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2RHPZ
12-12-2005, 11:40 AM
German officers 'knew of Holocaust'

MURDO MACLEOD


HIGH-ranking German officers knew much more about Adolf Hitler's plans to murder millions of Jews than previously thought, according to newly revealed transcripts of conversations between captured generals.

During the Second World War, British intelligence secretly bugged the cells occupied by some of the most senior German army, navy and air force commanders who had been captured by the Allies.

The transcripts have only recently been made available to researchers and show that:

• Senior Luftwaffe officers mused together at the end of 1943 that millions of Jews had already been killed.

• General Dietrich von Choltitz, the German commander who defied Hitler's orders by not allowing Paris to be destroyed, admitted that he had been involved in killing Jews;

• Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had been fully briefed about the 1944 attempt to kill the Nazi leader, and refused to betray the plotters.

The British bugging operation took place in the then country estate of Trent Park on the north-west outskirts of London, in a building now used by the University of Middlesex.

Senior German officers were lulled into a false sense of security by being allowed to live in relative luxury, even sometimes having their adjutants and batmen to attend to them.

However, all the time the British were bugging their cells in an effort to get the Germans to reveal vital military secrets about chains of commands, tactics and who made the decisions in the Nazi war machine.

Scotsman (http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=2385262005)

Vandervahn
12-12-2005, 12:08 PM
Errrmmm.. I heard about this YEARS ago...
Apart from that it doesnt change anything on the the important question: whether it was common knowledge to the PUBLIC.

Crassus
12-12-2005, 12:42 PM
I have seen a tv-document where a German captain told that he complained to FM Manstein about mass killings of jews in Crimea. Mansteinīs reply was "it is politics" or something like that. But after the WWII when you read Mansteinīs memoirs, he is totally unaware jews existing at Crimea, or better said - they were evacuated by communist.
Erich von Mansteinīs memoirs are good but a reader must remember, they are full of lies.

Johnny_H02
12-12-2005, 12:48 PM
The only problem I have with that article is it says "German Officers"
It is obviously reffering to those in the higher ups of echelons.

Not the German Officer corps as a whole.

Kitsune
12-12-2005, 05:50 PM
This all is not exactly new. The mentioned transcripts are all very vague (especially considering that the term "Jew" and "Bolshevik" were often used interchangable) back then. This does hardly prove that officers in the Wehrmacht knew anything about Auschwitz. And what is said about Rommel is not exactly news either.

But a sentence like
[quote]This is a blow against the sanitised Hollywood image of the German army as a clean army totally removed from the atrocities.[/quoze]
iss truly amazing. Not only that the involvement of Wehrmacht units in various astrocities is an old hat by now. But what "sanitized Hollywood image of the Wehrmacht" is meant here? The image that Hollywood shows of the Wehrmacht is usually that the Germans were all a bunch of mindless evil-doers, arrogant (in the worst sense of the word) and racist to the bone, lacking any positive human emotion. And not that the picture gets better over time, it gets WORSE.

Funnily it's old movies (often from the fifties) were is at least some respect is shown ("Tobruk" for example). Some are even outright fair (like "Sink the Bismarck" or "The Enemy Below").
Later movies came more and more to depict Germans of the WWII era in a bad light ("A Bridge to Far" otherwise a classy movie is no exception) or even as the worst goons imaginable (the Indiana Jones trilogy...these may not be meant seriously but have nonetheless done a lot to shape the image most of today Americans view "the Nazis").

The newest movies take this to a whole new level, Germans are now not only evil, they are also cowards -and ugly of course ("Saving Private Ryan") or even, and thats truly a novelty, technically inept on top of it all ("U-517").
At the same time American soldiers are inevitably shown as good-looking and very competent. Those who are not downright heroic, that is.

Serials are no exception (take the various "guest appearances" which "the Nazis" have sometimes in some of these Star Trek derivates: the typical scene seems to be that some evil Alien who is himself an evil-doer through and through is at some point voicing his utter contempt for these Nazis. There may be understanding for the bloodthirstiest Klingon or the most insidious Romulan - but not for the most evil and most despisable aliens in the universe.

Which movie it may be - a difference between "normal Germans soldiers" and "Nazis" is generally not shown. So one cannot complain that there would be a "sanitized Hollywood image" at all. Quite the opposite. It's so bad that one sometimes could start to believe in a conspiracy.
(But then...it's not that other war enemies of the USA are faring that much better. And it's also not exactly getting better. Just compare how the Japanese are depicted in the older "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and compare it with the new "Pearl Harbor". And the Vietnamese are generally shown as some Asian ant people lacking any individuality or similiarities to normal human beings even in those movies that are otherwise full of critic concerning the war in Nam. So perhaps it's just the Zeitgeist).

All in all: the Scotsman tries to correct something that does not need to be corrected at all. I think this can be seen as just the normal anti-German article of the day in the British press.

gadzook
12-12-2005, 10:33 PM
Both "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the Japanese scenes from "Pearl Harbor" were written and directed by Japanese. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is actually two movies spliced together, one American and the other Japanese. If you see the Japanese as portraying themselves in less than a positive light then it's the Japanese director's fault...or(gasp) the actual horrible things the Japanese did in World War II.

I have seen a sum total of ONE German movie, "Das Boot" that is even 1/2 way watchable in regards to historical accuracy. The rest are garbage.

I enjoy seeing contemporary Germans here on this board trying to re-write the history of the Third Reich. It amuses me that they can turn a blind eye to overwhelming literature, film and photo archives of th average German citizen's involvement in the extermination, enslavement, eradication and destruction of millions of people often in their own hometowns and right under their noses?

As a former American Soldier stationed in Germany, all the Germans I knew all claimed to be "good Germans" and I could never find one owing up to being a Nazi. When asked, they all denied that they knew about the holocaust, slave labor camps etc. I would simply ask "Where did all the Jews go?" "Who worked in the factories when all the men left?". Simple questions that Germans knew the god damn answer to, but would not look me straight in the eyes and answer. That pissed me off. Frickin Nazis.

In the evenings in the Beer Halls the older men would get drunk and start singing Waffen SS songs. Catchy tunes. Most have lines in them like "we will crush our enemies skulls and burn their houses down, HOORAY!!". Nazis. All the men in there would be standing up on the tables singing those songs at the top of their lungs.

sir-chimp
12-12-2005, 10:54 PM
Both "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the Japanese scenes from "Pearl Harbor" were written and directed by Japanese. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is actually two movies spliced together, one American and the other Japanese. If you see the Japanese as portraying themselves in less than a positive light then it's the Japanese director's fault...or(gasp) the actual horrible things the Japanese did in World War II.

I have seen a sum total of ONE German movie, "Das Boot" that is even 1/2 way watchable in regards to historical accuracy. The rest are garbage.

I enjoy seeing contemporary Germans here on this board trying to re-write the history of the Third Reich. It amuses me that they can turn a blind eye to overwhelming literature, film and photo archives of th average German citizen's involvement in the extermination, enslavement, eradication and destruction of millions of people often in their own hometowns and right under their noses?

As a former American Soldier stationed in Germany, all the Germans I knew all claimed to be "good Germans" and I could never find one owing up to being a Nazi. When asked, they all denied that they knew about the holocaust, slave labor camps etc. I would simply ask "Where did all the Jews go?" "Who worked in the factories when all the men left?". Simple questions that Germans knew the god damn answer to, but would not look me straight in the eyes and answer. That pissed me off. Frickin Nazis.

In the evenings in the Beer Halls the older men would get drunk and start singing Waffen SS songs. Catchy tunes. Most have lines in them like "we will crush our enemies skulls and burn their houses down, HOORAY!!". Nazis. All the men in there would be standing up on the tables singing those songs at the top of their lungs.


How long after WW2 did you witness this behavior?

gadzook
12-12-2005, 11:38 PM
How long after WW2 did you witness this behavior?

20 years after the war. In the 1960's. Most of the men were in their 40's. This was in Bavaria too. Often Bavarians will say that since they were not Prussian that they have not party affiliation to the Nazis. This is false.

I, an American, can sing the Horst Wessel perfectly. Ever heard it? It's a great song. I heard it almost everytime I stayed late in a local tavern or beer hall. I even heard it sung in the Hofbrau House in Munich. Grease the wheels of those ex-soldiers with a couple gallons of beer in their bellies and all those old songs came out. Everyone sang them. Everyone. Some people marched in place or did laps around tables.

Most Germans at the time seemed to hate Hitler and the Third Reich only because they lost. Had the outcome of the war been different, so would the attitudes of all the ex-Nazis I came across.

sir-chimp
12-12-2005, 11:41 PM
20 years after the war. In the 1960's. Most of the men were in their 40's. This was in Bavaria too. Often Bavarians will say that since they were not Prussian that they have not party affiliation to the Nazis. This is false.

I, an American, can sing the Horst Wessel perfectly. Ever heard it? It's a great song. I heard it almost everytime I stayed late in a local tavern or beer hall. I even heard it sung in the Hofbrau House in Munich. Grease the wheels of those ex-soldiers with a couple gallons of beer in their bellies and all those old songs came out. Everyone sang them. Everyone. Some people marched in place or did laps around tables.

Most Germans at the time seemed to hate Hitler and the Third Reich only because they lost. Had the outcome of the war been different, so would the attitudes of all the ex-Nazis I came across.


Thanks for answering my question.

How did it make you feel knowing part of your mission was to defend those people from an invasion?

gadzook
12-12-2005, 11:58 PM
Thanks for answering my question.

How did it make you feel knowing part of your mission was to defend those people from an invasion?

At the time, we were still an Army of Occupation.

I have a whole bunch of stories about being stationed over there.

To a letter, most Germans would always talk about how they fought on the eastern front or in the balkans. I could never find a man who would admit to fighting on the western front. Not one. I liked Germans, but knew they were lying through their teeth when it came to their wartime service.

I was stationed on an old Luftwaffe airbase in Bad Aibling, Germany. We had excellent living quarters since they were built in the late 1930's by the Luftwaffe. Very nice quarters. We had a number of German civilians that worked on the base, mostly tradesmen, firefighters etc. They were all in that age group where they would have fought in the war somewhere. All claimed to be anti-communist fighters, nazi haters and innocent young bavarians conscripted into a war they did not want to fight in.

sir-chimp
12-13-2005, 12:04 AM
At the time, we were still an Army of Occupation.

I have a whole bunch of stories about being stationed over there.

To a letter, most Germans would always talk about how they fought on the eastern front or in the balkans. I could never find a man who would admit to fighting on the western front. Not one. I liked Germans, but knew they were lying through their teeth when it came to their wartime service.

I was stationed on an old Luftwaffe airbase in Bad Aibling, Germany. We had excellent living quarters since they were built in the late 1930's by the Luftwaffe. Very nice quarters. We had a number of German civilians that worked on the base, mostly tradesmen, firefighters etc. They were all in that age group where they would have fought in the war somewhere. All claimed to be anti-communist fighters, nazi haters and innocent young bavarians conscripted into a war they did not want to fight in.

Thanks again for answering my question.

Rifleman
12-13-2005, 01:49 AM
Short and sweet cause I gotta hit the sack.

When a teenager, I was able to meet a man who was a officer in the Wehrmacht. My friend's dad had been kind to his family after the fighting was over, food and such, and they stayed in contact.

He came to the U.S and came by to say hello and we (teenagers) were on him like bees on honey, and you know what question came up.

At first (he was on the eastern front) no, he had no clue. But they started hearing rumors. He was wounded, nothing real bad, and went home on leave, 30 days I think. One day a friend frankly told him the Jews were being wiped out. He was confused and pissed but did not know what to think or believe. When they started loosing the war and were being pushed back they knew because they started to see things but he really thought that hundreds or thousands of people were affected not 11 million total...Jews, Gypsies;et cetera.

My impression was this, they were just like us. Some were sad, some were pissed, some glad and some just really did not give a rat's butt about anything but getting out alive.

And if you told many of them what they wanted to hear they were on their merry way.

hughdotoh
12-13-2005, 03:37 AM
I've a neighbor who's ex-WM, got captured by the Soviets late in the war in Hungary and went home to what became East Germany after being exposed to all that anit-German propaganda. He quit the country in the 50's and eventually became a consul for the Seychelles. He denies the Holocaust ever happened (as a POW hew was very much suspicious of all what the Sovs said, true or not), but depite this he has had non-Aryan wives and ex-wives and loves all his children as a father should, and isn't anything of a racist.

Maybe the soldiers were aware of the Holocaust, maybe they just didn't want it in their soldierly lives. But David Downing in his book "The Devil's Virtuosos" calls them the Pharisees of their time, who knew what was going on but turned a blind eye out of being soldiers. A shameful thing, but they have been judged.

Zerodivider
12-13-2005, 05:59 AM
I have seen a sum total of ONE German movie, "Das Boot" that is even 1/2 way watchable in regards to historical accuracy. The rest are garbage.


So how many German movies are out there? I know of three... Das Boot, Stalingrad and The Downfall - all rather good. But I presume you prefer the likes of Saving Private Ryan and U-571 in terms of historical accuracy.

Pvt.Anderson
12-13-2005, 09:05 AM
I have to agree o Kitsune's post there ...


20 years after the war. In the 1960's. Most of the men were in their 40's. This was in Bavaria too. Often Bavarians will say that since they were not Prussian that they have not party affiliation to the Nazis. This is false.

I, an American, can sing the Horst Wessel perfectly. Ever heard it? It's a great song. I heard it almost everytime I stayed late in a local tavern or beer hall. I even heard it sung in the Hofbrau House in Munich. Grease the wheels of those ex-soldiers with a couple gallons of beer in their bellies and all those old songs came out. Everyone sang them. Everyone. Some people marched in place or did laps around tables.

Most Germans at the time seemed to hate Hitler and the Third Reich only because they lost. Had the outcome of the war been different, so would the attitudes of all the ex-Nazis I came across.


OMG It's you again , will you ever stop spreading bs to the world ...
I am from Bavaria and can in no way agree with what your saying ... for example it's YOU that generalizes all German soldiers into the nazi corner , when you have met 10 or 20 former Wehrmacht soldiers , well , i met 20 Americans , they all were white , which makes me come to the conclusion that every US American is white ...



I have seen a sum total of ONE German movie, "Das Boot" that is even 1/2 way watchable in regards to historical accuracy. The rest are garbage.

Well at least we don't picture ourselves as heroic , patriotic uber soldiers slaughtering a whole American or Soviet division ( yes , yes just watch how they slaughter nearly an entire SS division with 5 people ) and Russians or Americans as bloodthirsty , bad looking stoopid commies ... I also wonder if you have even seen Stalingrad cause there even a shooting of civilians is shown , where do we see that in any US movie ( well AFAIK they didn't shoot civilians , but german POWs sometimes WERE shot .... )
->I can only ask you what movies you prefere then , cause easily over 80% of the US warmovies are pure crap ( for example Pearl Harbor , SPR , U-571 ; of course ALL 100% historically accurate )

Another thiing that came to my mind : Well , I think people don't dislike rulers that have won a war with them , cause if the war would have been won by the Germans ,they would have lived a good life and I think the whole holocaust would've been hidden for years and only the highest nazi officers get to know it ( Compare it to Stalin ... he has done SO many crucial things to the Russian people but he has won the war ... did anyone in the past / does anyone today yell about millions of dead people INCLUDING millions of jews ? He won the war that's the most important fact . )

And I can't understand why people always say " well the soldiers knew about the holocaust why didn't they do anything ? " , well can you tell me what they should've done ? Complain about the leadership or it's decisions and wander to the KZ yourself


To a letter, most Germans would always talk about how they fought on the eastern front or in the balkans. I could never find a man who would admit to fighting on the western front. Not one. I liked Germans, but knew they were lying through their teeth when it came to their wartime service.
Once again you've met maybe 50 - 100 people of maybe 15 million German soldiers in war and can't believe that those who met were on the eastern front ... now WHERE have most of the German soldiers been fighting ? Do you know that ? I will tell you what : On the Eastern Front !

Heinzi
12-13-2005, 09:58 AM
Roughly two thirds of all German KIAs were on the Eastern front. 3.8 Million.

All relatives I know from my family who were soldiers in WW2 fought at the eastern front.
Western front was holiday time for the soldiers at most times of the war. (If you consider France as the western front)

tsuri
12-13-2005, 10:55 AM
Some of gadzookīs Information may even be true. But it is outdated. The 68er have begun a process of Awareness that was nonexistant in the years after the war. True virtually everyone could sing the Horst Wessel Song back then, but today? Most people hardly even know the National Anthem.

Lots of people knew lots of tiny pieces. But the lower ranks and civilians did not fully understand what was happening.

There were concentration camps. Lots of people knew this. But Propaganda of course showed Model Camps with smiling people and football matches like in Theresienstadt and not Death factories like Auschwitz.

If you talk to People who have seen it and lived it, you will hear that in the end it all made sense but during the war few people dared to put the puzzle together.

b.scheller
12-13-2005, 11:34 AM
There will always be humans and monsters, no matter in what service, branch or organization of any armed forces.

To stereotype that all Wehrmacht soldiers and officers were gentlemen would be false, but to stereotype that they were all monsters would also be silly. Much like to stereotype that all Germans were Nazis.

It makes people uncomfortable to think that most German soldiers who fought in the war, were much like the allies. That's why, most have been potrayed as brutal monsters, ready to eat babies and kill anyone non-German.

I think it would be silly to believe that the OberKommando Wehrmacht was not aware of what was happening on the Eastern Front in places like Baby yar or places much like it.

Nothing that ever happens, is able to be kept totally secret. Especially when it's of such monstrosity and inhumanity. Consciousness does not allow for people to keep it within themself.

Kitsune
12-13-2005, 04:21 PM
@gadzook:

1) I haven't often heard the Horst Wessel Lied. At least here in the Rhineland it doesn't see to be that popular anymore. (And after I did, I did not even find it a catchy tune. But tastes do differ).


2) That Bavarians have nothing to do with the NS time, because they are Bavarians and Nazi stuff would be a Prussian thing is evidently wrong. (As you say). One could even make the case for the opposite: southern Germany was more of a homecountry for the Nazis than the northern regions, cities like Munich and Nuremberg especially so. (This extents to regions even more in the South...an surprising number of high-up Nazis have an Austrian background to at least some degree, Hitler, Eichmann and Goebbels among them.) And in opposite to this, Prussians dominated the Wehrmacht. These people had a different mindset from the Nazis (not completely incompatible as it would turn out but still different) and, when it comes down to it, even can be said to despise the NS-movement. They struck their deals with the Nazis and thus became involved and tainted. (If one knows the histroy of the time, this is hardly difficult to understand. With Germany being differently treated after WWI things most probably would have turned out differently). But Prussia was never the primary Nazi recruiting ground or the origin of the movement.


3) However, Germans of all parts of society and all regions did support the Nazi regime. But this was not just done out of pure evilness.

This NS-government seemed to do quite a good job in the thirties. It led Germany out of a dire economical and psychological crisis (and right into the next one but that became apparent only later). Most people did not support them BECAUSE they were anti-semits but more despite of it. Some may have had rascist tendencies (not even to an larger degree as white Americans had at the time, face it) but did not see that as THE point of it all. To put it otherwise: Had the Nazi government had no success in the economical and political field but made the situation worse every year, being double as rascist and anti-semit as they were would still not have made them popular.
By and large, people did nor support them because they wanted to help evil.

And especially in the war, they were supported BECAUSE they were the German governement. There is one of these interviews in BoB when an ex-Airborne says: "I did what I did not because of the glory or the medals. I did it because it had to be done". The mindset of many Germans of the time cannot be described better. It goes like: "In war there is no time to critizise your country or its leadership. It's not about wanting to kill or winning recognition. It's not even about who started it. If your country is in a war, you support it. Your allegiance is clear. No questions, no buts".
That is why many good men (and women) did what they did. That is why "Volksdeutsche" came from all over the world to fight for Germany, a country which some of them had never seen before.

That is not too say that there weren't other motives, however. Not all men are inherently good. Some did support the powers-that-were out of simple opportunism. This is not so heroic, but opportunism is alive and well because it is a sound survival strategy (and certainly a better one than being a hero). People like this are very adaptable, and many had no problems to become excellent democrats or communists afterwards. (Some even made a second change from communist to democrat 45 years later with remarkable elegance as well...)

And if you should have wondered why so many Germans you met denied having anything to do with Hitler, "survival strategy" is just the term. It's the politics of your country, especially the mindless "de-nazification" process that did this (only rocket scientists and shadow men from the intelligence service field were exempted). Common people were downright terrorized and could expect dire consequences if they said anything not completely negative about the Nazis. That left no room for much honesty butled to the incredible mendacious denial. Most true die hard Nazis were in South America anyway. Those left standing were the ones who had not supported the Nazis...or the opportunists who had but had no problem to deny it with a passion. It were these people that all to often were one coloumn of support for the Allied rule in Germany (as they had been for the Nazis...). It need not to be told that especially the Americans often took this turncoats on with open arms.
Just in case you were wondering why the complete denial. You reap what you saw. And, if I am not mistaken, the American government hasn't learned much. It seems you are doing it in Iraq in quite similiar a style.

4) And just to out myself here: one of my grandfathers did fight on the Western Front. Perhaps that makes him a bad person. I can't even remember him denying it. :P

joedirt
12-13-2005, 11:07 PM
heres's a crazy story. one of my relatives was in germany in the early 60's with the us army doing training related things with the west german army and he was taken to a bar one night and they go into this back room and in there is a party and its a bunch of 40 year old former german officers and ss men wearing there full uniforms. true story.

evanfitz
12-13-2005, 11:20 PM
I feel that one of the most accurate films (In terms of realism through fear) would be "The Thin Red Line". Just incredible..

Esszett
12-14-2005, 12:39 AM
Great post Kitsune.
Couldn't have said it better.

towelie
12-14-2005, 12:50 AM
20 years after the war. In the 1960's. Most of the men were in their 40's. This was in Bavaria too. Often Bavarians will say that since they were not Prussian that they have not party affiliation to the Nazis. This is false.

I, an American, can sing the Horst Wessel perfectly. Ever heard it? It's a great song. I heard it almost everytime I stayed late in a local tavern or beer hall. I even heard it sung in the Hofbrau House in Munich. Grease the wheels of those ex-soldiers with a couple gallons of beer in their bellies and all those old songs came out. Everyone sang them. Everyone. Some people marched in place or did laps around tables.

Most Germans at the time seemed to hate Hitler and the Third Reich only because they lost. Had the outcome of the war been different, so would the attitudes of all the ex-Nazis I came across.

My dad is going to have to call bull**** on that entirely. He was an officer in the gebirgs during the mid 60's to the mid 70's and he went to many a bar with old war veterans and he never recalled anyone singing old nazi songs and marching in place.