Adrian Kanaar, a British military doctor, actually witnessed the brutal torture which the Allied forces inflicted on ordinary Germans. He later wrote that he was willing to face court martial for raising public awareness with regard to the Germans and declared that the Allied forces had established “a tyranny…which is as bad as the Nazis.”
Ignacy Cedrowski, the camp physician at Potulice between 1945 and 1948, lost his family during the Nazi era and was a survivor of Auschwitz. He was appalled at how the Allied forces were treating the Germans.
John Colville, a former private secretary of Winston Churchill, noted the same thing, adding that “concentration camps and all they stand for did not come to an end with the defeat of Germany.”
Yet even after all these events, the vast majority of the ordinary Germans remained servile. Catholic priest Josef Neubauer, who was in one of those camps until November 1945, wrote:
“On June 27, 1945, I was suddenly ordered to the guard-room. There I was made to strip completely naked and was beaten with sticks and fists. As a result, one of my ribs was broken and my teeth were knocked out.
“I then received at the hand of my two tormentors another 50 strokes with a length of steel cable, the thickness of my thumb, on my stomach, back, chest and buttocks. I was made to count the blows myself. At the end of this beating, my entire body was bleeding.
“I told my tormentors that I forgave them and that God should not count it as a sin against them. They were baffled by this statement of mine and from that moment onward left me in peace.”
Western responses to those atrocities have been appalling. The life of Johannes Kostka, a German prisoner of war in a British camp in Egypt, is a case in point.
By the end of 1947, Kostka wrote a letter to the U.S. Office of Military Government in Frankfurt about his wife Gertrud, a detainee in the Southwestern Polish town of Bielsko-Biala. Kostka was separated from his wife for four years and finally got a letter from her, which he passed on to the U.S. agencies.
His wife was pregnant as a result of rape and had contemplated suicide. The United States passed the letter to the British embassy in Warsaw, but in the end both countries decided to drop the issue. The British embassy finally declared that “we propose that [the case] should be dropped.”
Moreover, in most of the camps, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations were prevented from providing assistance. There was no organization working on the behalf of the detainees, despite the fact that their mistreatment was widely known (though only a few Americans knew about it).
(This is similar to what we are seeing with respect to Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian children.) When the war was over, the vast majority of polls in Britain, France, and the United States made no distinction between “ordinary Germans” and “Nazis.” Not only that,
“some carried [the] perception…that it was appropriate even that children pay the price for Nazi misdeeds.
“When the London-based National Peace Council issued a call in September 1945 for Britons to accept reduced food rations so that expellee women and children might be fed, a correspondent to the Daily Herald condemned those among his countrymen who still harbored ‘tender feelings towards this race of murderous white savages.’”
Some Allied officers such as Goronwy Rees ascribed to similar views. A few voices, such as Jewish publisher Victor Gollancz, made it clear that if ordinary Germans were going to be held accountable for what happened in Nazi Germany, then the United States and Britain must collectively be responsible for what was being done to the German civilians. Other voices within the Christian community, most particularly the Church of England, protested against the massive expulsions of the Germans.
In August 1945, when the British arrived on German shores,
“A convoy of trucks pulled into the village, and the Tommies took over from an easygoing US infantry division. Within hours, the British had ordered everybody in the centre of the village to pack their belongings and leave.
“Bad Nenndorf was heaving with refugees from the bomb-ravaged ruins of Hanover, 18 miles to the east: hundreds of people were given 90 minutes to pack some food and valuables, and get out.
“‘We thought everyone would be allowed back in a few days,’ recalls Walter Münstermann, now a retired newspaperman, but then a 14-year-old.
“‘Then the soldiers started putting barbed wire fences around the centre of the village, and slowly we began to realize that this was going to be no ordinary camp.’”
Bad Nenndorf, the place where the prisoners were kept and tortured, “became known as das verbotene dorf—the forbidden village.”
Instead of crying out only against Nazi concentration camps, popular history books should decry all concentration camps, Nazi as well as Soviet, where millions of non-Jews were sent during and after World War II.
The fact that the Holocaust establishment rarely discusses these issues tells us that they are only interested in propagating ideologies as opposed to real history.
The time to move to the next chapter of history and discuss what happened after the war is long overdue. Serious historians cannot live in fear anymore and cannot afford to follow an ideology as opposed to real history.
Noted British historian Giles Macdonogh writes that after the war,
“In most cases it was not the criminals who were raped, starved, tortured or bludgeoned to death but women, children and old men.” It proved to be devastating, “particularly for civilians.” The Red Army
“raped wherever they went. They even raped Russians and Ukrainians. The worst and most aggravated rapes were perpetrated against the women of the enemy—first the Hungarians, then the Germans.”
MacDonogh notes that raping women was probably viewed as “a form of vengeance against these ‘superior women and the best way to humiliate them and their menfolk.”
Historian Alfred Maurice de Zayas likewise notes that “one of the aberrations practiced by the soldiers was to take victims, mostly female, strip them naked and nail them to barn doors in cruciform fashion. This one particular atrocity features prominently in many eyewitness reports.” Road signs read, “Soldier: you are in Germany, take revenge on the Hitlerites.”
Historian Antony Beevor says that the Soviet propaganda of hatred towards the Germans started in 1942.
“Every opportunity had been taken to drum in the scale of German atrocities in the Soviet Union. According to a French informant, the Red Army authorities exhumed the bodies of some 65,000 Jews massacred near Nikolayev and Odessa, and ordered them to be placed alongside the road most used by troops. Every 200 metres a sign declared, ‘Look how the Germans treat Soviet citizens.’”
The political department of the 1st Ukrainian Front declared, “We were constantly trying to step up hatred towards Germans and to stir up a passion for revenge.”
General Ivan Danilovich Chernyakhovsky, who “used to recite poetry with humorous panache” to Ilya Ehrenburg, told his soldiers when they reached East Prussia in January, “Soldier, remember you are now entering the lair of the fascist beast!”
This is not a surprise at all, for Ehrenburg was the author of the novel The Unusual Adventure of Julio Juarenito and his Pupils, in which we find the phrase, “Murders must be committed for the well-being of mankind.”
When a person of some reputation in Great Britain declared that Ehrenburg needed to abandon his “lust for revenge,” Ehrenburg wrote back,
“My mother is religious too, and in the name of religion she asks, ‘kill the Germans with my blessings…One must not pity a wild beast…rather, one must destroy it.”
When Ehrenburg actually saw what the Red Army was doing to the Germans, he “was deeply shaken on a visit, but it did not make him moderate his ferocity in print.” A Soviet soldier remembered,
“There was a big slogan painted up in our canteen, ‘Have you killed a German yet? Then kill him!’ We were very strongly influenced by Ehrenburg’s appeals and we had a lot to take revenge for.”
Historian Richard Bessel declares that the soldiers “unleashed an orgy of wanton destruction…There could be no motive for such destruction other than revenge against a now helpless German population.”
In his last article of the war, Ehrenburg wrote,
“Germany is dying miserably, without pathos or dignity. Let us remember the pompous parades, the Sportpalast in Berlin, where Hitler used to roar that he was going to conquer the world.
“Where is he now? In what hole? He has led Germany to a precipice, and now he prefers not to show himself…Germany does not exist; there is only a colossal gang.”
A talented propagandist, Ehrenburg delivered lectures at the Frunze military academy, condemning what the Red Army was doing and “blaming it on the troops’ ‘extremely low’ level of culture.”
When it came to rape, Ehrengurg’s only defense was that Soviet soldiers “were not refusing ‘the compliments’ of German women.”
Certainly the Red Army took Chernyakhovsky’s and Ehrenburg’s message seriously, as they went out to put churches and civilian buildings to the torch and raped women in West Prussia and Pomerania; many of the victims committed suicide afterwards. One testified that she had been raped thirteen times.
Other crimes against civilians in Pomerania were widespread during the first week of occupation.
“Near the Puttkamers’ village, an elderly couple were chased into the icy waters of a village pond, where they died. A man was harnessed to a plough, which he was forced to drag until he collapsed.
His tormentors then finished him off with a burst of sub-machine-gun fire. Herr von Livonius, the owner of an estate at Grumbkow, was dismembered and his body thrown to the pigs. Even those landowners who had been part of the anti-Nazi resistance fared little better.
“Eberhard von Braunschweig and his family, assuming that they had little to fear, awaited the arrival of the Red Army in their manor house at Lubzow, near Karzin. But his reputation and numerous arrests by the Gestapo did him little good. The whole family was dragged outside and shot.”
When Chernyakhovsky died, Marshal Vasilevsky took over, and was told about the looting and damage that the Red Army was doing. After a moment of silence, “Vasilevsky, perhaps the most intelligent and cultivated of all Soviet commanders,” said, “‘I don’t give a [expletive]. It is now time for our soldiers to issue their own justice.’”
The German civilians, those “fascist beasts,” had to pay a terrible price for the Soviet’s perception of what the Nazis had done. One playwright of the time, Zakhar Agranenko, wrote:
“Red army soldiers don’t believe in ‘in-dividual liaisons.’ Nine, ten, twelve men at a time—they rape them on a collective basis.”
“Burn their homes to the ground and enjoy the flames. These were the messages that permeated the last years of the war. Marshall Zhukov’s orders to the First Belorussian Front on the eve of the January 1945 offensive into Poland did little to dampen the Soviet soldier’s lust for revenge:
“‘Woe to the land of the murderers,’ the orders stated. ‘We will get our terrible revenge for everything.”
One of the Red Army Field Postal Service letters stated:
“And now we take our revenge on the Germans for all their despicable acts committed against us. We’re being allowed to do what we please with the German scoundrels. German mothers shall rue the day they gave birth to a son. May German mothers now feel the horrors of war firsthand.