or sadists in your country would you now?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And in case anyone thinks I'm just being partisan, I'm not even American.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nope, never got the impression your view was biased. Get real, you don't care about those people if you did you'd sympathize with every human being, that means Germans, Austrians, Japanese too, I missed a remark on their fate though. Also what does it have to do with being "American"? Yes, many of the most stupid war movies come from the US but I'd personally consider it rather foolish if Americans were to label these crimes a "German thing" taking into account that the biggest national group in the US originates from German ancestory and that this isn't the only genocide in human history.

I could imagine your answer would be, "well they started it" so that's the difference and justifies the means. If you start the story with Auschwitz or the attack on Poland it is easy to place the blame on Germany. How about going back to where it really started, like post WW1 Germany, the constant fights between Commies and Nazis, and how Hitler got to power in this society in turmoil? He didn't win elections with placating "Jew killingsprees". Although he revealed these intentions in his book "Mein Kampf" (a book noone read) he had to back down from these sort of statements because it was costing votes. The Nazis even managed to hide their cause so well that by 1930 they were getting a fairly large amount of party donations from Jewish citizens, the irony. Also the majority of votes they received (round 37% in free elections) had absoultely nothing to do with antisemitism, people had other problems foremost economic ones and Hitler promised to solve them. By securing work in a sort of communist style he even managed this. What most people forget is that the first inmates in concentration camps were in fact Germans, people who were opposing the Nazis, people from other parties, intellectuals, priests, anyone who posed a threat for their consolidation on power. For example in WW1 Germany executed 42 of it's soldiers in WW2 it was more than 40,000. And how many dictatorships can you think of that managed to free themselves of their regime, not to mention with a war on their hands at the same time?
I for my part am sick of Germans having to make excuses for crimes most of them are not even responsible for. Genocide didn't start with Jews nor with Germans, throughout human history people have been slaughtering eachother. The fact that we pity one group more than others like for example the victims of the "Gulag" which took place round about the same time is just another crime. Our modern media decides on whose worth remembering whos not and it's so much easier to know everything today with free press, television, satelites and ofcourse the net, some of us have forgotten what it's really like in a dictatorship were every source of information you do receive is censored or even worse manipulated. Naturally this doesn't excuse every German or Austrian, but in most cases they hadn't loaded more guilt on themselves than the average Russian under Stalin's regime for instance or any other other human in history for that matter. Imho understanding history and the background of other people is probably the only way of really sorting out differences and making common progress. I just hope we get away from the black and white, good and evil brandmarking of people, it's getting us nowhere.

[This message was edited by sposocke on Sun July 25 2004 at 03:21 PM.]

LEXX_Luthor
07-25-2004, 04:46 PM
Best first post I ever saw...

sposocke:: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>...the first inmates in concentration camps were in fact Germans, people who were opposing the Nazis, people from other parties, intellectuals, priests, anyone who posed a threat for their consolidation on power.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

Wellcome to Forgotten Board


Tooz_69GIAP:: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We need to get rid of this idea that Germany was an evil war mongering state, and everyone within that country was hellbent on world domination. They weren't, they were just serving their country.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Historian/Journalist William Shirer was in Berlin the day Germany invaded Poland. He writes it was a dreary overcast day, and the people of Berlin became very silent when told of the invasion. Their was no Joy. The German people Knew in their souls what was going to happen in a few years, and they were afraid. That's when Goebbels and his newspaper presses need to get rolling. However, we must always keep the idea that Nazi Germany was an evil war mongering State like so many governments fall into.


Many men who were not political Nazis--or even German--flocked to Nazi Germany from all the western democracies for the Freedom of "medical" and "psychiatric" research the Nazis gave them. Do we remember that every western democracy passed compulsory sterilization laws in the 1920s-1930s? These men were not Hitler, but they were the men behind Hitler as described here (~very~ short onwhine book)....

The Men Behind Hitler
A German warning to the world
by Bernhard Schreiber
http://www.toolan.com/hitler/index.html

I found this too...

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>And one from Nazi Reichsmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief, Herman Goering, to Gustave Gilbert on April 18, 1946, as recorded in Gilbert's "Nuremberg Diaries": <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.

All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

~ http://www.bettyelders.com/backsteps-part15.htm
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Templar_4450th
07-25-2004, 05:29 PM
Superb post sposocke http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif
Welcome to the boards, heck of an entrance you made. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill

sposocke
07-25-2004, 05:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LEXX_Luthor:

Wellcome to Forgotten Board<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thank you. Edit; And to you Templar. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I found this too...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Had only recently discovered that quote myself. At first I couldn't quite believe the quote really did originate from Goering, since it might aswell have been said last year and would still have been spot on.

BaldieJr
07-25-2004, 07:14 PM
Why didn't he surrender before mowing all those lives away for hours on end (his words)?

He walked away after surrendering. They bought the farm. I don't understand.

HuninMunin
07-25-2004, 07:19 PM
Why didn`t the Spitfire pilots ran away insted of killing all this men in the bombers?! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Simon "Hunin" Phoenix

Oberst der Deutschen GoF Trolling Korps

Dawg-of-death
07-25-2004, 07:27 PM
Thanks.........
The thing is ...... there arn't many vets left and so many stories will go untoldhttp://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

S~

Bad-MF(Mongrel Fighter) AKA .......Dawg-of-death

BaldieJr
07-25-2004, 07:34 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by HuninMunin:
Why didn`t the Spitfire pilots ran away insted of killing all this men in the bombers?! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Simon "Hunin" Phoenix

Oberst der Deutschen GoF Trolling Korps<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Protecting your home is entirely different from protecting the home you just stole.

Quite frankly, I don't care how much pain the man is in over not telling his story. A painfull life is far better than no life at all.

HuninMunin
07-25-2004, 07:43 PM
The article isn`t about a man living a painfull live, its about a country finding its identity.
And what i wanted to say with my retorical question was: A soldier is a soldier, serving his country.

Simon "Hunin" Phoenix

Oberst der Deutschen GoF Trolling Korps

BaldieJr
07-25-2004, 08:18 PM
As Cool Hand Luke said,

Calling it your job don't make it right boss.

As for germany finding its identity: maybe the past is not a good place to look for it.

meh_cd
07-25-2004, 08:42 PM
While I consider myself a 'Deutschophile' and eagerly await a series/movie like Band of Brothers or a Call of Duty type game from their perspective, this article was... slightly offensive.

The way they made it seem, it made it sound like he took pride in killing those Americans. I didn't like it. Who knows maybe he did enjoy it? It was the enemy yes, and I'm sure Americans did the same thing... I hope his last vision is of the poor bastard who had his forehead blown off.

LEXX_Luthor
07-25-2004, 09:26 PM
meh, he liked it as much as his captors did who he shared food with later. This dude was Lucky to be under attack in France. Read up on what happened inside the Korsun Bag a few months earlier 1200km to the East when the Germans were bagged and butchered in close combat.

They seem to have a 2D sim of this, along with Normandy and other famous battles...the whole bag looks interesting mmm.

Korsun http://www.matrixgames.com/Games/KorsunPocket/features.asp
grab bag of battle sims http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/products/PZC/PZC_korsun/korsun.html
gamespot Review http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/korsunpocket/review.html

__________________
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/10.gif Flyable Swedish "Gladiator" listed as J8A ...in Aces Expansion Pack

"You will still have FB , you will lose nothing" ~WUAF_Badsight
"I had actually pre ordered CFS3 and I couldnt wait..." ~Bearcat99
"Gladiator and Falco, elegant weapons of a more civilized age" ~ElAurens
:
"Damn.....Where you did read about Spitfire made from a wood?
Close this book forever and don't open anymore!" ~Oleg_Maddox http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

Dawg-of-death
07-25-2004, 10:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BaldieJr:
As Cool Hand Luke said,

Calling it your job don't make it right boss.

As for germany finding its identity: maybe the past is not a good place to look for it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Soilders didn't have a choice on what side to fight for. You fought for your Country/Family/buddies and existance . Not nesaserily in that order. Probly in most cases buddies and existance.

As for identity, Germany is a very old land and very identified. Hitler just brought them out of poverty and promised a future. He was a German Hero in the beginning. My Great Gran Mother(born and raised in Germany)had Hitlers Picture hanging on the living room wall in San Antonio Tx until the war started and they made her take it down.LOL

There were Allied and Axis Heros. The loseing heros just didn't celibrate. But none the less heros...........

S~

Bad-MF(Mongrel Fighter) AKA .......Dawg-of-death

BfHeFwMe
07-26-2004, 12:14 AM
Guy was a soldier, doing what a soldier is suppose to do, fight. As distastful as the killing may be, it's not murder, but war. It's the leaders and populations that stand behind them that bare the responsibility for starting them, soldiers only attempt to finish them.

Germany's not the only one who has to come to grips with it's past.

http://www.memorial.krsk.ru/eng/Dokument/Memuar/Krijanauskas.htm

georgeo76
07-26-2004, 12:27 AM
There are many people who denounce the Germans as monsters. For it wasn't Hitler, Goring, or Himmler who machine-gunned the children, or gassed the screaming masses; it was the barber, the grocer, the postman.

Monsters they must be, many reason, because they can't accept the horrible truth, the only alternative explanation; that you or I (under the right circumstances) will do *anything* we are told to do. It doesn't matter what kind of person you are. We will man the machine-gun, we will fire, no matter if our target is troops storming the beach, or bound women in front of a ditch.

This isn't my world view. It's a well documented theory (and I use the word theory in the scientific since, as in gravity is a theory) Google MilgramÔ's study for an understanding of obedience, and check out Stanford prison study for facts on how authority effects individuals.

ItÔ's important for everyone to know this. It's important because what happened in Germany can happen in your country, can happen to you.

Dawg-of-death
07-26-2004, 12:43 AM
The sad part is that history repeats itself..........One would think mankind would learn from history.

S~

Bad-MF(Mongrel Fighter) AKA .......Dawg-of-death

Luftwaffe_109
07-26-2004, 12:45 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by BaldieJr:
Why didn't he surrender before mowing all those lives away for hours on end (his words)?

He walked away after surrendering. They bought the farm. I don't understand.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Obviously you have never hear of desertion, or what the punishment is for it during wartime.

A soldier doesn't have a choice of whether or not to fight, regardless of the side he is on. I don't understand why you think that the taking of life by an allied soldier on the battlefield is any more morally sound then an axis soldier doing the same. Fact is it isn't, in both cases they are merely carrying out orders.


War is hell for both sides, and no soldier is less justified then another based on what side he is on (providing of course that no war crimes are commited by the soldier, as is the case here, since he is only killing combatants). It is the leaders that start wars, not the soldiers.

alarmer
07-26-2004, 01:31 AM
Very nice postings in this thread.

Personally I too dislike the many ways world still today makes the whole german people pay for the crimes minority of people did during that time.

Iam sure that average citizen in Germany during WWII didint know anything about holocaust. Soldiers fight and die for their country it is simple as that. Baldies comment I founded absurd on so many points that Iam not going to even comment it.

My point being. This example is bit extreme but still. How many of us really hate the people of country for the doings of their Dictator. Recent example could be Iraq.

Aaron_GT
07-26-2004, 01:44 AM
"What most people forget is that the first inmates in concentration camps were in fact Germans, people who were opposing the Nazis, people from other parties, intellectuals, priests, anyone who posed a threat for their consolidation on power."

Actually the political concentration camps opened even before that, in 1932, but then the Weimar Republic was in its death throes by that point. (It wasn't so much a sudden grab of power by Hitler so much as a year long final death slide, with lots of people not imagining that it would happen the way it did). They obviously enjoyed a huge expansion under the Nazis. But the Nazis gradually took away sections of the population, bit by bit, until there was noone left who would speak out. It was much more subtle than the terrors of the French Revolution or of Lenin, Stalin, or Mao. In being so subtle it was arguably more pernicious and dangerous. By the time the world really woke up in 1938 it was too late...

Georgeo: very pertinent, and the reason why we must always be on our guard against this sort of thing happening again.

CHDT
07-26-2004, 02:16 AM
Great post, sposocke!

When you wrote....


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Genocide didn't start with Jews nor with Germans, throughout human history people have been slaughtering eachother.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

.... you're perfectly right.

The Shoah has been an horrible fact in the history of WWII, but there are beside it so many historical facts about WWII which have been let in the dark, because they could annoy the moral superiority image of the winning nations.

Just three examples: who cares now of the fact that the German minorities in Poland were strongly ostracized in the thirties. Or that all German minorities in the Eastern european countries (some of these minorities having been there for centuries) have been deplaced by force in the Winter of 1946 with many deads as a result. The death ratio of the German prisoners in the camps in the West is also a total taboo!

That kind of historical facts quickly fell in a dark hole and it's still for the present time badly considered to remember them, to put history in perspective.

Because the control of the past is also a powerful weapon for the present time!

[This message was edited by CHDT on Mon July 26 2004 at 01:33 AM.]

JG52MadAdler
07-26-2004, 02:23 AM
In a case like this the machine gunner
is simply doing his duty. If a soldier on the
beach gets a bead on him with a A3O3 sniper rifle he would do his duty. The stories still need to be told before there is nobody left to tell them from all perspectives.

~S~


Fliege mit Mut, Fliege mit Ehre

Ironzentaur
07-26-2004, 02:55 AM
All you fellows out there:
isn't it a great luck and chance, that we all could talk together nowadays, - no matter where we come from, - no matter what religion we have?!?
This is why i'am glad, that we germans have lost the war (and I'am not using a svastika on my plane(my personal decision, -don't want to start a flame)).

Very warm regards to you all...

Nanuk66
07-26-2004, 03:05 AM
I think some of you need to put yourself in the postion of the German gunner here.

You're 19 years old, your in a bunker with the MG42 looking over the beach. You've got an invasion force in front of you wanting to kill you and a Leutnant behind you with a Luger with orders to shoot you in the head if you try to desert your post.

Id be on that MG42 just like anyone of you would.

-----------------------------
English lesson 101:
The word is 'Lose' not 'Loose'. e.g.
That IL2 is gonna lose the fight against that 109.
That IL2's wing looks loose, its gonna fall off.
If i dive too vertically i will lose my wing. k thx.
------------------------------

BfHeFwMe
07-26-2004, 04:17 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by georgeo76:
There are many people who denounce the Germans as monsters. For it wasn't Hitler, Goring, or Himmler who machine-gunned the children, or gassed the screaming masses; it was the barber, the grocer, the postman.

Monsters they must be, many reason, because they can't accept the horrible truth, the only alternative explanation; that you or I (under the right circumstances) will do *anything* we are told to do. It doesn't matter what kind of person you are. We will man the machine-gun, we will fire, no matter if our target is troops storming the beach, or bound women in front of a ditch.

This isn't my world view. It's a well documented theory (and I use the word theory in the scientific since, as in gravity is a theory) Google MilgramÔ's study for an understanding of obedience, and check out Stanford prison study for facts on how authority effects individuals.

ItÔ's important for everyone to know this. It's important because what happened in Germany can happen in your country, can happen to you.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The theory is wrong, there are many who did and do refuse to engage in certain behaviors right to the death. Who would one think they were filling those ditches with in the first place?

The theory of shared guilt, every man a murderer is a copout. There are those who will die before they pull the trigger under any circumstance. It may be the more rare, but history also proves it.

bazzaah2
07-26-2004, 05:00 PM
by the time of D-day and Bagration, I think most German soldiers had given up on the idea of a greater Germany and were instead more concerned about personal survival. i'm equally sure it's the case that people then didn't rationalise things in the way that we have the luxury of doing now. We have to hear all sides of this conflict. The film Stalingrad shows an evolution in attitude and morale very well and is an excellent film. Same story in Beevor's eponymous book.

While I'm at it, most people on this forum are happy to read about the exploits of Rudel, Rall and Hartmann et al. Why does the fact that they flew planes make the act of killing any better, less subject to the opprobrium of murder?

And where did Hitler take inspiration for genocide, why from the Turks treatment of the Armenians. And how would you describe the treatment of American aboriginals in creation of US? The point here is not to bash the US or defend Germany (both of which countries I greatly admire) but merely to state that very few major countries have an unblemished record when it comes to treatment of subjugated peoples; concentration camps were a British invention.

Equally you have to ask was it only the Germans who killed Jews? No; Lithuanians. Ukrainians, Poles (per Gilbert in Holocaust). Why are they not monsters too? Some French Italians, Hungarians and peoples from all across Europe were complicit in the Holocaust and if the defence of obeying orders is invalid for Germans then claiming that you were compelled to act in a certain way is equally wrong since the outcome of both actions is the same.

The history and psychology of what turned some ordinary people into killers is still hotly debated, and we need nuanced assessments of indviduals,however numerous, to try and understand that.

But I am sure that genocide is part of our past, present and future. Turn on the news and find out about Dafur; it's happening all over again.

http://www.endlager.net/fis/pix/banners/fis_banner_05.gif

Crashing online as :FI:SpinyNorman

PBNA-Boosher
07-26-2004, 05:31 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by FbusterMk3:

While your empathising with a German machine gunner who slaughtered hundreds of hapless Americans spare a thought for their families who lost a son, brother or father, their lives lost cheaply while their killer lives out his full span and is given solace by platitudes from people who weren't there to witness it.
Spare a thought for the piles of gassed human beings destroyed like insects on an industrial scale, the innocent women and children summarily executed, the grief and terror propagated throughout Europe, the total sum of human misery and suffering.
I too have images I can never forget seen through film and television but no less horrific for that, piles of decapitated heads - a result of "experiments", a woman clutching her tiny child standing on a frozen landscape as a German soldier levels his rifle then shoot each in turn.....

And in case anyone thinks I'm just being partisan, I'm not even American.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Listen man, I am Jewish, and I am American. Yes, it was horrible. There's no doubt about it. However, the people that did it were the SS extremists, the ones who followed their orders. In fact, many weren't even that, but rather, they were scared of the same thing happening to them. In the SS, if you didn't follow orders, you were branded a traitor, and possibly could be killed. I don't know about you, but I personally would like to live with the people I love. With that fear, and with the propaganda they filled them with, anything is possible.
Most of the German regulars, and even some of the SS, as well as many German civilians had no idea this was going on. Most thought the Jews, Gypsies, Blacks, homosexuals, and disabled were just being deported. I'm tired of hearing that the German people were all Nazis. They were not. Some were die hards that did freakish, unforgivable things, but the majority of them were just trying to survive and live as best they could.

Boosher
_____________________________
"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you..."
-Gandalf

IV_JG51_Prien
07-26-2004, 06:44 PM
It's good that the old veteran is finally able to talk about what he did. I doubt that he takes any kind of pride in what he did.. Thats apparent in the part of the article where he talks about shooting the american who was reloading in the head... If he took pride in it I doubt the images of the guys helmet hitting the sand would still be haunting him to this day.


The disturbing part of this thread to me is, I think that many of the people expressing distaste to the article would probably show no bias to it if it had been talking about some Allied trooper behind a .50BMG gunning down waves of German soldiers. Because of that whole image of the "Allies" being the "Good Guys" and the "Axis" being the bad guys.

I don't look at it that way. I see soldiers fighting for thier country, and doing what they needed to do to survive. I doubt that any American soldier would have thought twice about popping him if they had been able to get a bead on him.. Killing someones son or brother.. not because he was some evil human being.. but because if THEY didn't KILL HIM.. HE WOULD KILL THEM.

I got an opportunity to talk to a German veteran who lived in my area when I was growing up.. He was a tanker, and talked about some of his experiences while commanding a Tiger. None of what he talked about did he seem proud of. The tone I got from his voice and the way he described things was that of duty. Being young at the time I never asked him if he enjoyed what he did.. Didn't cross my mind to. If he were still alive today, I'm sure I would ask him that, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that he'd say he was not proud of killing anybody.

I serve in the Military, USN to be exact.. I can't count how many times I've been standing behind one of the .50 BMG's when we've been making a dangerous transit and thinking to myself about the possibility of having to use that weapon against somebody. Would I do it without hesitation? Absolutely. I'd fire that gun until the barrel melted off if I had to, if it meant staying alive and protecting the ship and those aboard it who I serve alongside with.

However, there would be no sense of pride in killing anybody.

http://www.jg51.net/downloads/squadbanner.bmp

Bluedog72
07-26-2004, 07:39 PM
Interesting article, thanks for posting it.
I think it is good that the German veterans can finally tell their side of the story, in my opinion that liberty is long overdue.

Have you all seen the movie, or read the book "All Quiet on the Western Front"?, it more than anything else I had seen or read opened my mind to the fact that the 'enemy' arent faceless,soulless targets, but mere men like you or I, going about their duties as a soldier, the very same as you or I would.( actions which could be called warcrimes aside)
Their ultimate goal is not to kill as many opponents as possible, but to survive the ordeal in whatever way they can.

BaldieJr, would a US serviceman in Iraq today, or at Khe San 35 years ago, manning his post, defending his brothers in arms, be right in surrendering his position in the face of an enemy assualt, rather than ending possably hundreds or thousands of lives by remaining at his post and doing his duty?

I certainly don't think so, and apart from the government policies that put him in that situation (which he has no say in whatever really) he differs in no way from that German trooper manning a machine gun post on Omaha beach 60 years ago, in all cases, they are just doing their job.
To do anything else is desertion, cowardice in the face of the enemy, and punishable by death in times of war, I dont think that differs too much in any Army.

huggy87
07-26-2004, 07:40 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CHDT:

The death ratio of the German prisoners in the camps in the West is also a total taboo!

[This message was edited by CHDT on Mon July 26 2004 at 01:33 AM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


That is a new one to me. Where exactly did you find this little nugget. From everything I have ever read or heard the Germans and Italians were treated very well. By 44' they couldn't wait to surrender to the Brits or Yanks. The soviet treatment of the axis, now that is a different story.

How about some figures.

JG52_wunsch
07-26-2004, 08:09 PM
canadian history channel did a documentary about him,it was shown this year for d day s 60th.it s pretty interesting he got together with 1 of yanks who landed there,the 2 of them meeting was amazing to see,and if he could(yank)
forgive him,i think its the least we could do.
these guys are living history good and bad and soon they ll be all gone.



excellent post by the way sposocke,cheers m8.

After it was refeuled i climbed in.With many manipulations the mechcanics started the turbines.I followed their actions with the greatest of interest.The first one started quite easily.the second caught fire.In no time the whole engine was on fire.Luckily as a fighter pilot i was used to getting quickly out of the cockpit.The fire was quickly put out.The second plane caused no trouble - Adolf Galland (first time in a ME262)

PraetorHonoris
07-26-2004, 08:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by huggy87:

That is a new one to me. Where exactly did you find this little nugget. From everything I have ever read or heard the Germans and Italians were treated very well. By 44' they couldn't wait to surrender to the Brits or Yanks. The soviet treatment of the axis, now that is a different story.

How about some figures.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interessting, this seems to be irrelevant in US history...

Well, I think CHTD had the Rheinwiesenlager (rhine meadow camps) in mind.
During the first months after war's end, the German POV were forced into "Prisoner of War Transient Enclosures (PWTE)".
These camps were simply an open field with barbed wire fences surrounding them.
There was no housing at all, the prisoners were not allowed to use the tends, which they had received from the Wehrmacht. They had to make holes in the earth...
During the first weeks there was no food at all, despite of the food in German and US warehouses. Later on they became food, but not enough. Often a whole platoon had to share a single loaf bread a day. The German prisoners, especially the enlisted and the NCOs were starving.
Moreover sanitary facilities were almost nonexistend. Soon epidemics broke out and the prisoners received medicin very late.

It is not sure, how many people died, official US numbers are about 3000, German investigations says about 4500-5300. There are also some right wing propaganda numbers (53000-130000), which seems to be wrong.

As for the general treadment, yes it was good before 1945.
When the allies discovered the death camps, the treadment became very bad, with no difference whether SS or conscripted 16y old boy.
The allied soldiers, especially the US, often stole the medals of the German soldiers.
G├╝nther Rall e.g. lost all his medals except of the Ritterkreuz. Walter Krupinski was beaten up with rifles when he resisted to give away his medals.
You can read this in several biographies (Rall:"Mein Flugbuch" or Utracik: "Das Leben war ein W├╝rfelspiel").

I do not have any english sources to the rhine camps, except of this:
http://www.4reference.net/encyclopedias/wikipedia/Rheinwiesenlager.html

My German sources are:
The websites of:
Bundeszentrale f├╝r politische Bildung
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Infobitte.de

Books:

Autorenkollektiv, "Lexikon des Zweiten Weltkriegs", Francis, 2002

Smith, Arthur: "Die "vermi├čte Million" Zum Schicksal deutscher Kriegsgefangener nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg". (aus der Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte f├╝r Zeitgeschichte, 65) M├╝nchen 1992

Bacque, James: "Der Geplante Tod. Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und franz├┬Âsischen Lagern 1945 - 1946". Berlin 1993
(This one is very doubtful... seems to be right wing, written by a Canadian btw)

http://img15.exs.cx/img15/8182/siglan1.jpg

[This message was edited by PraetorHonoris on Mon July 26 2004 at 08:00 PM.]

Vladimir_No2
07-27-2004, 01:25 AM
Heres my favorite part: If the soldier had been Russian, American or British he would be seen as a "hero" for bravely holding off the invasion force of the enemy by shooting hundreds of "dark and evil" soldiers. Because the invading soldiers were on the winning "good" side, however, the German who stayed at his post is "a terrible mass murderer." In a war, you kill the enemy or be killed by the enemy. The Germans were fighting against the US, so they killed US troops. This soldier was not shooting civilians, and he did not start the war. Thank you to all who have posted with the same idea before me.

http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/v255/vladimir_no2/polishsig.jpg
Der Spaziergang uber Warshau

Abraxa
07-27-2004, 02:05 AM
very interesting, ty for posting it.

I really don't understand some reactions here. These lines are all one needs to understand.

"I did not shoot for the lust of killing but only to stay alive," said Severloh, 81, a tall, soft-spoken man who said he must have shot hundreds of Americans on June 6, 1944. "I knew if only a single one survived he would shoot me."

BBB_Abraxa

AirBot
07-27-2004, 02:24 AM
Amazing! I am a Jew, living in Israel, born in the USSR, my grandfather served in the Soviet army during The Great Patriotic War. Why is it that I can be more objective about this than so many people here? Do I hate the Nazis for the things they did? Of course. Do I hate all Germans of that time period? Of course not. How is that German soldier manning a MG42 on Omaha beach 60 years ago any different than an American, Russian, British, or soldier of any other nationality? Why is it that an American mowing down dozens of Germans with his .50 cal is a hero, while a German doing the same is an evil murderer? Or do you think that the Allied soldiers had wings and went around Germany defeating evil Nazis by filling them with the holy spirit and showing them the light?
Think about it - patriotism is loving and serving one's country even if one doesn't necessarily agree with the person currently running it. Is someone joining the American army today despite not agreeing with Bush's policy an idiot? No, everyone considers him a patriot. But for some reason, a German soldier doing exactly the same (assuming he wasn't drafted, of course, which would mean he had absolutely no choice as to joining) 60 years ago makes him an evil baby-killing Nazi.
If the soldier who was on the beach 60 years ago dodging this man's bullets doesn't hold a grudge, why the hell should you?

WTE_Galway
07-27-2004, 02:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Abraxa

I really don't understand some reactions here.

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


there is a serious need for some people to seperate themselves, their patriotic feelings for whatever country they are from and current world events like the situation in Iraq, from the historical events of 60 years ago

we should learn from the past but history is history

Yellonet
07-27-2004, 03:38 AM
There are quite a few persons in hear that doesn't seem to think before they write. Before posting something about the man being evil and not deserving to live I suggest that you think about what you would have done in the same situation.


- Yellonet

Franzen
07-27-2004, 04:46 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PBNA-Boosher:
Finally, after all these years, the defeated side may tell its story. I'm glad it is out of the shadows now. I hope that the world will print these, and our children, and their children, and so on and so forth, will no longer have a completely biased view of the German people during WW2.

Boosher
_____________________________
"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you..."
-Gandalf<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Your post is appreciated by many. Thanx http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Fritz Franzen

Franzen
07-27-2004, 04:50 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AirBot:
Amazing! I am a Jew, living in Israel, born in the USSR, my grandfather served in the Soviet army during The Great Patriotic War. Why is it that I can be more objective about this than so many people here? Do I hate the Nazis for the things they did? Of course. Do I hate all Germans of that time period? Of course not. How is that German soldier manning a MG42 on Omaha beach 60 years ago any different than an American, Russian, British, or soldier of any other nationality? Why is it that an American mowing down dozens of Germans with his .50 cal is a hero, while a German doing the same is an evil murderer? Or do you think that the Allied soldiers had wings and went around Germany defeating evil Nazis by filling them with the holy spirit and showing them the light?
Think about it - patriotism is loving and serving one's country even if one doesn't necessarily agree with the person currently running it. Is someone joining the American army today despite not agreeing with Bush's policy an idiot? No, everyone considers him a patriot. But for some reason, a German soldier doing exactly the same (assuming he wasn't drafted, of course, which would mean he had absolutely _no choice_ as to joining) 60 years ago makes him an evil baby-killing Nazi.
If the soldier who was on the beach 60 years ago dodging this man's bullets doesn't hold a grudge, why the hell should you?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Airbot, the answer is very simple; 59 years of post war propaganda.

Fritz Franzen

AirBot
07-27-2004, 08:45 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Franzen:
Airbot, the answer is very simple; 59 years of post war propaganda.

Fritz Franzen<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I live in Israel; I doubt there is a country where there has been more propoganda about the war anywhere in the world. Most people over here don't really know WWII even took place. For them, WWII = The Holocaust.
If I can think objectively, so can everyone else here. That excuse may work for most people, but people on this forum should be a bit more knowledgeable about the period.

ZG77_Nagual
07-27-2004, 09:24 AM
The shocking thing is that genocide continues to take place. Yet some how it is mostly 'not bad enough' to do anything about.

It is good to hear all these stories and viewpoints. It humanizes what was 'the enemy' and makes clear the horror and ambiguity. I think if the full pain of war was known by more of us there would be less of it.

Buckaroo12
07-27-2004, 10:26 AM
I for one am glad that Germany can finally start to shed some of it's self induced guilt. There were many atrocities committed by the allies, we were not always the "Righteous Liberators" we are portrayed as in the movies. Is this machine-gun operator any more evil then the allied bomber crews who firebombed dresden, or the crew that dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? There are many stories of summary execution, looting and rape by Allied soldiers as they advanced through Germany. Are their crimes to be swept under the carpet just so the world can continue to villify Germany? We must remember that it was allied vilification of Germany that played a large role in Hitlers initial rise to power. People can only stand so much shame before it turns to resentment and hate.

huggy87
07-27-2004, 10:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PraetorHonoris:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by huggy87:

That is a new one to me. Where exactly did you find this little nugget. From everything I have ever read or heard the Germans and Italians were treated very well. By 44' they couldn't wait to surrender to the Brits or Yanks. The soviet treatment of the axis, now that is a different story.

How about some figures.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interessting, this seems to be irrelevant in US history...

Well, I think CHTD had the Rheinwiesenlager (rhine meadow camps) in mind.
During the first months after war's end, the German POV were forced into "Prisoner of War Transient Enclosures (PWTE)".
These camps were simply an open field with barbed wire fences surrounding them.
There was no housing at all, the prisoners were not allowed to use the tends, which they had received from the Wehrmacht. They had to make holes in the earth...
During the first weeks there was no food at all, despite of the food in German and US warehouses. Later on they became food, but not enough. Often a whole platoon had to share a single loaf bread a day. The German prisoners, especially the enlisted and the NCOs were starving.
Moreover sanitary facilities were almost nonexistend. Soon epidemics broke out and the prisoners received medicin very late.

It is not sure, how many people died, official US numbers are about 3000, German investigations says about 4500-5300. There are also some right wing propaganda numbers (53000-130000), which seems to be wrong.

As for the general treadment, yes it was good before 1945.
When the allies discovered the death camps, the treadment became very bad, with no difference whether SS or conscripted 16y old boy.
The allied soldiers, especially the US, often stole the medals of the German soldiers.
G├╝nther Rall e.g. lost all his medals except of the Ritterkreuz. Walter Krupinski was beaten up with rifles when he resisted to give away his medals.
You can read this in several biographies (Rall:"Mein Flugbuch" or Utracik: "Das Leben war ein W├╝rfelspiel").

I do not have any english sources to the rhine camps, except of this:
http://www.4reference.net/encyclopedias/wikipedia/Rheinwiesenlager.html

My German sources are:
The websites of:
Bundeszentrale f├╝r politische Bildung
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Infobitte.de

Books:

Autorenkollektiv, "Lexikon des Zweiten Weltkriegs", Francis, 2002

Smith, Arthur: "Die "vermi├čte Million" Zum Schicksal deutscher Kriegsgefangener nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg". (aus der Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte f├╝r Zeitgeschichte, 65) M├╝nchen 1992

Bacque, James: "Der Geplante Tod. Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und franz├┬Âsischen Lagern 1945 - 1946". Berlin 1993
(This one is very doubtful... seems to be right wing, written by a Canadian btw)

http://img15.exs.cx/img15/8182/siglan1.jpg

[This message was edited by PraetorHonoris on Mon July 26 2004 at 08:00 PM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thank you. That is a piece of history I have never heard before.

Franzen
07-27-2004, 11:33 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AirBot:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Franzen:
Airbot, the answer is very simple; 59 years of post war propaganda.

Fritz Franzen<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I live in Israel; I doubt there is a country where there has been more propoganda about the war anywhere in the world. Most people over here don't really know WWII even took place. For them, WWII = The Holocaust.
If I can think objectively, so can everyone else here. That excuse may work for most people, but people on this forum should be a bit more knowledgeable about the period.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You are right, but I think most of the IL-2 players know the difference, a few obviously don't or don't want to. As for the people who don't play IL-2 or take any interest in WW2 historically,....well,... they always have movies to go by.
It's a little late for Germans to start talking about this more openly but I guess better late than never. The reason I say it's late is because many from that time are gone forever. When no one is left we can always look to "Hollywood".
Just before Opa passed away he finally started to talk about it a little, not much though. I didn't blame him because post war torture by the Allies is not something you'd want to remember. When I ask my father about our family he can't tell me much. While growing up he was taught it was taboo to discuss how the war effected our family. It's a shame those who sacrificed their lives for home and country will not be remembered only 60 years after their deaths. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/51.gif

Fritz Franzen

ucanfly
07-27-2004, 11:41 AM
It makes me sad to think that many first person accounts of the wholesale slaughter of GIs that took place on Omaha Beach can only be told by surviving Germans since many of the GIs did not live to tell the tale. It is good not only for historical accuracy , but also for our souls that we hear from both sides so we can better learn what war is really all about.

AirBot
07-27-2004, 02:11 PM
You're right Franzen, it is a shame it has taken us so long to let their stories be told. Imagine, sixty years after the fact and people still hold grudges and preconceptions. For the smartest creatures on this planet, we're not exactly the fastest learners, are we?

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I for one am glad that Germany can finally start to shed some of it's self induced guilt. There were many atrocities committed by the allies, we were not always the "Righteous Liberators" we are portrayed as in the movies. Is this machine-gun operator any more evil then the allied bomber crews who firebombed dresden, or the crew that dropped the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? There are many stories of summary execution, looting and rape by Allied soldiers as they advanced through Germany. Are their crimes to be swept under the carpet just so the world can continue to villify Germany? We must remember that it was allied vilification of Germany that played a large role in Hitlers initial rise to power. People can only stand so much shame before it turns to resentment and hate.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I know this isn't the way you meant it, but looting and rape by Allied soldiers aren't comparable to the German manning that MG42 on Omaha beach. That soldier, quite simply, was doing his job, the same as soldiers of all other nations. Possibly, he was fighting for his country. Probably fighting to carry out his orders. Definetely fighting to survive. That soldier fought for Germany, not for the Nazis; in all likelihood, he had no idea what the Nazis were even doing. If anything, that soldier is as much a hero as any American, British and Russian soldier that was fighting the same war.

purzel08
07-27-2004, 02:37 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PraetorHonoris:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by huggy87:

That is a new one to me. Where exactly did you find this little nugget. From everything I have ever read or heard the Germans and Italians were treated very well. By 44' they couldn't wait to surrender to the Brits or Yanks. The soviet treatment of the axis, now that is a different story.

How about some figures.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Interessting, this seems to be irrelevant in US history...

Well, I think CHTD had the Rheinwiesenlager (rhine meadow camps) in mind.
During the first months after war's end, the German POV were forced into "Prisoner of War Transient Enclosures (PWTE)".
These camps were simply an open field with barbed wire fences surrounding them.
There was no housing at all, the prisoners were not allowed to use the tends, which they had received from the Wehrmacht. They had to make holes in the earth...
During the first weeks there was no food at all, despite of the food in German and US warehouses. Later on they became food, but not enough. Often a whole platoon had to share a single loaf bread a day. The German prisoners, especially the enlisted and the NCOs were starving.
Moreover sanitary facilities were almost nonexistend. Soon epidemics broke out and the prisoners received medicin very late.

It is not sure, how many people died, official US numbers are about 3000, German investigations says about 4500-5300. There are also some right wing propaganda numbers (53000-130000), which seems to be wrong.

As for the general treadment, yes it was good before 1945.
When the allies discovered the death camps, the treadment became very bad, with no difference whether SS or conscripted 16y old boy.
The allied soldiers, especially the US, often stole the medals of the German soldiers.
G├╝nther Rall e.g. lost all his medals except of the Ritterkreuz. Walter Krupinski was beaten up with rifles when he resisted to give away his medals.
You can read this in several biographies (Rall:"Mein Flugbuch" or Utracik: "Das Leben war ein W├╝rfelspiel").

I do not have any english sources to the rhine camps, except of this:
http://www.4reference.net/encyclopedias/wikipedia/Rheinwiesenlager.html

My German sources are:
The websites of:
Bundeszentrale f├╝r politische Bildung
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Infobitte.de

Books:

Autorenkollektiv, "Lexikon des Zweiten Weltkriegs", Francis, 2002

Smith, Arthur: "Die "vermi├čte Million" Zum Schicksal deutscher Kriegsgefangener nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg". (aus der Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte f├╝r Zeitgeschichte, 65) M├╝nchen 1992

Bacque, James: "Der Geplante Tod. Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in amerikanischen und franz├┬Âsischen Lagern 1945 - 1946". Berlin 1993
(This one is very doubtful... seems to be right wing, written by a Canadian btw)

http://img15.exs.cx/img15/8182/siglan1.jpg

[This message was edited by PraetorHonoris on Mon July 26 2004 at 08:00 PM.]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well...my grandfather (252.ID) beacame a POW of the russians for one day. But he and some others managed to escape over the eastern sea and became POWs of the Brits. As a captain he got his own car with a driver, was allowed to carry his pistol and no one stole his medals http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.Probably the britains thought about a new war against Stalin and were happy to have some german officers who were experienced in fighting against the red army.

greetings...

Buckaroo12
07-27-2004, 03:25 PM
Airbot, I wasn't trying to make a direct comparison between the two acts. Just trying to point out that despite all the propaganda, the average german soldier was no more evil or good then his allied counterparts. I wonder if we would all have the same view of the war if CNN and the mass media had been around to cover D-day?

PBNA-Boosher
07-27-2004, 04:23 PM
There is no good or evil, for every soul believes they are fighting for the good side.

Boosher
_____________________________
"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you..."
-Gandalf

Kampfmeister
07-27-2004, 10:18 PM
It's been a long time since I've checked out the boards. Thanks for the great thread. I'm glad to see things are finally changing in Germany, and that they are beginning to come out of their guilt ridden coma. I was also very impressed with many, although not all of the comments on this subject. Thank you all. After reading many of your posts, I have to think that perhaps there is some hope for the human race after all. My own personal thoughts have always been, that a soldier is a soldier, no matter what nationality. The story of the MG42 gunner is a fine example of this. Ask yourself, what would you have done in his place. Besides it's not the slob in the trenches fighting for his life, and those of his comrades that calls the shots, but the generals and politicians further up the chain of command.

It's been nearly three generations since the war ended, and unfortunately it has overshadowed a lot of other horrible events in human history that occurred before and after the event. Time to look at the present and what we can do to save our future. If we don't learn to forgive, and forget, well not totally forget I suppose, we will be fighting this war in our national psyche's for generations to come.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by huggy87:

That is a new one to me. Where exactly did you find this little nugget. From everything I have ever read or heard the Germans and Italians were treated very well. By 44' they couldn't wait to surrender to the Brits or Yanks. The soviet treatment of the axis, now that is a different story.

How about some figures.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Huggy, purzel08 posted a number of good sources, the last of which refers to James Basque's very controversial book called "Other Losses". I'm not sure if you can even get it in the U.S. He purports that the Americans, and notably Eisenhower reclassified the status of millions of German POW's ( kind of like the enemy combatants thing going on today)after the war thus denying them such basic needs as would be provided them by the Red Cross. In short, many ended up starving to death after the war was over. He claims these deaths were then categorized under the term "Other Losses" to cover it up. His estimates range up to a million men.

Who knows what is truth or fiction. I've heard of a number of different casualty figures, as well as numerous atrocity stories. Suffice it to say, it wasn't as nice as the movies would have you believe. The facts are there if you dig below the surface a bit, because they won't teach it to you in your High School history class. My own father was lucky. He survived, obviously. He was a German POW from 1944 to 1946 in France. What few stories he told me about his ordeal, weren't happy ones.

I'm an American by the way (Retired Navy). Here is a recent example of why not to trust any government. Just a few days ago in our local paper there was a small blurb about an American Battalion that supposedly shot a number of Korean refugees during the war. The story actually came out several years ago. Supposedly there was some evidence located in the National Archives which mysteriously disappeard without a trace after the army began investigating the incident a few years back. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of distasteful history ends up. Maybe if more countries exposed the skeletons in their closets, we wouldn't have half the problems we have today. Sorry for the ramblings. Cheers all.

huggy87
07-27-2004, 11:13 PM
Kampfmeister,
Welcome back. I wondered if you disappeared. I already thanked Praetor for filling me in on this.