The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/nyms/ehrlich606/wwi-atrocity

From: (Ehrlich606)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: German WWI Atrocity Update!
Date: 17 May 1996 16:01:56 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 71
Message-ID: <4nilvk$>
Reply-To: (Ehrlich606)

To clarify the subject of German Atrocity Stories from WWI:

From "The First Casualty" by Phillip Knightley, HBJ, 1975.  (paraphrasis,
direct quotes in quotes, comments [] bracketed.)

Story of corpse factory began in The Times 4/16/17, with a story claiming
that the Germans were "distilling glycerine from the bodies of their
dead."  Soon after, the story grew, and soon word began to appear of the
"Kadaververwertungsanstalt" or "Corpse Exploitation Establishment".  The
issue was discussed in the House of Commons on 4/30/17.  The Germans
protested, claiming that they were not distilling glycerine from bodies
for munitions, but that they were boiling dead animals from the

Lord Robert Cecil, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said:  "... in
view of other actions by German military authorities there is nothing
incredible in the present charge against them."  (all of above, p. 105)

[Lord Cecil's formulation sounds very familiar.  Perhaps the entire
concept is a parody on the known German deficiency in raw materials for
munitions, the known breakthroughs in the German chemical industry prior
to the war, and legendary German efficiency.]

Further atrocities contributed to Germans:

The Financial News, in an editorial, 6/10/15, claimed, inter alia, that
German submariners got extra pay for sinking ships with women and
children, and that "the Kaiser had personally ordered the torturing of
three year old children, specifying the tortures to be inflicted" (p. 83) 
[Yes, but where is the Kaiser-Order?]

The Bryce Commission (under the Lord of that name) convened and produced a
report, that contained further allegations:  German officers and men
raping 20 Belgian girls in the town square in Liege, eight German soldiers
who bayoneted a two year old, and a peasant girl who had her breasts
sliced off in Malines [this story goes back to the 30 Years War, at least,
to the Siege of Magdeburg].  The report was thrown out in 1922, because
none of it could be corroborated -- and for among other reasons because
"hearsay evidence was accepted at full value." (p. 83f)

The "best" French effort, according to Knightley, concerned the famous
baby without hands episode, although it was begun by the London Times in
August 1914, viz., "One man whom I did not see told an official of the
Catholic Society that he had seen with his own eyes German soldiery chop
off the arms of a baby which clung to its mother's skirts."  This would
later evolve in the French press, so that by 1915 a photograph appeared [I
have seen this -- arms in the air, no hands, airbrushed]. Reference "La
Rive Rouge" (periodical) 9/18/15, along with a drawing "showing German
soldiers eating the hands.  No one asked how long a baby could live if its
hands were hacked off." (p. 107)

[My theory is that these rumors -- which were spread all over occupied
Belgium and France, can be traced to activities in the Belgian Congo,
where mercenaries were paid extra by providing the hands of their kills as
proof.  Consult, e.g., Twain's "King Leopold's Soliloquy"]

The book is mostly silent on atrocities alleged in WWII, and subsequently
proved by the series of trials that ensued at war's end.  The author does,
however, point out that when German civilians were given a tour of
Buchenwald after its liberation, they "fainted, wept, were sick, went
white and turned away in horror." (p. 330)  [Nor does he mention that
several Germans committed suicide after viewing the camps.  Tell it to
Daniel Goldhagen!]

Further reading:  JM Read, "Atrocity Propaganda, 1914-1919", (Yale
UP:1941), HD Lasswell, "Propaganda Techniques in the World War"
(London:1927), Arthur Ponsonby, "Falsehood in Wartime" (London: 1928)


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