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Rheinwiegenslager

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Riter, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    We know that when many German soldiers were captured by Americans, they were herded into open air camps that had no facilities. The prisoners were treated much in the way that they (the Germans) treated Soviet Army prisoners in that nothing was done for them. Starvation and exposure to the elements. Many of these camps were west of the Rhine (hence Rheinwiegenslager)

    The lucky Germans who were captured earlier were sent to America or Great Britain where they sat out the war. The unlucky ones who were captured later could be starved or die of disease. Some who were captured were very lucky in that they got jobs with the American Army. They ate regularly, wore GI unforms with white "PW" painted on the back.

    Only when the Morgenthau Plan (permanently destroy German industry and make it an agricultural nation) was abandoned in favor ot the Marshall Plan (rebuild destroyed nations) did things change.

    So my question is did the US have the resources to build real camps and feed those PoWs? I know that it would take up resources to get lumber, set up facilities with proper kitchens, latrines, hospitals (to delouse, prevent dysentry, chlorea, typhus or other diseases) and this would draw from any offensive effort.

    BTW, in my research I learned that everybody deliberated killed certain PoWs especially if they were thought to be snipers. No nation is innocent in that regard.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
  2. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Not immediately. Around 1,500,000 German troops had surrendered in the West to the end of April 1945. Another 1,000,000 joined them in May. I'm not sure which planet people get the idea from that the Yanks (or even the British) were capable of throwing up camps to house that many men. There was a war on, which had involved flattening the enemy infrastructure. There were also millions of civilian Displaced Persons wandering the countryside. What we now call 'tent cities' was probably the only realistic option at the time.
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Let me start by mentioning that there are a few recurring conspiracy theory authors on what they call "Eisenhower's Holocaust" out there that claim the US allowed tens of thousands to over a million German POW's to die towards and right after the end of the war.

    These include:

    Jeff Rense Eisenhower's Holocaust - His Slaughter Of 1.7 Million Germans (rense.com)
    James Bacque He's the originator of much of this conspiracy theory

    The above two authors produce mostly tripe. Virtually all of their work reads like fiction the author made up. If you read actual German POW accounts, like William B. Folkestad's Panzerjäger: Tank Hunter, the last two chapters are his experience at the end of the war becoming a POW. It reads entirely different from the crap on the webpage.
    The first thing that stands out is Folkestad focuses on food as the POW's priority. He tells how he was assigned to a supply depot where he drove a forklift, then was assigned to drive a truck (a "duce and a half" from the description). He says they were put in tents, and got food even if he'd often have liked much more.

    [​IMG]

    That's what the more permanent camps in the COMZ (Zone of Communications) or the rear areas away from the front looked like. Temporary pens near the front were more like this:

    [​IMG]

    These were temporary holding areas, and the POWs were marched towards the COMZ in stages. In 1945 there were so many that it took quite a while to move them into more permanent camps. Because of the sheer number of prisoners taken, the camps used 10- and 20-man tents and usually housed double that number of POW's. They were given blankets and straw initially. Later bunks were issued.

    There was a serious attempt by the US to keep disease down and proper latrines dug, cooking and washing facilities made, delousing with DDT was common.

    If anything, the French--who also ran camps in their sectors--were the most brutal to the Germans. They had an axe to grind. The British handed over a large number of their POWs in Germany to the Russians on the latter's request. This usually ended very badly for those POW's.

    This is one of a series of photos of one of the only formal surrenders of an entire German unit in early 1945, a few months before the end of the war.

    [​IMG]

    This was S. PzJr Abt. 512 commanded by Hamptmann (Captain) Albert Ernst, at Iserlohn Germany in the Ruhr. A surrender was negotiated, and the unit drove their vehicles into the town square where the troops paraded and stacked their arms in an orderly fashion before being marched off to a POW camp.

    Some of the most bullshit lines in that fiction include:

    No food for weeks? Yea, sure... POW's got rations, spotty in the temporary holding camps near the front, but regularly once in the COMZ. In fact, the US once the war ended issued the food in bulk to the Germans who organized their own cooks and were issued mess gear and a field kitchen per so many men. Camps were organized into smaller groups within the whole camp and each area got its own mess and latrine facilities.

    Frostbite? The war in Europe ended in May 1945, at the beginning of summer...

    Here's some more from Rense and Bacque to peruse if you want to waste your time

    One Million German POWs Killed After WWII By US And France
    Eisenhower’s Death Camps |
    That one is end noted to two sources of questionable reliability at best for the most part.
    Eisenhower's Holocaust - His Slaughter Of 1.7 Million Germans
    A repetition of the Rense version
    http://www.renegadetribune.com/proo...ing_wp_cron=1635209756.6406970024108886718750

    This all single sources back to Bacque, James, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950

    James Bacque's historical works have been widely panned as "worthless" by historians. His research is shoddy, and his conclusions often baseless. He's the sort of conspiracy theorist that conspiracy theorists love to quote.

    So, all Rense does is cherry pick a couple of known and discredited conspiracy theorists to make his case--which he does poorly.


    Here's more of Rense's insanity on YouTube:



    Of course, the real rub is that Rheinwiesenlager is in on the plot too, being the owner of this site:

    Rheinwiesenlager: How The US Killed Hundreds Of Thousands In Secret (allthatsinteresting.com)
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    And there's also this:
    "Disarmed Enemy Forces and Surrendered Enemy Personnel designations
    Historical precedents
    After defeating Poland in 1939, and also after the defeat of Yugoslavia two years later, many troops from those nations were "released" from POW status and turned into a "virtual conscript labor force".[37]
    Germany had either broken up or absorbed the countries in question, and the German argument was that neither country remained as a recognized state to which the POWs could still claim to belong, and that since belonging to a recognized nation was a formal prerequisite for POW status, "former Polish and Yugoslav military personnel were not legally prisoners of war".[37][46]
    The Allied argument for retracting Geneva convention protection from the German soldiers was similar to that of Nazi Germany vis à vis Polish and Yugoslav soldiers; using the "disappearance of the Third Reich to argue that the convention no longer operated-that POW status did not apply to the vast majority who had passed into captivity on and after May 5".[37] The motive was twofold: both an unwillingness to follow the Geneva convention now that the threat of German reprisals against Allied POWs was gone, and also they were "to an extent unable to meet the high standards of the Geneva code" for the large number of captured Germans.[37]
    Following the surrender of Italy to the Allies in September 1943, German forces took around one million Italian military personnel prisoner. These personnel were designated "Italian military internees" and not granted the rights of POWs under the Geneva Conventions, as the German government claimed that they were not POWs as the two countries had not been at war. This continued, despite Italy’s subsequent declaration of war on Germany on October 13th, 1943.[47] Approximately 600,000 of the captured Italians were subsequently transported to Germany and required to work as forced labourers in generally harsh conditions.[48][49]"
    Disarmed Enemy Forces - Wikipedia

    The difference being the Western Allies did NOT turn these prisoners into "slave labour". I'm willing to bet neither Bacque nor the rest of the quasi-historians doing the accusing have addressed this.
     

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