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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/b/bacque.james/bacque.006

Archive/File: people/b/bacque.james bacque.006
Last-Modified: 1994/12/20

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
From: (Ross Vicksell)
Subject: What James Bacque found in the Soviet Archives
Keywords: Bacque
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 02:52:02 GMT
Lines: 129

I thought it would be nice to inject something relatively new into the
Other Losses discussion.  This is a letter by James Bacque, author of
Othe Losses.  It appeared in The Times Literary Supplement of August 20,

Sir,-It is every writer's delight to be attacked in a famous journal by a
confused critic, so my thanks go to John Keegan for airing his views on my
work in the TLS on July 23.

Mr Keegan has been misled by the editors of the book, "Eisenhower and the
German POWs: Facts against falsehood," which he cites to refute me.  The
principal editor, Stephen E.  Ambrose, clearly does not know what he
thinks from day to day, because he has varied wildly from strong approval
of my book, "Other Losses," to snarling slanders of me personally,
together with buffoonish misrepresentations of American army policies. 
Having kindly read my manuscript, he wrote to me as follows: "I am not
arguing with the basic truth of your have the goods on
these guys, you have the quotes from those who were present and saw with
their own eyes, you have the broad outline of a truth so terrible I really
can't bear really have made a major historical discovery..." It
appears from the latest Ambrose writings that, indeed, the truth was
something he could not bear.

The same might be said for his co-editor, Gunter Bischof, an Austrian. 
Keegan admires the "scholarship" of Bischof, but Bischof does not know a
displaced persons camp from a prison camp.  He chastises me for stating
that there was a US Army prison camp at Ebensee in Austria: he says that
the camp was for DPs.  In fact, I have photocopies of General Mark Clark's
secret report about the condition of prisoners of war in the camp, plus US
Army medical reports of prisoners in the camp, plus eyewitness accounts of
the catastrophe among dozens of thousands of prisoners, including the
manuscript of a diary kept by the priest Franz Loidl who ministered to the
dying.  This manuscript is on deposit in the Church History Institute of
the Catholic Theological Faculty, University of Vienna.

In the same book so admired by Keegan is a gross error made by Rudiger
Overmanns, who does not even know the number of prisoners taken by the
Americans.  This was not 3.8 million as he says, but over 6 million,
according to US Army records in Suitland, Maryland.  Of course, this
error, conveniently for Ambrose and Keegan, apparently diminishes the 
number of lives for which the Americans were responsible.

Underlying the Ambrose-Bischof book is a series on German prisoners edited
by Erich Maschke.  Underlying that series is no important documentation
from the US Army archives in Washington.  The author of the book on the
American camps casually omits all the significant records that survived
the paper purges of the late 1940s.  However, for an expert judgment on
the condition of American camps Mr Keegan may rely on the words of an
American Lieutenant-Colonel who was in charge of the camps in France in
1945.  In a report preserved at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry W.  Allard wrote that "the standards of PW camps
in the Com Z in Europe compare as only slightly better or even with the
living conditions of the Japanese PW camps our men tell us about, and
unfavourably with those of the Germans".  Let us remember that after the
war, the Americans executed Japanese for precisely the crimes referred to
by Allard. 

Mr Keegan does not accept the definition of the term "Other Losses" given
me by Colonel Philip S.  Lauben.  He is unaware of the US Army report
discovered by Richard Boylan, a senior archivist at the US National
Archives, which confirms Lauben.  The report plainly states that the
"Other Loses" category of prisoners meant deaths and escapes.  And
finally, of course, 1,700,000 Germans, plus hundreds of thousands of other
Europeans, are still missing from their families.  This astounding fact is
normally neglected by the Western apologists, unless they can also use it
to hammer the Soviets, saying they all died in the Gulag.  But now that
the Soviets are gone, their archives are open and the truth at last

That truth is simple.  The Soviets took some 4.1 million prisoners of war
east and west, of whom some 600,000 died in slavery.  Of the total take,
some 2.4 million were Germans.  Of these, some 450,600 died, the rest were
sent home.  Subtracting the 450,600 dead Germans from the missing 1.7
million, we see that some 1.25 million are still not accounted for.  Of
these, probably 100,000 - 200,000 died in Polish, Yugoslavian and other
camps.  The number remaining is very nearly the number I said in "Other
Losses" of those who died among all Europeans taken prisoner in the West.

I wonder if Mr Keegan will consult the Soviet records before attacking
them? The surprising thing about the Soviet records is that they are
extensive, detailed, accurate and incriminating.  For instance, on the
subject of prisoners of war, these archives display a dossier for each
prisoner, complete with capture records, biographical information,
legal,labour and medical history, including X-ray photographs, and so on. 
The average is about fifteen pages per person.  The dossier of Nobel prize
winner Konrad Lorenz, the Austrian zoologist contains two hundred pages
about him and his work.  No such records exist anywhere in the West.  In
months of work in the archives of the West, I was never able to find the
dossier for a single one of the 9 or so million prisoners held.  Not one. 
But in the first hour in the NKVD/KGB archives, I found the archival boxes
containing over 4 million personal dossiers.  I was allowed to walk up and
down the aisles, and take down and photocopy any box I chose at random,
and did so.  I have scores of photocopies of those records here in
Toronto, and Mr Keegan is welcome to consult them.  Or he may wish to
visit Moscow.  He will find interesting information beginning with the
story of the Japanese prisoners.  The Japanese authorities have long since
determined that some 62,000 of their prisoners, chiefly in the Kwantung
Army, died in the Gulag.  The Soviets lied to the Japanese government for
years about the number of deaths, first saying 3,800 had died, then about
4,000, then around 35,000.  Finally, the Soviet archives were opened, and
mirabile dictu, the death certificates were all there, totalling very
nearly 62,000. 

Do I hear Keegan protesting that Japan is not Germany? On his visit to
Moscow, he may see for himself the Soviet records showing that the
prisoners of various nationalities were often mixed together in the same
camp, so that Japanese were enslaved beside Germans, were all treated the
same way, and died in approximately the same ratio of much the same
causes.  Letters to me from individual prisoners and records at the Hoover
Institution in Stanford all show independently of the Soviet archives that
this was the case in more than thirty major camps. 

Let me also remind Keegan that the Poles long accused the Soviets of
massacring some 14,000 officers at Katyn, but that the Soviet archives
reveal that the true total was around 21,000.  If John Keegan and his
friends wish to attack the authenticity of the Soviet archives, they are
going to have to show that the fragmentary documents in the Western
archives, airy with lacunae and poxed with evasions, are superior to these
tremendous archives which incriminate its masters for a horrifying crime
against humanity.  What will they say then? That the Soviets are hiding

              JAMES BACQUE
              422 Heath St. E.  
              Toronto, Ontario

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