The Genocide of the German People
Where Revenge Dwarfs the Original Crime - And Guilt as Well
Published: 2019-01-19

Invention of the Word Genocide

The word “genocide” was first used in 1944 by the Jewish Pole Raphael Lemkin in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.[1] Lemkin stated in regard to his self-coined neologism “genocide”: “By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern expression, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannicide, homocide [sic], infanticide, etc.”[2]

Most people today use this narrow definition and define the word “genocide” as the deliberate destruction of national, racial, religious or ethnic groups. However, Lemkin intended the word “genocide” to have a much broader meaning. Lemkin wrote: “Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.”[3]

Raphael Lemkin’s invention received spectacular usage at the Nuremberg trials. Historian James J. Martin stated: “Its use by both the principal British figures of the prosecution, Maxwell-Fyfe and Sir Hartley Shawcross, the attorney general of Great Britain, to castigate the Nuremberg defendants collectively, was more than Lemkin expected.”[4]

In this article I will show that Raphael Lemkin’s new word “genocide” more appropriately applies to the Allied treatment of the German people after World War II than it does to the historical memes to which it is much more commonly applied.

Denazification of Germans

Denazification was an Allied program launched after the war to punish National Socialist party members and to remove them from public and semi-public office. Hypocritically disregarding the horrendous crimes they committed against the Germans, the Allies determined that the National Socialist party was so criminal that it had to be extinguished, and its members consigned to oblivion, if not penury or worse.

German leaders in all walks of life had found it necessary or expedient to join the National Socialist party or one or more of its affiliated organizations. Membership in the National Socialist party expanded rapidly immediately preceding and during the war. Party and nation became so closely identified during the war that to join was to display patriotism; to refuse membership was to invite penalization for disloyalty. The Allied program of denazification set out to ruin the lives of millions of Germans simply because Germans who joined the National Socialist party had made a political mistake.[5]

The Potsdam Agreement permanently dissolved the National Socialist party and its affiliated organizations and institutions. The denazification decrees authorized in the Potsdam Agreement were inconsistent with the Potsdam declaration that “discrimination on the grounds of…political opinion shall be abolished.” The Potsdam Agreement commanded that “Nazi leaders, influential Nazi supporters and high officials of Nazi organizations and institutions…shall be arrested and interned” and that all lesser Nazis “shall be removed from public and semi-public office and former positions of responsibility in private undertakings.”[6]

The chief instrument of denazification was a 12-page questionnaire consisting of 133 questions. As many as 13 million of these questionnaires were printed and handed out either to Germans with questionable pasts or to those seeking employment. While many of the Germans found the questions absurd and comical, the questionnaire still had to be properly completed and returned before a German could return to normal life. A German had to properly complete the form with its “sometimes stupid questions” in order to survive. Otherwise he was out of work and deprived of ration tickets. If he was not careful, he could also be arrested and declared a war criminal.[7]

The Americans were hell-bent on purging National Socialist party members from German politics. The Americans led the way with denazification, trying 169,282 cases, while the Russians and French tried a total of 18,328 and 17,353 cases respectively. The British showed less interest in denazification, trying only 2,296 cases in their zone. The Allied denazification process was flawed because there were too many cases and the witnesses were unreliable. The witnesses knew they might be under the microscope themselves, so the most important thing for them was to deny any culpability on their own parts.[8]

The high number of arrests and tough denazification policy created serious obstacles for the smooth running of postwar Germany. As one American major reported in July 1945, “great difficulty has been encountered in finding competent and politically clean personnel from Civil Administration.” Wholesale dismissals as a result of denazification made it difficult for cities and towns throughout Germany to carry on business in an orderly manner. The gaps left by the dismissals were particularly large in the German public school system. In the American Zone 65% of all primary school teachers were removed, and most of the remaining teachers were approaching retirement.[9]

The many problems that arose as a result of the denazification process caused General George Patton, at that time military governor of Bavaria, to call for a less rigorous approach. He claimed that trained staff were being removed from their administrative posts and replaced with less experienced and less capable personnel. Patton asserted: “It is no more possible for a man to be a civil servant in Germany and not to have paid lip service to Nazism than it is for a man to be a postmaster in America and not have paid at least lip service to the Democratic Party or Republican Party when it is in power.”[10] Patton was transferred after his views surfaced in the New York Times. General Dwight Eisenhower stuck to a tough denazification program.[11]

For millions of Germans the worst part of the denazification process came after the mandatory questionnaire had been completed. After reviewing the answers, Allied intelligence officers would frequently visit German homes for additional examinations and interrogations. Many of these intelligence officers were German Jews who had fled Nazi discrimination in the late 1930s, and had old scores to settle. The follow-up interrogations were often carried out so as to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible, and often resulted in imprisonment or even execution.[12]

The interrogations in the Russian zone were particularly brutal and inhumane. A German physician reported his experience of the interrogations at a Russian camp:

The cellars of all the barracks are crammed with people, about four thousand men and women, many of whom are interrogated every night by the NKVD officials. The purpose of these interrogations is not to worm out of the people what they knew—which would be uninteresting anyway—but to extort from them special statements. The methods resorted to are extremely primitive: people are beaten up until they confess to having been members of the Nazi Party. But the result is almost the opposite of what most of the people probably expect, that is, that those who hadn’t been party members would come off better. The authorities simply assume that, basically, everybody has belonged to the Party. Many people die during and after these interrogations, while others, who admit at once their party membership, are treated more leniently.[13]

Even well-known anti-Nazis such as Freddy and Lali Horstmann encountered mistreatment in the Russian Zone. Lali stated that after the war Russian officers unexpectedly visited their home and searched its contents. Her husband Freddy was taken to the headquarters of the NKVD to be asked a few questions about his work in the Foreign Office. Lali was told that she could not accompany her husband to the interrogation. The officers repeatedly told Lali that she had nothing to fear. Lali said she never saw her husband again.[14]

Many Germans also reported abuse in the American Zone. Ernst von Salomon was arrested and thrown into an internment camp north of Munich with his Jewish girlfriend and other prisoners. The men were promptly beaten and the women raped by the military police while a cheering audience of American GIs watched through a window. Von Salomon had his teeth knocked out during his beating. When he picked himself up off the floor, his face pouring blood, von Salomon gasped to an officer, “You are no gentleman.” The attackers roared with laughter at this remark. “No, no, no! We are Mississippi boys!” the officer proudly responded.[15]

Von Salomon was imprisoned for 18 months in the camp without any charge against him or any interrogation being conducted. When he was finally released he was so emaciated that he looked like a skeleton. Other inmates have confirmed von Salomon’s description of the American internment camps. For example, Karl Blessing, later president of the Bundesbank, reported that he had been treated in exactly the same way.[16]

While denazification efforts were less stringent in the British Zone, the British issued directives to their soldiers to keep Germans in their place. One postwar pamphlet issued to British troops read:

Do play your part as a representative of a conquering power and keep the Germans in their place. Give orders—don’t beg the question. Display cold, correct, dignified curtness and aloofness. Don’t try to be kind—it will be regarded as weakness. Drop heavily on any attempt to take charge or other forms of insolence. Don’t be too ready to listen to stories from attractive women—they may be acting under orders. Don’t show any aversion to another war if Germany does not learn her lesson this time.[17]

The Jewish Brigade, which was part of the British Eighth Army, also murdered many disarmed and defenseless German officers. The Jewish Brigade followed behind the British army and killed senior German officers who were typically not guilty of anything except having served in defense of their country. Morris Beckman wrote in his book The Jewish Brigade: “These were the first post-war executions of selected top Nazis. There were several dozen revenge squads operating; the highest estimate of executions was 1,500. The exact figure will never be known.”[18]

The so-called denazification of Germany was in reality a concerted effort to remove all vestiges of pride in Germans in their own nation and culture. The program was hypocritically administered by the Allies with a total disregard for justice. Hans Schmidt stated in regard to denazification:

If one takes away from a nation and people their sovereignty, their independence; their right to self-determination; their right for justice and the truth; their right for an independent, impartial and fair judiciary; their right to be governed by persons (politicians or princelings) that have always the best interests of their own country in mind; their right to retain their own culture; their self-esteem, and even their own currency; their right to defend their blood lines, and finally, their identity, then this folk and nation is condemned to annihilation from this earth.[19]

Successful Guilt Campaign in Germany

Upon Germany’s unconditional surrender in May 1945, the Allies initiated a highly successful campaign to brainwash Germans and make them feel guilty about their actions, even inaction, during World War II. The Allied perpetual campaign of negative publicity has prevented an objective analysis of Germany’s involvement in the war. The fact that the Allies forced Germany into World War II has been almost totally removed from public discussion.

Friedrich Grimm, a renowned German authority on international law, was shown samples of new leaflets printed soon after the war in German to be distributed by the Allies throughout Germany. Describing German war crimes, the leaflets were the first step in the reeducation program designed for Germany. Grimm suggested to an Allied officer that since the war was over, it was time to stop the libel. The Allied officer replied: “Why no, we’re just getting started. We’ll continue this atrocity campaign, we’ll increase it till no one will want to hear a good word about the Germans anymore, till whatever sympathy there is for you in other countries is completely destroyed, and until the Germans themselves become so mixed up they won’t know what they’re doing!”[20]

Guilt pervades Germany’s people as a result of the Allied propaganda campaign. German guilt is so powerful that it has caused the German government to pay enormous reparations and offer humble apologies to the Allies, despite the atrocities committed by the Allies against the German people. Millions of German expellees have paid reparations to survivors of the German concentration camps even though these German expellees had their land and personal possessions stolen from them. German schoolchildren are repeatedly taught about crimes committed by National Socialist Germany, with virtually nothing ever taught about the crimes committed against their ancestors after the war.[21]

German children are taught from early childhood to view the Third Reich as solely bad, wrong, criminal and despicable. In the spring of 2001, Anna Rau, the 17-year-old daughter of German President Johannes Rau, was interviewed by a German television station. Anna Rau discussed what was taught in school about history:

As to the question what we are learning in school when history is taught, I can answer simply with the term National Socialism. Nothing else seems to matter. Everything about the Second World War really gets on my nerves. It is always the same. They start with Hitler, then we talk about Anne Frank, and on the day when we should take a walk in the forest, we have to go and see the movie Schindler’s List instead. And this continues when we go to church where in place of learning our religious confirmation instructions we are taught more about the “Holocaust.” The final result is obviously that we just don’t want to hear about that stuff anymore. It drains us emotionally, and eventually leads to callousness.[22]

Most people have heard of the National Socialist book burning. It happened on May 10, 1933, when mostly pornographic and literature considered to be anti-German was publicly set afire. Few people realize that the Allies removed and then destroyed no fewer than 34,645 titles of books and brochures from German libraries and bookstores after they conquered Germany. This is many times more books than were destroyed by National Socialist Germany. Even today possession of books doubting the Holocaust story can lead to a house search and confiscation of the incriminating literature, with fines and jail time meted out to the owner of the books.[23]

It is against the law in present-day Germany to defend the Third Reich in any form or manner. The showing of a swastika is a criminal offense in Germany. German National Socialists who acted admirably during World War II cannot be praised, and many honorable Germans have had their graves desecrated.[24]

Rudolf Hess, for example, was not allowed to stay buried in his chosen Bavarian town of Wunsiedel. Hess, who died in Spandau Prison on August 17, 1987, took the risk of flying to Scotland to negotiate peace with Great Britain. The town of Wunsiedel became the scene of pilgrimages for people who wanted to honor Hess for his courageous effort. On July 20, 2011, Hess’s grave was reopened and his remains were exhumed and then cremated. His ashes were scattered at sea, and his gravestone, which bore the epitaph “I took the risk” was destroyed.[25]

Mass Murder of the German People

The Allied postwar treatment of Germany probably resulted in more German deaths than occurred during the Second World War. While the exact number of casualties will never be known, the number of German military and civilian deaths during World War II is probably at most 6.5 million.[26] The total number of German postwar deaths from 1945 to 1950 almost certainly exceeds this figure.

The Allies were able to conceal their murderous policies toward the Germans since they controlled everything of consequence in Germany. The statistics of German deaths after the war were all under the control of the Allies. There was no independent German government to produce figures of its own. The U.S. Military Governor reports were designed to reflect favorably on the Allied postwar treatment of Germany, and have been widely used ever since to determine our view of Germany’s postwar treatment. These reports showed figures indicating no large number of Germans died either among the expellees or among resident Germans of the three Western zones from 1945 to 1950.[27]

German deaths after the war can be divided into three groups. The first group is the German prisoners of war (POWs) in both Europe and the Soviet Union. The second group is the German expellees from territory given over to Russia, Poland and Czechoslovakia, and the third group is the Germans already residing in Germany. While no one will ever know how many Germans died from 1945 to 1950, it is certain that the deaths far exceed most traditional estimates. The great majority of these deaths were caused by the lethal policies imposed by the Allies against the Germans.

A conservative estimate of German deaths in the Allied POW camps is 1.5 million. This includes over 517,000 POW deaths in the Soviet Union, 100,000 POW deaths in Yugoslavia, Poland and other countries, with the remaining POW deaths in U.S. and French camps. The Germans who died in these Allied POW camps suffered miserably from exposure, disease and slow starvation. This Allied atrocity is still denied by most historians today.

Probably a minimum of 2.1 million German expellees died in what were supposed to be “orderly and humane” transfers. The estimate of 2.1 million German expellee deaths is acknowledged to be valid by most traditional historians. Notable authorities have estimated a much higher number of German expellee deaths.[28] For example, Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany, estimated that 6 million German expellees died. Adenauer stated:

According to American figures a total of 13.3 million Germans were expelled from the eastern parts of Germany, from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and so on. 7.3 million [German expellees] arrived in the Eastern Zone and the three Western zones, most of these in the latter. Six million Germans have vanished from the earth. They are dead, gone. Most of the 7.3 million who stayed alive are women, children, and old people.[29]

An estimated 5.7 million Germans already residing in Germany died from the starvation policies implemented by the Allies. James Bacque details how this 5.7-million death total is calculated:

The population of all occupied Germany in October 1946 was 65 million according to the census prepared under the ACC. The returning prisoners who were added to the population in the period October 1946-September 1950 numbered 2,600,000 (rounded), according to records in the archives of the four principal Allies. Births according to the official German statistical agency, Statistisches Bundesamt, added another 4,176,430 newcomers to Germany. The expellees arriving totaled 6 million. Thus the total population in 1950 before losses would have been 77,776,430, according to the Allies themselves. Deaths officially recorded in the period 1946-50 were 3,235,539, according to the UN Yearbook and the German government. Emigration was about 600,000, according to the German government. Thus the population found should have been 73,940,891. But the census of 1950 done by the German government under Allied supervision found only 68,230,796. There was a shortage of 5,710,095 people, according to the official Allied figures (rounded to 5,700,000).[30]

Bacque’s calculations have been confirmed by Dr. Anthony B. Miller, who is a world-famous epidemiologist and head of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics at the University of Toronto. Miller read the whole work, including the documents, and checked the statistics, which he says “confirms the validity of [Bacque’s] calculations...” Miller states: “These deaths appear to have resulted, directly or indirectly, from the semi-starvation food rations that were all that were available to the majority of the German population during this time period.”[31]

The sum of 1.5 million German POWs, 2.1 million German expellees, and 5.7 million German residents equals the minimum estimate of 9.3 million Germans who died needlessly after the war. This is far more Germans than died during the Second World War. Millions of these Germans slowly starved to death while the Allies withheld available food. The majority of these postwar-dead Germans were women, children and very old men. Their deaths have never been honestly reported by the Allies, the German government or most historians.

The German dead do not tell the entire story of the genocide that was inflicted on Germans after World War II. German women who had been repeatedly raped had to bear the physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives. Millions of German expellees who lost all of their real estate and most of their personal property were never compensated by the Allies. Instead, they had to live in abject poverty in Germany after expulsion from their ancestral homes. Millions of other Germans had their property stolen or destroyed by Allied soldiers.

The Allied postwar depredation of Germany is surely one of the most brutal, criminal and unreported atrocities in world history.

Conclusion

The word “genocide” has been used repeatedly by the media and in history books to describe the treatment of Jews by National Socialist Germany during World War II. Raphael Lemkin’s invented word “genocide” applies more appropriately to the Allied treatment of the German people after World War II.


ENDNOTES

[1] Lemkin, Raphael, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944.

[2] Ibid., p. 79.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Martin, James J., The Man Who Invented ‘Genocide’: The Public Career and Consequences of Raphael Lemkin, Torrance, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1984, p. 174.

[5] Keeling, Ralph Franklin, Gruesome Harvest: The Allies’ Postwar War against the German People, Torrance, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1992, pp. 31-32.

[6] Ibid., p. 32.

[7] MacDonogh, Giles, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation, New York: Basic Books, 2007, pp. 344-348.

[8] Ibid., pp. 344, 351, 355.

[9] Bessel, Richard, Germany 1945: From War to Peace, London: Harper Perennial, 2010, pp. 194-195.

[10] Blumenson, Martin, (ed.), The Patton Papers, 1940-1945, Boston, Mass.: Houghton-Mifflin, 1974, p. 738.

[11] Bessel, Richard, Germany 1945: From War to Peace, London: Harper Perennial, 2010, p. 196.

[12] Goodrich, Thomas, Hellstorm: The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947, Sheridan, Colo.: Aberdeen Books, 2010, pp. 299-303.

[13] Von Lehndorff, Hans Graf, Token of a Covenant—Diary of an East Prussian Surgeon, 1945-47, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1964, p. 127.

[14] Horstmann, Lali, We Chose to Stay, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 1954, pp. 198-200.

[15] Botting, Douglas, From the Ruins of the Reich—Germany, 1945-1949, New York: Crown Publishers, 1985, p. 263.

[16] Ibid., pp. 263-264.

[17] Ibid., p. 206.

[18] Beckman Morris, The Jewish Brigade: An Army with Two Masters, 1944-45, Rockville Centre, N.Y.: Sarpedon, 1998, p. xiii.

[19] Schmidt, Hans, Hitler Boys in America: Re-Education Exposed, Pensacola, Fla.: Hans Schmidt Publications, 2003, pp. 26, 48.

[20] Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, p. 263.

[21] Bacque, James, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950, 2nd edition, Vancouver, British Columbia: Talonbooks, 2007, pp. 175-177.

[22] Schmidt, Hans, Hitler Boys in America: Re-Education Exposed, Pensacola, Fla.: Hans Schmidt Publications, 2003, pp. 261-262.

[23] Ibid., pp. 47-48.

[24] Ibid., p. 261.

[25] BBC News Europe, July 21, 2011.

[26] Bessel, Richard, Germany 1945: From War to Peace, London: Harper Perennial, 2010, p. 388.

[27] Bacque, James, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950, 2nd edition, Vancouver, British Columbia: Talonbooks, 2007, pp. 107-109.

[28] Ibid., p. 124.

[29] Adenauer, Konrad, Memoirs, 1945-1953, translated by Beate Ruhm von Oppen, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1966, p. 148.

[30] Bacque, James, Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950, 2nd edition, Vancouver, British Columbia: Talonbooks, 2007, pp. 115-116.

[31] Ibid., pp. xvii-xviii.


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Author(s): John Wear
Title: The Genocide of the German People, Where Revenge Dwarfs the Original Crime - And Guilt as Well
Sources: Inconvenient History, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2019)
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Published: 2019-01-19
First posted on CODOH: Jan. 19, 2019, 4:42 p.m.
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