June 9, 2017

1945. Nazis Ask for "Protective Custody"

Defeated German Forces Organize for Sympathy
Liberated Soviet prisoners of war at the Eselheide camp in Germany celebrate with an American soldier of the Ninth United States Army, April 18, 1945 (source)
From the Australian Daily Telegraph and North Murchison and Pilbarra Gazette, August 31, 1945:
A story of Germans running to the allied forces for protection against the erstwhile slave-workers whom they've persistently humiliated and ill-treated was told in a despatch by Bill Downs of the C.B.S. in one of the B.B.C. war reports.

A Russian boy, he said, had come to the Allied Military Government authorities and very seriously but politely asked for permission to go back and kill a brutal farmer he and other Russian boys had been forced to work under. The Military Government official explained that no punishment must be meted out until these people had had a fair trial. The Russian slave-workers looked dissatisfied and walked away. Whether or not they went back to deal with the ruthless farmer Downs didn't know. But he affirmed that the Germans' fear of the people they had maltreated is great. "They are finding out that it is really dangerous to try to be a super-race; that other peoples whom they have labelled as sub-human just don't stay that way."

As a result of that discovery these supermen were actually coming to their conquerors—to be protected from their own former victims. Downs added:—"It is a great pleasure to hear the military authorities explain that we are not there to protect Germans and that if anyone needs help it will be the slave-labourers who'll get it."

The Germans are adopting all sorts of methods to break down the non-fraternisation rule. Frank Gillard, B.B.C. correspondent, says that they try to catch the eyes and then the ears of our troops. Snatches of conversation are made audible with the intention that they shall be overheard. They endeavour to arouse pity for themselves as the victims of devastation; they stress racial and cultural likenesses between themselves and the Allies. They make special appeals for "generosity and fair play." They do all they can to evoke the sympathy of Allied men.

"So far," Gillard says, "they've had to deal mainly with combat troops, who've suffered enough at German hands to be hardened against all the wiles and wheedling of the civilian population. So the Germans have failed entirely to break down the non-fraternisation rule.

"Their concerted efforts call to mind that Ludendorff, when asked towards the end of World War I what he would do if Germany lost, replied:—'Organise sympathy for Germany.'"