Nemmersdorf massacre-Murder of civilians

No one can deny that the Nazis committed unspeakable atrocities during World War 2,against civilians. But the Nazis were not the only ones.

On October 21, 1944, the Soviet Red Army was steamrolling the German army on the Eastern Front, reaching the town of Nemmersdorf, at the time it was a German rural town in East Prussia, though today the town finds is part of Russia and is called Mayakovskoye.

The 2nd Battalion, 25th Guards Tank Brigade, belonging to the 2nd Guards Tank Corps of the 11th Guards Army, crossed the Angerapp bridge and established a bridgehead on the western bank of the Rominte river on 21 October 1944. The German forces tried to retake the bridge, but several attacks were repelled by the Soviet tanks and the supporting infantry. During an air attack, a number of Soviet soldiers took shelter in an improvised bunker that was already occupied by 14 local men and women. According to the testimony of a seriously-injured woman, Gerda Meczulat, when a Soviet officer arrived and ordered everybody out, the Soviets shot and killed the German civilians at close range. During the night, the Soviet 25th Tank Brigade was ordered to retreat back across the river and take defensive positions along the Rominte. The Wehrmacht regained control of Nemmersdorf and discovered the massacre.

A Soviet officer had ordered the civilians to be killed. There were some conflicting reports in relation to the age and gender of the victims , as well as the number of victims, with both sides trying to spin the incident to their respective advantage.

Nazi German authorities organized an international commission to investigate, headed by the Estonian Hjalmar Mäe and other representatives of neutral countries, such as Francoist Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It heard the report from a medical commission, which reported that all of the dead females had been raped (they ranged in age from 8 to 84). The Nazi Propaganda Ministry (separately) used the Völkischer Beobachter and the cinema news series Wochenschau to accuse the Soviet Army of having killed dozens of civilians at Nemmersdorf and having summarily executed about 50 French and Belgian noncombatant prisoners-of-war, who had been ordered to take care of thoroughbred horses but had been blocked by the bridge.

After the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, new sources became available and the dominant view among scholars became that the massacre had been embellished and actually exploited by Goebbels in an attempt to stir up civilian resistance to the advancing Soviet Army.

The former chief of staff of the German Fourth Army, Major General Erich Dethleffsen, testified on 5 July 1946 before an American tribunal in Neu-Ulm:

“When in October, 1944, Russian units temporarily entered Nemmersdorf, they tortured the civilians, specifically they nailed them to barn doors, and then shot them. A large number of women were raped and then shot. During this massacre, the Russian soldiers also shot some fifty French prisoners of war. Within forty-eight hours the Germans re-occupied the area.”

Karl Potrek of Königsberg, the leader of a Volkssturm company present when the German Army took back the village, testified in a 1953 report:

“In the farmyard stood a cart, to which more naked women were nailed through their hands in a cruciform position … Near a large inn, the ‘Roter Krug’, stood a barn and to each of its two doors a naked woman was nailed through the hands, in a crucified posture…. In the dwellings we found a total of 72 women, including children, and one old man, 74, all dead…. Some babies had their heads bashed in.”

While the Germans claimed that most of the 653 residents of Nemmersdorf were killed, Soviet records showed only 20 to 30 killed. It was generally believed that the Germans had inflated the number of deaths, grouped evidence of other isolated atrocities to embellish the size of this massacre, and might even had created the situations where civilians would be killed by the Soviets (for example, some accused the German military of using civilians to shield one of the attacks on the Angrapa bridge). The Soviet claim of only 20 to 30 killed was equally fantastic, as the Soviet Union was also known to take great liberties with numbers even with its official state records. The actual number of deaths was likely somewhere in-between.

Regardless what the numbers were, it was nonetheless a massacre on civilians which never should have happened.

sources

https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=198

https://www.bridgemanimages.com/it/noartistknown/wwii-nemmersdorf-massacre-1944/nomedium/asset/2497462

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemmersdorf_massacre

https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/45432/were-the-events-in-nemmersdorf-a-pr-stunt-of-the-nazi-propaganda

[simple-payments id=”47270″]

1740 Batavia massacre

The Netherlands has for most of its history quite a prosperous country. I wish I could say that all this wealth was always begotten in a fair way, but that would be a lie. The Dutch were ruthless in their quest for the things they desired.

From the arrival of the first Dutch ships in the late 16th century, to the declaration of independence in 1945, Dutch control over the Indonesian archipelago was always tenuous. Although Java was dominated by the Dutch, many areas remained independent throughout much of this time, including Aceh, Bali, Lombok and Borneo. There were numerous wars and disturbances across the archipelago as various indigenous groups resisted efforts to establish a Dutch hegemony, which weakened Dutch control and tied up its military forces. Piracy remained a problem until the mid-19th century. Finally in the early 20th century, imperial dominance was extended across what was to become the territory of modern-day Indonesia.

The first Dutch expedition set sail for the East Indies in 1595 to access spices directly from Asia. When it made a 400% profit on its return, other Dutch expeditions soon followed. Recognising the potential of the East Indies trade, the Dutch government amalgamated the competing companies into the United East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC).

The VOC was granted a charter to wage war, build fortresses, and make treaties across Asia. A capital was established in Batavia , which became the center of the VOC’s Asian trading network.

The sun that rose over Batavia,(now called Jakarta) the Dutch colonial capital on the island of Java, on October 9, 1740, revealed a city on the verge of catastrophe. Two days earlier, Chinese laborers, unemployed and unsettled by rumors that they would be deported. Allegedly led by a man called Nie Hoe Kong, they ambushed and murdered 50 Dutch colonial troops. Governor-General Adriaan Valckenier declared that any uprising would be met with deadly force.

In response, he sent 1,800 regular troops, accompanied by schutterij (militia) and eleven battalions of conscripts to stop the revolt; they established a curfew and cancelled plans for a Chinese festival Fearing that the Chinese would conspire against the colonials by candlelight, those inside the city walls were forbidden to light candles and were forced to surrender everything down to the smallest kitchen knife. This was intended to protect the colonial and indigenous population from the Chinese. Meanwhile, rumours spread among the other ethnic groups in Batavia, including slaves from Bali and Sulawesi, Bugis, and Balinese troops, that the Chinese were plotting to kill, rape, or enslave them.

These groups pre-emptively burned houses belonging to ethnic Chinese along Besar River. The Dutch followed this with an assault on Chinese settlements elsewhere in Batavia in which they burned houses and killed people. The Dutch politician and critic of colonialism W. R. van Hoëvell wrote that “pregnant and nursing women, children, and trembling old men fell on the sword. Defenseless prisoners were slaughtered like sheep”.

In the days that followed, Chinese homes were raided, their inhabitants taken outside and imprisoned or murdered on the spot. Cannons were brought to bear against the Chinese sections of the city, and soon entire blocks were aflame. Survivors, many of whom took refuge in small villages or in the forests surrounding the city, were sought and slaughtered.
This went on for nearly two weeks. By the time the violence ended,10,000 Chinese had died in and around the colonial capital. Although I ceasefire was called on November 2dn, the Dutch troops kept looting until the 28th of November 1740.

Most accounts of the massacre estimate that 10,000 Chinese were killed within Batavia’s city walls, while at least another 500 were seriously wounded. Between 600 and 700 Chinese-owned houses were raided and burned. Historian Vermeulen gives a figure of 600 survivors, while the Indonesian scholar A.R.T. Kemasang estimates that 3,000 Chinese survived.The Indonesian historian Benny G. Setiono notes that 500 prisoners and hospital patients were killed, and a total of 3,431 people survived. The massacre was followed by an “open season” against the ethnic Chinese throughout Java, causing another massacre in 1741 in Semarang, and others later in Surabaya and Gresik.

sources

https://www.persee.fr/doc/arch_0044-8613_2009_num_77_1_4127

https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/1740-batavia-massacre/m09v8qwj?hl=en

https://www.worldcat.org/title/southeast-asian-studies/oclc/681919230

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The Utah POW camp incident.

utah

During World War II, Utah was home to approximately 15,000 Italian and German prisoners of war that were distributed across a number of  camps. Camp Salina was a small, temporary branch camp to accommodate overflow prisoners in Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City. From 1944 to 1945 it was home to about 250 Germans, most of whom were from Erwin Rommel’s Afrika korps.

After 1944, with the rapid advance of Allied forces in Western Europe after D-Day the need for more space to house the influx of Axis P.O.W.s grew drastically.

The US  government crated  a program to use German and Italian POW’s for agricultural labor. Therefore,the government sent out prisoners to agricultural areas to work in the fields. Such was the case in Salina, where the prisoners helped to harvest produce, such as sugar beets, on the surrounding farms.

US Soldiers unfit for front line service, such as those with behavioral problems, were typically assigned to guard duty on the camp.

Private Clarence V. Bertucci from  New Orleans was one of those soldiers. While Bertucci had been overseas in England with an artillery unit, he had not seen front line action.

clarence

On the night of July 7, 1945, Bertucci was out drinking heavily.He stopped at a cafe on Main Street to have some coffee and told a waitress,  “something exciting is going to happen tonight”, before reporting for guard duty back at the camp.

Shortly after midnight, July 8, 1945, Bertucci  went to his midnight post, manning one of the watch towers that overlooked the camp. Once there, he loaded a 250 round belt of .30 caliber ammunition into a M1919 Browning machine gun and proceeded to fire into the tents housing the sleeping prisoners.

1919

The attack lasted about 15 seconds  , killing eight and mortally wounding a ninth, who died a few days later in the hospital, Bertucci also wounded twenty other German P.O.Ws. One of the prisoners was “nearly cut in half” by the machine gun fire. After arresting Private Bertucci, the military investigation judged him mentally incompetent and thus remitted him to a mental institution. He remained institutionalized until his death in 1969.

A July 23, 1945, article from Time stated,

“Ninth Service Command officers admitted that Bertucci’s record already showed two courts-martial, one in England. His own calm explanation seemed a little too simple: he had hated Germans, so he had killed Germans”

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Inter Mountain Histories

The ease of killing women and children-But orders are orders.

101

The one thing I find the most difficult in doing these blogs, is to remain as objective as possible and to try to keep emotions like anger out of it. It is nearly impossible, especially when you come across a story like the story of Reserve Police Battalion 101.

As the name implies these men were reserves, not professional soldiers or policemen.In a similar fashion as the National Guard in the United States, these German battalions were organized regionally. The 101 consisted mostly of often ordinary middle aged  men from working- and lower-middle-class neighborhoods in Hamburg, many with families.

101 men

Their commander was Major Wilhelm Trapp, he was a career police man, a WWI veteran who had joined the Nazis in December 1932.

In June 1942 the battalion was sent to Poland to  partake  in the rounding up of Jews.

On July 13,1942, just three weeks after their arrival, the men were sent to the village of Józefów, home to 1,500 Jews.

Prior to departure from Biłgoraj, where they had been stationed,they were given large amounts of extra ammunition and a generous supply of alcohol was procured.

101 drinks

Major Wilhelm Trapp, stood up in front of the  men. As he began to speak they noticed he was emotional.

He told his men to round up all the Jews living in this village as reportedly  they were involved with the local partisans.

Trapp ordered  that they should separate the Jewish men so they could be sent off to a work camp. But, the woman, children and the elderly should be taken aside and shot – and although he did not like what they had been asked to do, it would make it easier if they remembered that, back home in Germany, bombs were falling on women and children.

Trapp then said if any of the older men among them did not feel up to the task that was put before him, he could decline to so. He paused, and after a few moments, one man stepped forward. One of the officers  began to reprimand the man. The major told the officer to be quiet. Then 13 or 14 other men stepped forward also. They turned in their rifles and were told to await a further assignment from the major.

Of the 500 men standing there that day ,only 14 or 15 chose to opt out of the killing. The rest went on to massacre all the Jewish women, children and elderly people in the village.

The massacre lasted for 17 hours.By afternoon, the men were being offered bottles of vodka to “refresh” themselves.

It is said that some of the uniforms were dripping wet with brain matter and blood.

Trapp did not take part in the shootings himself, he spent the rest of the day in his headquarters, which was a converted school building in town. He also went to the homes of the Polish mayor and the local priest. Witnesses who had seen him  during the day described  him as  complaining about the orders he had been given and “crying like a child.”

Trapp later remarked to his driver: “If this Jewish business is ever avenged on earth, then have mercy on us Germans … But orders are orders”, he said

For nearly all men, Jozefow was the first time where they had to kill. All of the platoons conducted  at least one more mass shooting . Most found that these subsequent murders were easier to perform.

101+

 

 

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BBC

 

16 bodies in Lake Maggiore

Meina

The lakes of Italy are known for its beauty. Although I have been to Italy several times it was usually the Lake Garda area I would visit, every time I was awestruck by its beautiful surroundings. I did see Lake Maggiore once in passing and it also looked majestic.

However this majestic beautiful place was also a place of horror for at least 16 Jewish Greeks during WWII.

Even though Italy did have a brutal and fascist regime and there were persecutions of Jews, the majority of the Jewish population did have a relatively ‘normal’ life compared to Jews elsewhere in Europe.

However this changed after the dismissal and arrest of Mussolini. Hitler sent an elite squad to free his ally from captivity after Italy had signed an armistice with allied forces in September 3,1943 and officially announced 5 days later on the 8th of September.

Hitler moved fast to establish a new Fascist Italian state in the North of Italy. The Repubblica Sociale Italiana.The Italian Social Republic was proclaimed on 23 September, with Mussolini as both head of state and prime minister.But the new republic really was a puppet state run by Nazi Germany.

Duce

Meina was a small village at  the southern area of Lake Maggiore. The village had a Hotel with the same name Hotel Meina. The owners were the Behars, a family of Turkish Jews.

The hotel had about 30 guest rooms,  a billiard room, a reading room and a room where the guests could play cards. The garden faced Lago Maggiore. In September 1943, it had a number of Jewish guests, mostly from Greece, who had escaped the Nazi occupation in Greece.

Since Italy had signed an armistice there was this false believe the war was over, nothing could be further from the truth.

On Wednesday morning, Sept. 15, the Meina hotel was surrounded by the SS. Twenty Jews were identified, including: Alberto and Eugenia Behar, the owners of the hotel, with their children; the Fernandez Diaz family; the Mosseris; Raoul Torres and his wife, Valerie Nahoum; Daniele Modiano; Vittorio Haim Pompas; Vitale Cori, the hotel’s bartender; and Lotte Fröhlich-Mazzucchelli.

The SS men were from the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. They kept the Jews as prisoner in the Hotel, where the Non Jewish guests were free to do what they wanted to do.

SS

On the night of 22/23 September the 16 Jewish guests were taken out of the Hotel and driven a few miles outside of the village where they were shot.

The 16 bodies were dumped in Lake Maggiore.

Lago

In the  following days, the bodies floated to the surface. The SS recovered the corpses and burned them.

The fate of the 16 souls was initially forgotten but in 1968 those responsible for the Meina massacre were tried in Germany Mario Mazzucchelli, the non Jewish husband of  Lotte Fröhlich-Mazzucchelli, testified as a witness. Three officers were sentenced to life but in 1970, the Supreme Court declared the statute of limitations had expired and released them.

In Meina commemorative ‘stumbling blocks’ were put down to remember the victims of the Meina Hotel  massacre.One separate block for each victim and one general block for all 16.

stone

In 2007 director Carlo Lizzani shot a movie of the awful event. Hotel Meina.

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Wilhelm Kube’s Paradox in the Holocaust

Wilhelm Kube

Wilhelm Kube was a devout Christian as well as a zealous Nazi. Those 2 aspects of his life clashed a few times during WWII.

In July 1941, just after the German occupation of the western parts of the Soviet Union, he was appointed Generalkommissar for Weissruthenien (now known as Belarus).

As Generalkommissar he was in charge of the extermination of the large Jewish population of his assigned region. He was nevertheless disgusted and outraged by the massacre in  Slutsk in October 1941.  SS Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews without the apermission  of the local Nazi civil administration and Security SS authorities. Local non-Jewish Belarusians were also massacred, causing great resentment among the population.

einsatz

Kube wrote in protest to his supervisor and Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler:

“The town was a picture of horror during the action. With indescribable brutality on the part of both the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanian partisans, the Jewish people, but also among them Belarusians, were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard and in different streets the corpses of shot Jews accumulated. The Belarusians were in greatest distress to free themselves from the encirclement.

I am submitting this report in duplicate so that one copy may be forwarded to the Reich Minister. Peace and order cannot be maintained in Belarus with methods of that sort. To bury seriously wounded people alive who worked their way out of their graves again is such a base and filthy act that the incidents as such should be reported to the Führer and Reichsmarschall.”

In another letter dated December 16 1941 to Hinrich Lohse the Reichskommisar for Ostland.

Hinrich_Lohse

 

“Minsk
Generalkommissar for Byelorussia
To: Reichskommissar for Ostland

I wish to ask you personally for an official directive for the conduct of the civilian administration towards the Jews deported from Germany to Byelorussia. Among these Jews are men who fought at the Front and have the Iron Cross, First and Second Class, war invalids, half-Aryans, even three- quarter Aryans. . .

. . .These Jews will probably freeze or starve to death in the coming weeks.
. . On my own responsibility I will not give the SD any instructions with regard to the treatment of these people. . .

I am certainly a hard man and willing to help solve the Jewish question, but people who come from our own cultural sphere just are not the same as the brutish hordes in this place. Is the slaughter to be carried out by the Lithuanians and Letts, who are themselves rejected by the population here? I couldn’t do it. I beg you to give clear directives [in this matter,] with due consideration for the good name of our Reich and our Party, in order that the necessary action can be taken in the most humane manner.
Heil Hitler!
Wilhelm Kube”

Despite these contradicting feelings he participated in an atrocity on 2 March 1942 in the Minsk ghetto.

minsk_ghetto

During a raid by German and Belarusian police, a group of children were seized and thrown into pits of deep sand to die.

At that moment, several SS officers arrived , among them was  Wilhelm Kube. Kube, immaculate in his uniform, threw handfuls of sweets to the distressed children. All the children died in the sand.

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Remember.org

 

The Rexist Party-Belgian Fascists

Rexist Party flag

Germany and Italy weren’t the only countries with Fascists parties. Several European countries had National Socialist Fascists partyies, for example  The Netherlands had the NSB.

In Belgium the Rexist Party(aka Rex), led by Léon Degrelle, won about 10 percent of the seats in the parliament in 1936.

Léon_Degrelle

After failing 3 times to pass his final law exams at the Catholic University of Leuven , Degrelle, who was a dynamic orator, entered politics. Using national banking scandals and corruption of the established political parties as issues, he organized the Rexist Movement in 1930, allegedly to cleanse the Roman Catholic religion of political contamination.Its name was derived from the Roman Catholic journal and publishing company Christus Rex (Latin for Christ the King).

bfb9cb1b5b21463a3cd9c488aa2acb2f

Initially it stayed loyal tho the monarchy, in their flag they included the crown. At the outbreak of WWII they endorsed the Belgian government’s policy of neutrality.

In 1936, Degrelle met Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both of them providing Rexism with funds (2 million lire and 100,000 marks) and ideological support.With the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, Rexism welcomed German occupation.

f205ff2ac387b15643b68eeaeb225222

After the occupation some members left the party and joined the Belgian resistance because they could not agree with the  Nazis’ anticlerical and extreme anti-Semitic policies enforced in occupied Belgium.

During World War II Degrelle collaborated with the German occupation forces. In August 1941 he formed and later commanded the Walloon and Flemish storm-trooper brigades that fought on the Russian front. Under his guidance the Rexists took control of local governments and newspapers in Belgium. Degrelle joined the Walloon legion of the Wehrmacht, which was founded in August 1941, to fight against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. The leadership of the Rexists then passed to Victor Matthys.

victor

 

In August 1944, Rexist militia were responsible for the Courcelles Massacre .Matthyss he ordered the execution of 20 civilians in Courcelles in central Belgium as reprisals for anti-German resistance activities.

The Rexist mayor of the Greater Charleroi area, Oswald Englebin, was attacked and killed along with his wife and son by members of the Belgian Resistance between Courcelles and Monceau-sur-Sambre in a region known as the “Bois du Rognac”

As news broke in Rexist headquarters in Brussels and Charleroi of the attack on the Mayor and his family, A number of civilian were rounded up,including  policemen, doctors, architects, lawyers and various civil officials. 20 were executed. Among them was the Catholic priest Pierre Harmignie, during the night he had tried to console his fellow hostages with the words “I will die, we all will die in order for peace to return to the world so people can love each other again”

def-poi-210-courcelles-massacre-3

Those responsible for the killing returned to Brussels, where they were offered a drink and congratulated.on their act of revolutionary vengeance.

The order for the executions  would ultimate lead to Matthys’s  downfall from power as criticisms surfaced. It was condemned as being too heavy-handed and Matthys gave up the leadership of the Rexists to Louis Collard.After  the liberation of Belgium in September 1944, the party had been banned.

Of the 150 participants of the massacre, 97 were identified, 80 arrested and tried of whom 27 were executed on 10 November 1947. Amongst them was Victor Matthys who was accused of organizing the massacre.

1024px-Pro-justitia_532a-1944_-_Affaire_Courcelles_18_aout_1944_-_Belgium

With the final surrender of Berlin in May 1945, Degrelle was desperate to avoid Russian captivity and ordered as many of his worn-out veterans as possible to make for the Baltic port of Lubeck to surrender to the British. Degrelle himself fled first to Denmark and then Norway, where he commandeered a Heinkel He 111 aircraft,allegedly provided by Albert Speer.

After a daring 1,500-mile flight over portions of Allied-occupied Europe, he crash-landed on the beach at San Sebastian in northern Spain but was gravely wounded and hospitalized for over a year.

Hegazkin_istripua

While in Spain, during the Franco dictatorship, Degrelle maintained a high standard of living and would frequently appear in public and private meetings in a white uniform featuring his German decorations, while expressing his pride over his close contacts and “thinking bond” with Adolf Hitler.

9b9da1bda27b91d683baf07aa2a24942

He continued to live undisturbed when Spain became democratic after the death of Franco with the help of the Gil family, and continued publishing polemics, voicing his support for the political far right.

In 1994, Léon Degrelle died of cardiac arrest in a hospital in Málaga, aged 88.

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Sources

Liberation Route Europe

Wikipedia Belgium

WWII Database

 

 

The Tulle Massacre- The hanging of 99

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What a sense of relief it must have been when the French people found out that the allied troops had finally arrived on June 6 1944. Unfortunately though D-Day wasn’t the end of the war it was only the start of the end and many innocent lives were still lost between that day and the end of WWII.

The citizens of the town of Tulle found out only 3 days after D-Day that the war was still raging in the most brutal way possible.

2018-06-09

After a successful attack by the French Resistance group Francs-tireur on 7 and 8 June 1944, the arrival of Das Reich troops forced the Maquis(French Resistance) to flee the city of Tulle (department of Corrèze) in south-central France.

Resistance operations in Tulle had been planned by the commander of the Maquis FTP of Corrèze, Jacques Chapou , aka Klébe

The offensive started on June 7 1944 at 5 AM with a Bazooka attack on the barracks of the security forces at Champ de Mars. This action  functioned as the signal to begin the attack.

The fighting centered  around three main areas: the armory, the gendarmerie barracks and the girls’ school, which housed German troops.

The focus the following day was on the girls’ school. the Resistance fighters  set fire to the school building around 3 PM.About 2 hours later , in circumstances that remain unclear and disputed, the Germans tried to leave, if one of them was waving a white cloth, others were carrying live grenades. In all the chaos, the Maquis opened fire with automatic weapons; some soldiers were cut down at close range, by exploding grenades, which would explain the injuries observed on the horribly mutilated corpses. An estimated  were killed.

When the 2nd SS Panzer Division ‘Das Reich’ entered the town they found 40 dead bodies of the German 3rd Battalion/95th Security Regiment garrison troops near the school, their bodies badly mutilated.

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On 9 June 1944, after arresting all men between the ages of sixteen and sixty, the SS and members of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) ordered 120 of the prisoners to be hanged, of whom 99 were actually hanged.

Tulle

The citizens of Tulle had been warned by a text on a poster

“Forty German soldiers were murdered in the most horrible manner by a band of communists. For the guerillas and those who helped them, there is a punishment, execution by hanging. Forty German soldiers were murdered by the guerrillas, one hundred and twenty guerrillas and their accomplices will be hanged. Their bodies will be thrown in the river — Poster signed by the commanding General of the German troops.

tulle (1)

 

In the days that followed, 149 men were sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where 101 lost their lives. In total, the actions of the Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS, and the SD claimed the lives of 213 civilian residents of Tulle.

2018-06-09 (2)

 

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Herodote.net

Back to Normandy

The Vinkt Massacre

Vinkt

One of the first crimes committed by the German army, in western Europe, took place in Belgium villages of Vinkt and Meighem, near Ghent, between 26–28 May 1940 during the Battle of the Lys.. The atrocity was perpetrated by the Wehrmacht, not the SS.

The Vinkt bridge crossing the Schipdonk Canal was being guarded by the 1st Belgian Division of Chasseurs Ardennais

As the German 225th Divison approached the Vinkt bridge they discovered  it blocked by refugees fleeing south. The Wehrmacht soldiers then took a number of refugees and used then as human shields.

German soldiers

On  Sunday, May 26th, the Germans took hostages  at the Meigem and Vinkt church, and at a number of  farms in the area. Some hostages were killed immediately, but the a worse event occurred  at Meigem church, where an explosion killed 27 hostages.

meigem.JPG

The following day, Monday May 27th, Adolf Hitler, demanded Belgium’s immediate and unconditional surrender. Belgium’s King Leopold III announced to his government that he would as Commander-in-Chief, use his authority  lay down arms.

Meanwhile, the Chasseurs ardennais, were not aware  of these developments,  and were still holding and defending the bridge against vastly superior odds. For unclear reasons, the German 225th Division  started to execute their hostages, and taking new ones, executing them on the spot. Refugees were taken out at random from the endless columns on the trek south and executed immediately. One priest managed to escape, being buried under two dead colleagues. He was one of four such victims who managed to escape.

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The victims were all unarmed civilians who had posed no threat, nor were they likely to pose any future threats. They were killed for no reason whatsoever.

On May 28 the Belgian army capitulated.

As news of the carnage spread, German press sources denied it or excused it, claiming that Belgian civilians had dressed up as soldiers. The British press who knew the facts of the atrocity refused to report for fears they’d be accused of war propaganda, Which had happened during WWI after reporting ‘the rape of Belgium’

After WWII the Wehrmacht officers Kühner and  Lohmann were sentenced to 20 years of forced labour in Belgium, however after 5 years they were extradited to Germany.

vinkt field

86 innocent civilians were massacred. Additionally to that another 27 killed by the explosion more then likely caused by German grenades.

Memorial to the victims of the massacre

Vinkt_massacre_-_Memorial

 

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Sources

Vinkt Mei 1940

Wikipedia Belgium

Vasily Blokhin-Stalin’s butcher

Vasili_Blokhin

Born to a Russian peasant family in 1895, as a young man he quickly earned a reputation for “chernaya rabota”, or “black work”, while serving in the Tsarist army during World War I- gaining recognition from Stalin himself for his covert assassinations, torture, and executions. Blokhin quickly rose through the ranks of Russia’s secret police at the time—the NKVD—eventually becoming the head of the Kommandatura department.

Vasily Blokhin is recorded as having executed tens of thousands of prisoners by his own hand, including his killing of about 7,000 Polish prisoners of war during the Katyn massacre in spring 1940, making him the most prolific official executioner in recorded world history. He was the NKVD major in charge of executing the Polish officers from the Ostashkov camp, and he believed in personally doing the killing that his superiors had ordered him to supervise.

Vasili Blokhin 2

Born in 1885, he was known as the NKVD’s chief executioner, having been hand-picked for this position by Joseph Stalin himself.

CroppedStalin1943

Blokhin personally killed tens of thousand of men and women during Stalin’s Great Purges of the 1930s, so it was only natural that the NKVD would turn to him when it came time to dispatch the officers held in the Soviet prison camps. Along with a team of about thirty NKVD men from Moscow, mainly drivers and prison guards, Blokhin arrived at the NKVD prison in Kalinin (Tver) and set himself up in a sound-proofed cellar room that had a sloping floor for drainage.

Tver Execution room of Polish soldiers buried later at Mednoye- Photograph Katyn Museum

He then put on his special uniform, consisting of a leather cap, long leather apron, and elbow-length gloves. On a table next to him was a briefcase filled with his own personal Walther PPK pistols, for Blokhin, a true artist at his trade, would use no one else’s tools but his own.

After the prisoner’s identity was verified, he was brought handcuffed into the cellar room where Blokhin awaited in his long apron, like some horrible butcher. One guard later testified: “The men held [the prisoner’s] arms and [Blokhin] shot him in the base of the skull…that’s all”. Blokhin worked fast and efficiently, killing an average of one men every three minutes during the course of ten-hour nights – the killings were always done at night, so that the bodies could be disposed of in darkness.

Although this has never been completely proven, historians suspect that Blokhin shot 7,000 men over a period of twenty-eight days, which would make him one of the most prolific murderers of all time. However many people he killed, Blokhin was consistently promoted by his superiors for performing “special tasks”. He lost his job after Stalin died. The cause of Blokhin’s death, in 1955, was listed as suicide.

Katyn massacre
The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre was a mass execution of Polish nationals carried out by the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police, in April and May 1940. The massacre was prompted by NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria’s proposal to execute all captive members of the Polish Officer Corps, dated 5 March 1940. This official document was approved and signed by the Soviet Politburo, including its leader, Joseph Stalin. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000.