Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Degradation of German Prisoners

The Degradation of German Prisoners, from The Resistance

Amid the hysteria following liberation, Resistance workers were often in the awkward position of guarding captured German Soldiers from bloodthirsty civilians, including some whose relatives had been tortured or killed during the Occupation.

Responsible Resistance leaders prevented atrocities but gladly compelled the prisoners to do humiliating or backbreaking labor - sweeping the streets, mucking out barns, digging ditches. In many places, the Germans were forced to exhume the bodies of their French victims from unmarked graves where they had been buried without the rites of the Church.

A maquis lead in southern France ordered 30 german prisoners to recover the corpses of six tortured comrades. When the mutilated bodies were prepared for a proper burial, the captain said to the prisoners: "You may have wondered why we forced you to come here and dig up the mend you killed. We brought you here to show you what you have done. And when you go back to your own land, tell your people what you have done so that they will know why the world hates them."

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