Conditions, Bacque James

[Harry Mazal]

> The only rebuffs of the Bacque book came from German PoW’s in different camps
>from the ones concerned. UN involvement in the ethnic cleasning of Eastern
>Europe is not mentioned at all.

Mr. Stone is quite wrong. The best evidence that Mr. Bacque’s book is filled with
errors can be found in a peer-reviewed book edited by renown historians. The
editors and other authors of the included essays are not, as Mr. Bacque is, writers
of fiction. They are professional historians, Mr. Bacque is a novelist. The book

_Eisenhower and the German POW’s: Facts Against Falsehood_
edited by Gunther Bischof and Stephen E. Ambrose
c. 1992, Louisiana State University Press
ISBN 0-8071-1578-7

from which quotations will be drawn and identified as [EGP]with the
relevant page number, etc.

> I would also draw attention to a number of German biographies, including
>notabably ‘Iron Coffins’ by Herber Werner, recognized a classic personal
>account of the battle of the Atlantic.

What number of German biographies? Mr. Stone should illuminate the readers
by posting proper references. The following quotation, one assumes, forms
part of the text mentioned in his previous paragraph.

> ‘Flashing bayonets seperated officers from enlisted men and forced us into a
>large cage crowed with German prisoners. Our country men were walking
>skeletons, half-naked and filthy; their haor and beards were long an snarled,
>their skin leathery brown and ruptured by malnutrition. For months, they had
>lived in the open and slept exposed to the element in holes in the ground.
>Every rain would turn this barren land into a sea of muc and bury men in
>graves they had dug with there own hands’

[EGP] (Introduction by Stephen E. Ambrose)

[page 9]: “In the final weeks of war in Europe, the numbers of German troops
surrendering en masse simply became unmanageable. Resistance within the
Ruhr encirclement (Ruhrkessel) ended on April 18; when Field Marshall
Walter Model’s Army Group B surrendered, 317,000 prisoners were taken
in one day — the largest mass surreender of German troops during the war.
After such mass surrenders, the improvised and makeshift POW/DEF
‘temporary enclosures’ quickly became overcrowded.” …

“The numbers of German prisoners taken by U.S. forces shot up from
313,000 to 2.6 million in early April, then to more than 5 million a month

[page 18]: “Kurt Bohme, probably the best-informed expert on the treatment
of German POW’s in American hands concludes that Eisenhower and the
U.S. Army had to improvise for months in taking care of the masses of
prisoners to prevent a catastrophe: ‘In spite of all the misery that occurred
behind the barbed wire, the catastrophe was prevented; the anticipated
mass deaths did not happen.’ … There are examples of mass deaths among
POW’s in World War II, particularly on the eastern front and in the Pacific
theater. In 1941 alone, 2 million of 3.3 million Soviet POW’s — about 60
percent — died in the hands of the German army or were executed by the
special SS killer commandos (Einsatzgruppen) in collusion with the
[German] army. By 1944, only 1.05 million of 5 million Russian POW’s
in German hands had survived. Of some 2 to 3 million German POW’s in
Russian hands, more than 1 million died — a mortality rate that may be as
high as 50 percent. … The editors of this volume think that as many as
56,000 German POW’s — out [page 19] of the 5 million captured at the
end of the war — may have died in American captivity in the European
theater in 1945. This rough estimate of a mortality rate of slightly more
than 1 percent would roughly match the mortality of American POW’s
in German hands.

> Pretty well corrobarates Bacque I would think. Werner was being handed over
>from the relative comfort of being a British prisoner to being a US prisoner.

If one had to chose between being a Russian POW in German hands, a
German POW in Russian hands, or a German POW in American hands,
which would Mr. Stone have preferred?
> The logical place to test these accusations is in a court of law.

A court of law? Based on what? It has been demonstrated that the death
rates of German POW’s in American hands closely matches the death rates
of American POW’s in German hands. If Mr. Stone wishes to make a case
of this, he is welcome to initiate a class-action suit against the United
States Government. Before doing so, he might want to peruse:

_For you the War is Over: American Prisoners of War in Nazi Germany_
by David A. Foy,
c. 1984, Stein and Day
ISBN 0-8128-2925-5

or, far more illuminating:

_Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler’s Camps_
by Mitchell G. Bard
c. 1994, Westview Press
ISBN 0-8133-2193-X

(from the dust cover):

“Fifty years later, Americans may now also find it difficult to believe
that their fellow citizens were among the twelve million people
murdered by the Nazis, abandoned to their fate by their own
government. … The outbreak of the war in Europe put tens of
thousands of American civilians, especially Jews, in deadly peril,
but the State Department failed to help them. … _Forgotten
Victims_ provides documentary evidence proving that American
officials knew that U.S. civilians and soldiers were in danger, that
they were being mistreated (including being placed in concentration
camps), and that they were even murdered by the Nazis.”

[page 2] Tens of thousands of Americans were in peril, but their
government did not act instantly or effectively. Consequently
many suffered, some died. … One reason for the lack of attention
is that the number of American victims — probably a few thousand —
was relatively small when compared to the total number that

>Although Bacque accuses the US Army and General Eisenhower
> of war crimes no one has yet brought a case of libel against him,
>which suggests to me that there is some truth in the accusations.

Mr. Stone appears to be unaware that the libel laws in this country
only protect the living. General Eisenhower, or better yet, President
Eisenhower has been dead since 1969, long before Mr. Bacque’s
nonsense was written. The equivalent of a libel suit against
Mr. Bacque is, in historical terms, the book edited by Messrs
Bichof and Ambrose. The fact that they have called Mr.
Bacque a liar, and far worse, and that Mr. Bacque has not
sued them for libel suggests to me that there is nothing but
truth in their allegations against him.

> I have given people the appropriate references. I am not surprised to have
>received no response. Nobody likes to discover they are up to their knees in
>corpses as well.

Up to their knees in corpses? Mr. Stone is seriously mistaken. According
to the Maschke Commission Report, officially known as the “Scientific
Commission for the History of German Prisoners of War,” consisting
of twenty two volumes, and which took sixteen years to write:

[EGP] ” Some Reflections on the Maschke Commission” by Rolf

[page 176]: “How many POW’s died? Were there mass killings or not?
The Maschke Commission figures for the six worst camps (Bad
Kreuznach-Bretzenheim, Remagen-Sinzig, Rheinberg, Heidesheim,
Wickrathberg, and Bu”derich together holding a total of 557,000
POW’s on May 8, 1945): 3,053 dead according to United States Army
Sources, or 4,537 dead according to local authorities. If one accepts
these figures the death rate was ca. 1 percent compared with a
mortality rate of 20-25 percent in Russian camps. The commission’s
conclusion: ‘There were no mass deaths in the West.’ Reports from
other German local authorities confirm this.”

Mr. Bacque, with no further evidence than his fertile imagination as
a novelist claims that the Maschke Commission Report is a whitewash.
This is typical denier rhetoric. When they find no proof to the contrary,
deniers fall back on inventing conspiracies. Finally, from:

[page 180] “In summary, there is excellent material in the twenty-two
volumes published by the Maschke Commission — although Bacque
makes very few references to it. Based on some 45,000 diaries and
personal testimonies by prisoners, most of them written years after
the event, the commission’s findings cover a wide range of POW
history. There is one basic message: even though the conditions in
some American and French camps at the end of the war were
appalling, most of the missing men were the responsibility of the
Russians. The commission found no evidence to believe of mass
killings of German POW’s/ DEF’s in Western camps. … There is
enough evidence to show that Bacque is absolutely wrong.”