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#1 Warren F

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 12:30 AM

I have just read of 2 German soldiers executed by other German soldiers after May 08, 1945 while under control (?) of Canadian Army which apparently contravened the Geneva convention. From what I read the executioners were reissued with their rifles by Canadian military forces so the execution could take place.
Any publications on this or other incidences would be appreciated. Also any more info.
Thanks Warren
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#2 James S

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 02:16 AM

Warren can you post on details of this , thanks
js
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#3 Verrieres

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 08:41 AM

I have just read of 2 German soldiers executed by other German soldiers after May 08, 1945 while under control (?) of Canadian Army which apparently contravened the Geneva convention. From what I read the executioners were reissued with their rifles by Canadian military forces so the execution could take place.
Any publications on this or other incidences would be appreciated. Also any more info.
Thanks Warren

Hi,
Cannot confirm or deny this however if anyone remembers the TV series Secret Army which has just been re-run on UK History the last episode in the series ends with a court marshall of a Luftwaffe oficer (Major Reinhardt)in a POW Camp he is found guilty and sentenced to death. The other prisoners approach the Canadian Commander who re-issues rifles (one round only ) for the use of a firing squad made up of other Prisoners of War .All set just after the German surrender ,has the shows researchers come across the same information or is this a coincidence?
Regards
Verrieres
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#4 Owen

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 09:00 AM

Not an execution but I read about German Paras being sent into forest by the British to clear it of SS troops.

http://www.ww2talk.c...may-1945-a.html
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#5 Gibbo

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 10:52 AM

Hi,
Cannot confirm or deny this however if anyone remembers the TV series Secret Army which has just been re-run on UK History the last episode in the series ends with a court marshall of a Luftwaffe oficer (Major Reinhardt)in a POW Camp he is found guilty and sentenced to death. The other prisoners approach the Canadian Commander who re-issues rifles (one round only ) for the use of a firing squad made up of other Prisoners of War .All set just after the German surrender ,has the shows researchers come across the same information or is this a coincidence?
Regards
Verrieres


When this episode was originally shown there was some criticism that a generally realistic series had been spoiled by including such an unlikely event. These comments led to letters to the Press stating that it was based on a true event. The correspondence probably took place in the BBC's listings magazine, Radio Times.
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#6 DaveW53

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 03:21 PM

There is something similar to this in Paul Verhoeven's film 'Black Book' where after the liberation in Holland, Germans are allowed to form a firing squad and execute a German officer.

Apparently the scene was based on historical event. In Holland, on 13th May 1945, 5 days after formal surrender, the Canadian Seaforth Highlanders supplied a German firing squad with captured German rifles. Two German naval deserters were executed. So there was certainly cooperation between Canadian military and German military units and a reliance on German military leadership.

The sheer number of German troops presented problems for the allies along with the sudden change of job from soldier to police officer. In fact the Canadians required the German military to remain formationally intact and functional. To achieve this they applied a questionable interpretation of international law. Surendered Germans were held not as POW's but as "Surrendered Enemy Personnel" - this allowed them to largely administer and maintain themselves.

To read more about this and the chaotic situation the allies found themselves in along with some interesting photos, try the following link:
http://www.wlu.ca/lc...ian Control.pdf

Dave
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#7 Warren F

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 06:27 PM

Did some more digging. Here is the info...On May 13,1945 2 German Soldiers named Bruno Dorfer & Rainer Beck were executed by the German Army after a court martial held by the German Armed Forces. They were transported to their execution in a Cdn truck driven by the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada and the rifles used were German weapons reissued to the executioners by a Seaforth officer.
Note the date of the execution, 5 days after the war supposedly ended.

Any comments? or further info.
thanks, Warren
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#8 Rich Payne

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 06:40 PM

The war didn't of course end with the unconditional surrender of Germany. There was still a problem in the Far East and apprehension as to what the Red Army, who had been allowed to advance too far into Germany, would do next.

Pragmatism seems to have been the order of the day and the restoration of order in the western-occupied zones of Germany seems to have proceeded in an exemplary manner.

The maintenance of military discipline amongst victor and vanquished would have been of great importance at that time.

It is a pity that the lessons learned were not applied to the Iraqi army in the most recent conflict there. A clear example of what occurs when an enemy is completely disarmed and the occupying forces attempt to take over all control.
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#9 Traven

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:37 PM

The episode regarding the exectution of the German deserters is documented in Daavid Stafford's book, Endgame, 1945. There were more than just that single instance of executions carried out by German military authorities with the Canadians' assistance. In part this was due to the fact that the Germans did not technically "surrender" their forces in Holland, so they were not POWs. I still find it bizarre, however, that those in the higher command of the Canadian forces didn't just say, I don't give a damn, we're not helping the Germans execute anyone -- if for no other reason, then for the bad publicity (which the policy eventuallly attracted).
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#10 Drew5233

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 04:59 PM

I believe the Allied allowed any death sentences handed down by via 'court marshall' or sorts to be honoured aslong as the sentence was passed before the surrender it was allowed to be honoured.

Albeit a film but it was mentioned in some detail in the film Black Book.

Cheers
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#11 James S

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 05:17 PM

Verrieres
Hi,
Cannot confirm or deny this however if anyone remembers the TV series Secret Army which has just been re-run on UK History the last episode in the series ends with a court marshall of a Luftwaffe oficer (Major Reinhardt)in a POW Camp he is found guilty and sentenced to death. The other prisoners approach the Canadian Commander who re-issues rifles (one round only ) for the use of a firing squad made up of other Prisoners of War .All set just after the German surrender ,has the shows researchers come across the same information or is this a coincidence?
Regards
Verrieres

Yes , I remember that - to me it seemed so unlikely ......hopefully it was but I find it slightly disturbing to learn that sentences were "carried out".
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#12 phylo_roadking

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 07:41 PM

There were also numerous examples throughout the war of POWS convening courts'-martial to try their own personnel who had been found guilty of normal breaches of discipline, or more usually treason (passing information to the guards etc.). Doesn't Pat Reid write about at least one in Colditz? And Kretschmer convened one in Grizedale Hall to force another officer to break out in an attempt to reach Barrow and somehow scuttle his U-Boat that had been recovered and brought to port by the RN.

(IIRC this led to the only incident of the Home Guard shooting and killing a German during the war, as the officer tried to break back IN to Grizedale Hall!)

It didn't take much knotted blanket to make a noose...
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#13 James S

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:08 PM

I think it was the first watch officer from U-570 that Kretschmer insisted go and destoy the boat , to restore honour deemed to have been lost - he was killed in the attempt.
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#14 canuck

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 01:36 AM

Not a glorious episode in Canada's military history.

http://www.wlu.ca/lc...ian Control.pdf
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#15 Wills

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 06:49 AM

Not sure what to say about this, there is always a rule book!


Procedure for Military Executions June-1944
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#16 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:34 AM

Hmmm, can tell me anybody why a defeated enemy has to decide anything? Thats indeed a bad point for the Canadian Army.
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Ulrich

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#17 stolpi

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:42 AM

What about the German Army ?
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#18 Andreas

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:46 AM

Tragic, but I don't really see how the Canucks can be held responsible for this. The alternative would have been to dissolve the German army structures in the Netherlands, with potentially extremely serious consequences for the safety of everybody (Iraq 2003 anyone?).

http://www.nytimes.c....1.7372961.html

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The people responsible wore field grey and invaded the Netherlands in 1940 (and my grandfather was one of them), they didn't come from Toronto in battle dress.

All the best

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#19 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:52 AM

What i mean is that a defeated enemy is only allowed to do things with the agreement of the winner. So they can do guard duties, they can arrest deserters, criminals or else but the decision what to do with them is only at the winner side. So that means if they arrested deserters, the Canadian Army has to decide what to do with them, except the Wehrmacht haven´t told the Canadians that they caught some and executed them somewhere where it isn´t under the eyes of the Canadians.
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Regards,

Ulrich

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#20 stolpi

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:04 AM

These so-called 'deserters', the few that did survive, even long after the war were regarded as war treasoners (with a criminal record) and, as I learn from this article, were not particularly well treated: German parliament to settle fate of WWII deserters (News Feature) - Monsters and Critics

The collective rehabilatation finally came in 2009? ............ :huh: ... a bit late I think.

Edited by stolpi, 28 May 2012 - 09:23 AM.

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#21 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:11 AM

Thats another idiotic thing!
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Regards,

Ulrich

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#22 stolpi

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:23 AM

Idiotic ... is a gross understatement.

Edited by stolpi, 28 May 2012 - 09:29 AM.

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#23 Andreas

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:33 AM

What i mean is that a defeated enemy is only allowed to do things with the agreement of the winner. So they can do guard duties, they can arrest deserters, criminals or else but the decision what to do with them is only at the winner side. So that means if they arrested deserters, the Canadian Army has to decide what to do with them, except the Wehrmacht haven´t told the Canadians that they caught some and executed them somewhere where it isn´t under the eyes of the Canadians.


I guess it comes down to your capacity to deal with the matter. My guess is the Canadians didn't have a lot of capacity to involve themselves in the operations of the German military justice system, so they took a decision not to. I find that understandable.

My grandfather also (sort of) deserted the Wehrmacht about this time (his unit CO basically made it clear that if anyone wanted to try to get home, they could do so), in Denmark. Had he been caught he might well have suffered the same fate as the poor sods in the Netherlands.

All the best

Andreas
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#24 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:48 AM

Yes i think this and the fact that they didn´t know what to do with all of those Soldiers overwhelmed them a bit. I can understand the deserters at this time of the war. Why to be killed for nothing?
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Regards,

Ulrich

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#25 Andreas

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:01 AM

For my grandfather it was a question of getting home rather than going into captivity.

All the best

Andreas
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#26 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:25 AM

Always the better option! You never know what happens to you while you´re in captivity.
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Regards,

Ulrich

"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

#27 von Poop

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:32 AM

Merged in with a previous thread on the same incident - old thread ran to post #13.
~A

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#28 Drayton

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

Tragic, but I don't really see how the Canucks can be held responsible for this. The alternative would have been to dissolve the German army structures in the Netherlands, with potentially extremely serious consequences for the safety of everybody


There was a world of difference (the difference between life and death) between allowing the German military structure to continue temporarily for purely internal administration - lodging, feeding etc - and formally approving discredited and disreputable "judicial" procedures, to the extent of supplying the essential means of unlawful "executions".

There is no doubt that under both International and Canadian law the Canadian officers responsible should have been tried for aiding and abetting murder.
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#29 Wills

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

International Humanitarian Law - Geneva Convention Prisoners of War 1929





Art. 46. Prisoners of war shall not be subjected by the military authorities or the tribunals of the detaining Power to penalties other than those which are prescribed for similar acts by members of the national forces.
Officers, non-commissioned officers or private soldiers, prisoners of war, undergoing disciplinary punishment shall not be subjected to treatment less favourable than that prescribed, as regards the same punishment, for similar ranks in the armed forces of the detaining Power.

Whilst this court was not Canadian, Would a defence not suggest that the Canadian forces allowed what was the 'normal punishment handed down for the offence by the national forces?' Heaven forbid - I am not defended the action.

Edited by Wills, 29 May 2012 - 08:47 PM.

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#30 Drayton

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 09:52 AM

No. The standard to be applied to Prisoners of War, for treatment in general and for disciplinary penalties in particular, is that of the 'detaining Power' - in this case, Canada.

Manifestly, neither the charade of a 'court-martial' to which the victims were subjected nor the imposition of the death penalty for desertion in such circumstances, met the Canadian standards, and the Canadian chain of command must have been well aware of this. To hand over men who had conscientiously distanced themselves from Nazism and carrying on the war against the Allies, and thereby, after the complete German surrender and end of hostilities, were no threat to anyone - Germans or Allies - was overt encouragement to murder.
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