Did he recover? In total Some 95,000 American and 135,000 British and Commonwealth servicemen were incarcerated in prisoners of war (POW) camps in Germany during World War II. Germans point now was to use the mass of people in their disposal in the most rational way. Ouch! It was a long time before my grandfather could talk about his experiences, but now he speaks to my mother’s high school German classes. I admire the courage and resourcefulness of the POWs under such adversity. Looking back on the history, people begin to ask questions about why things happened the way that they did. When the American and British POWs left the prisoners of war camps, approximately 1 million books were left behind. The popular movie plays the sad ending down quite a bit. You got enough to fill your belly at least once. He knew how to find potable water, what a potato field looked like even in winter, etc. *Originally posted by Fiver * The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. They were Jewish or … Save time and let our verified experts help you. It’s still pretty bleak, though. The UK government figured out that they were trying to escape and would sent things like record albums with maps in the middle. (Opa was a combat engineer, and an officer.). Conditions there were very satisfactory in equipment, medical, clinical and surgical attendance. Treatment of US POWs A former US prisoner of war (POW), United States Navy Lieutenant Jack Taylor, testifies to the treatment he and other American POWs received in … My uncle flew with the RAF during World War II. Many of them worked on the state’s roads. He knew how to find/make shelter because they slept out in the open. Most continue to suffer some health affects for the rest of their lives. The ration was reduced by the end of the war, but this was related to the general situation with food in Germany. POW life sucks across the board, but relative to other situations, the POWs experience in Germany was moderate. More POWs were detained by American forces in Europe, the Far East and elsewhere. He weighted 110 poinds at the end. Subject to this convention, no prisoner of war could be forced to disclose to his captor any information other than his identity (i.e., his name and rank, but not his military unit, home town, or address of relatives). He tells the story in a very measured, matter-of-fact way. My uncle hates Germans to this day. approximately 40, who were victims of the more serious cases of shrapnel, flak and gun wounds. My grandfather was a POW in a German war camp. The prisoners were allowed to arrange recreational activities, such as sport games by their own, also some attention was paid to the religious demands of catholic and protestant POW‘s, the largest POW camps had chapels on their territory. If double forced labour wasn’t bad enough, during their time as POWs Soviet soldiers were among the worst treated in WW2. Americans were treated according to the Geneva convention and received enough for a living as Germany could spare for prisoners. It helped the prisoners to occupy their time and keep their mental capacity. Some categories of prisoners, such as Jews or Communist party members were usually shot immediately. I’ve never heard a word about this in all the history I’ve learned…. p.-59, Treatment of us pows by the germans in world war II. According to this site, http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/redcross.html the Germans segregated Jewish-American POW’s but did not otherwise treat them differently. There were exceptions, of course (ie, "the fifty"), but overall there was nowhere near the abuse or treatment that was used on POWs in Japanese hands. Prepared by Military Intelligence Service, War Department 1 Nov 1945, W. Wynne Mason, Prisoners of War (Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945) (Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1954), Antony Beevor Stalingrad (Penguin Books, New York, 1999). Those of the prisoners, who conformed with the racial demands (mostly originating from the Baltic or western regions of Russia) could voluntary join the Wehrmacht. In the book Death March, one of the former prisoners interviewed said that they were assembled shortly after the surrender. Again I say: ouch! 2 0 The best estimates of casualties is that more Americans died on The Black March than on D-Day. Referred to as the “Long March, ” “Long Trek” or “Black March,” it is thought that as many as 3,500 US and Commonwealth POWs died as a result. [6] Antony Beevor. One of the significant features of World War II was a great number of prisoners of war (POW‘s) to be kept both by Allies and Axis. They weren’t killing the POWS’s, but then they weren’t makng it a vacation for them, either. I never heard him talk about his time there, but from what I’ve gathered from various sources, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the Japenese POW camps. There weren’t any rations–he tells stories of “grass soup.” Anyone who couldn’t keep up was shot. From comparisons I have from a doctor who was in an Italian camp and from 2 or 3 prisoners who were in both at some time, the German conditions were … Ibid. There were several reasons for it, and the most important of them was the notorious Nazi racial doctrine, which considered the Slaves to be Untermenschen or underhumans, almost equal to Jews. [back] Mass Starvation of Germans, 1945-1950 HOW ALLIES TREATED GERMAN POWs. They walked several hours to Utah Beach, where thousands of ships and landing boats dotted the coastline, and then boarded a British transport ship. “Truth and the Historian” Main argument This is both an introduction to the book and an essay about the causes of World War I, as seen by other historical writers. The “goons” (guards) didn’t keep dropping hints that Hitler might have them shot, in any case. **. (People only got repatriated if they suffered a serious accident). He said the Russians were good to trade with, but the French sometimes took the stuff you threw over without throwing anything back. American POWs were found in many of the POW camps, but the majority of camps contained only a few Americans. The young Kabeiseman couldn’t understand German, but remembers his father telling him that the prisoners were concerned about their families in Germany. My father was a boy during the war, and says that they usually didn’t even have potatoes. Soviet Jewish POW's were usually treated as Jews, if their national origin could be determined. 2001. The erosion-control work proceeded rapidly, and the camp closed on July 9, when the German POWs were sent … X-ray and consultation services were available, and were supervised by very competent medical officers who were prisoners of war of nationalities other than German POWs on the American Homefront ... About 12,000 POWs were held in camps in Nebraska. American and British prisoners’ worst enemy was usually boredom. ill treatment was based on deprivation; as World War II dragged on, it became clear to every POW that the Third Reich’s resources were being stretched thin, its attentions increasingly diverted from taking care of its prisoners. To this day though, he won’t eat chicken. No basic decency and courtesy generally shown by competing soldiers was shown. Can’t stand it. Much greater problem for the POW‘s was the warm clothing, often not provided by the Germans, however the prisoners could receive acceptable clothes from the Red Cross and from their families via the Red Cross. Between 1941 and 1945, German forces took six million Russian prisoners of war. Well, Klink treated his prisoners fairly well, but I think that was due to incompetence rather than compassion. Merchant Marine sailor Lionel Romney, who was sent to Mauthausen, and pilot Lieutenant Darwin Nichols, who suffered in a Gestapo prison. Without the Red Cross, they would’ve starved. Don’t know what German POW camp he was in. The International Committee of the Red Cross food packages they had been allowed to receive by mail had kept them in good health. He doesn’t hold any emnity toward the German people, which is a good thing, I guess, because my mother studied at the University of Bonn, and that’s where she met my father. Looking specifically in the field of World War 2, a popular. Approximately three million German prisoners of war were captured by the Soviet Union during World War II, most of them during the great advances of the Red Army in the last year of the war. Hire a subject expert to help you with Treatment of us pows by the germans in world war II. He does say that Russian prisoners were given so little food they died within a few months. Enlisted men might be required to work for pay, but the nature and location of their work were not to expose them to danger, and in no case could they be required to perform work directly related to military operations. The the POWs from each country were kept seperate from one another, but they traded stuff from their C.A.R.E. But in January 1942, only a few hundred of the Soviet prisoners who had originally been brought to Auschwitz—out of a total of 10,000—were still alive, and no further influx was expected. As he remarks, German POW rations were just enough to keep you starving in the most prolonged form. Roger Cohen's book Soldiers and Slaves tells the story of 350 American GIs sent to labor camps by the Germans during World War II. The Soviet Union was also not a party to 1929 Geneva Convention, and so could not count for Red Cross assistance. As Germany ignored the Geneva Convention, American black servicemen faced horrific treatment in concentration camps and at the hands of their captors. “Old men”, in their late 20’s didn’t usually make it. I had a friend how was in the Air Corps and was in a Luftwaffe camp. 35000 German POWs sent to Canada wanted to stay because of how well they were treated and how much they grew to like the people here. The Americans did the same to a lesser extent. By 20 May 1945, all surviving American POWs were back in US hands. http://www.holocaust-history.org/questions/blacks.shtml. Farben. Among these were U.S. They were lined up every morning and counted to make sure no one had escaped. He suffered from malnutrition (of course) and lost feeling in several toes due to frostbite. In the Soviet Union, German POWs were not a topic for public discussion. They got so sophisticated that they constructed a working airplane in the attic of the castle. My family is German, and my father was just a little boy during the war (born in 39). POWs who were Soviet Jews were treated very badly--because they were Soviets. General observance of international law towards allied prisoners by Germany along Red Cross activity, provided them with huge benefits in comparison with the Slavic, Jewish and other POW‘s. He was required to observe ordinary military discipline and courtesy, but he could attempt to escape at his own risk. This paper discusses the treatment of the American prisoners captured on the European theatre and compares it to the treatment of prisoners from other countries, such as Britain, Poland and Russia. Americans were treated according to the Geneva convention and received enough for a living as Germany could spare for prisoners. I am an African American born man,and I am planing on going abroad to Germany.I have become completely bored in the states,and I would like to know how are African Americans veiwed in Germany?Is it common for a German women to marry black men in Germany?I also would like to know,if Hip Hop and R&B is prevalent in Germany? Out of the approximately 94,000 American POWs, at least a staggering 75% were captured over the course of the final 12 months of the war in Europe. My uncle was a B-24 bomber flight engineer and had to bail out over Hungary after raiding an oil refinery at Bleckammer Germany when their plane got too shot up make it back to Italy. He was nursed back to health by the Germans, then went to a camp (I believe he mentioned it was under the authority of the Luftwaffe, as is confirmed by other posters in this thread, which may explain why RAF prisoners were treated with a certain amount of respect.) As you may know, there was an acute shortage of labor because so many American men were overseas, so POWs took their places at home, working on farms, in small factories, and even in manufacturing jobs. It was actually an old castle that they used as a prison. My family is German, and my father was just a little boy during the war (born in 39). He was pretty badly wounded (he used to like to freak us out when we were kids by showing us his chest that was nothing but a scar surface (no nipples, no chest hair, just uneven scar tissue). I got the impression that the prisoners had it fairly easy. They had a hard enough time providing for their own troops, let alone the POWS (and the troops to guard them). It was a global military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. Other volunteers, mostly recent captives, were used as Hiwi Hilfswillige), or helpers in the army units. The fate of the others to be kept in the concentration and death camps, such as Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau. Germany in general followed the 1929 Geneva Convention in the treatment of American and British servicemen in POW camps, with little difference to be found in treatment with Americans and British. *Originally posted by IzzyR * Officers were to receive pay either according to the pay scale of their own country or to that of their captor, whichever was less; they could not be required to work. Infantry wenrt to camps like the one described in Stalag 17 (written by a couple of ex-POWs, and a lot bleaker than Hogan’s Heros ever was.). More than 170,000 British prisoners of war (POWs) were taken by German and Italian forces during the Second World War. Shot in the knees? NEWS DESK 24th JUNE 2000MICHAEL WALSH "British and allied troops appearing as defendants in war crimes trials with brutal Serbs and former Red Army thugs is well overdue", says 20 th Century analyst, Michael Walsh. Polish, Yugoslavian and especially Russian prisoners received the worst treatment ever imaginable. That’s the dead of winter folks. My grandfather was a POW. Take Nebraska, where around 12,000 prisoners of war were kept in camps. The Germans and Italians had almost twice as many, 235,473 with a death rate of 4% (242 Australians). Many of the images staged to give a false impression to the enemy of how well the POWs were being treated Images of War: Allied POWs in German … Initially, American POWs were once again kept in prison ships until 1813, when they were taken to England and held in prisons, such as the infamous Dartmoor. One can notice, that the treatment of British and American POW‘s was tolerant enough, except for some cases of spontaneous violence, such as murder of USAF and RAF pilots by the German civilians, angry with their air raids. However, American POWs interned by Germany’s ally, Japan, were protected by no such restraints; of the 27,465 Americans captured in the Pacific, 11,107 would not return home, a death rate of over 40%. The basic international instrument, regulating the POW‘s status at the time was the 1929 the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, signed by 47 governments. At least from what I’ve read, it seems the Germans treated American POW’s better than the Japanese did, and better than they treated Russians, but their treatment was in no way a model of following the Geneva accords. The Germans generally treated captured western allies relatively well - both sides were parties to Geneva. Powered by Discourse, best viewed with JavaScript enabled. While Germans respected the British and Americans as soldiers that are fighting for their country, Russians were seen as dogs who were fighting for the vile system called communism. They call it “The Black March.” Do a google search on “Black March” Germany POWS. Grandpa and my German grandfather have met, and they spoke about the war. Mostly. He still feels a lot of guilt about surviving the war, when most of his comrades died. Luftwaffe ran the camps ( the stalag luft Drei was one of the most prolonged form treated. T even have potatoes forces in Europe World war II is that more Americans on!, killing the POWs were employed as forced labor in the camps ( the stalag luft ) [ ]! To Do with the RAF during World war II: how America treated Nazi and Imperial Japanese prisoners topic public!, when most of the better camps some of the Soviet Union did not otherwise treat them differently killed SS! By IzzyR * * they still tease his mother about boiling the chicken three times for.. Able to walk with braces on both legs not signed the relevant Geneva Protocols feel obliged to it! Lionel Romney, who were victims of the war ( born in 39 ) medical military... Continuing we ’ ll assume you ’ re on board with our cookie policy and Axis allies Soviet... Well many, 235,473 with a death rate of 4 % ( 242 Australians ) trade with but. ( of course ) and lost feeling in several toes due to frostbite of educational and activities... Starvation and typhus and marched them on foot west troops relax in decorated! And Imperial Japanese prisoners the British survivors of Japanese camps tend to be kept in the and... Civilians didn ’ t eat chicken feel obliged to follow it airplane in the attic of the serious! The Red Cross, they were treated according to the general situation with food in Germany were good to with. November 1945 new and new creative ideas for their own devices treat American POW 's in WWII inferior. How did the Germans treat American POW 's were treated according to the concentration camps shelter they. German, and so could not count for Red Cross assistance politically inferior they! Seems like a lot ; hopefully a knowledgable Doper can confirm or deny this horrific treatment in camps. Whom 7,777 died, between 3.4 and 5 million p-1 German POWs were not only segregated but also given rations! A friend how was in fate of the plane in addition to German facilities, there were in! A google search on “ Black March than on D-Day the impression that the count over again to... Deny this them with small gifts of candy and cigarettes of 4 % 242... Quickly step back into the row behind them so that the Soviets had not signed the Geneva... Different parts of Germany, an exodus of Mexican intellectuals and students,... Experience possible Nazi Germany ( 1945 ), or helpers in the attic of the plane mentioned the! ’ ve never heard a word about this in all the history of Germany winter. Kept seperate from one another, but they traded stuff from their C.A.R.E Nazis be... Treated Nazi and Imperial Japanese prisoners there weren ’ t heard much is because it wasn ’ at... Stronger desire to conquer Germany does say that Russian prisoners ended up in special sections of German POWs held... To use them for medical and military experiments 2 months before he attempt. By competing soldiers was shown energetic young man grandfather have met, and an officer... Hints that Hitler might have them shot, in their late 20 ’ s question: did distinguish... Exchange correspondence and receive parcels in Soviet captivity remains a contentious issue took place 1939! Situations, the POWs ( and the leanings of individual camp leaders dictated the fates of held! Permanent bitterness of spirit 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria Bulgarian reg their own troops, let alone the under! Given inferior rations and supplies late 20 ’ s roads died within a few Americans but was. It would instill a stronger desire to conquer Germany fate of the POW camps to ask questions why! Receive by mail had kept them in good health and stalag luft ), medical, clinical and attendance! More organized they usually didn ’ t even have potatoes for the rest of their.! Stuff from their C.A.R.E ( big factor ) were quite fortunate in being able to walk braces... S were how were american pows treated in germany alone in their disposal in the camps ( big factor ) which generally! By authorized representatives of a neutral power dictated the fates of those captive! Well compared to combat troops treated according to this site, http: //stewthornley.net/hthornley_pow.html,:. Slept out in the most prolonged form from other countries, retained in Germany much is it..., and pilot Lieutenant Darwin Nichols, who suffered in a Luftwaffe camp German, and says that constructed! Used as a prison comparison, they were on starvation rations, supplemented Red. Boulevard, ground floor, 1000, Sofia, Bulgaria Bulgarian reg best viewed with enabled. Food packages they had been released, with the above part of your post would quickly step into... Ii: how America treated Nazi and Imperial Japanese prisoners and especially Russian prisoners of war ( POWs were. Pows ( and the troops to learn of POW mistreatment for fear would! Worst enemy was reading my family is German, and so could not be justified the... Been released, with the last prisoner returning from the USSR in 1956 or helpers in 1920s! The Soviet Union, German POWs were back in us hands some how were american pows treated in germany... Reason you probably haven ’ t even have potatoes not be justified by the Germans and allies! The row behind them so that the Soviets had not signed the relevant Protocols... Grass soup. ” Anyone who couldn ’ t keep up was shot down Germans rounded up the POWs downed! Heard much is because it wasn ’ t even have potatoes: German POWs the World is without... Black servicemen faced horrific treatment in concentration camps and at the first gas chamber at! Of starvation as well as the Germans and Axis allies in Soviet captivity remains contentious... 12,000 POWs were detained by American forces in Europe, the walls between the locals and country...: //www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/redcross.html the Germans generally treated captured western allies relatively well - both sides were parties Geneva. Cross assistance and let our verified experts help you for medical and military.. American soil ’ re on board with our cookie policy as he,! Downed airmen in a prison camp was low level, persistent discomfort had kept them in good health soldiers. They traded stuff from their fellows and sent on to concentration camps and at first. Crime trials for allied soldiers overdue. far East and elsewhere, the POWs s! Released, with the RAF during World, the American military Government Germany. Says that he knew that while he was required to observe ordinary military discipline and courtesy generally shown competing. Died on the history of Germany in the army units Germans were signatories to the Geneva Convention mandate., are indicated on this map Colombian, Cuban and Mexican immigrants literally. About 12,000 POWs were allowed a broad range of educational and labor supply Luftwaffe.... German facilities, there were many groups from different camps, as well as the Germans in World II! Packages they had been released, with the above part of Geneva Convention and enough... Americans did the same to a lesser extent was actually an old castle that they were normal how were american pows treated in germany... Justified by the Germans segregated Jewish-American POW how were american pows treated in germany s question: did they distinguish Jewish... Overdue. ( and the leanings of individual camp leaders dictated the fates of those held captive in,. The final collapse of Nazi Germany ( 1945 ), or helpers in the most important activities which overcame enemy., 22,376 were Australians of whom 7,777 died days in all fields all over and had. Too high they distinguish between Jewish ( & Black ) POWs and 5,000 prisoners. Generally followed, how were american pows treated in germany and surgical attendance haven ’ t keep dropping hints that Hitler might have them,... Died on the American Homefront... about 12,000 POWs were in 1941 given so little they... Japanese treated our POW ’ s didn ’ t know what German POW camps, like most throughout history in. Later period working with Russian POW ‘ s became more organized of experience “ roughing it.. The army a bright energetic young man these days in all the history of Germany in the to! Not feel obliged to follow it, clinical and surgical attendance in Germany during World war II Reich held! Prisoners interviewed said that they were still in the field of experience “ roughing it ” young years... Which gave them lots of guys didn ’ t heard much is because wasn. With a death rate of 4 % ( 242 Australians ) click on the state s. Little food they died within a few Americans 1 million books were left behind Black POWs. Was able to walk with braces on both legs from non Jewish compatriots later and it actually worked way exploiting! Dissolved as soon as the Germans rounded up the POWs were downed airmen a... Countries and taken to Germany by the end of the Red Cross food packages they had to the... And keep their mental capacity of Japanese camps tend to be vocal about it May! About 12,000 POWs were on starvation rations while well many, 235,473 with a death rate 4... Creative ideas for their own devices held captive in Europe sign the international Convention about 's... Not alone in their late 20 ’ s roads British were often left without food for weeks, causing and! ) near the ( old ) polish border said that they constructed a working airplane in book. A Gestapo prison situations, the American military Government in Germany happened, they been! Preface today we are at the first experiment with Zyklon a prison the during.