A U.S. soldier kicks a German POW. Leipzig, 1945. Picture

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Dachau: The Hour of the Avenger (An Eyewitness Account)
BY COL. HOWARD A. BUECHNER
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Near the French village of Audouville-la-Hubert 30 German Wehrmacht prisoners were massacred by U.S. paratroopers.

VIDEO: AMERICAN SOLDIERS KILL GERMAN POW

Historian Peter Lieb has found that many US and Canadian units were ordered to not take prisoners during the D-Day landings in Normandy. If this view is correct it may explain the fate of 64 German prisoners (out of 130 captured) who did not make it to the POW collecting point on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

According to an article in Der Spiegel by Klaus Wiegrefe, many personal memoirs of Allied soldiers have been willfully ignored by historians until now because they were at odds with the "Greatest Generation" mythology surrounding WWII, but this has recently started to change with books such as "The Day of Battle" by Rick Atkinson where he describes Allied war crimes in Italy, and "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy," by Anthony Beevor. Beevor's latest work is currently discussed by scholars, and should some of them be proven right that means that Allied war crimes in Normandy were much more extensive "than was previously realized".

A SURVIVOR OF THE DACHAU MASSACRE RECOLLECTS (Source)

A survivor of the Dachau Massacre was Hans Linberger, who was one of the German soldiers that were forced out of the SS hospital and lined up against a wall to be shot. In the photograph below, which shows the scene of the shooting, the hospital building is on the right.


The following article about Hans Linberger was written by T. Pauli for Berkenkruis in October 1988.


Berkenkruis is the magazine of the veterans of the Flemish SS volunteers in World War II; T. Pauli was the chairman of the group in 1988 when this article was published. Pauli quoted from the testimony given to the German Red Cross by Hans Linberger.


Begin quote from article in Berkenkruis, October 1988, by T. Pauli:


Hans LINBERGER was wounded east of Kiev when an AT-gun blew away his left arm and covered his body with shrapnel. It was his fourth wound. After a long stay in the hospital he was posted to the Reserve-Kompanie at Dachau, on the 9th of March 1945.


On the 9th of April, 1945, the heavily wounded laid down their weapons; they were no longer suited to be put into action. They reported themselves to the head of the hospital, Dr. SCHRÖDER, who sent them to the barracks. Evacuated women and children were present in barrack right next to it. Preparations to be evacuated were made, doctors, staff and caretaking personnel all wore white coats and the German Red Cross-armband.


Occasional battle noise was heard from SCHLEISSHEIM that day (April 29, 1945), but around 4:30 PM things got quiet again. When suddenly single gunshots were to be heard, LINBERGER went, holding a small Red Cross-flag, to the entrance (of the hospital). (This occurred around noon.) As could be seen from his empty left sleeve, he was badly injured. To the Americans, who were pushing forward in battle-like style, he declared that this was an unarmed hospital.


One Ami (sic) placed his MP against his chest and hit him in the face. Another one said "You fight Ruski, you no good". The Ami (sic) who placed the MP (Machine Pistol) against his chest went into the hospital and immediately shot a wounded man, who fell down to the ground motionless. When SCHRÖDER wanted to surrender, he was beaten so hard that he received a skull fracture. (Ami was German slang for an American.)
The Americans drove everyone out to the main place and sorted out anyone who looked like SS. All of the SS men were then taken to the back of the central heating building and placed against the wall. A MG (Machine gun) was posted and war correspondents came to film and photograph the lined up men.
Here begins SS-Oberscharführer Hans Linberger's testimony, under oath to the DRK (German Red Cross), about the following events:


The comrade who was standing right beside me fell on top of me with a last cry - "Aww, the pigs are shooting at my stomach" - as I let myself fall immediately. To me it didn't matter if they would hit me standing or lying down. As such I only got the blood of the dead one, who was bleeding badly from the stomach, across my head and face, so I looked badly wounded. During the pause in the shooting, which can only be explained by the arrival of drunken KZ-prisoners, who, armed with spades, came looking for a man named WEISS. Several of them (the wounded soldiers) crawled forward to the Americans and tried to tell them that they were foreigners, others tried to say that they never had anything to do with the camps. Yet this man WEISS said: "Stay calm, we die for Germany". Oscha. (Oberscharführer) JÄGER asked me, while lying down, if I had been hit, which I had to deny. He was shot through the lower right arm. I quickly gave him a piece of chocolate, as we were awaiting a shot in the neck. A man wearing a Red Cross armband came to us, threw us some razor blades and said "There, finish it yourself". JÄGER cut the wrist of his shot arm, I cut the left one, and when he wanted to use the blade on me, an American officer arrived with Dr. SCHRÖDER, who could barely keep himself standing, and the shooting was stopped. This allowed us to drag away the wounded. I remember a comrade with a shot in the stomach, who came to us at Dachau, in a room of café Hörhammer, where all possible troops were mixed together. On the road, we were spit upon and cursed at by looters from the troop barracks who wished we would all be hung. During this action (sic) 12 dead were left nameless. As I later found out, documents and name tags had been removed on American orders, and a commando (work party) of German soldiers were supposed to have buried these dead in an unknown location. During the shooting, the wife of a Dr. MÜLLER, with whom I had been in correspondencer years before, had poisoned herself and her two children. I was able to find the grave of these persons. In this grave supposedly are buried 8 more SS-members, including an Oscha. MAIER. MAIER had an amputated leg and was shot in another area of the hospital terrain adjacent to the hospital wall. He lay there with a shot in his stomach and asked Miss STEINMANN to kill him, since he could not bear the pain any longer. His dying relieved Miss STEINMANN from completing the last wish of this comrade. In the proximity of the hospital/mortuary were probably other comrades executed at the walls, as I later found traces of gunfire there.


Later, as a prisoner of war, I was pointed to a grave in the same hospital terrain, by the wife of a former KZ-prisoner, who on All Saints Day in 1946 (November 1st) came near the fence and, while crying, remembered some children buried in the grave. The children must have died after the collapse (Zusammenbruch) when the Americans took over the camp. Further, comrades from the Waffen-SS are buried in the same grave, as could be concluded from a message of the Suchdienst (the German MIA tracing service).


AMERICAN BRUTALITY IN THE PACIFIC


American soldiers in the Pacific often deliberately killed Japanese soldiers who had surrendered. According to Richard Aldrich, who has published a study of the diaries kept by United States and Australian soldiers, they sometimes massacred prisoners of war. Dower states that in "many instances ... Japanese who did become prisoners were killed on the spot or en route to prison compounds." According to Aldrich it was common practice for U.S. troops not to take prisoners. This analysis is supported by British historian Niall Ferguson, who also says that, in 1943, "a secret [U. S.] intelligence report noted that only the promise of ice cream and three days leave would ... induce American troops not to kill surrendering Japanese."

Ferguson states such practices played a role in the ratio of Japanese prisoners to dead being 1:100 in late 1944. That same year, efforts were taken by Allied high commanders to suppress "take no prisoners" attitudes, among their own personnel (as these were affecting intelligence gathering) and to encourage Japanese soldiers to surrender. Ferguson adds that measures by Allied commanders to improve the ratio of Japanese prisoners to Japanese dead, resulted in it reaching 1:7, by mid-1945. Nevertheless, taking no prisoners was still standard practice among U. S. troops at the Battle of Okinawa, in April–June 1945.

Ulrich Straus, a U.S. Japanologist, suggests that frontline troops intensely hated Japanese military personnel and were "not easily persuaded" to take or protect prisoners, as they believed that Allied personnel who surrendered, got "no mercy" from the Japanese. Allied soldiers believed that Japanese soldiers were inclined to feign surrender, in order to make surprise attacks. Therefore, according to Straus, "[s]enior officers opposed the taking of prisoners[,] on the grounds that it needlessly exposed American troops to risks..." When prisoners nevertheless were taken at Gualdacanal, interrogator Army Captain Burden noted that many times these were shot during transport because "it was too much bother to take him in".

Ferguson suggests that "it was not only the fear of disciplinary action or of dishonor that deterred German and Japanese soldiers from surrendering. More important for most soldiers was the perception that prisoners would be killed by the enemy anyway, and so one might as well fight on."

U. S. historian James J. Weingartner attributes the very low number of Japanese in U.S. POW compounds to two important factors, a Japanese reluctance to surrender and a widespread American "conviction that the Japanese were "animals" or "subhuman'" and unworthy of the normal treatment accorded to POWs. The latter reason is supported by Ferguson, who says that "Allied troops often saw the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians—as Untermenschen."
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