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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Stephen N Russell

Average Germans knew Nazi atrocities

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If any German admin type worked in E Front behind Lines, may have been privvy to Nazi atrocities done to Russians, but those on the Western Front  alas would never know, then I saw a episode on  X Company of them seeking to take a camp survivor to London for his tale about the camps. Otherwise the Western Front would never know about  E Front atrocities. My comment covers both E & Western Fronts.

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Finally, when you are driven by insane(?) hate in order to defeat a savage enemy, and hate is the only(?) motion which keeps you going, then this hatred must be preserved at almost any cost. Otherwise you will be killed, or break down.

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1 hour ago, Hans Werther said:

But you seem to take all such things lightly, and why not? Far away in America, you can afford to stand on the high moral ground. Your towns, and villages were never rized to the ground and all inhabitants killed, just because of race. I had an uncle who fought in the Red Army against these Nazi monsters. I am proud of him. He was nearly killed by a german hand granade in the Eastern front. Tragically, he never recovered fully. He became mentally unstable during most of his adult years. He was hit in the head. 

Apart from getting personal for a hardly intelligible reason, you keep missing my point. This is a history board, not a propaganda forum - or so I hope. You don't know anything about me and my relatives, and I can assure you that I have better stories to tell than this one here. I just don't think that this is an appropriate venue.

Edited by George Collins

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I see. So you had relatives fighting in The Red Army. Interesting, can you tell me more? As for progaganda: Do you really think you are the only one here who can shout: "PROPAGANDA!"?

Edited by Hans Werther

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7 minutes ago, Hans Werther said:

So you had relatives fighting in The Red Army. Interesting, can you tell me more? 

I won't, because my relatives are irrelevant to the point I am making, and so are yours, by the way, unless of course they were engaged in atrocities committed in East Prussia.

7 minutes ago, Hans Werther said:

Do you really think you are the only one hear who can shout: "PROPAGANDA"?

That must be a great argument, albeit I don't really understand what the meaning of this sentence is. 

Edited by George Collins

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1 hour ago, George Collins said:

 

"This is a history board, not a propaganda forum - or so I hope." Still can't get it?

Edited by Hans Werther

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11 minutes ago, Hans Werther said:

"This is a history board, not a propaganda forum - or so I hope." Still can't get it?

Yes - I wrote it myself, remember? I can safely say that I have a pretty good measure of how you can help me learn history, so, without further adieu, have a nice life.

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STephen, your lck of research is showing again. Russian PoW's were in many cases, used as slave labour, particularly by the "Organisation Todt" (The state labour bureau) They were marched - in their millions to where they were needed - particularly in the construction of the massive defences on the Atlantic Wall. Russian PoWs were found as far west as the Channel Islands, (The only British territory occupied by Germany) A couple of Islanders were sent to concentration camps for hiding escaped Russian PoW's. I seem to recall reading that some were drafted to work on German farms. They weren't some dreadful "secret." Everybody would have known about them.

Edited by Ron Walker

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It's important to understand how anti semetic Europe was at the time. In 1937 Poland & France wanted to deport their jews to Madagascar. Only because the island is too small did this not happen. Jews were banned from practicing medicine in Poland, Kosher slaughter was banned along with a widespread boycott of jewish business long before German troops entered the country! 

Britain made a very tidy profit from the Haavara Agreement which enabled some of the more wealthy jews to escape from Germany to Israel at huge personal expense to themselves. Hitler was also a supporter of this agreement until it ceased in September 1939 

There can be little doubt that many many people at the time knew and fully understood what was happening in the camps, and little doubt also that these same people were more then happy with what was going on 

Edited by licinius
typo

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Jews were certainly not popular during this time. And that was beacuse of communist Soviet Russia, i think. The Russian revolution was 'mainly' a Jewish affair, it is said. And unfortunately, common people soon made the link JEWS = COMMUNISTS. Even today, Poles defends their anti-jewish views by that argument: Jews were not patriots, they were communists and therefore 'enemies' of the Polish state. Even after 1945, there were pogroms in Poland and it became so severe that the remaining jews left Poland entirely.

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Europe has two, different, "traditions" of anti-semitism; in France, where the majority of Jews had historically been Sephardic, the Jewish population were regarded as a kind of secret society, loyal to each other rather than loyal to their adopted country; inherent cheats, who'd shamelessly conspire with each other to do-down natural-born Frenchmen. Jews were perceived to be RICH, and to have gained their riches by underhand means.
Further East, in Russia and Poland, the Jewish population was predominantly Ashkenazic. (In AD71, when the Romans kicked the Jewish population out of Israel, some hung around the Middle East - the Sephardim - and most of the others migrated into North East Europe, developing a new language ("Yiddish") and known as "Ashkenazim" ("German Jews") These people were generally seen as POOR, and feckless - effectively interchangeable with Gypsies, and generally considered not to regard themselves as owing any loyalty to the society that surrounded them; petty thieves and robbers.

Sandwiched between in one direction France, and in the Other Poland and Russia... Germany. Where BOTH traditions are absorbed.

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Hans, I am going to have to jump in this conversation.  Germans thought Russians were a sub-human race.  So they thought it would be OK murder them.  The Russians returned the favor when their time came.  

   The Poles had an issue with Germans.  So that explains that.

Now, "Native Americans", first contrary to modern day thinking, there is no such thing.  Those people came to America either over a land bridge from Asia, or on boats from the Pacific or Atlantic.  

   It was common practice for Indian tribes to conquer, murder, enslave and steal land from other tribes.  That is how in fact the tribes grew in power.

  To them, rape, torture, and slavery was just the way to do business.

Why people think the settlers from Europe was worse, I still can not figure out.  The settlers were just more advanced, organized, and plentiful.  That is the only difference.

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3 hours ago, Joe Rich said:

Hans, I am going to have to jump in this conversation.  Germans thought Russians were a sub-human race.  So they thought it would be OK murder them.  The Russians returned the favor when their time came.  

   The Poles had an issue with Germans.  So that explains that.

Now, "Native Americans", first contrary to modern day thinking, there is no such thing.  Those people came to America either over a land bridge from Asia, or on boats from the Pacific or Atlantic.  

   It was common practice for Indian tribes to conquer, murder, enslave and steal land from other tribes.  That is how in fact the tribes grew in power.

  To them, rape, torture, and slavery was just the way to do business.

Why people think the settlers from Europe was worse, I still can not figure out.  The settlers were just more advanced, organized, and plentiful.  That is the only difference.

Slightly tongue-in-cheek... I'm from Bristol (the "original" Bristol in SW England, from whence Sebastian Cabot sailed in 1497 and discovered (or maybe REdiscovered) North America.) The oldest document referring to Bristol is about a thousand years old, and about slavery. (Bristol later became "a world centre of the slave trade".) But THAT document doesn't talk about AFRICAN slaves, it was King Edward complaining about Bristolians raiding across the Bristol Channel into South Wales, and taking WELSH slaves, which they often sold-on to passing Vikings (who in turn sold them on to the Irish.)
In the early days of Sugar plantations in the Caribbean, political prisoners were shipped over to the Caribbean colonies, and worked to death. Unaccustomed to the hot climate, they tended to die pretty quickly. Westcountrymen who'd risen up against the (unpopular!) King were made prisoners, and were in serious of danger of being shipped to Jamaica or the like.  Then African slaves became available. Europeans didn't have to enslave them.. they came "ready enslaved". (Clearly slavery was an already exiting phenomenon!) My primary school was named after a philanthropist who donated his fortune to Bristolian good causes - a fortune that he'd made from the (African) slave trade. So deep is their shame from the implied association that the school's governors have recently opted to change the school's name. Why all the shame about African slavery...but so LITTLE fuss about the thousands of Brits who died as slaves? Thomas Arne got it wrong: "Britons never, never shall be slaves?"

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Ron, I am surprised to hear that someone in England sees the issue the same way some of us in the US do.  By today's standards, slavery should be wiped from the face of the earth.  But we still find it around the globe.  That to me is one of today's biggest scandals.   Getting back on topic, I find it impossible for the average German to have not known about what was going on in the camps.  Just the scale of it would have had to be seen.   Where I was stationed in Germany, there were a few camps in the area.  One was a rock quarry. The locals had to have known what was going on.  Besides, soldiers can't keep their mouths shut.  So the average soldier would have been talking about it.   But then the real question is What could they do about what was going on in the camps?  I don't like the liberalism I see in my country, besides complain, what more can I do?  Hitler's Germany you could not even complain without ending up in one of the camps.

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On 6/9/2018 at 7:39 PM, Joe Rich said:

Ron, I am surprised to hear that someone in England sees the issue the same way some of us in the US do.  By today's standards, slavery should be wiped from the face of the earth.  But we still find it around the globe.  That to me is one of today's biggest scandals.   Getting back on topic, I find it impossible for the average German to have not known about what was going on in the camps.  Just the scale of it would have had to be seen.   Where I was stationed in Germany, there were a few camps in the area.  One was a rock quarry. The locals had to have known what was going on.  Besides, soldiers can't keep their mouths shut.  So the average soldier would have been talking about it.   But then the real question is What could they do about what was going on in the camps?  I don't like the liberalism I see in my country, besides complain, what more can I do?  Hitler's Germany you could not even complain without ending up in one of the camps.

Brings to mind, yet again, sitting on the sofa in a friend's house one Sunday afternoon, watching TV.The UK government was beginning to declassify under the "25 year rule" and some absolutely amazing stuff was coming out. There had ben some very minir leaks prior to the mass  declassification - "Operation Mincemeat" was opened up very early (Apparently to counterbalance claims being made by a German of what an excellent job the Abwehr had been doing.) Much of this stuff being revealed was genuinely pretty BIG... But it really WAS the first time anybody had heard about it. To demonstrate just HOW well-kept the secrets bad been kept, BOTH of my freind's parents felt it was now OK to discuss what they'd done during the war. One had been a WREN at the GC&CS at Bletchley Park, the other had worked with DF Jones' "Beam Benders" - which blocked Germany's attempt to guide bombers onto target using radio "beams".Until THAT afternoon, neither spouse had revealed to the other "what they'd done in the war".

During the preparations for D-Day, rehearsed on beaches in SW England, there were a number of "training accidents" of catastrophic proportions. Live firing exercises where it was somehow not explained to the American MPs that their job was to shoot OVER the heads of the GIs running up the beach, not AT them.The screwup over an exercise where everything got cancelled EXCEPT the Artillery support, and it was decided that - since the exercise had been cancelled leaving the beach clear, it would be a pity not to use it for a simpler exercise. (Mid exercise, an artillery barrage descended upon it.) The screwup where German S-boats were able to slip-in at night and sink a bunch of transport ships fully laden with soldiers (most of whom drowned) At the time these things happened, it was deemed wisest not to let people know. And nobody DID know, for decades thereafter. And that was rural Somerset, not Nazi Germany.

Clearly, It IS possible to keep secrets. My wife's family came from Buckinghamshire, yet had absolutely no idea of what was going on at Bletchley, right on their doorstep.It might have been very quiet... but Bletchley Park had more dedicated security than Downing Street!

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1 hour ago, Ron Walker said:

Clearly, It IS possible to keep secrets. My wife's family came from Buckinghamshire, yet had absolutely no idea of what was going on at Bletchley, right on their doorstep.It might have been very quiet... but Bletchley Park had more dedicated security than Downing Street!

Yeah, back then it was. It started to change in Vietnam, and, I'm sure, marines landing on Somali beaches in the 90's were pretty disoriented under CNN lights and cameras. And what do you do with all the bystanders sporting smart phones nowadays?

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For sure railroad workers had knowledge, and while they were often reticent to share it, it did leak out. Many Germans refused to believe it, they felt their Fuhrer would never go that far; and the measures to hide it these crimes were ornate. In fact, that is why the Extermination Camps were mostly in the Occupied East, and not withing Germany proper. Plausible deniability.

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Recently joined this forum so forgive my late post. 

I really wonder how much power the common citizen had in Nazi Germany. To protest could mean being sent to a concentration camp. Recently during a shameful act in the U.S. when illegal immigrants were separated from their children, the parents were deported and the children put in camps with no records kept of who their parents were of where they were from. There was a big outcry about this but the common citizen had no power to do anything about it. Protest yes, but to what end? And this was in a Democracy!

Edited by RichP08

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At the end of WW2, as a result of agreements made earlier with Stalin, the western Allies were obligated to repatriate many thousands of people who had - either voluntarily or otherwise - moved from the Soviet zone of control into the zones of the UK, USA and France.In scenes reminiscent of what had happened only a short time earlier, involving Jews, Civilians were forced into cattle cars - at bayonet point - to be shipped off to "camps". It's perfectly legal to talk it, always has been. (with the obvious exception that Nikolai Tolstoy produced some wild and unsubstantiated accusations, and was sued) but in general, people just don't talk about it. There can have been little misunderstanding by the troops involved: some of the Russians being re-patriated committed suicide rather than return to the Motherland, and what they strongly suspected would be awaiting them there. How many British Tommies, or American GIs went home and told their families "I forced dozens of civilians into cattle trucks at gunpoint, and then watched them being shipped of to Russia?" I think the answer to that one would be "pretty much NONE." That's stuff that the NAZIS did. We were supposed to be the GOOD GUYS.

 

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On 3/25/2018 at 7:56 PM, Ron Walker said:

There's also a pretty good dramatised reconstruction of the Wannsee Conference, starring Kenneth Brannagh as Heydrich.  All of the participants at the conference were warned that the conference was Top Secret, but one of them took verbatim notes away with him, which later fell into the hands of the Western Allies. We KNOW, exactly, what was said. Some of the Gauleiters had "solved their Jewish problem" by mass murder (the conference discussed the most efficient way to murder Jews) others had simply decreed that thousands of Jews on their Gau were no longer Jews, and hence no longer a "problem!" Up until Wannsee, Nazi policy had been vague at best. Some held that the best way to "solve the Jewish problem" was to declare the Island of Madagascar to be the new Jewish homeland, and to deport them all there. Heydrich settled the matter once and for all - the "solution" was going to be extermination, the only questions remaining to be resolved were for example what to do with mixed-race marriages, and the children from such marriages. If you have three German grandparents, and one Jewish grandparent... are you a Jew, or a German? (Heydrich's answer was that you're a mongrel., and need not be exterminated, but should be sterilised.) The decision to exterminate every Jew that could be found was to be kept secret. People would be told that the Jews were being relocated to "new homes" in the East. The most shocking thing about the reconstruction of the Wannsee Conference is... it's basically pretty boring. Just a bunch of civil servants talking about every day routine matters,

Even in a police state like Nazi Germany... people talk. Soldiers come home on leave from the Eastern Front, and gossip about what they've seen the SS Einsatzkommandos doing. (i.e. Murdering civilians) They tried putting a lid on the surrender of the VI Army at Stalingrad - they even faked radio broadcasts "from the heroic defenders" weeks after the surrender. You can't keep information like that a secret. Buy, crucially, you can keep people so scared that they don't try to DO anything about what they know.

The Nazi propaganda against the Jews and the underlying previous scapegoating made it easy for the Nazi's to immune much of the populace and especially those that worked in Industry, military and government administration, the worst being the SS.

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11 hours ago, Bil Morgenstein said:

The Nazi propaganda against the Jews and the underlying previous scapegoating made it easy for the Nazi's to immune much of the populace and especially those that worked in Industry, military and government administration, the worst being the SS.

But not all; witness the heroic White Rose Group.

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