SHOCKING! American (And Allies) Torture And Abuse Of German Prisoners After The Country Lost The War

 As described by both Churchill and Elliott Roosevelt in their memoirs, "Stalin rose and proposed a blood-curdling toast. The strength of the German army depended, he said, upon fifty thousand high officers and technicians. His toast was a salute to shooting them, ". . . as fast as we can, all of them."
The Allies may have chosen to style themselves as ‘liberators’ but they came in hate. In the cases of the Russians, French, Poles and Czechs, this was understandable. To be occupied is to be violated, even when it is not coupled with regular atrocities. The atrocities committed by the SS and the Wehrmacht in Poland and Russia were horrendous, and they were not lacking in France and Czechoslovakia either. It is hardly surprising that there were acts of revenge. Any man found in the east was liable to be subjected to the most fabulous torture and death. Such things we may understand, but surely never condone. 
From After The Reich by Giles Macdonogh

I stumbled across this bit of history accidentally! The inhuman torture that was meted out to German prisoners by American soldiers and authorities after the country lost the war in 1945. 

The truth at times is very unpalatable....The Nazis were evil but what the American interrogators did was hardly holy. 

We always knew America could be cruel inhuman and ruthless. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay showed it clearly. But not many of us know the vicious manner in which America dealt with German prisoners at the end of WW2. One feels a churning in the stomach; a little nausea as one reads about it (the same feeling one gets when reading about the holocaust). As an old saying goes, "All crows are black".

At that time (End Of WW2)  German POWs (Especially those from the Waffen SS) were brutally tortured. After the Second World War, the Allies wanted to extort by torture,(for example, destruction of the testicles) confessions to bring Germans to the gallows and to collect arguments for the re-education of the German people. Among others are the so-called confessions in Malmedy process.

All practices of medieval torture methods were used. As an example, because of alleged involvement in the shooting of Allied airmen the sergeant accused Schmitz who vigorously denied what the interrogators wanted. "Fisher began to rage ... He put the gun to Schmitz's temporal and called again for another statement. Schmitz said nothing. And then the blows rained down with the gun over his head, the lieutenant hit him several times on the face. With a bloody nose and burst scalp Schmitz was returned to his solitary confinement. Pointner, Witzke and Albrecht  had previously been treated with the same methods for many weeks They signed what was presented to them the next day.
(KW Hammerstein, "Landsberg - executioner of the law", Wuppertal, 1952, page 104)

One of the most notorious was the infamous Major Abraham Levine.Most found that the interrogations took place only in the evening or at night. Fisher and Levine tortured the prisoners. About the methods in Landsberg reported KW Hammerstein. 'Sometimes the condemned in Schwitzzellen were kept in rooms with 80 degrees temperature in order to 'burn'.

British and American authorities denied access by International Red Cross representatives to camps holding German prisoners of war. Moreover, any attempt by German civilians to feed the prisoners was punishable by death.  Many thousands of German PoWs died in American custody, most infamously in the so-called “Rhine meadow camps,” where prisoners were held under appalling conditions, with no shelter and very little food.

Only rarely do these atrocities became public. By mistake a 60 year old man, Heinrich Heine Heinemann Leo, was accused and shackled in heavy chains, and brought in for questioning. A loaded gun was put to his head and the interrogators tried to force him to sign a confession. When he refused, he was beaten so badly that he was unconscious for a long time. When the mistake was realised six weeks later it was found that the father Leo Heinemann had been apprehended and not his son Henry. The father was ill and returned home with a broken nose .

"British and allied troops appearing as defendants in war crimes trials with brutal Serbs and former Red Army thugs is well overdue", says 20th Century analyst, Michael Walsh. His research exposes allied genocide, enslavement and institutionalized ill treatment of axis prisoners-of-war both during and after World War 11. He says, "the scale of abuse of prisoners-of-war was contrary to the Geneva and other conventions to which Britain and its allies were signatories. 

 As late as 1948, three years after the war’s end, the British Government’s treatment of its foreign prisoners was subject to International Red Cross scrutiny and international condemnation. The IRC threatened to bring the British government before international tribunals for abuse and illegal enslavement. 

 Typically, British administered prisoner-of-war camps were worse than Belsen long after the war had ended and war disruption ceased. Tragically even civilians were illegally held, deported and murdered in the tens of thousands whilst the evil killers responsible have so far evaded justice. 

 The respected Associated Press Photographer, Henry Griffin who had taken the pictures of corpses in Buchenwald and Dachau when visiting Allied POW camps agreed: "The only difference I can see between these men and those corpses is that here they are still breathing."  

"According to revelations by members of the House of Commons, about 130,000 former German officers and men were held during the winter of 1945-46 in British camps in Belgium under conditions which British officers have described as 'not much better than Belsen."

Source: Nexusboard
Both during and after the war, the Allies tortured German prisoners. In one British center in England, called “the London Cage,” German prisoners were subjected to systematic ill-treatment, including starvation and beatings. The brutality continued for several years after the end of the war. Treatment of German prisoners by the British was even more harsh in the British occupation zone of Germany.  At the US internment center at Schwäbisch Hall in southwest Germany, prisoners awaiting trial by American military courts were subjected to severe and systematic torture, including long stretches in solitary confinement, extremes of heat and cold, deprivation of sleep and food, and severe beatings, including kicks to the groin. 

"God , I hate the Germans," Eisenhower wrote to his wife, Mamie, in September, 1944. Earlier, in front of the British ambassador to Washington, he had said that all the 3,500 or so officers of the German General Staff should be "exterminated."

Among the early U.S captives was one Corporal Helmut Liebich, who had been working in an anti-aircraft experimental group at Peenemunde on the Baltic. Liebich was captured by the Americans on April 17, near Gotha in Central Germany. Forty-two years later, he recalled vividly that there were no tents in the Gotha camp, just barbed wire fences around a field soon churned to mud. The prisoners received a small ration of food on the first day but it was then cut in half. In order to get it, they were forced to run a gauntlet. Hunched ocer, they ran between lines of American guards who hit them with sticks as they scurried towards their food. On April 27, they were transferred to the U.S. camp at Heidesheim farther wet, where there was no food at all for days, then very little. Exposed, starved, and thirsty, the men started to die. Liebich saw between ten and thirty bodies a day being dragged out of his section, B, which at first held around 5,200 men.. He saw one prisoner beat another to death to get his piece of bread. One night when it rained, Liebich saw the sides of the holes in which they were sheltered, dug in soft sandy earth, collapse on men who were too weak to struggle out. They smothered before anyone could get to them. Liebich sat down and wept. "I could hardly believe men could be so cruel to each other."


Among the most terrible tormentors in American uniform, were the interrogators Perl and Clay. They operated mainly in Schwäbisch Hall a terrorist regime. Fair-minded Americans, Colonel Everett, mobilized  U.S. public opinion against the injustice of prisoners of war (the Waffen-SS soldiers). The American Judge Edward Leroy van Roden Colonel finally became a member of an appointed official investigative commission, chaired by Gordon Simpson of Texas Supreme Court. Following are excerpts from van Roden's report (quoted by Maurice Bardeche, "Nuremberg and the counterfeiters," Wiesbaden 1957): The "as" evidence submitted was "confessions" extorted from men who were held in perfect seclusion for three, four or five months. They were locked in a windowless room with four walls. Daily two meager meals were pushed in through flap attached to the cell door. They could not talk. They were denied all contact with their families, a priest or a pastor. In some cases, this treatment was enough to bring German to sign whatever they were made to sign.



Former British Army veteran A.W Perkins of Holland-on-Sea described conditions in the ‘Sennelager’ British concentration camp, which shockingly held, not captured troops but civilians. He recounts; "During the latter half of 1945 I was with British troops guarding suspected Nazi civilians living on starvation rations in a camp called Sennelager. They were frequently beaten and grew as thin as concentration camp victims, scooping handfuls of swill from our waste bins."

This ex-guard described how other guards amused themselves by baiting starving prisoners. "They could be shot on sight if they ventured close to the perimeter fence. It was a common trick to throw a cigarette just inside the fence and shoot any prisoner who tried to reach it." . "When Press representatives ask to examine the prison camps, the British loudly refuse with the excuse that the Geneva Convention bars such visits to prisoner-of-war camps." complained press correspondent Arthur Veysey from London on May 28th 1946.

From the book

Giles MacDonogh

MacDonogh discusses the treatment of German POWs in some detail, and this is an especially painful chapter for Americans. After Germany's unconditional surrender the status of the millions of German POWs changed to DEP (Disarmed Enemy Persons), which meant they were no longer subject to the Geneva Conventions. Food rations were immediately reduced and starvation became commonplace.

The most notorious American camps were the Rheinwiesenlager - the Rhine Meadow Camps - where more than 400,000 prisoners were left to starve out in open in the mud. 10% of them died from hunger, disease and exposure.

 The "lucky" ones were herded into former Nazi concentration camps - such as Dachau - where they were treated horribly and many died. I had read about some of this abuse in Ernst von Salomon 's autobiographical book Der Fragebogen (The Questionnaire), where he describes in detail his treatment as a prisoner of the Americans, and MacDonogh also draws on von Salomon's account. Former Wehrmacht and SS officers were subjected to brutal "interrogations".

At Schwaebisch Hall, a particularly infamous prison near Stuttgart for officials suspected of major war crimes, MacDonogh writes:

The Americans had used methods similar to those employed by the SS in Dachau. … Worse still were the mock executions, where the men were led off in hoods, while their guards told them they were approaching the gallows. Prisoners were actually lifted bodily off the ground to convince them they were about to swing. More conventional methods of torture included kicks to the groin, deprivation of sleep and food and savage beatings. When the Americans set up a commission of inquiry into the methods used by their investigators, they found that, of the 139 cases examined, 137 had “had their testicles permanently destroyed by kicks received from the American War Crimes Investigation team.”
In other cases too, continued Judge van Roden, direct physical torture  used in a sadistic manner was used  to extort "confessions": Investigators put a black hood over the head of the accused, then they were struck in the face with brass knuckles,  kicked and beaten with a rubber hose. Several German defendants had broken teeth, some had their jaws broken. In 139 cases reviewed, but two, the Germans had been hit with such force in the testicles, that a permanent disability resulted. This was a standard procedure of our American investigators ....

Seward L. van Roden, was so shaken by  the terrible injustices meted out to Germans  that he was quoted as sayin in the "Chicago Tribune" 12 March 1949 issue, "If justice is to take place, then one would have to attribute the entire American army to the United States, where they sit in judgment order".


The British naval officer, Kriegsgeschichtler and publicist Captain Russell Grenfell dealt with the van Roden's investigation results. In his published in 1954 in New York book "Unconditional Hatred" (German: "Unconditional Hatred," Tübingen 1954?) He wrote: The judge found that captured German had faced various forms of mistreatment  - in the words of the magazine "Sunday Pictorial "-" strong men to broken wrecks ready to mumble any admission demanded of them by their accusers. "

From Unconditional hatred by Russell Grenfell (Page 190)

On January 23, 1949, the SUNDAY PICTORIAL published, under the headline: "AMERICANS
TORTURE GERMANS TO EXTORT 'CONFESSIONS' " what it called "an ugly story of
barbarous tortures inflicted in the name of allied justice," taken from the report of the Ameri-can Judge Edward L. van Roden, who had investigated allegations to this effect as a member
of an official Commission of Enquiry.

The Judge found that German prisoners were subjected  to various forms of maltreatment till, as the Pictorial said, "strong men were reduced to broken wrecks ready to mumble any admission demanded by their prosecutors."

Some of the actual methods of persuasion revealed by the Judge included forcing lighted  matches under prisoners' fingernails, kicking in the testicles beyond repair (in all but 2 of the  139 cases investigated), putting a black hood over a prisoner's head and then bashing him in the face with knuckle-dusters, and the use of bogus priests, complete with crucifix and candles, to hear confessions in the hope of gaining incriminating information


"Concealed documents," the second volume brings the following report of a Flayed of Schwäbisch Hall, Heinz Rehagel: "by blows and kicks, I was driven to the admission in a cell. High fever and kidney pain made me immediately call for a doctor. A doctor came not to help me, but the interrogators.. Even my request for two extra blankets he refused. So I was left with two thin blankets in a cold cell, with leaky windows. Repeated calls and pleas were ignored. Just before Christmas, I asked an American interpreter. My question was, why were we actually there? He responded with vicious insults. The request to be allowed to receive a message from my wife, (she must have given birth in late November) he met with general insults against his wife.When I forbade that, he hit me repeatedly with his fist in the face. As I was led to the first hearing, I received blows with a cudgel on the chest, abdomen and genitals. At my first interrogation I met Perl and Lieutenant Harry Thon, a German emigrant. Thon posed as a Major and senior public prosecutor. Thon:. - (. Thon hits me in the face) "You are Rehagel" "Yes" "You are a stupid piece of shit," That was the welcome by the representatives of the subsequent prosecution.. In many other cases, I answered their questions. But not to the satisfaction of the gentlemen. Not the truth they wanted. I was made  most magnificent promises, but I had to implicate my company boss, the regimental commander, and Lieutenant Christian. When promises had no effect threats followed like: "Well, we have the resources to get you to talk," or: "You can simply disappear; quick executions carried out here," every day.

When news leaked about sadistic methods in the terrorist tribunals in America, voices were raised in protest. On 20 May 1949, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (cited in Ulrich Stern, the real culprits "in the Second World War," Munich, 1990). Know, "As a lawyer and as judge of the circuit court in Wisconsin and I respect the American system of justice I think, the world was expecting a demonstration of American justice, which should be self-applied to our defeated enemies. Instead Gestapo and GPU methods have been applied. I have heard testimony and seen documentary evidence to the effect that accused persons subjected to beatings and physical abuse were in forms as they could only be invented by sick minds. They were exposed to mock trials and executions, they threatened to deprive their families of the ration cards, which justified all the accusers as necessary to create the right psychological atmosphere "for obtaining confessions ". I am firmly convinced that innocent people as well as guilty in this way in the" right psychological atmosphere added, "make confessions or anything and will confirm each. I do not want that murderous Nazis are released. I only wish that innocents are protected.


Adding to international outrage, Cyril Connolly, one of England’s most acclaimed writers reported: "British guards imprisoned German troops and tortured them." He described how "they were so possessed by propaganda about German 'Huns' that they obviously enjoyed demonstrating their atrocities to visiting journalists. A British reporter named Moorehead who was present at these ‘torture fests’ observed that 'a young British medical officer and a captain of engineers managed the Bergen-Belsen camp. "The captain was in the best of moods," he said. "When we approached the cells of gaoled guards, the sergeant lost his temper." The captain explained. 'This morning we had an interrogation. I'm afraid the prisoners don't look exactly nice.' The cells were opened for the visiting journalists. "The German prisoners lay there, crumpled, moaning, covered with gore. The man next to me made vain attempts to get to his feet and finally managed to stand up. He stood there trembling, and tried to stretch out his arms as if fending off blows. "Up!" yelled the sergeant. "Come off the wall." "They pushed themselves off from the wall and stood there, swaying. In another cell the medical officer had just finished an interrogation. "Up." yelled the officer. "Get up." The man lay in his blood on the floor. He propped two arms on a chair and tried to pull himself up. A second demand and he succeeded in getting to his feet. He stretched his arms towards us. "Why don't you kill me off?" he moaned. "The dirty bastard is jabbering this all morning." the sergeant stated.


So it is that Bernard reveals "It took three days to get a coherent statement out of [Höss]" (ibid.). This admission was corroborated by Mr. Ken Jones in an article in the Wrexham Leader.(October 17,1986):
Mr. Ken Jones was then a private with the fifth Royal Horse Artillery stationed at Heid[e) in Schleswig-Holstein. "They brought him to us when he refused to cooperate over questioning about his activities during the war. He came in the winter of 1945/6 and was put in a small jail cell in the barracks," recalls Mr. Jones. Two other soldiers were detailed with Mr. Jones to join Höss in his cell to help break him down for interrogation. "We sat in the cell with him, night and day, armed with axe handles. Our job was to prod him every time he fell asleep to help break down his resistance," said Mr. Jones. When Höss was taken out for exercise he was made to wear only jeans and a thin cotton shirt in the bitter cold. After three days and nights without sleep, Höss finally broke down and made a full confession to the authorities.



United States 140,000 (US Occupation Zone of which 100,000 were held in France, 
30,000 in Italy, 14,000 in Belgium. 
Great Britain 460,000 German slaves. 
The Soviet Union 4,000,000 - 5,000,000 estimated. 
France had 680,000 German slaves by August 1946. 
Yugoslavia 80,000
Belgium 48,000
Czechoslovakia 45,000
Luxembourg 4,000, Holland 1,300

Source: International Red Cross

An outraged International Red Cross organization opined: "The United States, Britain and France, 

nearly a year after peace are violating International Red Cross agreements they solemnly signed in 1929.  Although thousands of former German soldiers are being used in the hazardous work of clearing minefields,  sweeping sea mines and razing shattered buildings, the Geneva Convention expressly forbids  employing prisoners 'in any dangerous labour or in the transport of any material used in warfare.'

Henry Wales in Geneva, Switzerland on April 13, 1946 added, 'The bartering of captured enemy soldiers by the victors  throws the world back to the dark ages when feudal barons raided adjoining duchies to replenish their human live stock.  It is an iniquitous system and an evil precedent because it is wide open for abuse with difficulty in establishing responsibility.  It is manifestly unjust and sell them for political reasons as the African Negroes were a century ago."


GERMAN TREATMENT OF POWs FAR MORE HUMANE By contrast the German armed forces behaved impeccably towards their prisoners-of-war. "The most amazing thing about the atrocities in this war is that there have been so few of them. I have come up against few instances where the Germans have not treated prisoners according to the rules, and respected the Red Cross reported respected newspaper The Progressive February, 4th1945. Allan Wood, London Correspondent of the London Express agreed. "The Germans even in their greatest moments of despair obeyed the Convention in most respects. True it is that there were front line atrocities - passions run high up there - but they were incidents, not practices, and misadministration of their American prison camps was very uncommon." Lieutenant Newton L. Marguiles echoed his words. US Assistant Judge Advocate, Jefferson Barracks, April 27th 1945. "It is true that the Reich exacted forced labour from foreign workers, but it is also true that, they were for the most part paid and fed well." "I think some of the persons found themselves better off than at any time in their lives before." added Dr.James K.Pollack, Allied Military Government. "What did the Germans do to get efficient production from forced labour that we were not able to do with Germans working down the mines? They fed their help and fed them well." Said Max H. Forester, Chief of AMG's Coal and Mining Division in July 1946.

 Waffen SS soldiers surrender to the Americans

From Germancross

Here is another telling vignette, as recounted by American author Marguerite Higgins visited Germany following the war and later wrote of her experiences in "News Is a Singular Thing". Higgins described a visit to a GI "Interrogation Center": "The GI led us to the main door of the camp . . . Behind the bars of the cell we saw 3 uniformed Germans. Two of them, beaten and covered with blood, were lying unconscious on the floor. A third German was lifted up by the hair on his head, and I shall never forget, he had red hair like a carrot. A GI turned his body over and struck him in the face. When the victim groaned, the GI roared, "Shut your mouth, damned Kraut!". . . . It turned out that for almost a quarter of an hour, the doubled rows of 20 to 30 GI's stood aligned taking turns methodically beating the six captured Germans. . . It came out later that the worked-up GI's had captured six young German boys, who had never even been members of the SS. The youngsters had only recently been inducted into a government work battalion. The boy with the red hair was 14 years old. The other 5 German boys in the cell blocks were between 14 and 17 years old." The book "Vorsicht! Faelschung!" reproduces a photograph of 2 German youngsters taken after their "interrogation" by Allied investigators. The photo speaks for itself. The faces of the two youngsters are bruised, swollen, and bloody. These beatings were endemic. These were not isolated occurrences. And if this was the treatment meted out to the innocent - to youngsters in particular - it is only logical to assume that "Nazis" accused of "heinous crimes" were treated far, far worse.


After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
Giles MacDonogh

In a sobering and courageous book, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation,  British historian Giles MacDonogh details how the ruined and prostrate Reich (including Austria) was systematically raped and robbed, and how many Germans who survived the war were either killed in cold blood or deliberately left to die of disease, cold, malnutrition or starvation.
(P 389)

Indeed the Malmédy trial of those accused of massacring American soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge and the quest for the killers of the fifty British airmen who had taken part in the Great Escape from a Silesian POW camp show quite clearly how rare it was that the Germans ill-treated American and British POWs. That the Americans should have pursued the perpetrators of the killing of a hundred or so soldiers with such ruthlessness while at the same time allowing anything up to 40,000 German soldiers to die from hunger and neglect in the muddy flats of the Rhine was an act of mind boggling hypocrisy.
The Americans, for example, used their German camps for political prisoners and those awaiting trial or denazification. Like the British and the Russians, they tended to use the old concentration camps to house prisoners. Usually there was decent accommodation for the GIs in the neighbouring SS barracks. Any attempt to feed the prisoners by the German civilian population was punishable by death. It is not clear how many German soldiers died of starvation. Very soon people were comparing the conditions in American and French camps with those in the Nazi concentration camps. The psychoanalyst Alexander Mitscherlich, who examined former POWs, learned that they were prone to compare themselves to Hitler’s victims, and to accuse the Allies of hypocrisy in their stories of German atrocities
The Russians were still the worst, but who was the second worst? The Yugoslavs killed as many as 80,000 prisoners of war, which, given the numbers they started with, must put them in second place. About 2.5 per cent of all the Germans in French custody died, a figure that is proportionally far higher than the American tally.
The ‘work-over’ was the prelude to an ordeal that lasted for months, and in some cases years. There were no exceptions – not even generals were immune, although one SS-Standartenführer who had ‘solved the Jewish question’ in Hungary with singular efficiency was treated with awe and absolved from the usual beating. As it transpired, once a prisoner was officially marked down as a ‘war criminal’, the physical abuse ceased. The higher judicial authority would certainly have learned of any beatings. This sort of rough handling was reserved for those the Americans deemed obscure or defenceless, not for Göring or Ribbentrop. There were too many journalists buzzing around the courthouse in Nuremberg. 

For the mere soldiers the treatment was less brutal, but could be just as deadly. Hans Johnert was taken prisoner by a GI on 9 April 1945. The soldier snatched his watch and threw away his mess tin: ‘Kriegst du alles neu!’ (You’ll get new ones!). He was taken to the Bavarian spa town of Bad Kissingen and given a tin of beans with bits of meat in it. Then he was transferred to the Pioneers’ Barracks in Worms, where the gloves came off. There were 30,000–40,000 prisoners sitting in the courtyard, jostling for space. With no protection against the rain they froze. They went from Worms to France. As their convoy arrived on French soil, French civilians threw stones and lumps of coal at them. A black guard had to fire his weapon to keep them at bay. Behind bars back at Natternberg the violence slackened off, but did not die out. 

One memorable day the prisoners had to run the gauntlet – a punishment that had made the Prussians infamous in their time. The prisoners were called out in alphabetical order. The Americans formed two lines and the men ran between them while they rained down blows with rubber truncheons. Salomon noted that the elderly were the hardest hit, because they moved most slowly. 

Once again it was a Polish sergeant who was most feared for his brutality. He was in the middle of one of the rows. When L was called out it was the turn of Hanns Ludin, Hitler’s ambassador to Slovakia. Ludin was determined to drink his cup down to the dregs. He where are our men? 401 walked slowly through the ranks. ‘When he reached the Polish sergeant he lost one of his wooden shoes. He turned about and with his bare foot fished for the shoe he had lost. The sergeant ran after him, striking him, and dropped his rubber truncheon. Ludin leaned down, picked it up and handed it back to him. The physical maltreatment of the inmates came to an end only when General Patton sent up a colonel to inspect the camp. After that the prisoners received proper rations and medical treatment. The earlier violence was attributable to JCS 1067, and ultimately to Morgenthau.

Half of the German POWs in the West were imprisoned by US forces, half by the British. The number of prisoners reached such a huge proportion that the British could not accept any more, and the US consequently established the Rheinwiesenlager from April to September of 1945 where they quickly built a series of "cages" in open meadows and enclosed them with razor wire.

One such notorious field was located at Bad Kreuznach where the German prisoners were herded into open spaces with no toilets, tents, or shelters. They had to burrow sleeping spaces into the ground with their bare hands and in some, there was barely enough room to lay down. In the Bad Kreuznach cage, up to 560,000 men were interned in a congested area and denied adequate food, water, shelter, or sanitary facilities and they died like flies of disease, exposure, and illness after surviving on less than 700 calories a day. There are 1,000 official graves in Bad Kreuznach, but it is claimed there are mass graves which have remained off limits to investigation. There were no impartial observers to witness the treatment of POWs held by the U.S. Army.

From the date Germany unconditionally surrendered, May 8, 1945, Switzerland was dismissed as the official Protecting Power for German prisoners, and the International Red Cross was informed that, with no Protecting Power to report to, there was no need for them to send delegates to the camps. In 1945, thousands of German POWs were jammed into US Army vehicles going through towns such as Nürnberg and Emskirchen (below). They often traveled for hundreds of miles without being able to sit and with no food, rest, or relief stops. Hundreds of German prisoners were confined in makeshift US camps in Emskirchen and elsewhere. Some were sent to fields, mudholes, quarries, and hell holes elsewhere. It is very tricky giving numbers since most records are absent or inaccurate. Only by the autumn of 1945, after most camps had closed or were in the process of closing, was the Red Cross granted permission to send delegations to visit camps in the French and UK occupation zones and to finally provide minuscule amounts of relief, and it was not until February 4, 1946, that the Red Cross was allowed to send even token relief to others in the U.S. run occupation zone.

The death rate for prisoners in these U.S. camps was at that point 30 per cent per year, according to a U.S. medical survey. Nearly all the surviving records of the Rhineland death camps were destroyed. But these men were lucky. Large numbers of captured soldiers were taken away to be enslaved.

If captured in smaller groups, even the US Army policy was to slaughter the prisoners where they stood, especially if they were SS. The largest (currently acknowledged) massacres at the hands of the Americans were the murder of 700 troops of the surrendered 8th SS Mountain Division, atrocities carried out against the surrendered SS Westphalia Brigade where most of the German captives were shot through the back of the head, and the machine gunning of three hundred surrendered camp guards at Dachau.

There was also an alleged mass murder of as many as 48 surrendered German prisoners who were captured on April 15, 1945 at Jungholzhausen. An eyewitness stated: "The Americans forced the Germans to walk in front of them with raised hands in groups of four. Then they shot the prisoners in their heads from behind." The bodies were loaded onto a truck and taken away. The matter is still under investigation.

At the end of June, 1945 the first camps in Remagen, Böhl-Ingelheim and Büderich were dissolved. SHAEF offered the camps to the French, who wanted 1.75 million prisoners of war for use as slave labor. In July, Sinzig, Andernach, Siershahn, Bretzenheim, Dietersheim, Koblenz, Hechtzheim, and Dietz, all containing thousands of prisoners, were given to France.

In the British Zone, prisoners of war who were able to work were transferred to France and the rest were released. At the end of September, 1945 all the initial camps were dissolved. At one point, 80,000 prisoners of war a month were supposed to have to been returned from USA captivity and discharged into the Allied zones of Germany as part of the 1.3 million allotted to France for "rehabilitation work" (slave labor), but after the Red Cross reported that 200,000 of the prisoners already in French hands were so undernourished they were unfit for labor and likely to die over the winter, the USA stopped all transfers of prisoners to French custody until the French would maintain them in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

About 250,000 Germans (including most of the Afrika Korps) and Italians surrendered in Tunis in May 1943, and were taken as prisoners of war where they sweltered in large pens in the desert heat. Many survivors were later sent to Egypt and camps in the US and elsewhere.

By the winter of 1947, it was estimated that 4,160,000 German POWs were still held in 'work camps' outside Germany: 750,000 in France, 30,000 in Italy, 460,000 in Britain, 14,000 in Belgium (at one point, 48,000), 4,000 in Luxembourg and 1,300 in Holland (as discussed later, the Soviet Union started with 4,000,000-5,000,000, Yugoslavia had 80,000 and Czechoslovakia 45,000) as well as the USA's 140,000 in the US Occupation Zone with 100,000 more later also held in France. It is estimated that 700,000 to a million men may have died within the period they spent incarcerated in American and French camps alone from 1945 to 1948.

There are much higher estimates, however, and attempts to uncover the truth regarding these camps in modern times, as well as excavation of reported mass grave sites, have been vigilantly thwarted by, among others, the German government. It is unknown how many perished under British captors but recently declassified documents indicate widespread torture and abuse. Under all of them, many of the prisoners were used to do dangerous work such as working with hazardous materials and mine sweeping in complete disregard of the law. Nearly all the surviving records of the Rhineland death camps were destroyed. Although it was always strongly denied, Morgenthau himself said his plan was implemented. In the New York Post for November 24, 1947, he wrote, "The Morgenthau Plan for Germany... became part of the Potsdam Agreement, a solemn declaration of policy and undertaking for action.... signed by the United States of America, Great Britain, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."

After the German capitulation in Norway on May 8,1945, over 5,000 German prisoners of war were forced by the British, under the command of General Sir Andrew Thorn, to undertake clearance of land mines in clear violation of the Geneva Convention of 1928. The POWs had to walk arm in arm through mine fields already cleared of mines in hopes of triggering off land mines that were not found previously. This act of cruelty led to the deaths of 184 German Soldiers and the injuring of another 252 POWs. Neither Thorn nor anyone else was ever held accountable for war crimes. It happened in Denmark as well, and a Danish historian documented the killing of German POWs during such clearance of land mines. It is assumed that about 250 German POWs met their deaths in this way in Denmark when forced to perform this diabolical task. On the morning of July 22, 1945, seven Germans were blown into the air as 450 land mines detonated. The other German POWs had to then collect the body parts of their friends without using gloves or other protection.

In the communist realms, the conditions that German POWs, many just kids, endured on the Eastern Front were beyond grim and did not follow any accepted protocol for treatment of captured soldiers. Under the provisions of the Yalta Agreement, the U.S. and U.K. had agreed to the use of German POWs in the Soviet Gulag as "reparations-in-kind," but comparatively few Germans were taken alive before Stalingrad. Most were shot and many were mutilated alive. Out of the 90,000 Germans who marched into Soviet captivity at Stalingrad, only 5,000 ever returned: 40,000 did not survive the march to the Beketovka camp, where another 42,000 perished of hunger and disease. Those POWs that made it alive to separate camps in Siberia and elsewhere in the western Soviet Union were forced into slave labor and endured frequent beatings, brutal torture, poisoning, and execution.

The gulag's daily food ration was padded with 400 to 800 grams of bread, more than half of the prisoner's daily 1200-1300 calories. The most productive workers received a modest food bonus (ironically, the Morgenthau Plan for occupied Germany suggested the same allotment of 1300 calories a day per German, while the suggested minimum requirements for heavy labor are from 3100-4000 calories per day). In the gulags, the prisoner's food ration was linked to his production. Realizing that the most productive work done by prisoners is in the first three months of captivity, after which they were too debilitated to perform well, the exhausted prisoners were simply killed off and replaced with fresh blood, ensuring a constant flow of new labor.

Because the German POWs had been conveniently redefined as "disarmed enemy forces," Allied captors did whatever they wanted with their German captives, even bartering them away to others for use as slaves. In fact, in a "Re-education" bulletin distributed by the "Special Service Division, Army Service Forces" of the U.S. Army in 1945, tacit approval is given for the intentional transfer of German POWs from Allied hands to the genocidal Red Army: "Many German prisoners will remain in Russia after the end of war, not voluntarily, but because the Russians need them as workers. That is not only perfectly legal, but also prevents the danger of the returning prisoners of war becoming the core of a new national movement. If we ourselves do not want to keep the German prisoners after the war, we should send them nonetheless to Russia." Again, shades of Morgenthau.

Long columns of German prisoners were marched on foot hundreds of tortuous miles toward their doom in Stalingrad, Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow, and Minsk where most were starved and worked to death. Very few ever saw home again. When approximately 6,000 German Army officers were released by the Western Allies in the first half of 1945, they were then re-arrested by the Soviets and held in Zone II at Sachsenhausen Prison Camp which had formerly held the Communist political prisoners of the Nazis. Later, Special Camp No. 7 was filled with German prisoners who had been sentenced by a Soviet military tribunal to 15 years of hard labor. By the end of 1945, it held 12,000 to 16,000 prisoners, among them 2,000 female prisoners, but the population grew. There was inadequate food and deplorable sanitary conditions. Prisoners could have no clothing other than what they were wearing when arrested. Disease and epidemics ran through the barracks where the prisoners had to sleep on the bare wood frames with only a block of wood for a pillow for two years until blankets and bags of straw were finally distributed in 1947. They were not allowed any activities, and even singing was prohibited. The windows of the overcrowded barracks were blacked out and the prisoners were kept in almost total darkness. A total of approximately 60,000 German prisoners were held in Special Camp No. 7 after World War II ended, and 12,000 were buried in unmarked mass graves. None were released by the Soviets until 1948, and most prisoners remained there until 1950, and some were sent on to the Soviet gulags or handed over to the East German Communist government for even more punishment.

The fates of thousands upon thousands of German soldiers, many just kids, surrendered to both the Allies and especially the Soviets have never been accounted for and any attempts to uncover the truth of their disappearance have been halted. Between 1941 and 1952, millions of German POWs died in the Gulag. The last surviving 10,000 of them were not released from the Soviet Union until 1955, after a decade of forced labor. About 1.5 million German soldiers are still listed as missing in action and join the ranks of those who vanished while under Soviet captivity. In total, 5,025 German men and women were convicted of war crimes between 1945 and 1949 in the American, British, and French zones by Allied War Crimes Trials. Over 500 were sentenced to death and the majority were executed, among them 21 women.


The Red Terror was let loose on surrendered German POWs in eastern Europe from Czechoslovakia to Poland and beyond. Many were simply shot and thrown into mass graves, others were tortured and mutilated first, and these retributions extended even to young boys. German POWs who fell into the hands of the Yugoslav hordes suffered horrible fates. After 1986, a report appeared showing that out of about 194,000 prisoners, up to 100,000 died from gruesome torture, murder, horrible conditions, disease, and intentional starvation. Around 93,000 ethnic Germans who lived in the Danube basin from 1939 to 1941 served in Hungarian, Croatian, and Romanian armies, and they remained citizens of those countries during the war (many of these ethnic Germans served in the "Prinz Eugen" Waffen SS division of about 10,000, which automatically gave them German citizenship). 26,000 of these soldiers died, over half after the end of the war in Yugoslav camps.

When most of the "Prinz Eugen" division surrendered after May 8, 1945, over 1,700 of them were murdered in a village near the Croat-Slovenian border and the other half was worked to death in Yugoslav zinc mines near the town of Bor, in Serbia. Aside from these Danube German soldiers, over 70,000 Germans who had served in regular Wehrmacht died in Yugoslav captivity from revenge murders or as slave laborers in dangerous work. These were mostly troops of "Army Group E" who surrendered to British forces in southern Austria on May 8, 1945 only to have the British turn about 150,000 of them over to vengeance fueled Communist Yugoslav partisans who dealt with them as brutally as they could. Mob surrounds POW, left. Location unknown. The fates of the remaining captured German troops in Yugoslavia was murder, both fast and slow. First, up to 10,000 died in Communist-organized "atonement marches" (Suhnemärsche) which stretched 800 miles from the southern border of Austria to the northern border of Greece. In most instances, the prisoners were all tied together and forced to walk barefoot with no food or water. As some dropped off one by one on these death marches, others were executed or tied together in smaller groups and thrown into rivers where they were all shot for sport and drowned.

On November 1, 1944, the Council for the Liberation of Yugoslavia declared all Germans "open prey" and less than half of the German POWs and ethnic German civilians survived the partisans' genocide during this time. Then, later in the summer of 1945, many more German POWs were murdered in mass executions or thrown alive into large karst pits along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. For the next 10 years, from 1945 to 1955, as was the case in the Soviet Union and other communist countries, 50,000 more German prisoners died from being worked to death as slaves and from the results of disease, starvation, or exhaustion. Thousands of German and Croat soldiers captured in the final days of the war were coldly executed and buried in mass graves found in western Croatia. A site recently uncovered at Harmica, 50 kilometres northwest of Zagreb, holds the bodies of 4,500 soldiers, including 450 German officers, executed by communist partisans. The bones at Harmica were found in six separate caves and laid in trenches upon discovery. The officers were buried in a separate grave, presumably because they were separated from the soldiers and executed last. The victims were troops of the 392 Infantry Division, set up by the German command in Croatia in August 1943 and placed under the leadership of Lt. General Hans Mickl.

The fates of thousands upon thousands of German soldiers, many just kids, surrendered to both the Allies and especially the Soviets have never been accounted for and any attempts to uncover the truth of their disappearance have been halted.

An interesting footnote: After the war, many German combat veterans joined the French Foreign Legion. Some were surviving SS members recruited directly from prisoner of war camps. Others were men from lost German lands who had nowhere to go home to. Highly regarded by the French for their discipline and bravery, an estimated 35,000 Germans took part in France's war in Vietnam. Germans made up over half the Foreign Legion units in Vietnam that bore much of the heaviest fighting against the communist Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh. In this brutal conflict, more than 10,000 Legionnaires were killed out of about
70,000 who fought.


Despite the six years of bitter fighting which lay behind him, James Morgan-Jones, a major in the Royal Artillery, could not have been more specific about the spectacle in front of him. "It was," he reported, "one of the most disgusting sights of my life."

Curled up on a bed in a hospital in Rotenburg, near Bremen, was a cadaverous shadow of a human being. "The man literally had no flesh on him, his state of emaciation was incredible," wrote Morgan-Jones. This man had weighed a little over six stones (38kg) on admission five weeks earlier, and "was still a figure which may well have been one of the Belsen inmates". At the base of his spine "was a huge festering sore", and he was clearly terrified of returning to the prison where he had been brought so close to death. "If ever a man showed fear - he did," Morgan-Jones declared.
Adolf Galla, 36, a dental technician, was not alone. A few beds away lay Robert Buttlar, 27, a journalist, who had been admitted after swallowing a spoon handle in a suicide attempt at the same prison. He too was emaciated and four of his toes had been lost to frostbite.
The previous month, January 1947, two other inmates, Walter Bergmann, 20, and Franz Osterreicher, 38, had died of malnutrition within hours of arriving at the hospital. Over the previous 13 months, Major Morgan-Jones learned, 45 inmates of this prison, including several women, had been dumped at Rotenburg. Each was severely starved, frostbitten, and caked in dirt. Some had been beaten or whipped.
The same week that Major Morgan-Jones was submitting his report, a British doctor called Jordan was raising similar concerns at an internment camp 130 miles away. Dr Jordan complained to his superiors that eight men who had been transferred from the same prison "were all suffering gross malnutrition ... one in my opinion dying".
They included Gerhard Menzel, 23, a 6ft German former soldier who weighed seven stones, and was described as a living skeleton. Another, admitted as Morice Marcellini, a 27-year-old Frenchman, later transpired to be Alexander Kalkowski, a captain in the Soviet secret police, the NKVD. He weighed a little over eight stones, and complained that he had been severely beaten and forced to spend eight hours a day in a cold bath.
Prisoners complained thumbscrews and "shin screws" were employed at the prison and Dr Jordan's report highlighted the small, round scars that he had seen on the legs of two men, "which were said to be the result of the use of some instrument to facilitate questioning". One of these men was Hans Habermann, a 43-year-old disabled German Jew who had survived three years in Buchenwald concentration camp.
All of these men had been held at Bad Nenndorf, a small, once-elegant spa resort near Hanover. Here, an organisation called the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) ran a secret prison following the British occupation of north-west Germany in 1945.
CSDIC, a division of the War Office, operated interrogation centres around the world, including one known as the London Cage, located in one of London's most exclusive neighbourhoods. Official documents discovered last month at the National Archives at Kew, south-west London, show that the London Cage was a secret torture centre where German prisoners who had been concealed from the Red Cross were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with execution or with unnecessary surgery.
As horrific as conditions were at the London Cage, Bad Nenndorf was far worse. Last week, Foreign Office files which have remained closed for almost 60 years were opened after a request by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. These papers, and others declassified earlier, lay bare the appalling suffering of many of the 372 men and 44 women who passed through the centre during the 22 months it operated before its closure in July 1947.
They detail the investigation carried out by a Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Tom Hayward, following the complaints of Major Morgan-Jones and Dr Jordan. Despite the precise and formal prose of the detective's report to the military government, anger and revulsion leap from every page as he turns his spotlight on a place where prisoners were systematically beaten and exposed to extreme cold, where some were starved to death and, allegedly, tortured with instruments that his fellow countrymen had recovered from a Gestapo prison in Hamburg. Even today, the Foreign Office is refusing to release photographs taken of some of the "living skeletons" on their release.
Initially, most of the detainees were Nazi party members or former members of the SS, rounded up in an attempt to thwart any Nazi insurgency. A significant number, however, were industrialists, tobacco importers, oil company bosses or forestry owners who had flourished under Hitler.
By late 1946, the papers show, an increasing number were suspected Soviet agents. Some were NKVD officers - Russians, Czechs and Hungarians - but many were simply German leftists. Others were Germans living in the Russian zone who had crossed the line, offered to spy on the Russians, and were tortured to establish whether they were genuine defectors.
One of the men who was starved to death, Walter Bergmann, had offered to spy for the British, and fell under suspicion because he spoke Russian. Hayward reported: "There seems little doubt that Bergmann, against whom no charge of any crime has ever been made, but on the contrary, who appears to be a man who has given every assistance, and that of considerable value, has lost his life through malnutrition and lack of medical care".
The other man who starved to death, Franz Osterreicher, had been arrested with forged papers while attempting to enter the British zone in search of his gay lover. Hayward said that "in his struggle for existence or to get extra scraps of food he stood a very poor chance" at Bad Nenndorf.
Many of Bad Nenndorf's inmates were there for no reason at all. One, a former diplomat, remained locked up because he had "learned too much about our interrogation methods". Another arrived after a clerical error, and was incarcerated for eight months. As Inspector Hayward reported: "There are a number against whom no offence has been alleged, and the only authority for their detention would appear to be that they are citizens of a country still nominally at war with us."
Today, the older people of Bad Nenndorf talk about August 1 1945, the day the British arrived, with undisguised bitterness. A convoy of trucks pulled into the village, and the Tommies took over from an easygoing US infantry division. Within hours, the British had ordered everybody in the centre of the village to pack their belongings and leave. Bad Nenndorf was heaving with refugees from the bomb-ravaged ruins of Hanover, 18 miles to the east: hundreds of people were given 90 minutes to pack some food and valuables, and get out.
"We thought everyone would be allowed back in a few days," recalls Walter Münstermann, now a retired newspaperman, but then a 14-year-old. "Then the soldiers started putting barbed wire fences around the centre of the village, and slowly we began to realise that this was going to be no ordinary camp."
Walter and his neighbours realised that the centre of their village was being transformed into a prison camp when they heard that the British were converting a large, 40-year-old bath-house, ripping out the baths and installing heavy steel doors to turn each cubicle into a cell. They saw the first batch of prisoners arrive in the back of a truck. Later groups arrived at the village railway station in cattle trucks.
Ingrid Groth, then a seven-year-old, said locals claimed that if you crept up to the barbed wire at night, you could hear the prisoners' screams. Mr Münstermann, who passed the main gate on his way to school each day, insists that the opposite was true: that it was a sinister place precisely because "you never, ever saw anyone, and you never heard a sound". Among the people of Lower Saxony, Bad Nenndorf became known as das verbotene dorf - the forbidden village.
The commanding officer was Robin "Tin Eye" Stephens, 45, a monocled colonel of the Peshawar Division of the Indian Army who had been seconded to MI5 in 1939, and who had commanded Camp 020, a detention centre in Surrey where German spies had been interrogated during the war.
An authoritarian and a xenophobe with a legendary temper, Stephens boasted that interrogators who could "break" a man were born, and not made. Of the 20 interrogators ordered to break the inmates of Bad Nenndorf, 12 were British, a combination of officers from the three services and civilian linguists. The remaining eight included a Pole and a Dutchman, but were mostly German Jewish refugees who had enlisted on the outbreak of war, and who, Inspector Hayward suggested, "might not be expected to be wholly impartial".
Most of the warders were soldiers barely out of their teens. Some had endured more than a year of combat, at the end of which they had liberated Belsen. Some represented the more unruly elements of the British Army of the Rhine, sent to Bad Nenndorf after receiving suspended sentences for assault or desertion. Often, Hayward said, they were the sort of individuals "likely to resort to violence on helpless men".
The inmates were starved, woken during the night, and forced to walk up and down their cells from early morning until late at night. When moving about the prison they were expected to run, while soldiers kicked them. One warder, a soldier of the Welsh Regiment, told Hayward: "If a British soldier feels inclined to treat a prisoner decently he has every opportunity to do so; and he also has the opportunity to ill-treat a prisoner if he so desires".
The Foreign Office briefed Clement Attlee, the prime minister, that "the guards had apparently been instructed to carry out physical assaults on certain prisoners with the object of reducing them to a state of physical collapse and of making them more amenable to interrogation".
Former prisoners told Hayward that they had been whipped as well as beaten. This, the detective said, seemed unbelievable, until "our inquiries of warders and guards produced most unexpected corroboration". Threats to execute prisoners, or to arrest, torture and murder their wives and children were considered "perfectly proper", on the grounds that such threats were never carried out.
Moreover, any prisoner thought to be uncooperative during interrogation was taken to a punishment cell where they would be stripped and repeatedly doused in water. This punishment could continue for weeks, even in sub-zero temperatures.
Naked prisoners were handcuffed back-to-back and forced to stand before open windows in midwinter. Frostbite became common. One victim of the cold cell punishment was Buttlar, who swallowed the spoon handle to escape. An anti-Nazi, he had spent two years as a prisoner of the Gestapo. "I never in all those two years had undergone such treatments," he said.
Kalkowski, the NKVD officer, claimed that toenails were ripped out and that he had been hung from his wrists during interrogation, with weights tied to his legs. British NCOs, he alleged, would beat him with rubber truncheons "while the interrogating officers went for lunch". Hayward concluded, however, that "there was not a shred of evidence to support these allegations".
Whatever was happening during the interrogations must have been widely known among many of the camp's officers and men. In common with every CSDIC prison, each cell was bugged, so that the prisoners' private utterances could be matched against their "confessions".
Inspector Hayward's investigation led to the courts martial of Stephens, Captain John Smith, Bad Nenndorf's medical officer, and an interrogator, Lieutenant Richard Langham. The hearings were largely held behind closed doors. A number of sergeants - men who had carried out the beatings - were told they would be pardoned if they gave evidence against their officers.
Langham, who had been born in Munich and fled to England with his parents in 1934, at the age of 13, denied that he had mistreated prisoners and was acquitted. Charges of manslaughter against Smith were dropped but, after a court martial held entirely in secret, he was found guilty of the neglect of inmates and sentenced, at the age of 49, to be dismissed the service.
It is unclear whether any of Stephens's superiors knew, or condoned, what had happened at Bad Nenndorf, although his lawyers said they were prepared to spread the blame among senior army officers and Foreign Office officials. Before his court martial began there was nervous debate among ministers and government officials about how to avoid the repercussions which would follow, should the truth become known.
Ministers were anxious that nobody should learn that CSDIC was running a number of similar prisons in Germany. There was also what the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Frank Pakenham, later to become Lord Longford, described as "the fact that we are alleged to have treated internees in a manner reminiscent of the German concentration camps". The army, meanwhile, said it was determined the Soviets should not discover "how we apprehended and treated their agents", not least because some would-be defectors might have second thoughts.
Finally, there was the inevitable fall-out for Attlee's Labour government. As Hector McNeill, foreign minister, pointed out in a memo to Ernest Bevin, the foreign secretary: "I doubt if I can put too strongly the parliamentary consequences of publicity. Whenever we have any allegations to make about the political police methods in Eastern European states it will be enough to call out in the House 'Bad Nenndorf', and no reply is left to us."
Stephens was eventually court martialled behind closed doors. Amid complaints of a half-hearted prosecution, he was acquitted of two charges, two others were withdrawn, and he was free to apply to rejoin MI5.
In Bad Nenndorf, the remaining prisoners were shipped out, the wire ripped down, and the prison shut down. The baths were reinstalled in the cubicles and, gradually, the spa returned to its traditional business of catering for the health needs of elderly German tourists.
The closure of Bad Nenndorf was not the end of the story, however. The archives reveal that three months later a custom-built interrogation centre, with cells for 30 men and 10 women, was opened near to the British military base at Gütersloh. The inmates were to be suspected Soviet spies, and would be medically examined before interrogation.
When Frank Pakenham complained that most of the interrogators had been at Bad Nenndorf, and demanded that "drastic methods" should not be employed, Major-General Sir Brian Robertson, the military governor, put his foot down.
Why, he exclaimed, if the military authorities were required to justify the arrest of each inmate, and then handle them according to the standards "enforced by the prison commissioners in our own enlightened country", there was little point in having an interrogation centre at all.
Death subterfuge
One of the most bizarre episodes at Bad Nenndorf followed the death of a former SS officer called Abeling. He had been so severely beaten during his arrest in January 1947 that he was unconscious on arrival at the prison, and died shortly afterwards.
The camp's officers instructed a local gravedigger to prepare a grave for a British officer who had died of an infectious disease. Abeling's corpse was sewn into a blanket, lowered in, and covered with quicklime. A firing party was on hand to ensure that the dead man was buried with full British military honours, and a white wooden cross with a false name was erected over the grave.
The reasons for such subterfuge are made clear in declassified Foreign Office papers at the National Archives. Abeling, formerly a member of an "annihilation squad" in Warsaw, had been working as an agent for the Americans at the time of his death, spying on his old Nazi comrades under the codename Slim.
The report notes that the Americans "insisted that 'Slim's' death must be kept a very closely guarded secret, because of the fact that the US authorities had been employing him in the full knowledge that he was wanted by the Polish government as a major war criminal".

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine 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 to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito