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World War Two - POWs

The Malmedy Massacre (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Attached is a stirring collection of eyewitness accounts by the American survivors of the Malmedy Massacre (December 17, 1944) that took place during the Battle of the Bulge.

"The German officer in the car stood up, took deliberate aim with a pistol at an American medical officer in the front rank of the prisoners and fired. As the medical officer fell, the Germans fired again and another American dropped. Immediately two tanks at the end of the field opened up with their machine guns on the defenseless prisoners..."

By thew war's end it was revealed that 43% of American prisoners of war had died in Japanese camps; by contrast, 1% had died in German POW camps.

Click here to read about the Nazi murder of an American Jewish P.O.W.


Japanese Prisoners at Camp McCoy (Collier's Magazine, 1944)

"A midget Jap submarine went aground on the morning of December 8, 1941, off the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and a lieutenant just one year out of the Imperial Naval Academy walked ashore and became the first, and for many weeks our only, W.W. II prisoner. He eventually wound up at Camp McCoy..."


The Surrendering Italians (PM Magazine, 1943)

"Italians who were assigned to the defense of key hill positions surrendered in droves as the U.S. attack intensified... Many of the Italians had been without food for two days. There water was exhausted. Some of the captives shamelessly wept as the Americans offered them food and cigarettes."

Click here to read about American POWs during the Vietnam War.


P.O.W. Camp for the S.S. Women (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Among the many dubious legacies of the Second World War is a growing cult of males who have tended to feel that the German women of the SS are worthy of their attention (Kate Winslet's appearance in the 2008 movie, "The Reader" didn't help). This article (and the accompanying photographs) make it quite clear that no one would have found these men more pathetic than the G.I. guards of Prisoner of War Enclosure 334, who were charged with the task of lording over these Teutonic gorgons and who, to the man, found these women to be wildly unattractive.

"The girls who served in Adolf's army are a sorry, slovenly looking lot. In a P.O.W. camp near Florence they spill their gripes to G.I guards."

Click here to read about a member of Hitler's SS in captivity.


Two Who Escaped the Germans (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Remarkable for lacking bravado and deeds of cunning daring-do, this is a war story about two hapless GIs of the 84th Division who got themselves captured and, do to a heavy U.S. artillery barrage (that served as a backdrop throughout much of the story), were able to escape and allude further incarceration. The German officers who (briefly) lorded over these men are beautifully painted as dunderheads that will surely amuse. Wandering in a southerly direction through the frost of Belgium, they make it back to their outfits in time for a New Year's Day supper.

Click here if you would like to read about a World War One German P.O.W. camp.


Captured Hitlerjugend (Stars & Stripes, 1944)

Among the thousands of German POWs captured during the Normandy campaign was this 17 year-old alumnus of the Hitler Jugend program who is the subject in the attached column. The editors at The Stars and Stripes were dumbfounded to discover how thoroughly he had been brainwashed - to prove the point, they printed their interview with the teen.

Q. If Germany wins the war, will you punish the United States?

A. We want living space.


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