Dunkirk massacres

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by merlin, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. merlin

    merlin Member

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    I have just completed: 'Dunkirk' by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, an excellent book, well written, and well researched.

    What I didn't know previously though was the German treatment of prisoners, and indeed Belgian civilains!

    At Le Paradis 27 May '40, 97 British Pows were killed by members of the 1st Battlion, the SS Totenkopf Division's 2nd Infantry Regiment.

    At Vinkt in Belgium, after a determined defense by the 1st Chasseurs Ardennais Division. The 1st Battlion of the 225 Division's 377th Regiment, was principally responsible for slaughtering seventy-eight civilians - 'including around forty in one short spell of frenzied killing in Vinkt's main street'!

    Also at Wormhout, where after a long battle, again British Pows were killed. From the 1947 war Crimes interrogation Unit report -
    "This report gives the known details of the wilful murder after capture by German soldiers of approximately 80 or 90 men of the 2nd Battlion, the Royal Warwickshire regiment, the Cheshire Regiment and the Royal Artillery on the 28th of May 1940 near the vilage of Wormhout in northern France."
    It was the SS again - this time the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Regiment.

    So, it just happen on the barbarous Eastern Front, the SS regular German Army seemed to have got some practise in before hand.

    What was even more disturbing, was that it wasn't some isolated soldiers who just got 'carried away' but orchestrated by officers in a mad revenge for casualties incurred!
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Anyone who subscribed to the Nazi ideology was already a war criminal in waiting.
     
  3. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    In the Nazi's eyes, they were the only "humans", so the indescriminate killing of others (POW's or civilians) was probably no more, to them, than stepping on a roach or poisoning a rat. Total and complete psychopaths, all of them (Nazi's that is).
     
  4. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    It will never cease to amaze me how people can be so manipulated by others. Nazi's, Khmer Rouge, Jim Jones, etc.
     
  5. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    Read up a bit on Normandy. Executing PoWs was quite regularly done by Allied units as well. It was Allied 'practice' as well.

    Such incidents happened during - and even after - the war, on both sides. It is IMHO wrong to judge these by the results alone, without knowing all the details, and to make far-reaching conclusions about an entire army of several million men, without knowing if the criminals were punished later or it was accepted as a 'normal' conduct. Amongst a million men, there will always be a few hundred villains, no matter what side.
     
  6. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Agreed, Kurfurst. And if Germany had won, our troops would be the evil ones held up for all the world to see our barbaric ways. The SS seemed to draw all the nutzoid villains, though.
     
  7. merlin

    merlin Member

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    I grant the likelyhood that in Normandy, Allied troops shot some Germans who were intending to surrender.
    However, I think there is a distinction between what happened in the 'heat of battle' and what happened in the Dunkirk area. Where SS troops who had British troops in their custody - their surrender had been accepted, and later escorted them to a brick wall where a couple of machine guns mowned them down, to be followed by by the coup de grace of a rifle-butt to the skull or pistol shot for the wounded.
    The regular German Army on finding the bodies investigated, but the report got filed!
     
  8. merlin

    merlin Member

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    For further information I will try to add the relevant links.




    Hope that helps.
     
  9. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Imo you cannot exterminate millions on the scale of the Nazis/Germans with a few hundred villians here and there it was the Nazis/Germans who set out to deliberately exterminate entire races from the face of the planet and albeit very wrong for the war crimes metted out by the allies it never came close to the treatment handed out to the Jews,mentally ill, gypsies, Russians etc, etc, etc.
     
  10. JugBR

    JugBR Active Member

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    if was only the nazis...
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I have a book on the Dunkirk evacuation , "Dunkirk - The British Evacuation, 1940" Robert Jackson, Rigel Publications, 1974, 2002, revised 2004. It corroborates that the nazis were systematically murdering prisoners immediately after the finish of the battle.

    It is still a war crime to excecute a prisoner without the right to a trial. I think the difference between the allied and German episodes is the magnitude of the crime. there was never any order to summarily kill German POWs. In germany ther was, the infamous "kill the commandoes" order of 1942. But as these reports clearly demonstrate, it did not take an order from Hitler to reduce the german army to the most animalistic behaviour imaginable.
     
  12. JugBR

    JugBR Active Member

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    ill research about those massacres in dunkirk

    what i know is that germans usually killed many russian soldiers that way, and russians did the same with germans.
     
  13. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    14% of Canadian Fatalities in Normandy was the killing of surrendered troops by the Germans some where abouts a 150
     
  14. JugBR

    JugBR Active Member

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    pb where i can find info about that ?
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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  16. merlin

    merlin Member

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  17. Kurfürst

    Kurfürst Banned

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    Ironic isn't it.

    The Kommandobefehl was specifically issued because British Commandoes did not take prisoners beforehand.

    1. For a long time now our opponents have been employing in their conduct of the war, methods which contravene the International Convention of Geneva. The members of the so-called Commandos behave in a particularly brutal and underhand manner; and it has been established that those units recruit criminals not only from their own country but even former convicts set free in enemy territories. From captured orders it emerges that they are instructed not only to tie up prisoners, but also to kill out-of-hand unarmed captives who they think might prove an encumbrance to them, or hinder them in successfully carrying out their aims. Orders have indeed been found in which the killing of prisoners has positively been demanded of them.

    2. In this connection it has already been notified in an Appendix to Army Orders of 7.10.1942. that in future, Germany will adopt the same methods against these Sabotage units of the British and their Allies; i.e. that, whenever they appear, they shall be ruthlessly destroyed by the German troops.

    3. I order, therefore:

    From now on all men operating against German troops in so-called Commando raids in Europe or in Africa, are to be annihilated to the last man. This is to be carried out whether they be soldiers in uniform, or saboteurs, with or without arms; and whether fighting or seeking to escape; and it is equally immaterial whether they come into action from Ships and Aircraft, or whether they land by parachute. Even if these individuals on discovery make obvious their intention of giving themselves up as prisoners, no pardon is on any account to be given. On this matter a report is to be made on each case to Headquarters for the information of Higher Command.

    4. Should individual members of these Commandos, such as agents, saboteurs etc., fall into the hands of the Armed Forces through any means - as, for example, through the Police in one of the Occupied Territories - they are to be instantly handed over to the S.D.

    To hold them in military custody - for example in P.O.W. Camps, etc., - even if only as a temporary measure, is strictly forbidden.

    5. This order does not apply to the treatment of those enemy soldiers who are taken prisoner or give themselves up in open battle, in the course of normal operations, large scale attacks; or in major assault landings or airborne operations. Neither does it apply to those who fall into our hands after a sea fight, nor to those enemy soldiers who, after air battle, seek to save their lives by parachute.

    6. I will hold all Commanders and Officers responsible under Military Law for any omission to carry out this order, whether by failure in their duty to instruct their units accordingly, or if they themselves act contrary to it.

    A Hitler


    In Normandy, Micheal Raynolds in 'Steel Inferno' describes that there were cases of Canadians used Germans PoWs tied up onto tanks as human shields. IIRC Reynolds also describes one Canadian(?) Sgt. that no prisoners were taken (though my memory is a bit hazy on the latter).

    George Hopp also had a rather eye opening post at TOCH - to quote him:

    'In Normandy, where the Poles and Canadians fought side-by-side, the Poles would simply march German PoWs in front of a table, behind which an officer sat, declare them war criminals and shoot them. End of story. This was watched by a friend of mine in the Canadian Army.'

    Pretending it happened only on one side, or that even it happened it was an exceedingly rare even is to kid ourselves. War is not clean, its brutal. I will even risk that we, sitting confortably in our armchairs, sipping cofee in our air conditioned offices, have very little right to judge those men 60 years ago, fighting for their very life.

    How does it works in practice that in one moment, you are being fired at and fight for your life, the next moment you are to forget about the taboo, built up in decades in your civil life that stabbing the other human being in the stomach with a bayonett is forbidden, and the next moment if he raised his hand he is a human being again and you are not to stab in him in the stomach all the sudden...?

    I feel increasingly unpleasant with judging people without ever becoming close to experiencing what they had lived through...
     
  18. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I agree. Its called war for a reason.

    from "The Rise of the Luftwaffe" by Herbert Molloy Mason Jr., pg 354...

    "There was another side of the coin, however. Squadron Leader "Bull" Halahan, commanding No. 1 Hurricane Squadron, which had been in France since September, was forced down in Belgium following a combat in which he destroyed an Bf 109 and an Arado observation plane. One of Halahan's pilots, Paul Richey, recalled; "He had witnessed some rough scenes in Belgium, among which he described four regiments of French Sengalese troops proceeding to the front at a trot, looking neither right nor to the left, with implacable expressions on their faces. A Heinkel force-landed in a field beside the road and a selection of Sengalese doubled across to it, dragged the German crew of four out and promptly decapitated them on the spot. Then they resumed their progress, without a word or change of expression."
     
  19. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I think this statement does an incredible job of summing it all up. We weren't there, we can't say anything. 'Nuff said. Incredibly well-thought post, Kurfurst!
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I maintain that there is a world of difference between so-called battlefield massacres, and cold blooded murder. The differnce between the german order, and the commandoes is that what the hell were the commandoes supposed to do with any prisoners that they took. Same rule applied in new guinea. Ever wondered why so few prisoners were taken there. Some of it has to do with the bushido code that prevented the Japanese from surrendering, however this does not explain why so few of the Korean labourers also failed to turn up in the prisoner returns. Part of the answer is far more sinister than Australians care to admit. But what do you do with prisoners where there are no defined front lines, and the enemy is all around you. This is an unfortunate traversty of war, and all sides engaged in it.

    however the germans took this to many times that level of barbarity. Murders continued even long after the battles were finished. The commando order shows a particular barbarity because unlike the Commandoes, the germans were in a position to take prisoners and to observe the geneva convention. The fact that Hitler, and the german army chose to ignore those conventions is all the greater indictment against a regime that had perhaps the most abominable human rights record in history, except perhaps Japan.

    I worked many years ago for a vet who had served in the 6 Aus Div and had been captured at Crete. He would up in Schweinfurt, and linked up with a Belgian who was feeding intelligence reports on the effects of the bombings by the US air force. Les's (that was his name) job was to count the numbers of trains arriving and departing from the marshalling yard, where he was forced to work as slave labour. The Germans got some clue that espionage was occurring, but didnt know exactly who, or how. The killings and the murders started. According to my old boss, hundreds of Russian and Polish prisoners were just taken out and shot. For the allies, there were lesser numbers involved, but the methods used were all the more chilling. Les watched 6 of his closest mates get strung up by piano wire, in front of the whole company. This was a common occurrence according to Les

    I hardly think that kind of cold blooded calculated terror cvan be compare3d to the heat of battle murders that occurred on the allied side.
     
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