The Evidence That Proves Ordinary German Soldiers Knew Exactly What Was Going on; SOLDADTA EN: ON FIGHTING, KILLING AND DYING

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 20, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Evidence That Proves Ordinary German Soldiers Knew Exactly What Was Going on; SOLDADTA EN: ON FIGHTING, KILLING AND DYING


Byline: ANDREW ROBERTS

The Second World War Tapes of German POWs by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer trans Jefferson Chase (Simon & Schuster, [pounds sterling]25) HOW much did ordinary German soldiers actually know about the atrocities that were committed against civilians behind the front lines in the Second WorldW War, W especially, of course, the Holocaust? After 1945, A Wehrmacht veterans W undertook a successful public relations exercise, differentiating their soldier-to-soldier form of warfare from the SS and Gestapo's war against civilians.

More recently, however, historians have overturned the assumption that they were mere innocents abroad, unaware of what had been going on. Now a new book has been published that destroys such alibis as utterly baseless, and concludes that "Soldiers traded rumours so furiously that we must assume that nearly all of them knew that massive amounts of Jews were being murdered". What is more, the evidence for this comes from the soldiers' own mouths.

After German prisoners of war were captured, thousands of them were systematically subjected to covert surveillance by British Intelligence, which recorded and then transcribed passages from the more important conversations.

Declassified in 1996, hundreds of thousands of pages of transcripts gathered dust in various British and US archives until they were discovered by the German historian Sonke Neitzel, who enlisted the help of social psychologist Prof Harald Welzer to make sense of them. What they contain is revelatory.

"They seized three-year-old children by the hair, held them up and shot them with a pistol and then threw them in," recalled Lt-Gen Heinrich Kittel in 1944 of events in Russia three years earlier. "I saw that for myself. One could watch it. The SD [the security service of the SS] had roped the area off and the people were standing watching from about 300 metres off. The Latvian and German soldiers were just standing there, looking on. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Evidence That Proves Ordinary German Soldiers Knew Exactly What Was Going on; SOLDADTA EN: ON FIGHTING, KILLING AND DYING
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.