The German newspaper, Rhein-Zeitung, so named from the Americans that the surviving photos posted on his band's Camp in Sinzig-Remagen, spring 1945.
Call it callousness, call it reprisal, call it a hostile policy of denial: million Germans captured by the armies of Eisenhower, died in captivity after the surrender.
In the spring of 1945 Adolf Hitler's Third Reich was on the verge of death being ground up by the Red Army, advancing westwards towards Berlin and the American, British and Canadian armies under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower, advancing to the east of the Rhine. From the day of the Normandy landings in June last year, the Western Allies retook France and smaller European countries, and some of the Wehrmacht commanders were ready to surrender to the local. Other units, however, continued to obey the orders of Hitler to fight to the last. Most of the infrastructure, including transport, was destroyed, and the people wandering around in fear of the approaching Russian.
"Hungry and frightened, lying in the fields, fifty feet away, waving his hands ready to fly" — So the captain of the Second anti-tank regiment Second Canadian Division HF McCullough describes the chaos of the German surrender at the end of the Second World War. For half a day, according to the allegations of Field Marshal Montgomery, 500,000 Germans surrendered his 21st Army Group in northern Germany.
Soon after VE Day — May 8, the British-Canadian forces captured more than 2 million. Virtually nothing about their treatment has not been preserved in the archives of London and Ottawa, but some scant evidence of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the relevant military personnel and prisoners themselves indicate that the well-being of prisoners was excellent. In any case, many were quickly released and sent home or transferred to France for post-war reconstruction. The French army itself is captured about 300,000 Germans.)
Like the British and the Canadians, Americans suddenly met with a huge amount surrounded by German troops: the total number of prisoners of war but the Americans have not reached Italy and North Africa 2.5 million. But the attitude of the Americans was very different.
Among the first war the U.S. was Corporal Helmut von Liebig, who served in the air in the experimental group, Peenemunde on the Baltic Sea. Liebig was captured by the Americans on April 17 near Gotha in central Germany. Forty-two years later, he distinctly remembered that the camp Gotha was not even awnings, a barbed-wire fence around the field, soon turned into a swamp.
The prisoners received on the first day a small portion of food, but on the second and subsequent days it was cut in half. To get it, they were forced to run through the system. Hunched over, they ran between the rows of American guards who beat them with sticks as they approach to food. April 27 they were transferred to the American camp Heidesheim, where for several days there was no food at all, and then only slightly.
Under the open sky, starved, tortured by thirst, people began to die. Liebig counted daily from 10 to 30 bodies that were dragged out of his section B, which contained about 5,200 people. He saw the prisoner scored another to death because of a small piece of bread.
One night, when the rain came, Liebig said that the walls of the hole dug in the sandy ground to cover, hit the people who were too weak to get out from under them. They suffocated before it could come to the aid of their comrades …
Liebig sat down and cried. "I could not believe that people are so cruel to each other."
Thief broke into Heidesheim in early May. Five days after the surrender of Germany on May 13, Liebig was transferred to another American POW camp, Bingem-Rudesheim in the Rhineland, near Bad Kreusnach. The prisoners held there 200 — 400 000, without a roof over their heads, with little or no food, water, medicines, in terrible distress.
Soon he fell ill with typhus and dysentery at the same time. His half-conscious and delirium, with sixty prisoners were taken in an open carriage to the north-west down the Rhine on a tour of Holland, where the Dutch were standing on a bridge and spit on their heads. Sometimes the American guards opened warning fire to ward off the Dutch. Sometimes — no.
After three days, comrades helped him hobble to the big camp in Rheinberg, near the border with the Netherlands, again no shelter and little or no food. When some food was delivered, it was rotten. None of the four camps Liebig did not see any shelters for the prisoners — they are all facing the open.
Mortality in the American camp for German prisoners of war in the Rhineland, according to the testimony of the surviving medical service, was about 30% in 1945. Average death rate among the civilian population of Germany was at the time of 1-2%.
One day in June, through hallucinations, Liebig saw "Tommy", included in the camp. The British took the camp under his protection, and it saved the life of Liebig. Then it at 5 feet 10 inches weighed 96.8 pounds.
Eisenhower himself had signed an order to create the category of prisoners are not covered by the Geneva Convention.
According to the stories of ex-prisoners Reinberg, the last action of the Americans before the arrival of the British was zaravnivanie one section of the camp bulldozed, many weakened prisoners could not leave their holes …
According to the Geneva Convention, prisoners of war were guaranteed three important rights: they need to be fed, and posted to the same standards. as winners, they should be able to send and receive mail, and that they are required to attend the International Committee of the Red Cross, which should be secret reports on the conditions of the Indemnified Parties.
(In the case of Germany, as her government was dissolved in the latter stages of the war, was appointed by the Indemnified Parties Switzerland).
In fact, the German prisoners were denied by the U.S. Army in these and most other rights of a series of special resolutions and directives adopted her command at SHAEF — Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force — the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.
General Dwight Eisenhower was as supreme commander of SHAEF — all the Allied armies in the north-western Europe, and commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces in the European Theater of Operations.
He submitted to the Joint Command of the United States and Britain (CCS), the Joint Command of the United States (JCS), and the policy of the U.S. government, but in the absence of the relevant directives entire responsibility for the treatment of German prisoners of war lies entirely on it.
"God, I hate the Germans" — he wrote to his wife Mamie in September 1944. Earlier, he told the British ambassador in Washington that all the 3500 German General Staff officers must be "destroyed." In March 1945, in a letter to CCS, signed by Eisenhower recommended the creation of a new class of prisoners — Disarmed Enemy Forces — DEF — disarmed enemy forces, which, unlike the prisoners were not covered by the Geneva Convention. Therefore, they should not have been supplied with the winning army after the surrender of Germany.
This was a direct violation of the Geneva Convention. In a letter dated March 10, in particular. the reasoned: "The additional load on the supply of troops caused by the recognition of the German Armed Forces of Prisoners of War, which requires them to provide a basic level of troop diet goes far beyond the capabilities of the Allies, even with the use of all the resources of Germany." The letter concluded: "It takes your approval. Plans will be drawn up on this basis. "
April 26, 1945 approved the Joint Command of the status of DEF for prisoners of war in the hands of the U.S. Army: British commanders refused to accept the American plan for its prisoners. CCS has decided to keep the status of disarmed German troops in secret.
At the same time, Eisenhower's chief quartermaster at SAEF, General Robert Littlejohn, has already halved the diet for prisoners and an SAEF, addressed to General George Marshall, Chief of the U.S. Army, signed by Eisenhower, says that in the camps, the prisoners will not be "neither roof nor Other facilities … ".
However, the reason there was no supply. In Europe, the warehouses were plenty of suitable materials for the construction of camps for prisoners of war. Adjutant General Eisenhower on specific issues, General Everett Hughes visited the huge warehouses in the NNS and Marseilles and reported: "Pripasov more than we can ever use. Extend within sight. "That is too purveyance was not the cause. Stocks of wheat and corn in the United States has never been great, the potato crop was also a record.
In the Army Reserve was a supply of food that when a warehouse in the center of England has stopped supplying after the accident, it was not seen for three months. In addition, from the International Committee of the Red Cross warehouses in Switzerland were more than 100,000 tons of food. When he tried to send a two-tier food in the American sector of Germany, the U.S. command has deployed them back saying that the warehouses are full of so much that they will never be emptied.
Thus, the reason for the policy of deprivation of German prisoners of war in any case could not be a lack of supply. Water, food, tents, space, medical care — everything you need for prisoners granted in fatal scarcity.
The camp Rheinberg, where Corporal Liebich broke in mid-May, dying of dysentery and typhoid, was not at the opening on April 17 at no food for the prisoners. As in other camps, "Floodplain Rhine", opened by the Americans in mid-April, there was no guard towers, no tents, no barracks, no kitchen, no water, no toilets, no food …
George Weiss, tanks repairman, who now lives in Toronto, says about his camp on the Rhine: "All night we had to sit close to each other. But the lack of water was the worst. Of three and a half days we do not have water at all. We drank their own urine … "
Private Hans T. (his surname is hidden at his request), who just turned eighteen, was in the hospital on April 18, when the Americans came. It along with the other patients were taken to the camp of Bad Kreuznach in the Rhineland, which already at that time there were several hundred prisoners of war. In Hans had only a pair of shorts, shirts and shoes.
Hans was not the youngest in the camp — there were thousands of civilians displaced Germans. There were six children, pregnant women and elderly people over 60. In the beginning, when the camp were still trees, some began to tear off limbs and make a fire. Security ordered the fire put out. At many sites were forbidden to dig holes in the ground to cover. "We were forced to eat grass" — says Hans.
Charles von Luttichau was recovering at home when he decided to oppose the tyranny of American troops. He was sent to Camp Crippen, on the Rhine near Remagen.
"We are extremely crowded conditions contained in the fenced with wire cages in the open air with little or no food," — he says now.
Camp POW — Prisoners Of War — war along the Rhine — the consequences of the victorious Allied invasion in Germany. The U.S. Army officially took the prisoner about 5.25 million German soldiers
More than half of the days we did not get any food at all. And on the other days — meager diet "K". I peeped that the Americans gave us one-tenth of that of the diet, which was prepared themselves … I complained to the head of the American camp that they violate the Geneva Convention, to which he replied, "Forget about the Convention. Here you do not have any rights. "
"Toilets were simply logs thrown over ditches dug by the fences of barbed wire. But because of the weakness of the people could not get to them and went to the ground. Soon, many of us are so weak that they could not even take off his pants.
Working with a team stripped corpses identification tags, stripped them and stacked layers, sprinkling lime.
So all of our clothes was filthy, and also a space where we walked, sat or lay. In such circumstances, people soon began to die. After a few days, many people trapped in the camp healthy, were dead. I've seen a lot of people lugging corpses to the gates of the camp, where they put them on top of each other in the back of a truck, which they took away from the camp. "
Von Luttichau Crippen was in the camp for about three months. His mother was German, and he later emigrated to Washington, where he became a military historian, describes the history of the U.S. Army.
Wolfgang Iff, a former prisoner Reinberg and now living in Germany describes as of the estimated 10,000 prisoners were dragged daily from 30 to 50 corpses. Iff says that he has worked in the funeral and the team pulled out the bodies of the sector to the gate of the camp, where they were brought in wheelbarrows to several large steel garages.
Here Iff and his companions stripped corpses bit off half of the aluminum identification tag, store the bodies of 15-20 layers into a single layer, each layer sprinkled with ten layers of calcium oxide, forming stacks of a meter high, and then piled debris tags in bags for the Americans, and so over and over again …
Part of the deceased was dead from gangrene after frostbite (an unusually cold spring stood out). Some were too weak to hold the logs thrown across ditches that served as toilets, fell and drowned.
Conditions in the U.S. camps along the Rhine in late April were checked by two colonels of the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army James Mason and Charles Beasley, who described them as in a newspaper published in 1950: "huddling behind barbed prvolokoy in a pile for warmth, they are terrifying: about 100,000 sluggish, apathetic, dirty, emaciated people with blank stares, dressed in field gray uniforms with mud, standing ankle-deep in mud …
The commander of the German Division reported that people did not eat for at least two days, and the water supply was a major problem — at 200 yards proceeded full-flowing Rhine. "
May 4, 1945 the first German prisoners of war held by the Americans, were transferred to the status of DEF — disarmament of the enemy. On the same day the U.S. military Depertament banned inmates send and receive emails. (When the International Committee of the Red Cross proposed a plan to restore e-mail message in July, it was rejected).
May 8, Victory Day, the German government was abolished, while the U.S. Department dismissed Switzerland as protecting side for the German prisoners. (Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King appealed to the Cabinet of the Foreign London simultaneous displacement of Switzerland as a protecting hand to the British-Canadian camps, but received a scathing response for your sympathy.)
After that, the State Department notified the International Committee of the Red Cross. that as the defending side. where you can send the reports is missing, and there is no need to go to the camps.
Since then, the American prisoners camps officially lost the opportunity to visits by independent observers as well as the possibility of obtaining food parcels, clothing or medicines from a humanitarian organization, as well as an address.
Gen. Patton's Third Army was the only army in the entire European theater of war, which freed the prisoners of war, and thus saved from certain death during May many German soldiers. General Omar Bradley and George S. H. Lee, commander of the Communications Zone Europe, have ordered the release of prisoners within a week after the end of the war, but the order of the SHAEF — Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force — the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, it was canceled on May 15 .
On the same day, at the meeting, Eisenhower and Churchill agreed to reduce the intake of prisoners. From Churchill demanded level agreements rations of prisoners as he had to say about reducing meat intake and the British wanted to make sure that "inmates as possible … should be supplied by the supplies that we saved." Eisenhower replied that he had already "paid the necessary attention to the issue," but everything is going to double-check to make sure , "is it possible to further decline."
He told Churchill that POW — POW obtained by 2,000 calories per day (2,150 calories taken the U.S. Army Medical Corps as an absolute minimum for supporting adults living in the warmth and leading a sedentary lifestyle. U.S. soldiers received on 4,000 calories a day) . However, he said that the U.S. Army has no feeds DEF — disarmed enemy forces or feeding them much less than those who still enjoys the status of prisoners of war.
The diets were then cut again — live cuts recorded in the Quartermaster Records. However, there were cuts and indirect. They were made possible due to non-compliance of list and the actual number of prisoners in the camps.
Meticulous General Lee was so infuriated by the inconsistencies that literally ignited the phone cord from its headquarters in Paris to the SHAEF headquarters in Frankfurt: "The command is experiencing considerable difficulty in establishing an adequate framework necessary rations for prisoners of war detained in theater … In response to the demand Command … SAEF provided completely contradictory information about the number of prisoners held in the theater of military operations. "
Policies of the U.S. Army was not to provide "no shelter, no other amenities." In the arrangement of prisoners, people lived in burrows dug by them in the ground.
He then cites the recent statements SAEF: «The message … May 31, alleging the presence of 1,890,000 prisoners of war and 1.2 million Germans disarmed. Independent command shows the same data in the communications war zone — 910 980, the temporarily fenced areas — 1002422, and in the Twelfth Army GP — 965 135, giving a total number of 2,878,537 and 1,000,000 in addition disarmament of the German forces of the Germans and Austrians. "
The situation was astounding: Lee reported on more than one million people in the camps of the United States in Europe than it has resulted in their data SHAEF. But he struggled with windmills he was forced to count the supply of German prisoners of food based on the number of prisoners defined data SHAEF G-3 (operational). Given the general confusion, fluctuation data are forgivable, but more than 1 million prisoners apparently disappeared in the gap between the two reports Provost theater, issued on the same day, June 2:
The last day of a series of reports he measured TPM 2,870,000 prisoners, and the first-1836000. One day in mid-June, the number of inmates in the diet of the list was 1,421,559, while Lee and data not only indicate the presence of a real number, nearly three times superior to the official!
Isolation obviously totally inadequate diet was one way of creating a hunger. Others have been significantly underestimated data on the prison population. In addition, a million prisoners who received at least some power thanks to its status as prisoners of war, have lost their rights and their food secret transfer to the status of DEF. Translation was made strictly for weeks with a focus on balancing the weekly reports in SHAEF between POW and DEF — prisoners of war and disarmed enemies.
The difference between the covers of POW status and received the status of DEF was during the period from June 2 to July 28, 0.43%.
Translation DEF does not require any transfer of rights in other camps or the involvement of any new organizations to attract the German Civil supplies. People stay where they were. Everything that happened after a few clicks of a typewriter — is that people stopped getting meager morsel of food from the U.S. Army.
The condition of the policy carried out by conversion and maintained peremigivaniem and nods — without issuing orders, was to discredit, isolation and expulsion of mid-level officers in charge of the POW.
Colonel quartermaster service of advanced U.S. combat troops wrote a personal appeal to the general in the same service to Robert Littlejohn April 27: "In addition to 750 tons, derived from the 15th Army, no revenue has been and never will. Provisions of Class II & IV (rations), which we have received, are intended to be consumed completely by the troops of the personal application and is not relevant to the requirements of the tasks assigned to us due to the influx of prisoners of war. "
Rumors about the conditions in the camps circulated in the U.S. Army. "Boys, these camps — bad news" — said Benedict K. Zobrist, Technical Sergeant Medical Corps. "We were warned to stay away from them as possible."
In May and early June 1945 a team of doctors from the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army performed an inspection of some camps in the valley of the Rhine, which contained about 80 000 German prisoners of war. Their report is removed from the National Archives in Washington, but the two secondary sources provide some information from the report.
The three main killers were: diarrhea or dysentery (Counted in one category), heart disease and pneumonia. However, with the voltage of medical terminology doctors also recorded deaths from "exhaustion" and "exhaustion." Their data revealed a mortality rate eight times greater than the highest levels of peace.
But only from 9.7% to 15 prisoners died for reasons associated with purely malnutrition such as depletion and dehydration. Dominated by other diseases directly related to the intolerable conditions of detention. Overcrowding, filth, lack of any sanitation undoubtedly exacerbated hunger.
The report noted: "The content, overcrowding in pens, lack of food and lack of sanitation — all contribute to this high mortality rate." It should be remembered that the data were obtained in the camps POW — Prisoners of War, not DEF — disarmed enemy forces.
At the end of May 1945 in American camps more people died than in the flame of an atomic explosion in Hiroshima.
June 4, 1945 telegram, signed "Eisenhower" reported to Washington that "there is an urgent need to reduce the number of inmates at the earliest opportunity re-sort all classes of prisoners in any other way than that required by the Allies." It is difficult to understand the meaning of this telegram.
Grounds for understanding it is not in a large volume of telegrams that have been preserved in the archives of London, Washington and Abilene, Kansas. And regardless of the orders of Eisenhower transmission or reception of prisoners of war, the order of the Joint Command of April 26, urged him not to take more prisoners of war after the Victory Day, even for work. However, about 2 million DEF were brought after May 8.
In June, Germany was divided into zones of occupation, and in July 1945 SHAEF — Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force — Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force was disbanded. Eisenhower was the U.S. military control zone. He continued to hold back the Red Cross and the U.S. Army notified the American humanitarian groups that the zone is closed to them.
It was completely closed and no humanitarian supplies — until December 1945, when the act came into some relaxation.
Also, since April, the Americans passed from 600,000 to 700,000 German prisoners of war in France to restore its infrastructure damaged during the war. Many of transit under five were from the American camps located around Dietersheim, near Mainz, Germany, in the part that came under French control. (The rest were taken from the American camps in France).
July 10 French Army unit came in Dietersheim and after 17 days the captain Julien arrived to take command. His record is preserved as part of the Army investigation into the discussion captain Julien with his predecessor. In the first camp, in which he entered, he witnessed the presence of muddy ground of "population living skeletons", some of whom died before his eyes.
Other breast under pieces of cardboard, while July was not too hot. Woman lying in holes dug in the ground, looked at him, swollen from hunger bellies that mimics pregnancy, old men with long gray hair looking at him hunched over, children six to seven years, with hungry raccoon circles around the eyes looking at him lifeless eyes .
Two German doctors in the "hospital" had tried to help the dying on the ground under the open sky, between the tracks of the tent, which the Americans brought with them. Julien, a member of the Resistance, I caught myself thinking: "It reminds photos of Dachau and Buchenwald .." (That's only the German labor camps reached the sorry state because of the defeat of Germany, the U.S. is the death camps were set up because of the victory of America — approx. Trans.).
In the five camps around Dietersheim there were about 103 500 people, among them officers Julien counted 32,640 people who were generally unable to work. They were immediately released. Overall, two-thirds of the prisoners taken by the French this summer by the Americans from the camps in Germany and France, were useless for recovery.
In the camp of Saint-Martin 615 of the 700 prisoners have been unable to work. In Erbisele, near Mons, Belgium, twenty-five percent of men taken by the French, were «dechets», or ballast.
In July and August, the U.S. Quartermaster Littlejohn reported to Eisenhower that food reserves Army in Europe grew by 39%.
August 4 Eisenhower ordered consisting of a single sentence, condemning all prisoners of war in the hands of the Americans, the situation DEF: «Immediately treat all members of the German troops, under the protection of the United States contained in the American occupation zone of Germany, disarmed enemy forces, and not having the status of prisoners of war . "
The reason was not specified. The remaining results of the weekly counts indicate retain dual classification, but for POW, which is now treated as DEF, the diet began to decline with the rate of 2% per week up to 8%.
Mortality among DEF for the entire period exceeded five times the above percentages. Official «Weekly PW & DEF Report» for September 8, 1945 is still stored in Washington. It states that in the aggregate 1,056,482 prisoners were held by the U.S. Army in the European Theater, of which about two-thirds were identified as POW. The remaining third — 363,587 — DEF. For the week of which 13,051 people died.
In November 1945, General Eisenhower was replaced by George Marshall, Eisenhower, and served in the United States. In January 1946 the camps still contained a significant number of prisoners, but by the end of 1946 the United States has reduced almost to zero the number of its prisoners. The French continued to hold hundreds of thousands of prisoners in 1946, but by 1949 almost all released.
During the 1950s, most of the materials related to the American POW camps were destroyed by the U.S. Army.
Eisenhower regretted useless protect German Reich in the last months of the war because of needless casualties on the German side. At least 10 times more Germans — at least 800,000, it is very likely more than 900 000 and it is possible that more than 1 million deaths in American and French camps than were killed in north-western Europe, from the entry of America the war in 1941 to April 1945.