Second world war through the lenses of German soldiers

Whining Civvy

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Youtube is full of private vids made by German soldiers, it always interesting to watch.
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
He wasn't the only one but they were few. Those few we know about have been honoured at Yad Vashem, the most well known being Oskar Schindler and his wife Emille.

To my mind the fact that some Germans could be so good only accentuates how bad the others were. And by 'others' I mean the ordinary Germans who murdered and those who pretended not to know what had gone on.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Cologne1944 execution of foreign workers, you can see the nice man from the Gestapo hold a victims legs up just to be sure h’s killed. How very kind of him.....NOT. Read the book from the museum in Berlin, The Topography of Terrors, now on the site of what was RSHA on what was Prinz Albrectstrasse.
 

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diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
To my mind the fact that some Germans could be so good only accentuates how bad the others were. And by 'others' I mean the ordinary Germans who murdered and those who pretended not to know what had gone on.
It is reported that people living down the road from Dachau and Bergen Belsen in their nice houses knew absolutely nothing of what was going on. Sidney Bernsteins film 'Night will fall' shows this.

 

ches

LE
Anyone with a passing interest in the Holocaust or other aspects of the genocide perpetrated by the Germans against almost every nation they conquered would do well to read the likes of Gilberts - The Holocaust, Cesarani's - Final Solution & Goldhagens - Hitlers Willing Executioners. Goldhagens book faced some opposition, mostly from outside Germany (where it was actually well received) from some scholars but goes into detail about the historical anti-Semitism latent & malevolent within German society that the arrival of the Nazis enabled to flourish. Imo, as a long standing amateur history buff specialising in this field, his conclusions do hold a huge amount of water. The actions & behaviours of the Heer across all theatres bear witness to this. I am in the middle of writing a paper on the actions of DAK in tunisia in 42/43 & their role in the persecution of the small Jewish community where estimates in dead vary from 500-2500 out of a labour camp population of approx 5000 - North Africa, a theatre were the war was fought by honourable & chivalrous enemies supposedly untouched by the horrors of the northern Europe war. Despite the simple to discover fact that many of the units of DAK had also been deployed in Poland & later Russia where Heer units were routinely slotting innocents.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
The actions & behaviours of the Heer across all theatres bear witness to this. I am in the middle of writing a paper on the actions of DAK in tunisia in 42/43 & their role in the persecution of the small Jewish community where estimates in dead vary from 500-2500 out of a labour camp population of approx 5000 - North Africa, a theatre were the war was fought by honourable & chivalrous enemies supposedly untouched by the horrors of the northern Europe war. Despite the simple to discover fact that many of the units of DAK had also been deployed in Poland & later Russia where Heer units were routinely slotting innocents.

Very interesting as the North Africa campaign has always been painted as an 'honourable' part of the war, in particular when Rommel was leading the campaign. Did the attitudes of the DAK leech over into the Italian forces about committing atrocities? Rommel was and had been commander of Hitler's Heer protection battalion.

Maybe it just shows you didn't need to be a member of the SS/SD/Einzatzgruppen to be a murderer.
 

ches

LE
Very interesting as the North Africa campaign has always been painted as an 'honourable' part of the war, in particular when Rommel was leading the campaign. Did the attitudes of the DAK leech over into the Italian forces about committing atrocities? Rommel was and had been commander of Hitler's Heer protection battalion.

Maybe it just shows you didn't need to be a member of the SS/SD/Einzatzgruppen to be a murderer.

Its easily accessible information & data that almost anyone can get hold of - Wehrmacht & the Holocaust. The myth about Rommel has been long standing.
A significant proportion of the mass shootings on the eastern front were undertaken by the Order Police battalions, units subordinate to the SS but not part of the SS. These were 'ordinary men'.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Its easily accessible information & data that almost anyone can get hold of - Wehrmacht & the Holocaust. The myth about Rommel has been long standing.
A significant proportion of the mass shootings on the eastern front were undertaken by the Order Police battalions, units subordinate to the SS but not part of the SS. These were 'ordinary men'.
As Christopher Browning alluded too in his book Police Battalion 101. Is the Wehrmacht and the Holocaust an on-line resource or a book?
 
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I subscribe to the theory that they had no idea that what they were doing was in any way wrong.


I think you underestimate mankinds capacity for cruelty.
Its an old phrase but civilisation is a very thin veneer. Combine that with the herd mentality and I am of the belief that people have a natural tendency to re-draw there moral boundaries quite easily.

I think they knew it was wrong but simply adjusted their defintion of right and wrong in tune with their compatriots.

I also suspect that it is a fundemental of human nature.
 
I think you underestimate mankinds capacity for cruelty.
Its an old phrase but civilisation is a very thin veneer. Combine that with the herd mentality and I am of the belief that people have a natural tendency to re-draw there moral boundaries quite easily.

I think they knew it was wrong but simply adjusted their defintion of right and wrong in tune with their compatriots.

I also suspect that it is a fundemental of human nature.
I've commented before that I believe that if the Germans had succeeded with Op SEALION, they would, I'm sure, have found sufficient 'willing helpers' in Britain. Just ordinary people.
 
The punitive reperations imposed after the Great War, mainly at the insistence of France (still smarting from the Franco-Prussian wars and the constant losing / regaining of the Alsace region) created the deep feeling of injustice in the German people,

Except they managed to escape most of them, mostly thanks to the USA and the UK.....
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Except they managed to escape most of them, mostly thanks to the USA and the UK.....
The German State avoided some of the penalties mainly through being broke, although having it's economy sunk to a level where 1US$ cost 4,200,000,000,000 Marks and people were bartering artworks, jewellery and the like for basic foodstuffs helped drive the ferment leading to the foundation and support for the NSDAP who promised a return to a better lifestyle for everyone - and started to deliver on that. From the point of view of the 1920's & 30's German who was used to seeing their lords and masters still hunting, shooting & fishing, throwing lavish parties for their peers whilst everyone else was forced to scrape a living and borrow heavily, it's easy to see the attraction.
There's a good book on the period, 'When Money Dies'.
 
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