Monday, November 17, 2008

In 'Eisenhower’s Death Camps': A U.S. Prison Guard Remembers

This is a piece about one of those very sad moments in American history. As a country, we tend to be self-righteous about our treatments of others. Sometimes we have been kindly to sufferers around the world. This is a report about a time when we were not. This history about the end of World War II is never treated in conventional histories. Instead, we glory in allied victories, neglecting to ponder our wholesale destruction of civilian populations in Japan and Germany, and aftermaths such as this.

"In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure that I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets. Many had no coats. They slept in the mud, wet and cold, with inadequate slit trenches for excrement. It was a cold, wet spring, and their misery from exposure alone was evident."

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