'Urban Myths' We Heard of WW2 ?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Steve G, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    I've been meaning to kick this one off for some time now. I'll be intrigued to read others experiences.

    To show ye where I'm coming from; I'd hope this may develop into a thread about those stories one heard from parents and older relatives. The sort of things learned, as a child, and since taken as gospel, at least till Google and places such as this proved or disproved the 'Given'.

    Here's some of the things my parents, and others, told me then. Anything up to half a century ago. Much of it, probably, passed down from their parents, who would have been adults during WW2. I'll annotate my own, later findings / beliefs, where applicable.

    1/ " The Nazis used to chuck babies up in the air and catch them on their bayonets. "

    * I since happened across a reference to this practice, on Google (Wikie?). Only I seem to recall it related to an isolated (?) incident involving some Eastern European / Balkan (?) outfit and could as well have occurred during some much earlier conflict. Basically; Their leader did it, as a deliberate act of atrocity, to quell the local populace.

    2/ Gas Chamber victims were told they were to have a shower. Thus they were ordered to strip naked, and the Gas Chambers were fitted out with shower heads. Only no water ever poured out of them.

    * " Schindlers List " echoes this one rather 'nicely'. But we never do see what happens after the Real victims go down those steps at Auschwitz. I've since 'learned' that the Zyklon B cannister was dropped down a hole, into the Gas Chamber. Thus, I'd presumed, simply appearing ~ somewhat like a hand grenade ~ amongst the people below.

    3/ The Nazis made lamp shades out of human skin. Especially that which bore tattoos.

    * Of course, I took this to be a generalised thing. I hadn't then heard of Ilse Koch.

    I may remember more. Bit late now. But, anyone got any to add? 'Dicuss' ? What were You told about 'The War'; Before ye were old enough to know, and decades before Google was even dreamed of?
  2. Elven6

    Elven6 Discharged

    I remember one that was hammered into our minds as children and well into high school, although I was one of the smart ones ;)

    Had the Axis won everyone would be living in camps, boats, etc and forced to wake up at 4 in the morning to salute the commandant that would inspect the area and then be forced to work hard until night.

    *Of course looking at occupied territory that would not have been the case, I get depressed when I look back at how biased the school system was and still is.

    I'm a bit iffy on this one so feel free to correct if you deem fit,

    Hitler invaded Stalingrad because he hated the fact that Stalin had a city named after him.

    *Hitler made a opening joke about that being the reason for invasion when speaking at what I believe may have been the Reichstag. (At least, thats the vibe the movie Stalingrad gives off)
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive


    No.2 I believed they had to strip of because the Gas clung to clothing after the victims were gased and the extraction fans couldn't get all the gas out.

    Elven 6.

    I believe Stalingrad was attacked because it controlled what moved on the Volga (I await HG's verdict though)

  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    5 to 1' Sherman/Panther/Tiger (Sorry to bring that one up again).

    That aeroplanes simply steamed in and destroyed all the German Armour at Normandy.

    That the war was ever as simple as so often seems to be implied in popular perceptions of it.

    That anyone will ever 'get' the whole thing in it's worldwide entirety.

    That the camera never lies.

    That the 'garand ping' would make a blind bit of difference while people are firing guns.

    That Rommel was in fact James Mason? :unsure:

    And many other golden greats...
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    *Hitler made a opening joke about that being the reason for invasion when speaking at what I believe may have been the Reichstag. (At least, thats the vibe the movie Stalingrad gives off)
    Elven, this was a speech that Hitler made to the party faithful in November (I think) 1942 when he made reference to a city that bears Stalins name.

    Other Myths that permeate about the war

    1. "General Winter" stopped the Germans at the gates of Moscow

    2. The Steely-eyed German wehrmacht were far far superior to the rabble that was the Soviet Army but was overwhelmed by sheer numbers of the Soviet Colossus

    3. Dunkirk was a victory!! (Yeah I know I'll cop hell for this but so be it!)

    4. The Balkans Campaign ensured that Barbarossa was doomed from the get-go

    5. The German Army in 1940 was a completely mechanised force comprising almost entirely of Panzers and Halftracks!!

    And I wont even start about the "Rommel is God" school of thought!! :D
  7. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

  8. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Here's one you might find interesting (Nationalsozialismus.de > Hitler on 08.11.1942 in Munich): skip to 00:22:50 (him talking about Stalingrad).

    I think thats the one I was referring to. Its mentioned in the World at War episode on Stalingrad.
  9. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    People were undressed beacuse the clothing was going back to Germany and it had to be searched for concealed valuables - "Kanada" has its fuction.
  10. Niccar

    Niccar WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In reply to Steve Gs thread on urban myths the first question concerning throwing babies in the air to be caught on the bayonets of German soldiers sounds horrifyingbut I remember seeing a photograph of a German soldier in the centre pages of a newspaper possibly the Daily Mirror and it would probably be around 1940/1 with a baby on the end of his bayonet and the bayonet was dug into the door at about knocker height remember this time of the war this country was getting over the aftermath of the retreat from Dunkirk (so G H you will not get any flak from me about calling it a victory) the implication I would think behind the photograph was to whip up a hatred for all things German and put fire in the belly of the nation remembering we needed some good news from somewhere so maybe it was propaganda.

    Regards niccar
  11. chippo

    chippo Member

    the biggest one I can think of, off the top of my head is the Philedelphia experiment.

    - Chris
  12. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    That Pattons 3rd would have succeeded where Horrocks XXX corps didnt to Arnhem.

    That the little boats saved an army at Dunkirk.

    That Monty was not a risk taker when necessary.

    That Singapore fell cos the naval guns faced wrong way.

    That my mums dinner wasnt ready one Thursday because the Germans bombed her chip shop..lies...it was June 44 her mum just spent the money on Woolton pie. Much cheaper.
  13. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    The Spitfire won the Battle of Britain.
    U-Boats refuelled in Ireland.
    Germany had the best Army with the best equipment.
    Germany was prepared for war.
    Germany was a well run country.
    German science was ahead of the Allied.
    The Tiger tank was all powerful.
    Bismarck was the most powerful battleship afloat.
    The Final Solution had been planned in detail.
    I would agree with Gott. on Dunkirk and General Winter.
    Germany nearly or could have won the war.
  14. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    My Uncle told us he was a Paratrooper and that a scar on his shin was from where a German plane fired at him as he was dropping.

    Lying toad! He'd have been in his early teens, at the most, when the war ended! :lol:

    But he most definitely was in the Para's (Post War).
  15. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    People were undressed beacuse the clothing was going back to Germany and it had to be searched for concealed valuables -

    (James, I need some help on that one... I don't know much about concentration camp organisation and all, but the Germans did keep the clothing for some purpose, didn't they? (Just like they used whatever else they "confiscated") You got any more info on that?

    ...I'm too lazy and don't have time to look it up myself :unsure:)
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

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  17. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    (James, I need some help on that one... I don't know much about concentration camp organisation and all, but the Germans did keep the clothing for some purpose, didn't they? (Just like they used whatever else they "confiscated") You got any more info on that?
    I don't think they put anything to waste - what people took of their backs if it was useable it went back to Germany for distrubution.
    (One cynical "revisionist" told me this was not theft - it was "recycling".).
    All the camps were riddled with corruption and those working in them did line their own pockets as well as sending items back to Germany.
    Birkenau's sorting area was known as "Kanada". the nature of the sorting can be seen here , from "The Auschwitz Album" (Yad Vashem)
    Very labour intensive , mostly done by women , clothing , shoes belongings sorted and packed for return to the Reich.
    Monies , valuables again sorted for banking and returned.
    The President of the Reichsbank was asked in his trail if he could account for the boxes of gold teeth which were lodged within the Reichbank , and where he thought they had come from , Funk simply shrugged his shoulders and brushed the question of, a matter of no consequence.

    Franz Piper et al in the book "Auschwitz Nazi Death Camp"( Auschwitz State Museum).
    Mention the order from Himmler that 230,000 "Volksdeutsche" settlers be provided with clothing and household goods from the warehouses at Auschwitz and Majdanek.
    This was transport to them in Feb. 1943 in 824 railways cars described as goods from "Jewish resettlement".
    (Nuremburg Doc. NO-606 NO-5295).
    Karl Sommer testified that watches taken in the two camps would be sent to Sachsenhausen for repairs and apraisals.
    These and all similar valuables were controlled by the office of the SS-WVHA.
    Rees quotes a figure of some 125,000,000 Reichsmarks being generated from Birkenau alone.
    ( This does not reflect homes and properties stlen by the Reich prior to people being " deported" for " resettlement" , or monies paid to the SS for the use of slave labour.)

    The small document - a sworn declaration not to steal from confiscated property whilst in Auschwitz - Birkenau.

    The other refers to the delivery of goods previously mentioned.

    This was theft on a grand scale.

    Attached Files:

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  18. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Cheers for that, Harry. I shouldn't wonder they just told the Gypsys; " Now you're shafted! " And received the shrugged reply; " So? Tell us something new? ".

    Anyway, tonight I plan to watch the second half of TNAWFH. Then it'll be ATNATFS. I'm sure the Auschwitz material will help bring me up to pace on the nitty gritty.

    I only questioned the 'Showers' idea in view of the point that the real showers appear to be above ground, whilst the Gas Chambers (at least at Auschwitz) were below.

    Saying that; Much of what I yet 'know' is hear say anyway. Hence my headlong rush to empty my bank account and watch / read till my eyes bleed. Once a subject gains my attention ....? No half measures! :lol:
  19. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    Talking of eyes bleeding, yet another myth, told to many an evacuee lad from the sticks by his new parents....You'll go blind.

    September 15th 1940.....Luftwafe losses according to BBC.

    Bromide in the Naafi tea

    It'll be over by Christmas
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It'll be over by Christmas
    Ah, the official military myth.
    I bet that one's still handed out as people load onto the C130, and the Celts chattered cheerfully that 'It'll all be over by Beltane' as they watched the Romans form up...

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