Eisenhower’s Rhine-Meadows Death Camps: A Deliberate Policy of Extermination.
This is a non-mainstream German documentary film which I have translated, edited, added to, and then narrated entirely into English. You will never see this on the History Channel, but it is available for free on YouTube, embedded below.
Here is a free archive of the radio interview:
A Prisoner’s Story:
The following quote is from a survivor which is not included in the film but which I found elsewhere, but which echoes the same type of experiences which are revealed in the film:
A transcript of my Uncle’s words…from my Mother’s diary:
“Suddenly an American Jeep moved towards us and several American Soldiers surrounded us. There was no officer in charge, and the first thing the ‘Amis’ did – they liberated us, I mean, from our few valuables, mainly rings and watches…….. We were now prisoners of war- no doubt about it! (“Amis” = Americans – ed)
The first night we were herded into a barn, where we met about 100 men who shared the same fate. To make my story short, we were finally transported to Fuerstenfeldbruck near Munich. Here we, who were gathered around Hermann, interrupted him and gasped in dismay.
Fuerstenfeldbruck had become known to us as one of the most cruel POW camps in the American zone.
Then my brother continued:
Again we were searched and had to surrender everything, even our field utensils, except a spoon. Here, in freezing temperature, 20,000 of us were squeezed together on the naked ground, without blanket or cover, exposed day and night to the winter weather.
For six days we received neither food nor water! We used our spoons to catch drops of rain.
We were surrounded by heavy tanks. During the night bright searchlights blinded us, so that sleep was impossible. We napped from time to time, standing up and leaning against each other. It was keeping us warmer that sitting on the frozen ground.
Many of us were near collapse. One of our comrades went mad, he jumped around wildly, wailing and whimpering. he was shot at once. His body was lying on the ground, and we were not allowed to come near him. He was not he only one. Each suspicious movement caused the guards to shoot into the crowd, and a few were always hit.
German civilians, mainly women of the surrounding villages, tried to approach the camp to bring food and water for us prisoners. they were chased away.
Our German officers could finally succeed to submit an official protest, particularly because of the deprivation of water. As a response, a fire hose was thrown into the midst of the densely crowded prisoners and then turned on. Because of the high water pressure the hose moved violently to and fro. Prisoners tumbled, fell, got up and ran again to catch a bit of water. In that confusion the water went to waste, and the ground under us turned into slippery mud. All the while the ‘Amis’ watched that spectacle, finding it very funny and most entertaining. They laughed at our predicament as hard as they could. Then suddenly, they turned the water off again.
We had not expected that the Americans would behave in such a manner. We could hardly believe it. War brutalizes human beings.
One day later we were organized into groups of 400 men …. We were to receive two cans of food for each man. This is how it was to be done: The prisoners had to run through he slippery mud, and each one had to grab his two cans quickly, at the moment he passed the guards. One of my comrades slipped and could not run fast enough, He was shot at once ….
On May 10th , several truckloads of us were transported the the garrison of Ulm by the Danube….. As each man jumped into the truck, a guard kicked him in the backbone with his rifle butt.
We arrived in the city of Heilbronn by the Neckar, In the end we counted 240,000 men, who lived on the naked ground and without cover.
Spring and summer were mild this year, but we were starving. At 6;00 am we received coffee, at noon about a pint of soup and 100 grams of bread a day……..
The ‘Amis’ gave us newspapers in German language, describing the terrors of the concentration camps. We did not believe any of it. We figured the Americans only wanted to demoralize us further.
The fields on which we lived belonged to the farmers of the area…soon nothing of the clover and other sprouting greens were left, and the trees were barren. We had eaten each blade of grass…..
In some camps there were Hungarian POW’s. 15,000 of them. Mutiny against their officers broke out twice amongst them. After the second mutiny the Americans decided to use German prisoners to govern the Hungarians. Since the Hungarians were used as workers they were well fed. There was more food than they could eat. But when the Germans asked the Americans for permission to bring the Hungarians’ leftovers into the camps of the starving Germans, it was denied. The Americans rather destroyed surplus food, than giving it to the Germans.
Sometimes it happened that groups of our own men were gathered and transported away. We presumed they were discharged to go home, and naturally, we wished to be among them. Much later we heard they were sent to labor camps! My mother’s cousin, feared that he would be drafted into the Hitler Youth SS, he volunteered to the marines, in 1945 his unit was in Denmark. On April 20th they were captured by the Americans. his experience in the POW camp was identical that of my brother’s. They lived in open fields, did not receive and food and water the first six days, and starved nearly to death. German wives and mothers who wanted to throw loaves of bread over the fence, were chased off. The prisoners, just to have something to chew, scraped the bark from young trees. my cousins job was to report each morning how many had died during the night. “and these were not just a few!” he adds to his report he wrote me.
It became known, that the conditions in the POW camps in the American Zone were identical everywhere. We could therefore safely conclude, that it was by intent and by orders from higher ups to starve the German POW’s and we blamed General Eisenhower for it. ” Source
An American Rhine-Meadows Camp Guard Speaks Out
The following is an excerpt from the testimony of a former soldier and guard at the Rhine-Meadows camps, Martin Brech.
“In October 1944, at age eighteen, I was drafted into the U.S. army. Largely because of the “Battle of the Bulge,” my training was cut short, my furlough was halved, and I was sent overseas immediately. Upon arrival in Le Havre, France, we were quickly loaded into box cars and shipped to the front. When we got there, I was suffering increasingly severe symptoms of mononucleosis, and was sent to a hospital in Belgium. Since mononucleosis was then known as the “kissing disease,” I mailed a letter of thanks to my girlfriend.
By the time I left the hospital, the outfit I had trained with in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was deep inside Germany, so, despite my protests, I was placed in a “repo depot” (replacement depot). I lost interest in the units to which I was assigned, and don’t recall all of them: non-combat units were ridiculed at that time. My separation qualification record states I was mostly with Company C, 14th Infantry Regiment, during my seventeen-month stay in Germany, but I remember being transferred to other outfits also.
In late March or early April 1945, I was sent to guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine. I had four years of high school German, so I was able to talk to the prisoners, although this was forbidden. Gradually, however, I was used as an interpreter and asked to ferret out members of the S.S. (I found none.)
In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure that I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets. Many had no coats. They slept in the mud, wet and cold, with inadequate slit trenches for excrement. It was a cold, wet spring, and their misery from exposure alone was evident.
Even more shocking was to see the prisoners throwing grass and weeds into a tin can containing a thin soup. They told me they did this to help ease their hunger pains. Quickly they grew emaciated. Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement, too weak and crowded to reach the slit trenches. Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes. We had ample food and supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance.
Outraged, I protested to my officers and was met with hostility or bland indifference. When pressed, they explained they were under strict orders from “higher up.” No officer would dare do this to 50,000 men if he felt that it was “out of line,” leaving him open to charges. Realizing my protests were useless, I asked a friend working in the kitchen if he could slip me some extra food for the prisoners. He too said they were under strict orders to severely ration the prisoners’ food, and that these orders came from “higher up.” But he said they had more food than they knew what to do with, and would sneak me some.
When I threw this food over the barbed wire to the prisoners, I was caught and threatened with imprisonment. I repeated the “offense,” and one officer angrily threatened to shoot me. I assumed this was a bluff until I encountered a captain on a hill above the Rhine shooting down at a group of German civilian women with his .45 caliber pistol. When I asked, “Why?,” he mumbled, “Target practice,” and fired until his pistol was empty. I saw the women running for cover, but, at that distance, couldn’t tell if any had been hit.
This is when I realized I was dealing with cold-blooded killers filled with moralistic hatred. They considered the Germans subhuman and worthy of extermination; another expression of the downward spiral of racism. Articles in the G.I. newspaper, Stars and Stripes, played up the German concentration camps, complete with photos of emaciated bodies. This amplified our self-righteous cruelty, and made it easier to imitate behavior we were supposed to oppose. Also, I think, soldiers not exposed to combat were trying to prove how tough they were by taking it out on the prisoners and civilians.”
Please continue reading his testimony here
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