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From: artkramr@aol.comnojunk (ArtKramr)
Subject: Re: Not all Germans were Nazis
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Date: 12 Aug 1999

>Subject: Re: Not all Germans were Nazis
>From: "Thomas Schoene" 
>Date: Wed, 11 August 1999 11:04 PM EDT
>Message-id: <01bee46f$98728f60$20784e0c@default>
>ArtKramr <artkramr@aol.comnojunk> wrote in article
>> There was never a single case where American troops marched into a
>> German town and the Americans were greeted with cheers and welcome. You
>> figure it out.
>Not being a Nazi doesn't necessarily mean you like losing a war or
>that must welcome your conquerors with open arms.  It was perfectly
>possible to be a German patriot without being a Nazi.  

Let me tell you a story. I went through the war from D Day to VE day. I had
only flown 50 missions so I was 15 missions short of going home. We needed 65
to go home. I was stuck in the army of occupation for 14 months. Because I
speak fluent German I was in the Ameican Military Governement and in contact
with Germans on a day to day basis. I met all kinds of Germans. NIce, ordinary
ones who wouldn't hurt a fly. Good family men and woman, polite, well educated
prople who made a good impression. The kind of people you would like to have as
a friends. And I had long intereeing conversations with hundreds of them. They
all said they were not Nazis. And they all said they were not political and
knew nothing of the camps or the holocaust.  And they told me about how they
had suffered during the war and how  bad the shortages were and how tough it
was to get good clothes. But when they heard me speak German they came to the
very mistaken conclusion that I was in fact German. And how did a nice German
boy lkie me come to fight against Germany? Then very cautiously they would make
comments like, Hitler wasn't all wrong you know. He did some good things. After
all  the communists had to be stopped. And  the Jews, well, what can we say
about the Jews?  This was a recurring conversation repeated hundred of times,
again and again all the time I was there. Never once did a German confide in me
and whisper that he/she was glad we won the war so the German people could be
liberated. Not once. And no people can fight with the fury the German did
without  total dedication to their cause. During this period, I had visited the
camps and the stench of burning flesh was still fresh in my memory. And so were
those fine young men that never made it home. The German people, after  WW II
had only one regret and that was that they lost the war. In a previous message
someone blamed US propoganda for blaming the  Germans for Nazi atrocites. It
was as though the Germans were innocent and the US government was to blame for
it all. Now that is revisionism of the  most vicous  and distorted kind. And
exhibits an ignorance of the true conditions in postwar Germany that is truly

Arthur Kramer
344th Bomb Group 9th Air Force
England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany

X-Source: The Tankers' Forum
Subject: Re: Dan Welch and German vets 
From: Dan Welch
Date: 1/2/99 10:31:49 AM

     Michael David Peck said: 


     That's a very interesting point. Could you tell us more? Did German
     vets ever express any genuine remorse for their actions, or at least
     for the cause they served? Do they understand the cause they served?

     Come to think of it, has anyone ever read a German memoir where the
     author admitted to hating or mistreating a Jew or a Slav or anyone
     else? I think there are Vietnam memoirs written by men who feel
     remorse over accidentally shooting civilians. Has anyone seen that
     among the Germans?


The most interesting experience I ever had was with a family that lived
in Baumholder. I and a friend went to their home for the Christmas
exchange program when I was a PFC. There was grandpa and grandma, the son
of grandpa and grandma, his wife, and their two children. Grandpa had
rebuilt his small pre-war bakery into a chain spread over
Rhineland-Pfalz, and was pretty much rich. His son now ran the show, and
the grandson was a commo guy in a Bundeswehr arty unit. The grandaughter
(a babe) was going to culinary school, and was destined to take over the
business. This was in '82. After the preliminary wine and small talk,
including concern over the recent deployment of Soviet SS-20's. After
dinner, I carefully broached the question of grandpa's possible
participation in the war. I speak fairly decent German, and the grandson
spoke fairly decent English, so as we got drunker, communication became
so smooth there was no barrier at all. As we all got more bombed on
champaigne, they all opened up more and more. It ended up Grandpa had
been a member of the SA, had ended up in jail after the night of the long
knives, got out, tried to join the SS, was denied because of his prior SA
time, and ended up joining the Heer.  He served in Poland, missed France,
but was on the coast prepping for Sealion til it was cancelled. Went into
Russia, spent like 3 years there, was wounded, recovered, got sent to the
west, and was captured. Got tired of sitting around in a POW cage, and
managed to get out and walked back home. Found the bakery rubbled and the
family gone. Tracked them down, and then started the process of

His son was the youngest drummer in his chapter of the HJ, and missed
conscription due to his extreme youth. Grandma was extremely proud of he
husband and son's service the the NSDAP, as were the grandkids, and the
mother was the only one there who (and this was painfully obvious) seemed
at all shocked or disappointed in the conversations taking place. Since
my friend and I were both avid historians, we knew about everything they
talked about, and asked very informed questions, which had the effect of
thoroughly pleasing them and flattering them, bringing out yet more

This is the jist: There was no better time in German history, Hitler was
a great man, the greatest German (Austrian never came up) who may have
been misguided somewhat in views, but all people have these minor
problems. Jews were not to be talked about, as when Jews were brought up,
Grandpa in particular seethed with distaste. And in racial issues,
Grandpa confided that the US Army was the greatest war machine in
history, and that we should have banded together against the Reds. The
only problem with the American Army was that if you had a company of 100
men, and put one black in it, it destroyed the worth of that company.

Grandpa's MOS was a bridge pioneer, and his main job was reinforcing
existing bridges, whether light or damaged, to take the weight of heavy
traffic and tanks.  He had several stories of the eastern front, and told
of things like kicking in a peasant hut door and making the woman their
convert the sleeves of her shirt into a pair of gloves by cutting and
sewing fingers into them so he could keep his hands warm. This was a
common activity, kicking in doors and exploiting peasants for needs,
since that was basically all they were there for.  He never said anything
about blatant atrocities, but the general treatment of Russians was
atrocious, which just throws fuel on the bigger fire.

The fear of Russia as the main threat to Europe was a standard concern,
and it was obvious that this was a main point from his SA days all the
way through to the (at the time) present. I would say that in order of
dislike (hate might be too strong a word, but I wouldn't discredit it)
Jews were probably first (but these had been largely dealt with as a
threat) followed by the USSR, and then probably the third country
nationals, that are just about universally disliked in Germany.  I'd like
to state at this point that I used to visit these people back when I was
20 years old, during what I'd like to call the adolescant period of my
adulthood. Back when I thought that the ultimate fighting machine in the
world had been the Waffen SS, and was very into the German side of the
history of WW II. I used to hit the flea markets and antique shops in
Germany then, looking for war memoriabilia and militaria. My outlook has
significantly changed since then.  I used to visit Grandpa and Grandma on
a fairly regular basis after that at their home. They were always glad to
see me, and we always had a plate of pastry and plenty of wine. That was
a standard thing. We'd talk about the war mostly, but other things as
well. I'd often bring books for him to comment on, and I tried using my
German dictionary, but after the first visit, stopped bringing it, as
every time I went to look up a work, Grandpa would push the dictionary
aside. He insisted I'd learn better by just trying to understand without
the book.
Although I have many fond memories of my times talking to German
veterans, I must admit that I am embarrassed by the way I used to admire
them. I have since changed my outlook on life drastically.

I do believe that some people are inherently evil, and that evil is a
real force in the world. I am not saying that German veterans are evil,
but I do believe that in general, none of them look at the cause they
were fighting for as evil. I believe it was. My wife is a Filipina, and
my children are bi-racial. Although I would have liked to introduce
Grandpa and Grandma to my wife, as they would no doubt have been delited
to meet my future family (they really did treat me like family), I don't
think they would have approved of my inter-racial mixing. I also would
not ever again go to visit, even if alone, just because of the belief
system they had. Also, because of my experience in the Gulf War, I have a
serious grudge against anyone who instigates a war for anything less than
a noble cause.

I'd like to make a note about talking to Germans in general, from my
experience.  If you don't speak German, you can expect the usual
politically correct canned answers to questions about the war. They will
look at you as a foreigner. But if you speak German, they will talk to
you completely differently. Someone who speaks German and is white can
expect to be treated almost like they were a German themselves, provided
they are friendly and courteous, which Germans expect as basic protocol.

An underlying theme I found to be present during many conversations was
the regret not of what happened during the war, but the main regret that
the war was lost. If it had been won, there would be no need for regret.
As far as the holocaust, suffering, destruction, etc., these things are a
normal part of war, and although unfortunate, they should be overlooked
as part of the means to the end.  Of course, I would not be so bombastic
to feel that there aren't German people out there who are truly disgusted
with the way things went, and who are good, wholsome people. But I know
too well that there is an undercurrent there that is alive and well. I
know Germans personally that believe that Kristelnacht is not that far
away from a repeat, and know one German woman who has moved to the US
because she honestly feels it is not that far away, and she doesn't want
to be there anymore. But this time, since there aren't any jews left to
speak of, the violence will be directed against the third country

Anyone who's familiar with the Bundeswehr is well aware of the problems
they are experiencing with neo-nazism in the ranks and the similar and
larger problems of neo-nationalism. Simple things like re-adopting the
jack boot have not helped at all, and many believe that measures like
these were intentional.  You would be surprised at how many Germans you
can talk to in the US that believe, given the opportunity, Germany would
try it again.

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