Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Treatment of German POW's

“War crime trials for allied soldiers a possibility.” Says analyst “British and allied troops appearing as defendants in war crimes trials with brutal Serbs and former Red Army thugs is a distinct possibility”, says Second World War analyst, Michael Walsh. His research exposes allied enslavement and ill-treatment of axis prisoners-of-war. 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 condemnation.

The IRC threatened to bring the British government before international tribunals for abuse and illegal enslavement. Typically, British POW camps were worse than Belsen even after the war had ended and war disruption ceased. Associated Press Photographer, Henry Griffin who had taken the pictures of corpses in Buchenwald and Dachau when visiting Allied POW camps said: "The only difference I can see between these men and those corpses is that here they are still breathing." Ralph F. Keeling, Institute of American Economics added: "According to revelations by members of the House of Commons, 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.'

Adding to international outrage, Cyril Connolly, one of England’s most acclaimed writers "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 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.

"The prisoners lived through the winter in tents and slept on the bare ground under one blanket each. They say they are underfed and beaten and kicked by guards. Many have no underclothes or boots." reported the Chicago Tribune Press Service on 19 May 1946 one year after the war’s end."In the summer of 1946 an increasing number of prisoners of-war were escaping from British slave camps with British civilian aid. “Accounts of the chases by military police are reminiscent of pre-Civil War pursuits by fleeing Negro fugitives." Revealed an Associated Press dispatch. London, August, 27th, 1946 more than sixteen months after the war ended.

Refugees were treated even worse in British controlled Austria and Yugoslavia. There the concentration camps were run jointly by Britain and the NKVD, forerunners to the dreaded KGB. One British officer described how "The prisoners (civilians) were treated coarsely but not brutally. They were pushed and shoved, but there was no resistance, no fighting or trying to get back or get away. They were all completely docile, resigned to their fate. The soldiers collected them all quickly into groups and marched them away to be machine-gunned in groups.' The British officer added, 'Some of them didn't get very far I'm afraid. At the back of the station there was a wood, a copse, and they seemed to be marched behind this copse. Shortly afterwards there were quite a number of sustained bursts of machine-gun fire. I can't say for certain what happened, because I couldn't see the shooting. But I am pretty sure that a lot of them were shot there and then, not on the siding itself but just around the corner of the wood." This is typical of many accounts when units of the British Army working with Red Army NKVD officers, hunted down and butchered tens of thousands of Cossack civilian refugees in Austria, in summer, 1945 after the war had ended.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians of many nationalities were hunted down and rounded up like cattle being taken to the Red Army’s abbatoirs. One account described how ‘the whole train was bespattered with blood. They were open-plan carriages, and I remember the bloodstains where bodies had been dragged right down the corridor between the seats and down three of four steps. The lavatories were absolutely covered in blood...." "Another such patrol, consisting of two Red Army officers and four British soldiers set off into the hills on horseback on June,8th. They captured one such group on the lower slopes.... "The Cossacks ran off, leaving just a few, mainly women and children who were too weak to move. One soldier spotted a Cossack in the distance, aimed his rifle at him, fired and saw him drop. .... as he was not seen to rise again it was assumed he had been killed."

Captain Duncan McMillan remembers, 'Being guided to a small railway station where there was a barbed-wire enclosure' He saw the Cossacks being unloaded from the trucks and described how they were stripped of their possessions, even food before being marched away. 'Many British soldiers who were there have testified that they heard the rattle of machine-guns nearby just moments after the prisoners were removed." James Davidson said: "We thought that machine-gunning must be the finish of them. We thought they were just taken back there and slaughtered." These awful accounts were described in Nicholas Bethell’s book, The Last Secret published by Futura in 1974. Further accounts were suppressed by the English legal apparatus.

In August 1946 15 months after the end of the Second world War, Britain according to the International Red Cross “Britain had 460,000 German prisoners slaving for her." This was in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention (Enslavement of Prisoners-of-War is a violation of the Geneva Convention. Article.75) which Britain was a signatory to Great Britain. Arthur Veysey of the Chicago Tribune Press Service on May 28th 1946 reported "... when they (German POWs) learned upon arrival in British and French ports that they were to be worked indefinitely as slaves, they became sullen."

Arthur Veysey appalled by the the British government’s abuse of human rights and the illegality of its evil slave-ownership policies and defiance of the Geneva Convention said, "The British Government nets over $250,000,000 annually from its slaves. The Government, which frankly calls itself the 'owner' of the prisoners, hires the men out to any employer needing men, charging the going rate for such work - usually $15 to $20 a week. It pays the slaves from 10 to 20 cents a day. The prisoners are never paid in cash, but are given credits either in the form of vouchers or credits."

When attempts were made to prevent Stalin from abducting five million German prisoners, many of them civilians including children, as slave labourers, the Soviets pointed out that Britain was using slaves too. Eyewitness accounts describe events when Berlin and Breslau surrendered. “The long grey-green columns of prisoners were marched east downcast and fearful towards huge depots near Leningrad, Moscow, Minsk, Stalingrad, Kiev, Kharkov and Sevastopol. All fit men had to march 22 miles a day. Those physically handicapped went in handcarts or carts pulled by spare beasts." This was reported in the Congressional Record on March 29th 1946.

In the notorious camp in the Sarthe District for 20,000 prisoners, inmates received just 900 calories a day; thus 12 died every day in the hospital. Four to five thousand are unable to work any more. Recently trains with new prisoners arrived at the camp; several prisoners had died during the trip, several others had tried to stay alive by eating coal that had been lying in the freight train by which they came.

In the USA where 140,000 prisoners-of-war were shipped, the Catholic Bishops Conference described how, “Multitudes of civilians and prisoners of war have been deported and degraded into forced labor unworthy of human beings.”"Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are put like slaves to forced labor, although the only thing with which they can be reproached is the fact that they were soldiers. Many of these poor fellows are without news from home and have not been allowed to send a sign of life to their dear ones."

United States 140,000 (U.S Occupation Zone) 100,000 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 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 organisation 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 the former German soldiers are being used in the hazardous work of clearing mine-fields, 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 abuses with difficulty in establishing responsibility. It is manifestly unjust and sell them for political reasons as the African Negroes were a century ago."

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 newpaper The Progressive February, 4th,1945. 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 maladministration of their American prison camps was very uncommon." His words were echoed by Lieutenant Newton L. Marguiles. U.S 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.