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Stephen N Russell

Average Germans knew Nazi atrocities

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Just read on WH about an average German who knew  of the Nazi atrocities being done.

& feel for those Germans when they knew of the Jews being sent East & concentration camps being erected to send them  to the Death camps.

& if any Germans living in Poland after 1939 noticed the ash from cremation of the Jews in the said Death Camps??

Opens up a whole  new  yarn to German knowledge  of Nazi crimes.

To run Poland etc they had to have employees run said cities etc thus average Germans in Poland would know about death camps, or how could use explain ash??

Am I right or was Poland under total Military control& No civilian Germans came to aid running  of Govt.??

 

 

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On 3/24/2018 at 3:09 PM, Stephen N Russell said:

Just read on WH about an average German who knew  of the Nazi atrocities being done.

& feel for those Germans when they knew of the Jews being sent East & concentration camps being erected to send them  to the Death camps.

& if any Germans living in Poland after 1939 noticed the ash from cremation of the Jews in the said Death Camps??

Opens up a whole  new  yarn to German knowledge  of Nazi crimes.

To run Poland etc they had to have employees run said cities etc thus average Germans in Poland would know about death camps, or how could use explain ash??

Am I right or was Poland under total Military control& No civilian Germans came to aid running  of Govt.??

You need more basic research. It wasn't until the Wannsee Conference, when Heydrich and the SS made a successful grab for control of Nazi racial policy that Germany even HAD an "official policy" about how to "solve the Jewish problem". Previously, occupied territories were divided up into large districts ("Gau") each with its own political leader, and effectively, they each made up "policy" as they went along. Different Gaus had some VERY different policies.

You're also begging the question of what IS a "German"? Pre-war, Nazi Germany encouraged large numbers of merely ethnic Germans to "return to the homeland" - a group known as "VolksDeutsch" Soviet ID Documents carried details of both nationality AND ethnicity. Hitler "bought" a large number of Volksdeutsch from the Russians - people who were led to believe that they were headed to begin a new life in Germany... then discovered that by "Germany" was meant "Greater Germany" or in other words "occupied Poland". The Nazis simply evicted Poles from their businesses and handed the premises over to the newly arrived immigrants.

Point I'm making is that what you're describing as "Average Germans in Poland" quite likely didn't even speak a word of German. Remember, before unification in 1871, there WAS no such country as "Germany", and the some of the people who lived in what BECAME Germany moved around a lot, like a game of musical chairs. The Nazis regarded these nomads as "authentic Germans", regardless of what language they happened to speak. because their Great Grandparents (or whatever) had once lived in what was NOW part of Germany.

Recommend that you download, or rent a copy of the TV documentary "The Nazis: a Warning from History", and when you've watched it, reconsider your questions,  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207907/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Edited by Ron Walker
1971 instead of 1871!

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6 minutes ago, Stephen N Russell said:

Will do.

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.

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Thats how I see it, normal Germans were scared to speak up or inform  Allies until Allies overran town & Army fled town & they told  the Allies of atrocities IE those who did NOT liberate Death camps.

Correct.

Or  passed info to guerilla groups?? If had contacts  in France?

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On 3/24/2018 at 11:09 AM, Stephen N Russell said:

& feel for those Germans when they knew of the Jews being sent East & concentration camps being erected to send them  to the Death camps.

You know that there were death camps in the German proper as well - like Buchenwald and Dachau, for example.

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Most camps were E of Berlin proper  thus Russians found those camps IE Poland & the Allies found these IE Dachau & Buckenwald right. Feel  for those Germans outside those camps denying the ash everyplace from creamatoriums right.

Im sure Allies had to "sense" that ash unless camp  guards fled before but still leaving  creamatoriums still burning??

 

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1 minute ago, George Collins said:

You know that there were death camps in the German proper as well - like Buchenwald and Dachau, for example.

Towards the end of the war, when itwas obvious to everybody that the war had been LOST, making it clear that you did NOT believe in inevitable victory was enough to get you hanged from the nearest lamp post, with a cardboard sign reading "Defeatist" hung around your neck. By that stage, you don't NEED a "camp". Just drum head executioners. Leaving your wireless tuned to the BBC was enough to get you hanged.

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Agreed on that one for common Joe German citizen alas. That alone being seen by Allies & then the ashes from creamatoriums inches deep in the nearby cities, villages by wind direction would say volumes right.

 

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Worth also considering "secondary evidence". At the the start of the war, the Germans behaved disgracefully in the East. Were "average Germans" aware of what had been done in their name? It's kind of hard to understand quite how scared they were of the Russians if it wasn't at least partly down to "what goes around comes around". They'd planted the seeds of a hurricane, but NOW it was blowing in the opposite direction. True, Nazi propaganda had been plugging the idea of brutish Slavic subhumans, who were scarcely better than animals, but it strikes me that the typical German probably had a guilty conscience when it came to how THEY had treated their enemies in the East, when the boot was on the other foot. That bad behaviour was now going to bite them in the ass.

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37 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

It's kind of hard to understand quite how scared they were of the Russians if it wasn't at least partly down to "what goes around comes around". 

Yes, there was a certain level of that, but atrocities committed by RKKA in East Prussia, particularly in Königsberg area, were deliberately orchestrated to drive the German population out - a classic case of the so-called ethnic cleansing. Of course, it's called Kaliningrad District nowadays and it's part of the Russian Federation. 

Edited by George Collins

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True, the Germans did think Russians were subhuman & kicked butt in Kursk tank battle from 1943 onward.

Only Germans who had kin serving in Eastern Front may know of fear kin had in E Front with Russians??

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4 hours ago, Stephen N Russell said:

True, the Germans did think Russians were subhuman & kicked butt in Kursk tank battle from 1943 onward.

Only Germans who had kin serving in Eastern Front may know of fear kin had in E Front with Russians??

Shortly after the end of WW1, the defeated Germany collapsed into civil war - Nationalists (supported by ex soldiers) vs Communists (supported by former sailors AND by the Russians)  The two sides were fairly evenly matched, although (obviously!) the ex soldiers had more combat experience than the former sailors. Support for each side varied geographically, with rich veins of Communist support particularly in Berlin (which had expanded massively since the 1870's) and Hamburg (i.e. the North). The Nationalists' support was strongest in the South of the country. Fierce but fairly short civil war, which ended in victory for the Nationalists - but didn't result in the extermination of Communist supporters. So, bottom line, there were still a lot of Moscow-oriented Communists walking the streets after the civil war, and they frequently brawled in the streets with members of the newly formed Nazi party. Even people who weren't card-carrying members of the Communist Party might be inclined to support it if the choice was between Nazis and Commies. Remember that before the Versailles treaty re-drew Germany's borders, there had been a fair amount of traffic between Russia and Germany. (I mentioned the "VolksDeutsch earlier: the families of "Germans" who had strayed Eastwards BEFORE Germany came into official existence in 1871.The Hanseatic league - rather more than just a federation of trading towns in Northern Germany - had been massively influential in the Baltic Sea during the late middle ages, and put down "mini-colonies" much the same way that the Ancient Greeks had around the Adriatic and Mediterranean,

Point being.... the Germans were very aware of the Russians existence,and vice versa. The Germans and the Slavs had been in contact since... the fall of the Roman Empire, back in the mid 500's? They "met" in what would later be Poland. The Polish word for German is "Niemiec" (Which is also a slang Russian word; Russian and Polish are far more similar than most Poles or Russians will admit!) Niemiec means "Dumb", in the sense of "not talking", because Germans didn't speak Polish.

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I lived for a while in Germany; my girlfriend's father was conscripted into the Wehrmacht in 1940, did his basic training, posted to the outskirts of Moscow, and there - as he felt no animosity to the Russians, and had absolutely NO love for the Nazis, he slipped through the lines and surrendered to the Russian Army. They treated him quite well, but as he got passed back through the lines away from regular soldiers and into the hands of the Interior ministry troops (The ministry that included the secret police) the treatment got less friendly. Eventually he got shipped to work in a coal mine in SIberia, until Russia released the last PoWs from captivity after Stalin died (in 1953) at which point the direction of (West) Germany was pointed out to him, and he was told to walk home.. No provisions, no transport. It's a LONG walk! But compared to the treatment dished out to PoWs from BOTH sides on the Ostfront, he was pretty lucky. For the millions of Russians taken prisoner during the invasion of Russia, they were marched off to the West, shot if they didn't keep up, and eventually put in camps to starve. Some were used as slave labour. When von Paulus's VI Army surrendered, the German prisoners were divided between "regular soldiers", and "SS" - both got put into camps. The "camps" consisted of barbed wire fences with guard posts and machine guns. For the SS prisoners, that was all. No food, no buildings. Regular Wehrmacht soldiers got a few sheds for the wounded, and pretty meagre rations, ALL of the Waffen SS died, many of the regular troops did as well. By that point this was standard behaviour for both sides. But NOW it was the Russians who were taking large numbers of prisoners, not the Germans.

If you're interested, Stephen, and you seem to be, you might like the writings of two Modern Germans - Willi Heinrich, (who wrote the book upon which the film "Cross of Iron" was based) and Hans Helmut Kirst, who produced a series of tragicomic novels about a character named "Gunner Ass" ("Kanonier Arsh") and his adventures as a reluctant soldier in the Wehrmacht. Kirst was one of the first modern German writers to depict dispassionately how life had been for regular German soldiers. I think Kirst's books are better than Willi Heinrich's, and seem to give an accurate picture of what life was like for decent Germans at a difficult time; "do as you're told, don't complain, or your family could bear the consequences." The stories are fiction, but show the kind of stuff that happened.

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I did see Cross of Iron pretty graphic even before Saving Pvt Ryan but shows German atrocities big time.

Your girlfriends father story would make great fodder for a documentary alone on the Eastern Front.

The Russians just dished out to the Germans what they did to them, thats all, Im stunned  that the SS werent just shot away vs the average Joe in the German Army,.

Gunner Ass would make a great war story told  from the German side, in league with Cross of Iron.

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On 2018-03-26 at 3:34 AM, George Collins said:

 - a classic case of the so-called ethnic cleansing. Of course, it's called Kaliningrad District nowadays and it's part of the Russian Federation. 

Well, the United States own ethnic cleansing story has been very effective. The Indians are not a problem to the Americans any more. That must be very good, or? So what the US did to those people which didn't belonged to The American Dream, other countries are now forbidden to follow. 

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I agree we had the Indian Wars since the 1700s to 1890s & wiped out some tribes &  put alas rest  on Reservations BUT we didnt use the Death Camp drill like the Nazis did on the Jews.

Disease wiped out tribes with coming Spanish conquest in the 1500s as well.

 

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1 hour ago, Hans Werther said:

 The Indians are not a problem to the Americans any more. That must be very good, or? So what the US did to those people which didn't belonged to The American Dream, other countries are now forbidden to follow. 

So, if I understand you correctly, RKKA/NKVD troops were justified in raping East German women en mass because of what the Americans had done to the Indians. I certainly will give you points for creativity. You're not a defense lawyer by any chance, are you?

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9 hours ago, George Collins said:

So, if I understand you correctly, RKKA/NKVD troops were justified in raping East German women en mass because of what the Americans had done to the Indians. I certainly will give you points for creativity. You're not a defense lawyer by any chance, are you?

Well, who knows? Anyway, as far as justifications are concerned: Why did the Brits, and the Americans kill 465,000 German (and foreign) civilians (children, women and old people) during the war by aerial bombing? Because we are told, they started the war. And we wanted to revenge what they did to us during the Blitz. Fair enough, but not so for the Russian peoples? British suffering was nothing compared to the horrors of Nazi occupation of Soviet Russia. But they should still behave as gentlemen against the Nazi murderes, and their wifes?

As for the massacres of the Indians in the USA, that is what often happens during etnic cleansing. If the American whites did rape Indian women as much (in procent) as what was done to the Germans in East Preussia, I don't know. 

Edited by Hans Werther

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10 hours ago, Hans Werther said:

And we wanted to revenge what they did to us during the Blitz. Fair enough, but not so for the Russian peoples? British suffering was nothing compared to the horrors of Nazi occupation of Soviet Russia. But they should still behave as gentlemen against the Nazi murderes, and their wifes?

I would suggest to focuse on the point at hand, which is that atrocities in East Prussia were intentionally orchestrated to drive the German population out of Konigsberg in particular. None of this happened in Berlin, for example, which was in full view of the allies. It’s a well documented historical event, and I don’t think that mixing American Indians into a discussion about the 2nd World War adds any value to it.

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this before, but the Soviet peoples were not the only ones who wanted to get rid of Germans, and German Nazis. The same drive to expel them were also made by the Poles, and by Czechoslovakia. A savage hatred of  the germans was an important factor in enduring, and finally crushing the Nazi german war machine.

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. 

Edited by Hans Werther

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