We, Poles, reckognize and esteem those of German soldiers, that did not trade theirs honor, faith and humanity. One of senior members accused us, Poles, that we do not take the floor as we honor only our fallen soldiers.
That is not true. I do not know the reason any of Poles did not write here for. So, I have the honor to let you know about Otto Schimek - citizen of Vienna, whose grave is just 20 km from my home, and whose memory is still revered among us.
Glory to the hero!
The Germans treated their Soviet POWs very badly, which is indefensible but typical of people who are not skilled in imperialism, but to suggest that the Soviets and their collaborators did not perpetrate mass-murder on a grand scale, as you seem to be suggesting, is really on a par with Holocaust denial, isn't it? The German POWs who survived long enough in Soviet hands to make it to the gulags were viewed as a source of labour, just like anyone else who was incarcerated by the Soviets. Nothing much to do with politics, unless one accepts that Western leaders bent over backwards to pander to Stalin, which is why so many Westerners, including Allied POWs and others caught up in the Soviet advance westwards in 1945, ended up in Siberia, many never to be seen again, without a peep from the West. The Reds excused their retention of German POWs, including men from Greater Germany, by treating them as common criminals who had entered the USSR and committed murder, manslaughter and criminal damage on a grand scale, for all the world as if they were a marauding army of football hooligans.
Last edited by pkeating; 02-19-2009 at 05:24 AM.
Normally I'd make fun of people for digging up old threads, but I'm glad I read this one.
On a VERY basic level, yes. Well, but I didn´t do that. I will now, for the third time in this thread, say again that I was speaking in the context of the soviet treatment of german prisoners, especially after the war. We are not speaking of Stalins earlier hobbies, we´re not speaking of Ukraine in ´32 and we are definately not speaking about the Katyn reflex. I don´t get why this premise is so difficult to understand.but to suggest that the Soviets and their collaborators did not perpetrate mass-murder on a grand scale, as you seem to be suggesting, is really on a par with Holocaust denial, isn't it?
And no, despite all their massacres and murderous rampages, the Soviets did not, in an organized fashion and on a large scale, off their german prisoners like the Germans did to them.
Your premise is not hard to understand. I've already indicated that I understood you. I've even acknowledged that the Germans behaved badly and that there was no excuse for it. That said, one has to understand how the Bolshevik threat was perceived by people at the time. I have an advantage, to some extent, because of the number of veterans I have known who signed up to fight Bolshevism in German uniform.
However, are you able to indicate some properly documented examples of mass-execution of Red Army POWs by the Wehrmacht? I am sure it happened on an ad hoc basis but, there again, the Reds weren't above 'offing' German prisoners either. In fact, many Heer tankers removed the deathshead devices from their collar patches in order to lessen the risk of summary execution after capture by Reds who might mistake them for Waffen-SS men, many of whom were murdered by Reds.
That was the nature of the war on the Eastern Front. Murder of POWs was also quite frequent on the Western Front. Poles, Czechs and Free French were particularly ****e to murdering German prisoners if they got the chance. They were also as into rape as the Reds. Then again, as a look at the archives shows, so were US forces in France after the invasion. Nobody stays completely clean once the fighting breaks out.
Coming back to the question of Soviet murder policies, of the members of Fallschirmjäger-Btl Brandenburg who fell into Soviet hands in Bucharest in 1944, not a single man is known to have made it back home after the war. We're talking about the best part of two airborne infantry companies. So they all caught the 'flu and died of natural causes in Siberia? Sure! And yet, quite a few younger members of the Dirlewanger Brigade captured by the Soviets made it home as early as 1947 and 1948, their captors having deemed them to be 'political cases' and unwilling conscripts. This was true by then. I have the papers of one such case. Of course, NCOs and officers were treated somewhat differently by the Reds.
I'm not a pro-Nazi apologist. I'm just pointing out the fatuousness of trying to establish who was worse and the oddness of trying to suggest that the Reds didn't murder prisoners as a matter of course.
"On the 19th of july 1941, the german 714th division were on a mission to take revenge for a partisan attack in Yugoslavia. They began by burning down a village followed by an order to shoot innocent yugoslavian villagers. One of the soldiers of this firing squad, Joseph Schultz, refused. He put down his weapons and walked to the victims to join them. He was executed togheter with three yugoslav women and five men.
Did he do the right thing? And did this act make him a hero?"
Source (with images): http://www.historicalconflicts.com/f....php?f=89&t=57
Couple of threads on this bloke already, search before posting. Merged.
I recently read 'Ordinary men' ( http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-R.../dp/0060995068 ), about a german police batallion who murdered tens of thousands of jews and other civillians in the east, during the war. It is a chiiling but interesting read. There are many personal accounts and stories of the men who participated.
The one thing that really strikes you when you read it, is that many of them opted out of the mass killings - without any reprisals or punishment whatsoever... Even officers. Some were scorned or ridiculed by the others. But no one was apparently 'shot on the spot' for cowardice, or arrested and brought to trial as traitors. Not one. I can't remember reading of a single example in this very detailed book, where a single german was punished for not wanting to kill a civillian. It was on the contrary quite easy to avoid, for those who wanted to. Simply make yourself scarce when these killing groups where organized.
After reading it, it is hard to come to any other conclusion than that the individual soldier in this unit did not kill for 'fear of being punished' if he didn't - because he wasn't, and everybody knew it. Rather the brutalization of war, especially the political, ideological war of the nazi regime, and - believe it or not - peer pressure! Not wanting to appear 'weak' and 'soft' to your buddies..
Well, the Komissar Befehl said, that every captured Polit Comissar had to be shot on sight, that is true, but regular Red Army soldiers where captured and deported, often to KZs where they where used as slave workers. Some Russians Surived the War because they where sent to Farmers as slave workers. Of course, the majority of them didnt end up there and later died in the KZs.
Also, not every German unit followed the Comissar Order. There are several documented reports of higher officers simply ignoring the Order or even protesting it harshly. The regular Army untis where also quite shocked about the SS and thier brutal slaughterings of civillans.
Most of those Officers who protested, later got replaced with more loaly people.
I can understand why the Russians where so hard to the German POWs, seeing how we destroyed towns, killed the animals and bruned the crop, kmureding civillans and deporting hundrests of thousends of POWS and Jews into German KZs. For the Russians it was justifeid to send our POWs to Siberia to have them work for them and whatnot.