First, I want you to picture something in your mind. You are a German soldier who survived through the battles of World II. You were not really politically involved, and your parents were also indifferent to politics, but suddenly your education was interrupted and you were drafted into the German army and told where to fight. Now, in the Spring of 1945, you see that your country has been demolished by the Allies, your cities lie in ruins, and half of your family has been killed or is missing. Now, your unit is being surrounded, and it is finally time to surrender. The fact is, there is no other choice.
It has been a long, cold winter. The German army rations have not been all that good, but you managed to survive. Spring came late that year, with weeks of cold rainy weather in demolished Europe. Your boots are tattered, your uniform is falling apart, and the stress of surrender and confusion lies ahead for you. Now, it is over, you must surrender or be shot. This is war and the real world.
You are taken as a German Prisoner of War into American hands. The Americans had 200 such Prisoner of War camps scattered across Germany. You are marched to a compound surrounded with barbed wire fences as far as the eye can see. Thousands upon thousands of your fellow German soldiers are already in this make?shift corral. You see no evidence of a latrine and after three hours of marching through the mud of the spring rain, the comfort of a latrine is upper?most in your mind. You are driven through the heavily guarded gate and find yourself free to move about, and you begin the futile search for the latrine.
No more time. You find a place and squat. First you were exhausted, then hungry, then fearful, and now; dirty. Hundreds more German prisoners are behind you, pushing you on, jamming you together and every one of them searching for the latrine as soon as they could do so. Now, late in the day, there is no space to even squat, much less sit down to rest your weary legs. None of the prisoners, you quickly learn, have had any food that day, in fact there was no food while in the American hands that any surviving prisoner can testify to. No one has eaten any food for weeks, and they are slowly starving and dying. But, they can’t do this to us! There are the Geneva Convention rules for the treatment of Prisoners of War. There must be some mistake! Hope continues through the night, with no shelter from the cold, biting rain.
Your uniform is sopping wet, and formerly brave soldiers are weeping all around you, as buddy after buddy dies from the lack of food, water, sleep and shelter from the weather. After weeks of this, your own hope bleeds off into despair, and finally you actually begin to envy those who, having surrendered first manhood and then dignity, now also surrender life itself. More hopeless weeks go by. Finally, the last thing you remember is falling, unable to get up, and lying face down in the mud mixed with the excrement of those who have gone before.
Your body will be picked up long after it is cold, and taken to a special tent where your clothing is stripped off. So that you will be quickly forgotten, and never again identified, your dog?tag is snipped in half and your body along with those of your fellow soldiers are covered with chemicals for rapid decomposition and buried. You were not one of the exceptions, for more than one million seven hundred thousand German Prisoners of War died from a deliberate policy of extermination by starvation, exposure, and disease, under direct orders of General Dwight David Eisenhower.
One month before the end of World War II, General Eisenhower issued special orders concerning the treatment of German Prisoners and specific in the language of those orders was this statement,
“Prison enclosures are to provide no shelter or other comforts.”
Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose, who was given access to the Eisenhower personal letters, states that he proposed to exterminate the entire German General Staff, thousands of people, after the war.
Eisenhower, in his personal letters, did not merely hate the Nazi Regime, and the few who imposed its will down from the top, but that HE HATED THE GERMAN PEOPLE AS A RACE. It was his personal intent to destroy as many of them as he could, and one way was to wipe out as many prisoners of war as possible.
Of course, that was illegal under International law, so he issued an order on March 10, 1945 and verified by his initials on a cable of that date, that German Prisoners of War be predesignated as “Disarmed Enemy Forces” called in these reports as DEF. He ordered that these Germans did not fall under the Geneva Rules, and were not to be fed or given any water or medical attention. The Swiss Red Cross was not to inspect the camps, for under the DEF classification, they had no such authority or jurisdiction.
Months after the war was officially over, Eisenhower’s special German DEF camps were still in operation forcing the men into confinement, but denying that they were prisoners. As soon as the war was over, General George Patton simply turned his prisoners loose to fend for themselves and find their way home as best they could. Eisenhower was furious, and issued a specific order to Patton, to turn these men over to the DEF camps. Knowing Patton as we do from history, we know that these orders were largely ignored, and it may well be that Patton’s untimely and curious death may have been a result of what he knew about these wretched Eisenhower DEF camps.
The book, OTHER LOSSES, found its way a few months ago into the hands of a Canadian news reporter, Peter Worthington, of the OTTAWA SUN. He did his own research through contacts he had in Canada, and reported in his column on September 12,1989 the following, in part:
“…it is hard to escape the conclusion that Dwight Eisenhower was a war criminal of epic proportions. His (DEF) policy killed more Germans in peace than were killed in the European Theater.”
“For years we have blamed the 1.7 million missing German POW’s on the Russians. Until now, no one dug too deeply …”