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German soldiers react to footage of concentration camps, 1945

The image shows the faces of German prisoners of war, captured by the Americans, watching a film about a concentration camp. This forced confrontation brought the Germans face to face with the worst acts of the Third Reich.

It must be really hard to look back and look back on what they did, knowing that whatever happened to them, all their friends who were killed or crippled, some terrible, some against their own values was.

The original caption read: Deutsche Kriegsgefungen in den Vereinigten Stadten Seihen Einen Bildbericht aus den Deutschchen Konzentrationslagern. English: German prisoners of war held in an American camp watch a film about German concentration camps.

This coercive process was part of a post-war Allied policy of proselytism, aimed at freeing Germany from the remnants of the Nazi regime and rebuilding its civil society, infrastructure and economy.

The program included mandatory visits to nearby concentration camps, posters displaying bodies of prisoners hanged in public places, and forcing German prisoners of war to watch films documenting the behavior of the Nazis' "inferior" people. Included.

The footage came from a newsreel shown in the US, which was viewed by hundreds of millions of people at the time. seeing is believing. Often the only thing capable of denting humanity's monumental ability to bunker in a state of denial is indisputable, visual evidence.

When cruel things happen on a large scale and institutional scale in society behind closed doors and out of sight, only a jarring confrontation can dispel the illusion. If the ear does not hear, then tell it with the eye.


German soldiers were not necessarily Nazis. The Holocaust is just one side of World War II. The other side was a battle for territory and power. Sounds unthinkable today (especially when you're German), but in that respect, World War II was the last in a very long war for supremacy in Europe, which went back and forth over the centuries.

Strong nationalist sentiments and "war as an extension of diplomacy" were quite common at the time. There was no conflict between not following (probably resisting) the Nazis and fighting for "the good of our homeland".

Some soldiers were Nazis, some wanted revenge on Versailles, others wanted to sit at the same table as France and Britain. And many followed because they had no other choice.

What did the German people know about Nazi concentration camps during World War II?
Recent German historiography has shown that a lot of Germans certainly knew about the mass killings of Jews (Slavs, the mentally challenged, etc.), but not those that took place specifically in concentration camps.

You had a lot of soldiers who witnessed these killings and their reports brought it back to the home front. Jews were often besieged and their mass deportation was no secret and often witnessed by onlookers.

Some mass killings were even public. It was common for Germans to hear foreign radio stations that also mentioned mass killings of Jews. Some raised their voice against it, most famously the resistance movement White Rose, which distributed pamphlets attacking the killings of hundreds of thousands of Jews. They were identified, captured and sentenced to death.

Denazification was a collaborative initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary and politics of any remnants of National Socialist ideology.

This was done specifically by removing those involved from the affected positions and dissolving or neuting the organizations associated with it. The program of demilitarization was initiated after the end of World War II and was strengthened by the Potsdam Agreement.

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly enough, the International Red Cross had access to the camps the whole time and reported no gas chambers or an ongoing genocide.

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