'I liked to shoot everything - women, kids... it was kind of sport': Secret Nazi tapes reveal how ordinary German soldiers were responsible for war crimes and not just SS
By DAVID BAKER
Secret recordings made by British intelligence during the Second World War have revealed for the first time the horrific atrocities carried out by everyday German soldiers.
For years the blame for horrific war crimes, rape and genocide were laid at the hands of the SS and Hitler's right hand men but a new book details how widespread the barbarity went.
Transcripts taken from hidden microphones on prisoners of war have been collated for the disturbing book Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret Second World War Tapes of German POWs.
Revelations: The new book reveals how soldiers like this one callously murdered the innocent and then joked about it with fellow soldiers
Tainted: German soldiers crouch over the bodies of two shot down civilians
Recordings: The tapes reveal that many of the German soldiers were fully aware of death camps - despite many stating differently
Between 1940 and 1945 the British and Americans bugged about 13,000 German and several hundred Italian soldiers of all ranks and services - many of which in the Trent Park detention centre for POWs in north London.
It was hoped the recordings would reveal military secrets of potentially strategic importance, instead they catalogued open and uncensored conversations about war experiences - often as to boast.
Evil: It appears the atrocities carried out by the SS and Adolf Hitler's henchmen were a lot more widespread and done by ordinary soldiers
They detail not only the extreme level of violence but a disturbing sense of enjoyment from the soldiers.
One example of many recounts: 'There was an event in the market square, crowds of people, speeches given. We really sprayed them! That was fun!'
Another reveals the following conversation: 'We once did a strafing near Eastbourne. We flew up and saw a big castle; there seemed to be a ball or something – anyhow a lot of ladies in evening dress and a band.
'The first time we flew past; then we attacked and kept at it. Boy oh boy, was that fun.'
Another reveals: 'I loved dropping bombs. It makes you feel all tingly, a great feeling. It’s as good as shooting someone down.'
The book, which has been compiled by German historians Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer has been translated in to English for the first time, dispelling myths that German soldiers were not responsible for such war crimes.
It offers a bleak inside view of World War II and in doing so, they destroy once and for the myth of a 'clean' Wehrmacht - the German name for the armed forced.
The soldiers talk about their views of the enemy and their own leaders, discuss the details of combat missions and trade astonishingly detailed accounts of the atrocities they both witnessed and committed.
War crimes: The likes of Josef Mengele (left) known as 'The Angel of Death', Rudolf Hoss and Josef Kramer were well known war criminals but hidden microphones reveal how Wehrmacht soldiers were embroiled in the atrocities
One passage reads: Zotlöterer: 'I shot a Frenchman from behind. He was riding a bicycle.'
Weber: 'At close range?'
Heuser: 'Did he want to take you prisoner?'
Zotlöterer: 'Nonsense. I wanted the bicycle.'
The material contains disturbing accounts of sexual abuse, rape and torture as well.
Disturbing: Women and children were not spared by trigger happy soldiers, some of whom described killing as ‘fun’
Executions: German soldiers line up and execute a group of Jewish men by the banks of the Danube in Hungary
In one section a passage attributed to Reimbold reads: 'In the first officers' prison camp where I was being kept here, there was a really stupid guy from Frankfurt , a young lieutenant, a young upstart.
'And he said: 'Oh, we caught this female spy who had been running around in the neighborhood.
'First we hit her in the t**s with a stick and then we beat her rear end with a bare bayonet.
Then we f***** her, and then we threw her outside and shot at her. When she was lying there on her back, we threw grenades at her.
'Every time one of them landed near her body, she screamed.'
‘And just think, there were eight German officers sitting at that table with me, and they all broke out laughing.’
British intelligence: Microphones hidden on POWs at Trent Park in north London helped reveal how many soldiers boasted about their atrocities
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206982/I-liked-shoot--women-kids--kind-sport-Secret-Nazi-tapes-reveal-ordinary-German-soldiers-responsible-war-crimes-just-SS.html#ixzz27CkMx2sy
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