Heinrich Himmler’s suicide-at the end he was nothing but a coward

 

LandscapeIn 1945 disillusioned Himmler believed victory had slipped from Germany’s grasp and secretly attempted to start peace negotiations with Eisenhower in a bid to escape a war crimes trial. But Eisenhower refused to have anything to do with Himmler. A furious Hitler declared Himmler a traitor, stripped him of his powers and expelled him from the Nazi Party.

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Rejected by his former comrades and hunted by the Allies, Himmler attempted to go into hiding. He disguised himself by shaving off his mustache, wearing an eye patch over his left eye and carrying false identity papers under the name of Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger. With a small band of companions, he headed south on 11 May to Friedrichskoog, without a final destination in mind. They continued on to Neuhaus, where the group split up. On 21 May, Himmler and two aides were stopped and detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet prisoners of war. Over the following two days, he was moved around to several camps and was brought to the British 31st Civilian Interrogation Camp near Lüneburg, on 23 May.

The duty officer, Captain Thomas Selvester, began a routine interrogation. Himmler admitted who he was, and Selvester had the prisoner searched. Himmler was taken to the headquarters of the Second British Army in Lüneburg, where doctor Wells conducted a medical exam on him. When the doctor saw a dark object in a gap in Himmler’s lower jaw, he ordered him to come closer to the light and tried to remove the glass capsule. Suddenly Himmler bit on the cyanide capsule and at the doctor’s fingers. Himmler fell to the ground and someone shouted “The bastard beats us!”.

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The smell of prussic acid spread through the room. “We immediately upended the old bastard and got his mouth into the bowl of water which was there to wash the poison out”, noted Major Whittaker in his diary. “There were terrible groans and grunts coming from the swine”. Himmler’s tongue was secured in an attempt to prevent him from swallowing the poison.

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Doctor Wells tried resuscitation but it was in vain. He was dead within 15 minutes. At least one death mask of Himmler was taken. On 25 May an autopsy was conducted, the teeth configuration compared, and the brain and part of his skeleton removed. Shortly afterward, Himmler’s body was buried in an unmarked grave near Lüneburg. The grave’s location remains unknown.

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Japanese Human Target practice

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The Japanese treatment of prisoners of war in World War II was barbaric. The men shown in the above picture are part of the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. All of them are sitting in the traditional cross-legged prayer position. They’re probably reciting their final prayers as this picture was being taken. It’s very morbid if you think about it. The vast majority of Indian soldiers captured when Singapore fell belonged to Sikh community. These photographs were found among Japanese records when British troops retook Singapore.

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If you examine carefully the second picture you’ll note a marker hanging over the heart of each prisoner and the stakes in front bear of the rifle. Each target position is marked with a number, indicating that the solider in position one is going to shoot the prisoner on position one, and so on.

The positions where the targets are located is generally called “the butts”. This is a target practice, not a straightforward military execution by firing squad. A firing squad usually has a half-dozen or more shooters per condemned, to guarantee a pretty instant death. In this case, shooters are assigned one per victim. Moreover in a military execution, victims don’t get bayoneted at the end. If any are still alive, the officer in charge should administer a coup de grace with a pistol.Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942 3

The most severe treatment was directed at the Chinese who were killed in large numbers by a variety of brutal means. The killings were conducted in many ways including shooting, burying alive, bayoneting, beheading, medical experimentation, and other methods.a2e13e6832e9f98f827d8bd31755940b

 

Stalag Luft III murders- The real aftermath of the Great Escape

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Most of us will have seen the classic WWII movie ‘the Great escape’ usually around every Christmas period or Easter time it will be shown multiple times on a great number of channels.

It is one of my favourite wartime movies although it does take quite a number of artistic liberties in relation to some of the real events.

The Stalag Luft III murders were war crimes perpetrated by members of the Gestapo following the “Great Escape” of Allied prisoners of war from the German Air Force prison camp known as Stalag Luft III on March 25, 1944. Of a total of 76 successful escapees, 73 were recaptured, mostly within days of the breakout, of whom 50 were executed on the personal orders of Adolf Hitler. These summary executions were conducted within a short period of recapture.

Fifty of the Allied airmen who tunnelled out of Stalag Luft III were executed in chilling scenes like this. article-2285629-18565A31000005DC-948_634x400

Outrage at the killings was felt immediately, both in the prison camp, among comrades of the escaped prisoners, and in the United Kingdom, where the Foreign Minister Anthony Eden rose in the House of Commons to announce in June 1944 that those guilty of what the British government suspected was a war crime would be “brought to exemplary justice.”Sir_Anthony-Eden_number_10_Official

After Nazi Germany’s capitulation in May 1945, the Police branch of the Royal Air Force, with whom the 50 airmen had been serving, launched a special investigation into the killings, having branded the shootings a war crime despite official German reports that the airmen had been shot while attempting to escape from captivity following recapture. An extensive investigation headed by Wing Commander Wilfred Bowes RAF and Squadron Leader Frank McKenna of the Special Investigation Branch into the events following the recapture of the 73 airmen was launched, which was unique for being the only major war crime to be investigated by a single branch of any nation’s military.

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The day after the mass escape from Stalag Luft III,Hitler’s rage was all-consuming. He summoned SS chief Heinrich Himmler and Reichsmarschall Göring and ordered that all 76 fugitives be executed upon recapture.

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Word of such an atrocity, Göring explained, might result in fierce Allied reprisals. Himmler agreed, prompting Hitler to order that ‘more than half the escapees’ be shot. Random numbers were suggested until Himmler proposed that 50 be executed. Hitler ordered his SS chief to put the plan in motion.

The Kriminalpolizei (the criminal-investigations department of the Reich police) issued a Grossfahndung, a national hue and cry, ordering the military, the Gestapo, the SS, the Home Guard and Hitler Youth to put every effort into hunting the escapees down. Nearly 100,000 men needed to defend the Reich were redirected to the manhunt.

By Wednesday, March 29, five days after the breakout, 35 escapees languished behind bars in the cramped cells of the jail at Görlitz, not far south of Sagan.

Those who remained on the run hoped to make destinations in Czechoslovakia, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. Luck, however, worked against them.

They were seized at checkpoints, betrayed by informants or simply thwarted by freezing temperatures. Before long, all but three of the fugitives were back in captivity.

 Two weeks after the escape, the whereabouts of the escapees remained a mystery to the prisoners inside the camp. Just six men had thus far been returned to Stalag Luft III and marched directly into the cooler, the solitary-confinement block.

But on April 6, Group Captain Herbert Massey, the senior British officer in the camp, was to learn the fate of so many of his men.

The camp commandant, Colonel Braune, informed him that 41 had been killed while resisting arrest or attempting to escape after being captured; not one had been merely wounded. Braune was unable to look Massey in the eye as he told him the lies.

On April 15, a list identifying the victims appeared on the camp’s noticeboard. The list now contained not 41 names, but 47. Two days later, a representative of the Swiss Protecting Power visited Stalag Luft III on a routine inspection and was given a copy of the list.

Among the dead were 25 Britons, six Canadians, three Australians, two New Zealanders, three South Africans, four Poles, two Norwegians, one Frenchman and a Greek.

The Swiss government then reported the killings to the British government, including three additional victims, bringing the total number of those murdered to 50. Churchill was incensed, and even amid the final push for victory made finding the killers a priority.

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The 3 Successful escapees

  • Per Bergsland, Norwegian pilot of No. 332 Squadron RAF
  • Jens Müller, Norwegian pilot of No. 331 Squadron RAF
  • Bram van der Stok, Dutch pilot of No. 41 Squadron RAF

    A detachment of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Air Force Police headed by Wing Commander Wilfred Bowes was given the assignment of tracking down the killers of the 50 officers. The investigation started seventeen months after the alleged crimes had been committed, making it a cold case. Worse, according to an account of the investigation, the perpetrators “belonged to a body, the Secret State Police or Gestapo, which held and exercised every facility to provide its members with false identities and forged identification papers immediately they were ordered to go on the run at the moment of national surrender.”

    The small detachment of investigators, numbering five officers and fourteen NCOs, remained active for three years, and identified seventy-two men, guilty of either murder or conspiracy to murder, of whom 69 were accounted for. Of these, 21 were eventually tried and executed (some of these were for other than the Stalag Luft III murders); 17 were tried and imprisoned; 11 had committed suicide; 7 were untraced, though of these 4 were presumed dead; 6 had been killed during the war; 5 were arrested but charges had not been laid; 1 was arrested but not charged so he could be used as a material witness; three were charged but either acquitted or had the sentence quashed on review, and one remained in refuge in East Germany.[1]:261

    Despite attempts to cover up the murders during the war, the investigators were aided by such things as Germany’s meticulous book-keeping, such as at various crematoria, as well as willing eye-witness accounts and many confessions among the Gestapo members themselves, who cited that they were only following orders.

    SS-Gruppenführer Arthur Nebe, who is believed to have selected the airmen to be shot, was later executed for his involvement in the July 20 plot to kill Hitler.Bundesarchiv_Bild_101III-Alber-096-34,_Arthur_Nebe

    American Colonel Telford Taylor was the U.S. prosecutor in the High Command case at the Nuremberg Trials. The indictment in this case called for the General Staff of the Army and the High Command of the German Armed Forces to be considered criminal organizations; the witnesses were several of the surviving German Field Marshals and their staff officers.One of the crimes charged was of the murder of the 50. Luftwaffe Colonel Bernd von Brauchitsch, who served on the staff of Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, was interrogated by Captain Horace Hahn about the murders.Horace_Hahn_senior_class_photo_1933

    The first trial specifically dealing with the Stalag Luft III murders began on 1 July 1947, against 18 defendants. The trial was held before No. 1 War Crimes Court at the Curio Haus in Hamburg. The accused all pleaded Not Guilty article-2285629-1858A3D4000005DC-294_634x480

    The verdicts and sentences were handed down after a full fifty days on September 3 of that year. Max Wielen was found guilty of conspiracy and sentenced to life imprisonment. The others were found not guilty of the first two charges, but guilty of the individual charges of murder. Breithaupt received life imprisonment, Denkmann and Struve ten years imprisonment each, and Boschert eventually received life imprisonment. The other 13 condemned prisoners were hanged  at Hamelin Jail in February 1948 by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint.Albert-Pierrepoint

     

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Marlene Dietrich kisses a soldier returning home from war, 1945

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Dietrich was noted for her humanitarian efforts during the war, housing German and French exiles, providing financial support and even advocating their US citizenship. For her work on improving morale on the front lines during the war, she received several honors from the United States.

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This photo shows Marlene Dietrich passionately kissing an American soldier as he arrives home from World War II. It seems that the guy on the left holding her up is enjoying the view. It was first published in Life Magazine with the caption: “While soldiers hold her up by her famous legs, Marlene Dietrich is kissed by a home-coming GI”.

Actress Marlene Dietrich kisses a soldier returning home from war, 1945

The ship was the Monticello, a converted cruise liner. Her original name was SS Conte Grande and was built in 1927 in Trieste, Italy. During World War II, she was acquired by the United States and was used as an American troopship—renamed USS Monticello (AP-61) in 1942.1928-conte

At the time the photo was taken it was transporting parts of the 2nd infantry division home.The 2nd division soldiers had entered the war in Normandy on D-Day. They fought across Europe into Czechoslovakia. They arrived in New York (when this photo was taken) on July 20, 1945. The war was not over for them. They were on their way to Camp Swift in Texas for training. They were supposed to be a part of the invasion of Japan.

Marlene Dietrich has a curious story. She was a German actress and singer. Her cinematography life started in Germany and later in Hollywood where she became very famous.

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Dietrich was known to have strong political convictions and the mind to speak them. In interviews, Dietrich stated that she had been approached by representatives of the Nazi Party to return to Germany but had turned them down flat. Dietrich, a staunch anti-Nazi, became an American citizen in 1939. In December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II, and Dietrich became one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds. She toured the US from January 1942 to September 1943 (appearing before 250,000 troops on the Pacific Coast leg of her tour alone) and was reported to have sold more war bonds than any other star. At the end of the war she was awarded the highest American civil medal: The Medal of Freedom.

Evil enjoying itself in Auschwitz.

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I don’t know what is more disturbing , the pictures of the victims of Auschwitz or the pictures of those working there and were clearly enjoying themselves,nearly thinking it was some sort of holiday camp.

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The  following photos were taken between May and December 1944, and they show the officers and guards of the Auschwitz relaxing and enjoying themselves — as countless people were being murdered and cremated at the nearby death camp. In some of the photos, SS officers can be seen singing.in another a man can be seen decorating a Christmas tree in what could only be described as a holiday in hell.

The photo’s belonged to Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the final camp commandant at Auschwitz, Richard Baer. Höcker took the pictures as personal keepsakes.

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Helferinnen(female helpers), in wool skirts and cotton blouses, listen to the accordion and eat blueberries, which Karl Hoecker had served to them.

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The women with Hoecker “were typists, telegraph clerks, and secretaries in Auschwitz, and were called Helferinnen, which means ‘helpers,’Their racial purity had been established—should an officer be looking for a girlfriend or a wife, the Helferinnen were intended to be a resource.

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Camp commandant Richard Baer, notorious concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele (The Angel of the Death), and the commandant of the Birkenau camp, Josef Kramer.

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This photograph, taken at Auschwitz, shows “nearly a hundred officers arrayed like a glee club up the side of a hill. The accordion player stands across the road,All the men are singing except those in the very front, who perhaps felt too important for it.” The group includes Richard Baer; Rudolf Hoess, who had supervised the building of Auschwitz and had been its first commandant; and Josef Mengele.

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Christmas 1944: Karl Höcker lights the candles of a Christmas tree.

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The Solahütte retreat was used to provide a relaxing atmosphere for SS officers working at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz

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SS officers relax together with women and a baby on a deck at Solahütte.

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Atom Bombed Madonna- A WWII Miracle

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When the atom bomb “Fat Boy” devastated on the 9th of August 1945, one of the buildings reduced to rubble was the city’s Urakami cathedral — then among the largest churches in Asia.

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The blinding nuclear flash that would claim more than 70,000 lives in the city also, in an instant, blew out the stained glass windows of the church, toppled its walls, burnt its altar and melted its iron bell.

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But, in what local Christian followers have likened to a miracle, the head of a wooden Virgin Mary statue survived amid the collapsed columns and scorched debris of the Romanesque church flattened on August 9, 1945.

The appearance of the war-ravaged religious icon is haunting. The Madonna’s eyes have become scorched, black hollows, the right cheek is charred, and a crack runs like a streaking tear down her face.

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The remains of the statue of the Virgin Mary have found a new home inside a rebuilt church, also called St Mary’s, built on the same site, only 500 metres from the bomb’s ground zero.

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David And Perla Szumiraj-An Auschwitz Love story

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Amid the horrors of the Nazi death camps, somehow, some people managed to survive. One such couple is David Szumiraj and his wife Perla, who actually met in Auschwitz.

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David Szumiraj went to Auschwitz in late 1942. During his time there, he tended potato fields, where he worked near a young woman named Perla. The two weren’t allowed to speak, but when guards weren’t looking they made eye contact.

The shared glances were enough for the two to develop feelings for each other. Once they were able to talk for the first time, David says, “It was already inside us, the idea that we were a couple, that we were going to get married.” Their first conversation ended with their first kiss.

In January 1945, with Soviet forces approaching, the Nazis began moving prisoners. The evacuation of Auschwitz was one of the most notorious death marches in history, killing 15,000 people.

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After a week of passengers eating nothing but snow, David’s train was attacked by British planes. Weighing just 38 kilograms (83 lb), he survived by eating grass until American soldiers picked him up. Today, he still won’t eat lettuce.

David had no idea where Perla was. He sent a friend to a camp in Hamburg that housed lots of women—and she was there. The first David knew of his friend’s success was when Perla jumped out from behind a tree at the army base where David was staying.

They married, had a daughter, and decided to move to Argentina to be with some of David’s surviving family.

But getting to Argentina was not easy for Jews. Argentina’s government had supported the Nazis during the war, and had issued a secret order, effectively banning Jewish immigrants.

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To enter Argentina, many Jews said they were Catholic. For others, the only way in was to pay large bribes

They couldn’t afford the $20,000 immigration fees, so they had themselves smuggled into the country from Paraguay instead,so they went to neighbouring Paraguay, where they got in touch with people smugglers who would take them to Argentina. When they finally arrived in Buenos Aires, David’s family was waiting.

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Zyklon B

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Zyklon B:hydrogen cyanide adsorbed on or released from a carrier in the form of small tablets, used as an insecticidal fumigant.

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Even in their preferred choice of mass killing the Nazis used a poison which was originally designed to kill insects and other pests, and that is the clearest indication what they thought of their victims.

Hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration, was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s.Research at Degesch(German Corporation for Pest control)  led to the development of Zyklon (later known as Zyklon A), a pesticide which released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat.Zyklon_label_3

It was banned after a similar product was used by Germany as a chemical weapon in World War I. In 1922, Degesch was purchased by Degussa, where a team of chemists that included Walter Heerdt  and Bruno Tesch developed a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers.Bruno_Emil_Tesch

The new product was also named Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Uses included delousing clothing and disinfesting ships, warehouses, and trains.

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During the killing process, prisoners at Auschwitz and other killing centers were forced into the air-tight chambers that had been disguised by the Nazis to look like shower rooms. The Zyklon pellets were then dumped into the chambers via special air shafts or openings in the ceiling.

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The pellets would then vaporize, giving off a noticeable bitter almond odor. Upon being breathed in, the vapors combined with red blood cells, depriving the human body of vital oxygen, causing unconsciousness, and then death through oxygen starvation.It could take up to 20 minutes before the victims died.

Operation Carthage

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Operation Carthage, on 21 March 1945, was a British World War II air raid on Copenhagen, Denmark, which incurred significant collateral damage. The target of the raid was the Shellhus, used as Gestapo headquarters in the city centre. It was used for the storage of dossiers and the torture of Danish citizens during interrogations.

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The Danish Resistance had long asked the British to conduct a raid against this site. As a result, the building was destroyed, 18 prisoners were freed, and anti-resistance Nazi activities were disrupted. But, part of the raid was mistakenly directed against a nearby boarding school; it resulted in a total of 125 civilian deaths (including 86 schoolchildren and 18 adults at the school). A similar raid against the Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, on 31 October 1944, had been successful.

The raid was to be carried out by de Havilland Mosquito fast-bomber aircraft, and thus it was that on the morning of 21 March, these aircraft took of in three waves of six along with two Mosquitoes that were to film the raid.

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The force left RAF Fersfield in the morning and it reached Copenhagen after 11:00. The raid was carried out at rooftop level. In the course of the initial attack, a Mosquito hit a lamp post, damaging its wing, and the plane crashed into the Jeanne d’Arc School, about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the target. Several bombers in the second and third wave attacked the burning school, mistaking it for their target.

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In all, eighty-six children and thirteen adults, mostly nuns, were killed. Separately, over fifty Gestapo members were killed in the attack on the headquarters, along with dozens of Danish workers and several prisoners of the Gestapo. Memorials now stand to the children killed as well as the Danish resistance members.Mindesten_for_den_Franske_Skole_(2_af_2)

All fourteen prisoners in the Southern wing of the Shell House survived as this part of the building was not bombed.Shellhuset_210345

The three remaining prisoners were under interrogation on the 5th floor, one of whom died. 18 out of 26 prisoners survived the bomb raid. A total of 133 Danes died during and after the raid. Telegrams from Copenhagen modstandsbevægelse (Resistance Movement) thanked the RAF for the successful raid, and with the destruction of the Gestapo archives the threat against its members was neutralised..

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Alderney camps-Nazi Concentration camps in Great Britain.

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The Alderney camps were prison camps built and operated by Nazi Germany during its World War II occupation of the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied.

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The Nazis built four camps on Alderney. The Nazi Organisation Todt (OT) operated each subcamp and used forced labour to build fortifications in Alderney including bunkers, gun emplacements, air-raid shelters, tunnels and concrete fortifications.

The camps commenced operating in January 1942. They were named after the Frisian Islands.

Four labour camps were built, which were named after the German islands of Sylt, Borkum, Norderney and Helgoland.

The camps on Alderney were run from the Neuengamme concentration camp in German Anton Yezhel is one of the few forced workers who was sent to Alderney to have been pictured. Sadly, whether his survived the conditions in unknown.2F743D0F00000578-3363742-image-a-58_1450870271396

Lager Sylt, whose gates still stand today, housed the Jewish prisoners, who were treatment shocked the locals who remained on the Islands under the Nazis.

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Guernsey priest, The Reverend Douglas Ord, saw the prisoners from Sylt arrive in Guernsey in 1944.

He wrote in his diary: ‘Coming down from the harbour was a column of men in rows of five. All were in striped pyjama suits of sorts and their footgear varied from wooden sabots … to pieces of cloth bound round the feet. Others were barefoot.

‘There were more than the 1,000 of them – political prisoners brought away from Alderney. They were shaven-head and in varying degrees of weariness or lameness.

‘Scattered thorough the column among men of sub-human criminal type were others obviously intellectuals, men of superior calibre who had offended the brutal Nazi regime. It tore the heart to see the effects of this systematic and deliberate degradation of human beings.”2F73EA1200000578-3363742-image-a-9_1450342130877

Reverend Ord added: ‘At the head of the column marched five evil-visaged SS men armed with automatic guns. At the rear of the column and along its flanks on both sides and at a distance of about a dozen feet from each other were more of these brutes, similarly armed, and all on alert for any attempt at a break-away. I have never seen such brutality written on human countenances.

‘Occasionally a man would make the ‘V’ sign to us as he went by. All the emotions of pity, sympathy, sorrow, anger and horror surged through us as we watched.

‘All day long the stench of their poor, wretched, unwashed bodies and clothes hung about the route they had followed.’

While there were no gas chambers at Camp Sylt, the way the prisoners were treated led to the deaths of around half of the labourers brought to the island.

Documents compiled by British intelligence services trying to work out what was going on on the Channel Islands at the time laid bare the brutal conditions of life.

One report stated: ‘Too undernourished and exhausted to work efficiently, these men were mercilessly beaten by the German guard and frequently when they were too weak after a beating to stand up, they were clubbed to death or finished off with a knife.’

A report by British intelligence body MI19 said: ‘One such was crucified on the camp gates, naked and in midwinter. The German SS guards threw buckets of cold water over him all night until he was finally dead.

Another was caught by bloodhounds when attempting to stow away to the mainland. He was hanged and then crucified to the same gate. His body was left hanging on the gate for five days as a warning.

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More than 700 camp inmates lost their lives before the camps were closed and the remaining inmates transferred to France in 1944.

After World War II, a court-martial case was prepared against former SS Hauptsturmführer Max List, citing atrocities on Alderney. However, he did not stand trial,and is believed to have lived near Hamburg until his death in the 1980s