No one can study WW2 without the stories of German soldiers shooting prisoners or civilians coming up. I have wanted to address this as it doesn’t fit what I have come to know of the German people during the Third Reich period. I have a hard time believing that so many Germans acted in clear disregard to the rules of war, and without cause shot soldier and civilian alike. So here we go:
I can try to unpack this beast as best I can, but I am not the best at getting technical or using forensics like some people are. I like the phrase “if it can’t happen, it didn’t” and I will try to explain as best I can. The many historians on the net, mainly on YouTube, and I have watched them all from Tik, WW2 History, Mark Felton, and Dark Docs. The theme is always the same: Germany started it, and got paid back. In the words of Tik, I ask “But is this really the case?“ I base my conclusions on many years of studying the time period from all angles, and all nations. One source I used was the actual people who were there, and lived through the times. I met many Germans who opened up to me and gave me valuable information.
It comes down to who is being honest, and who isn’t. Most all war crimes accusations you must remember come from people who said they saw the act, or were with the victims as they were taken away etc. They had no reason to be honest; if you were, the Allies would hound you or call you a sympathizer. It is hard to call people liars, but in this case I believe many who said they witnessed German crimes were not telling us the truth, or at the least the full picture. There is much to these stories, and I know my opinion really doesn’t make a big impact, but I hope it gives you something to think about.
Some German critics may say “but they can lie to make their actions seems justified, or to defend Hitler.” This could be true, but at the same time why can’t we question if the Allied side has told the truth. Why do so many take the Allied side of the war as solid and factual? Why do historians scrutinize every side of Hitler and National Socialism, but not the Allied side? I know that a few have broken with the status quo and tried to dig into these topics, but think about how they are attacked and belittled on the internet forums. The study of war crimes is a science in itself in my opinion. When reviewing a page on Facebook regarding Gustav Knittle, an SS officer accused of allowing the killings of Belgium civilians, I was impressed with the amount of detail the author included.
What I call the anti-German crusaders really do their homework, and have written very in-depth, detailed, and to the minute time frames. Some are so detailed that they can tell you what the particular persons involved were wearing and doing that very moment. They are so convinced of the validity of their research, it’s impossible to argue anything contrary to them, and I have tried and failed.
Why then do I even care? There are so many who believe the Germans willfully and with hatred executed a war against their brothers that killed millions. They acted as superior beings, and put Europe under the heel of their boot, terrorizing and enslaving people they claim they were protecting. But wait, there’s more. They are accused of stealing, looting, and destroying priceless works of art. Raping and defiling women, shooting children clutching their mother’s hand, while eating an apple, and bending history to contort to their demented minds. Then hating and exterminating a small racial group who was so very peaceful and patriotic, I am referring to Jews of course. But wait there’s even more.
In spite of the seemingly unending stream of atrocity stories, and the vast amount of evidence, there were some who challenged the Allied version of events. I was interested in this group. At first I thought “who in the world would say these proven facts, are in fact wrong?” I would see them slandered, ridiculed, mocked, and bullied online, in every forum I stepped into. Where the universities had preached tolerance of other’s ideas and beliefs back in the last century, they now preach “if they defend any pro-white or Nazi idea, beat them to death with words and do not let them have a platform.” I went to Germans who had lived during the war to ask what their honest thoughts were. This is where I state again, “if it could not happen, it did not happen”. What I am about to give is my opinion, based on my interviews, instincts, and experience. Are soldiers capable of committing crimes and illegal killings? Sure they are. The Allies even admit some of their own did wrong. The German war crimes bureau and even veterans have spoken about soldiers punished for such things. So what am I even getting at?
The Germans faced charges that somehow under National Socialism they became inflamed with racial patriotism, that they killed their own race to try to rule the world. That is the prevailing historical viewpoint. Even Germans who claim to have been veterans or witnesses to such things have appeared on history TV programs to defend this Allied viewpoint. So then how can I believe these people are mistaken or outright liars? It is frankly hard to defend, it is comparable to trying to prove that someone on death row who was seen, admitted to, and had the murder weapon on them is really innocent. So let me start with what I learned by interviewing Germans.
Most all historians will acknowledge that the German armed forces of WW2 are known for their discipline and exactness. Some even used the excuse of “I was only following orders” when trying to defend against war crime claims. I will agree that the Wehrmacht, including the Waffen-SS, was very disciplined and understood that the honor of German arms was their best trait. Meaning they saw that history would judge them by how well they maintained their military bearing throughout the war. Every soldier I asked to comment on the war crimes accusations said mostly the same thing: That these stories are both enemy propaganda that was made up or misrepresented and the same for eyewitness accounts.
I have to delve into some of the photos and videos that have been widely used to “prove beyond doubt” the Germans were cold killers. One of the photos and videos that come to mind is the famous photo where a German soldier appears to aim his rifle at a mother holding her child. A video I recall off the top of my head is the one where Germans are shooting a bearded man who then falls into a mass grave with many other bodies.
[Above: The supposed work of the German Einsatzgruppen murdering Jews in Ivanhorod, Ukraine, 1942. Such atrocity photos are littered with fakes.]
The Allies have had 100 years to work on their version of things, remember Hitler joined the German Workers Party in 1919 and then transformed it into the National Socialist German Workers Party. Immediately those opposed to this set the media in motion to destroy this idea of racial socialism. They have had the ability and drive to turn simple images and words into whatever they wanted them to mean and say. So I hope I laid out a framework at least that might make one curious to explore more. Thousands of Germans and other nationalities were put to death during and after the war for supposed war crimes.
After research, the photo of the soldier aiming at the woman is cropped, and the full photo shows soldiers returning fire during a funeral for a Russian farm family who lost a loved one. The video is of Lithuanian security men, under German eyes, executing Jews who had worked for the NKVD and deported Christians to the gulags. So you can see how images can be twisted to fit a certain narrative. No Allied soldiers were ever really charged for war crimes, just Germans. It has always been a one way street; the victor of a war makes the rules and writes the history. German veterans have been largely silent on this topic because it is unpleasant to talk about, and dangerous. The Allies wrote into the German constitution that if anyone denies these historical events then they could be jailed and lose any pensions. It became necessary to keep quiet, even among family and friends. One veteran told me of a friend he had who lost his pension for openly saying in 1960 that he doubted the stories of the Jews and Allies regarding crimes of Germany.
There was every incentive for Germans to shut up, keep quiet, and just enjoy the existence the Allies allowed them to have. The past is the past they would come to believe, not wanting to relive it. In fact many Germans who lived during the Third Reich commented that they loved Hitler and the time, but the war poisoned it all. They had no desire to relive the war in any way. I was lucky enough to get many to at least be frank and honest with me about what they saw and experienced. I was able to speak with some whom were even accused of war crimes, and what was their view after all these years. I came to them as a young man who had no agenda, and only wanted to befriend them.
This opened the flood gates of information and emotions, even the wives got into the conversations. I came away with a feeling that these people have been lied about by their enemies, and then slandered by a press who was firmly in the hands of their arch enemies. Let’s talk about the killing of prisoners of war. This is a charge that starts in France in May 1940 where the English maintain an SS unit under Fritz Knöchlein killed surrendered soldiers. The French and Belgians even made claims that the Germans killed their soldiers and civilians. But is this really the case?
[Above: Fritz Knöchlein (May 27, 1911 – January 21, 1949). The Butcher of Le Paradis? ]
No real German rebuttal has even been given. A little known fact regarding the English in France was that many were WW1 veterans and resorted to bad behavior they used in the last war. I am referring to using “dum dum” bullets (a bullet that when it’s fired shatters in the target causing very bad damage.) A German vet who was part of the fighting around Le Paradis saw a comrade have his arm blown off by one of these.
In addition the English soldiers used white flags to lure German soldiers into ambushes. When the English were finally out of ammo, they surrendered. Two witnesses maintained then that they were taken behind a farmhouse and machine gunned. No Germans have come forward to counter their assertion. So it stood as a war crime, and Knöchlein was hung. In my opinion if this indeed took place, and the SS troops shot down surrendered soldiers, wouldn’t the actions of the English have caused this response? I sound indecisive as a few Germans doubt this happened at all and the English soldiers made it up while in a camp to get back at the Germans. This was the site of a very hard battle, and the Germans came across many fallen enemies they then buried.
Not to be outdone the French claimed the SS killed many African soldiers simply for being “racially inferior”. Something they failed to mention is the many mutinies these soldiers started, and which got out of control where some attacked white soldiers and civilians. I spoke to a French woman who told of a friend being raped by one.
[Above: Senegalese riflemen captured by the Germans at Amiens.]
The Germans are known for their sense of right and wrong, law and order. They allowed the French to try these soldiers and give them a proper punishment. One SS man from the Totenkopf division did confirm that some were turned over to the French who promptly shot them down under German eyes. Was this a crime? German soldiers were under the strictest orders to take prisoners and to never act as the judge and jury. The thousands of photos readily seen on the internet showing African prisoners, and Allied as well, verify there was no policy to shoot prisoners. As a side note it is interesting to know that many of the African prisoners volunteered to help the Germans in the desert war.
In the months after the war in France the Germans began rebuilding France, and allowed the Africans to return home unmolested with a promise not to take up arms for the Allies again. Many returned home to wage small wars against the Allies who were still in their lands. There are many stories floating around of civilians claiming to have seen Germans executing civilians, or doing something bad. Something an open-minded person will need to consider is that Germany occupied many nations. The average civilian was not happy about this, and saw the Germans as the aggressor and enemy.
They never quite understood that in most cases Germany occupied their land due to the pro-Allied views their government had, which threatened Germany’s border. Or, in some cases Germany was asked to come in to stabilize the area, Yugoslavia is an example. Because many saw the Germans as their enemy, they had no reason to be kind to them when it was all over. The Allies started hearing claims of German crimes as soon as an area was taken. The people reacted to these new soldiers who “freed” them by wanting to “show off” a bit. The best way to do this was to come forward to introduce themselves, and tell stories. These stories morphed into incredible tales of German misdeeds, which caught the ears of Allied officials.
As more civilians saw the glee with which the Allies seemed to like these stories, more came out to tell of civilians arrested, harassed, and executed. These kept building until the Allies were running in circles. My own Grandfather was a driver for one of these teams in 1945. It was so bad he said that finally they stopped allowing people to come forward.
They were tired of running from home to home to get testimony; each one was wilder than the previous, he would say. One family had been buried in 1944 in a makeshift plot on their land. When exhumed and autopsied, it was found they died from an air burst of an artillery shell that killed them all. The claim was the Germans shot them for hiding downed airmen. He said the case was quietly closed, yet the civilians still maintained the Germans shot them. One issue I realized with civilian deaths is that many battles were mobile, with lots of artillery and strafing. Civilians were sometimes caught out in the open when the fighting started, and some were killed by both German and Allied fire.
According to German vets there were times when Allied soldiers fired from homes they occupied, sometimes with hidden civilians. When the Germans replied, if civilians were in the home they sometimes became casualties. The same for Germans, I met a vet who told of being wounded and hauled into a home by a Belgian man, who was later killed by American soldiers when he stepped outside trying to tell them a wounded enemy was inside. The point being that many of the “shot down civilians” were merely civilians caught in the open or in a home during the fighting. Their friends or family, wanting to “jump on the bandwagon” would then tell a story that they were murdered by Germans. The Allies, who were pumped up on propaganda that said the Germans were doing these things, gleefully accepted the versions told to them.
I believe these types of examples happened all over Europe, from the Balkans, France, and the East. The soviets I really do not dwell on due to the mostly acknowledged fact that they lied and exaggerated most any issue related to the war and beyond. The sad part is the anti-German crusaders went into Russia after the fall and started kicking up the old stories told by the NKVD. They even took the tales a step further and added their “investigations” where they interview supposed witnesses. They told of wild stories of Jews being killed in orgies of death. Babies killed right out of their mother's womb, and other fantastic stories right out of a horror novel.
There was never any way to challenge these stories, as the soviets removed anyone who disagreed with the official version. We know their de-Nazification was more brutal than what the western Allies did. A photo that can be found online is the NKVD hanging dozens of young children who had joined the Ukrainian version of the Hitler Youth. The “cleansing” had to be complete. Anyone who aided, joined, or gladly welcomed the Germans was either killed outright, or sent to the gulags for a slow death. The people were terrorized into agreeing with anything the soviets told them had happened. A fact these modern investigators failed to grasp. After 70 years of telling a lie, it basically becomes the truth, and is hard to disprove when the government controlled the information.
Returning back to the west, I find it interesting that of the dozens of war crime trials that went well into the modern age, there were glimmers of truth. Many of the cases were either dismissed or overturned. Why would that happen if the Germans indeed had been on a rampage in the occupied areas? Modern historians go so far to claim many of the judges were pro-Nazi or wanted to support neo-nationalism, so they let the guilty off the hook. Could it be that perhaps when the din of wartime hysteria died down they saw the truth was far different than what was proposed earlier? The French agreed for the most part that what happened in Oradour-sur-Glane was not a deliberate crime, but an act of retaliation that got out of control.
[Above: The village of Oradour-sur-Glane, June 10, 1944.]
I know a soldier who was there, and told me someone in the church did something to set off an explosive that quickly shot flames throughout the church. It was so out of control that the soldiers could not approach the doors to let the civilians out once they realized what had happened. Many homes were set on fire by the Germans because they hid illegal arms and munitions the Allies were dropping to the resistance. This also engulfed other homes that had been left alone. Many French were shot by the Germans that day because they were implicated in the murder of over 100 German soldiers who had surrendered, then were murdered. This was no war crime, it was a justified retaliation, and the French courts saw that after reviewing the evidence at hand. Some in the resistance proved the Germans' cases by admitting to horrid treatment of German prisoners, which invited harsh reprisals.
Another famous case was Malmedy, in which it seems like an open and shut case. Surrendered American soldiers willfully forced into a field, then angry SS men, who wanted revenge for the war being lost and their cities burned, killed the innocent. Many Germans were arrested and charged for this crime. Many testimonies were given by them as well, detailing orders and who pulled the triggers. Open and shut, this has eyewitnesses, even testimony from the guilty, and bodies with head shots etc. You might be interested to know that all the “guilty” were let go and congress started an impartial investigation in the late 40s.
The reason, it came to light that the US service members' statements may not have been accurate, and the Germans were coerced or tortured to give their statements that incriminated their comrades. I spoke with a few key men who were part of this farce, my conclusion was as follows:
The US team who did the interrogations at Schwabish Hall was made up of a contingent of Jewish officers who behaved badly. As many of the men testified later, they were threatened, beaten and their wives and girlfriends molested and threatened. One officer was even reprimanded for having sex with a prisoner's wife. Telling her he could free her husband, then having a pal take photos of the affair which they showed the prisoner. This was just one of many that were claimed against this team. A prisoner I spoke with said his sister came to try to visit him and was touched and threatened with rape. This was the norm of what was happening, probably in all the war crimes trials that the US government finally stopped.
At a military show, I was able to meet and question Steve Demitrovich who was a guest. After speaking to him about what he saw I asked if it was true that arriving US soldiers were firing on the Germans, and others trying to sneak away. The look in his eyes told me the truth. He of course was fixated on the acclaim and what sticking to a lie for 70 years will do. Piecing together his version, German veterans' accounts, and the accepted narrative, here is what I believe happened:
A large column of US vehicles were engaged by the smaller recon unit of the SS and defeated. There were more vehicles and soldiers behind them who were not engaged yet. The US soldiers were undisciplined and unorganized in their “surrender” because the Germans were also unorganized and arriving piecemeal with conflicting orders. Some were told to send the prisoners to the rear, another was to stop and guard. Seeing this the prisoners milled around, looking for chances to get away. As other US soldiers arrived they fired at what they thought was an active fight before falling back.
All it took was one German, who may have been in a Panther tank, shooting a pistol at fleeing prisoners, for others to join in. Newly arriving German units joined in the fight and mowed down even still standing prisoners. Not a war crime at all, but more a fog of war brought on by the behavior of US soldiers. I spoke to the man who commanded the tank, and he agreed it was a crewman who was shooting warning shots at soldiers who were starting to move to an area where they could dart away. This caused other Germans to open fire on the now running prisoners. Later investigators moved the bodies to one location to make it appear they were all shot down in a small space.
Again, the Germans took vast amounts of prisoners during the Ardennes Offensive, so we know there was no order to kill prisoners. All the men who were charged were later let go without further judgments. This was an example of the confusing fog of war that easily creeps into military actions. I asked an SS veteran if it could be possible for some to kill surrendered enemy soldiers. His reply was like this ‘Of course it is within the human condition to commit these things, if you are asking if SS men could do it I will say yes with a warning. We were indoctrinated to see our enemies through the lens of pity, we felt sorry that they were sent to fight us in the name of saving world Jewry. We had no hate towards them, but at times anger. Our leaders were very clear that they were misled, and we had no right to treat them badly, they were brothers for the most part. Due to this our honor was the greatest trait on why I do not believe my comrades ever did these things.”
[Above: Oath of loyalty and honor.]
“We certainly wanted to see revenge for some of the actions we witnessed, and if a crime was witnessed I know our justice was swift when it was allowed. However to say we could go around and kill without conscience is false. Our honor would never let us soil German arms just to get even.” In my mind that sums up why I say “If it can’t happen it didn’t.” I believe the Germans were fighting for a higher power and cause. They certainly had animosity towards their enemies, in war killing is necessary. However they followed the rules of war that were in effect until May 1945, the Allies changed this a bit after, but the Germans followed them as it was their honor.
Of course I am not blind to acknowledge that there are those battlefield killings that every army is guilty of. I am sure there were some Germans who shot soldiers as they tried to surrender. What I disagree with is they ran amok and killed anyone who they chose to dislike. Most of the claims made against them are either a lie, or was some type of legal reprisal that “eyewitnesses” have misconstrued for the benefit of today’s researchers. Based on the many veterans I have met I feel very confident that the German armed forces did not embark on a sick war of senseless killings. The Italians have been vocal in trying to charge Germans for killings, and the later these prosecutions went, the less likely the charged was given a fair trial. This is because the idea of Marxism, or communism hidden as liberalism, is very much entrenched in today’s world.
A case would be the killing of hostages in a cave. The current narrative is that Germans rounded up a few hundred off the street, took them to a cave and shot them all, even some who stumbled into the event. Charges were filed, and an SS officer was found guilty. They fail to disclose that there was a vicious attack on German soldiers, including a nurse. To deter future attacks, partisans, their agents, and supporting family members were executed. Some again have even claimed this never happened as it was just another example of made up war crimes. The defense was never allowed to challenge the validity of if it happened. However let’s say it is true, it happened. Since partisan warfare is illegal in itself, wouldn’t the Germans be justified in punishing anyone aiding these bands? We know they burned the homes of anyone hiding weapons for the partisans. That is considered to be legal, so is executing partisans and anyone aiding them. That was the law before May 1945.
The actions of the partisans, which were often times Jews, communists, anarchists, or all three, were vicious. This is even their own admissions; they have been able to gloat about what they did to their victims. Many were given medals and held in high regard. They never tell us who they targeted. They never mention they only attacked the lesser defended, non front line soldiers. They attacked hospital staff; supply troops who were lightly armed, even the women helpers were not spared. I spoke to a woman flak spotter who told of a bus of girls being attacked, and all were killed, her best friend was on the bus. So you can see that with enemies like this why the Germans and their allies would take a harsh stand against these hidden terrorists. When they were found and captured they were used as hostages, sent to camps, or executed if the punishment fit the crime. I will note that it is interesting how many tell of going to prison instead of being shot.
This disproves the narrative that the Germans automatically executed them all. Many were sent into the camp complex to serve sentences handed down by local courts or the German military tribunals. The German court system was rife with many cases of sabotage and espionage that sent many away. Again and again the charges made against the Germans were more victor’s justice and eager “eyewitnesses” who had an axe to grind. In the least those who accused the Germans in good faith did not fully comprehend what had been seen. They only saw a small portion of the story, and then made a judgment. That is, if they were being honest in the first place.
Those who have done documentaries on this topic seem to have an agenda, where they already fully believe in what they are “investigating” so they are not being objective. The question of “did the Germans really commit a crime here?” or “did this really happen as described?” never comes up. The German soldier was adhering to an oath he took in all aspects of his service, and for the most part they all fulfilled that oath until the end. Sure there are some who ran into trouble, the files collectors show in forums prove this. There were the drunk and disorderly, failure to follow orders, assault, and a very small amount of sex crimes that include rape.
The Wehrmacht had punishment units for these men, and if it was severe enough, like rape or sexual assault, they were shot. They knew they were being held to a high standard and they met that demand. I met one who had a comrade who stole a bike while in France to visit a girl. He damaged the bike, and then had to pay the owner twice its value. This was the code of conduct, and honor the Germans wanted people to see. They knew the Allies portrayed them as sloppy drunks who pillaged and molested all before them. Because of this they wanted to prove to the people they were nothing like this. There are many stories I have heard of them helping Poles, Czechs, Russians, and many others rebuild homes and farms. Not all Germans looked fondly on their occupied hosts, but they all showed respect and acted with honor. There was no doubt some distrust existed, but it would not have led to any actions against the people as long as they did not act against the occupier. So I hope this has given you something to think about, I believe the Germans did not commit reckless war crimes as their enemies claim.
If any crimes are proven to have happened without a doubt, meaning having more evidence than someone just throwing hearsay stories around, I am sure there is more to the story. It is clear to me that German soldiers did not shoot prisoners, rape or kill civilians, or loot and destroy like the “historians” bellow. Their honor kept them grounded to only stay focused on the fight at hand. To them the civilians were innocent victims caught up in a war they did not want. The only time a hand was raised against them was if they broke the law, or committed acts against the Germans. A common statement heard in forums is “the Russians welcomed the Germans until they realized what the German policy was towards them.”
In the words of a vet who was there: “We understood we were at war with Jewish Bolshevism, not the Russian people, therefore we treated them as allies at best, and helpless victims of the soviet system at worst.” The history you have been taught, and what you have come to learn and believe has a lot of falsehoods in it. Think of the political situation today and how history is bent to make non-whites seem like they have contributed, even to the brink of being the true builders of our society. We have been lied to on a grand scale and these war crimes stories were just a small part of a mountain of lies.
When I look at the vast amount of wedding photos of German soldiers, I can’t help but feel for the couple. Not only did they have the uncertainty of never seeing each other in this world again due to the war, but after it was over they were cast as evil people. I know those sad blue eyes only yearned for good times and love. They never committed these horrible crimes that their enemies made up to keep the world from knowing just how good life was under National Socialism for all involved.
[Above: Love under the swastika.]