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Germany committed war crimes in both World War I and World War II. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of people were murdered or died from abuse and neglect, 43% of them (6 million out of 14 million) Jews. However, millions also died as a result of other German actions in those two conflicts.
Pre World War I
World War I
Replica of German commemorative medal of the Lusitania sinking
Rape of Belgium
According to the Schlieffen plan, the German Army needed a quick victory against France in the West (as in 1870, and again in 1940), before engaging the Russian Empire in the East. The price for this was an attack on neutral Belgium. Due to fears of Belgian Francs-tireurs, over 6,000 Belgian civilians were shot, sometimes in large groups by machine gun, in a brief ten-day period during the second half of August 1914 that came to be known as the "Rape of Belgium". In some cases, whole villages were destroyed, such as Louvain, which was burned and 248 of its citizens were killed by German soldiers.
Bombardment of English coastal towns
The raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, which took place on December 16, 1914, was an attack by the German navy on the British seaport towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, and Whitby. The attack resulted in 137 fatalities and 592 casualties. The raid was as a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention provisions that prohibited naval bombardments of undefended towns without warning, because only Hartlepool was protected by shore batteries. Germany was a signatory of the Hague Convention.  Another attack followed on 26 April 1916 on the coastal towns of Yarmouth and Lowestoft but both were important naval bases and defended by shore batteries..
Unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare was instituted in 1915 in response to the British blockade of Germany in the North Sea. Prize rules, which were codified under the 1907 Hague Convention—such as those that required commerce raiders to warn their targets and allow time for the crew to board lifeboats—were disregarded and commercial vessels were sunk regardless of nationality, cargo, or destination. Following the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915 and subsequent public outcry in various neutral countries, including the United States, the practice was withdrawn.
Following the indecisive Battle of Jutland, Admiral Reinhard Scheer—the commander in chief of the German High Seas Fleet pressured Kaiser Wilhelm II to reinstitute unrestricted submarine warfare in an attempt to break the will of the British people to continue the war. This had the unintended consequence of bringing the United States into the conflict.
Main article: RMS Lusitania
RMS Lusitania was a British luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard Line and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, torpedoed without warning in violation of prize rules by a German U-boat in May 1915. The ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, and was probably a major factor in the eventual decision of the United States to join the war in 1917.
World War II
The Holocaust: ghettos per region and state. Color burgundy stands for 8 or more. Color blue for none.
it should be noted that, as far as wartime actions against enemy nationals are concerned, the  Genocide Convention
added virtually nothing to what was already covered (and had been since the Hague Convention of 1899) by the internationally accepted laws of land warfare, which require an occupying power to respect "family honors and rights, individual lives and private property, as well as religious convictions and liberty" of the enemy nationals. But the laws of war do not cover, in time of either war or peace, a government's actions against its own nationals (such as Nazi Germany's persecution of German Jews). And at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the tribunals rebuffed several efforts by the prosecution to bring such "domestic" atrocities within the scope of international law as "crimes against humanity."
- Invasion of Poland, in the period of 1 September- 25 October 1939 German Wehrmacht during its military actions engaged in executions of Polish POWs, bombed hospitals, murdered civilians, shot refugees, executed wounded soldiers. The cautious estimates give a number of at least 16,000 murdered victims 
- Pacification Operations in German occupied Poland, during the occupation of Poland by German Reich, Wehrmacht forces took part in several pacification actions in rural areas, that resulted in murder of at least 20,000 Polish villagers. This could be achieved with a great help by V column activists like Eugeniusz Tobiasiewicz
- Le Paradis massacre, May 1940, British soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, captured by the SS and subsequently murdered. Fritz Knoechlein tried, found guilty and hanged.
- Wormhoudt massacre, May 1940, British and French soldiers captured by the SS and subsequently murdered. No one found guilty of the crime.
- Vinkt Massacre
- d'Ardenne Massacres, June 1944 Canadian soldiers captured by the SS and Murdered by 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. SS General Kurt Meyer (Panzermeyer) sentenced to be shot 1946; sentence commuted; released 1954
- Malmedy massacre, December 1944, United States POWs captured by Kampfgruppe Peiper were murdered outside of Malmedy, Belgium.
- Gardelegen (war crime)
- Marzabotto massacre
- Sant'Anna di Stazzema
- Cefalonia Massacre
- The annihilation of the Czech city of Lidice
- Massacre of Kalavryta
- The treatment of Soviet POWs throughout the war, who were not given the protections and guarantees of the Geneva Convention
- Unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping.
- The intentional destruction of major medieval churches of Novgorod, of monasteries in the Moscow region (e.g., of New Jerusalem Monastery) and of the imperial palaces around St. Petersburg (many of them were left by the post-war authorities in ruins or simply demolished).
- The campaign of extermination of Slavic population in the occupied territories. Several thousand villages were burned with their entire population (e.g., Khatyn massacre in Belarus). Every fourth inhabitant of Belarus did not survive the German occupation.
- Commando Order, the secret order issued by Hitler in 1942 stating that Allied combatants encountered during commando operations should be killed to the last man ("bis auf den letzen Mann niederzumachen"), even if they were unarmed or intending to surrender.
- Commissar Order, order issued by Hitler prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, mandating that Soviet political Commissars were to be executed upon their capture.
List of murders of children by Nazi Germany
This list of murders of children by Nazi Germany is a list of child murders or infanticide by Nazi German military units (for example the Wehrmacht, the SS etc.), organizations, Nazi collaborators, their units, or organizations.
- October – August 1941, Aktion T4 (70273 people, including children)
- June, Czechow massacre (6 children)
- 13 July – 21 August Daugavpils massacre by Einsatzkommando 3 and Lithuanian partisans (9,585 people, including children)
- July – August 1944, Ponary massacre (ca. 100,000 people, including children)
- 18 August – 22 August, Kreis Rasainiai massacre (1,020 children)
- 19 August, Ukmerge massacre (88 children)
- Summer-autumn-winter, Complete murder of native Jewish population in Estonia (900 individuals, including 101 children)
- 1 September, Marijampolė massacre (1,404 children)
- 2 September, Wilno massacre (817 children)
- 4 September, Čekiškė massacre (60 children)
- 4 September, Seredžius massacre (126 children)
- 4 September, Veliuona massacre (86 children)
- 4 September, Zapyškis massacre (13 children)
- 6 September – 8 September, Raseiniai massacre (415 children)
- 6 September – 8 September, Jurbork massacre (412 people, including chidren)
- 28 September – 17 October, Pleszczenice-Bischolin-Szack (Šacak)-Bobr-Uzda (White Ruthenia) massacre (1,126 children)
- 29 – 30 September, Babi Jar massacre (33,771 people, including children: List of victims of the Babi Yar massacre)
- 2 October, Žagarė massacre (496 children)
- 29 October, Kaunas massacre (4,273 children)
- 2 November, Mass murder of children in Pärnu synagogue (34 children)
- 25 November, Kauen-F.IX massacre (175 children)
- 30 November and 8 December, Rumbula massacre (25,000 people, including children)
- 26 March – 6 April, Operation Bamberg (Hłusk, Bobrujsk; 4,396 people, including chidren)
- 27 March Murder of Pliner children (Holocaust in Estonia; 3 children)
- 9 – 12 May, Kliczów-Bobrujsk massacre (520 people, including children)
- Beginning of June, Słowodka-Bobrujsk massacre (1,000 people, including children)
- 15 June Borki (powiat białostocki) massacre (1,741 people, including children)
- 21 June Zbyszin massacre (1,076 people, including children)
- 25 June Timkowiczi massacre (900 people, including children)
- 26 June Studenka massacre (836 people, including children)
- 2 July, murder of children of Lidice in the Kulmhof extermination camp (82 children)
- 18 July, Jelsk massacre (1,000 people, including children)
- 15 July – 7 August, Operation Adler (Bobrujsk, Mohylew, Berezyna; 1,381 people, including children)
- 14 – 20 August, Operation Greif (Orsza, Witebsk; 796 people, including children)
- 22 August – 21 September, Operation Sumpffieber (White Ruthenia; 10,063 people, including children)
- August, Bereźne massacre
- 22 September – 26 September, Małoryta massacre; 4,038 people, including children)
- 23 September – 3 October, Operation Blitz (Połock, Witebsk; 567 people, including children)
- 11 – 23 October, Operation Karlsbad (Orsza, Witebsk; 1,051 people, including children)
- 23 – 29 November, Operation Nürnberg (Dubrowka; 2,974 people, including children)
- 10 – 21 December, Operation Hamburg (Niemen River-Szczara River; 6,172 people, including children)
- 22 – 29 December, Operation Altona (Słonim; 1,032 people, including children)
- 6 – 14 January, Operation Franz (Grodsjanka; 2,025 people, including children)
- 10 – 11 January, Operation Peter (Kliczów, Kolbcza; 1,400 people, including children)
- 18 – 23 January, Słuck-Mińsk-Czerwień massacre (825 people, including children)
- 28 January – 15 February, Operation Schneehase; Połock, Rossony, Krasnopole; 2,283 people, including children); 54; 37
- Until 28 January, Operation Erntefest I (Czerwień, Osipowicze; 1,228 people, including children)
- Jaanuar, Operation Eisbär (between Briańsk and Dmitriev-Lgowski)
- Until 1 February, Operation Waldwinter (Sirotino-Trudy; 1,627 people, including children)
- 8 – 26 February, Operation Hornung (Lenin, Hancewicze; 12,897 people, including children)
- Until 9 February, Operation Erntefest II (Słuck, Kopyl; 2,325 people, including children)
- 15 February – end of March, Operation Winterzauber (Oświeja, Latvian border; 3,904 people, including children)
- 22 February – 8 March, Operation Kugelblitz (Połock, Oświeja, Dryssa, Rossony; 3,780 people, including children)
- 12 March, Murder of Czesława Kwoka in KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau (1 child)
- Until 19 March, Operation Nixe (Ptycz, Mikaszewicze, Pińsk; 400 people, including children)
- Until 21 March, Operation Föhn (Pińsk; 543 people, including children)
- 21 March – 2 April, Operation Donnerkeil (Połock, Witebsk; 542 people, including children)
- 1 – 9 May, Operation Draufgänger II (Rudnja and Manyly forest; 680 people, including children)
- 17 – 21 May, Operation Maigewitter (Witebsk, Suraż, Gorodok; 2,441 people, including children)
- 20 May – 23 June, Operation Cottbus (Lepel, Begomel, Uszacz; 11,796 people, including children)
- 23 May, Kielce cemetery massacre (45 children)
- 27 May – 10 June, Operation Weichsel (Dniepr-Prypeć triangle, South-West of Homel; 4,018 people, including children)
- 13 – 16 June, Operation Ziethen (Rzeczyca; 160 people, including children)
- 25 June – 27 July, Operation Seydlitz (Owrucz-Mozyrz; 5,106 people, including children)
- 30 July, Mozyrz massacre (501 people, including children)
- Until 14 July, Operation Günther (Woloszyn, Lagoisk; 3,993 people, including children)
- 13 July – 11 August, Operation Hermann (Iwie, Nowogródek, Woloszyn, Stołpce; 4,280 people, including children)
- 3 August, Szczurowa massacre (93 people, including children)
- 24 September – 10 October, Operation Fritz (Głębokie; 509 people, including children)
- 29 September, Ostrówki massacre (246 children)
- 29 September, Wola Ostrowiecka massacre (220 children)
- 9 October – 22 October, Stary Bychów massacre (1,769 people, including children)
- 1 November – 18 November, Operation Heinrich (Rossony, Połock, Idrica; 5,452 people, including children)
- December, Spasskoje massacre (628 people, including children)
- December, Biały massacre (1,453 people, including children)
- 20 December – 1 January 1944, Operation Otto (Oświeja; 1,920 people, including children)
- 14 January, Oła massacre (1,758 people, including children)
- 22 January, Baiki massacre (987 people, including children)
- 3 – 15 February, Operation Wolfsjagd (Hłusk, Bobrujsk; 467 people, including children)
- 5 – 6 February, Baryczi (Buczaczi lähedal) massacre (126 people, including children)
- 28 February, Huta Pieniacka massacre
- 28 – 29 February, Korosciatyn Massacre (ca. 150 people, including children)
- Until 19 February, Operation Sumpfhahn (Hłusk, Bobrujsk; 538 people, including children)
- Beginning of March, Berezyna-Bielnicz massacre (686 people, including children)
- 7 – 17 April, Operation Auerhahn (Bobrujsk; ca. 1,000 people, including children)
- 17 April – 12 May, Operation Frühlingsfest (Połock, Uszacz; 7,011 people, including children)
- 25 May – 17 June, Operation Kormoran; Wilejka, Borysów, Mińsk; 7,697 people, including children)
- 2 June, Murder of Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam's children (9 children)
- 2 June – 13 June, Operation Pfingsrose (Talka; 499 people, including children)
- 10 June, Distomo massacre (218 people, including children)
- 10 June, Oradour-sur-Glane massacre (205 children)
- 29 June, Civitella-Cornia-San Pancrazio massacre (Toscana; 203 people, including children)
- June, Operation Pfingstausnlug (Sienno; 653 people, including children)
- June, Operation Windwirbel (Chidra; 560 people, including children)
- 4–August 25, Ochota massacre (ca. 10,000 people, including children)
- 5 – 8 August, Wola massacre (40,000  up to 100,000  people, including children)
- 12 August, Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre (560 people, including children)
- 29 September – 5 October, Marzabotto massacre (250 children)
- 5 November, Heusden Town Hall Massacre (134 people, including 74 children)
Asperg. Sinti and Roma children about to be deported, 22 May 1940.
Iaşi. Jewish bodies, 29 June 1941.
Reichskommissariat Moskau. Jewish women and children been forced out of their homes. A soldier in Romanian uniform is marching along as a guard, 17 July 1941.
Members of the 21st Latvian Police Battalion assemble a group of Jewish women for execution on a beach near Liepāja, 1941.
Man showing corpse of an starved infant in the Warsaw ghetto, 1941.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – Photo from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943. The original German caption reads: "Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs". People recognized in the picture: 1. Boy in the front was not recognized, some possible identities: Artur Dab Siemiatek, Levi Zelinwarger (next to his mother Chana Zelinwarger) and Tsvi Nussbaum. 2. Matylda Lamet Goldfinger. 3. Leo Kartuziński – far back with white bag on his shoulder. 4. Golda Stawarowski – also in the back, first women from the right, with one hand raised. 5. Josef Blösche – SS man with the gun.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – Photo from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943. The original German caption reads: "Askaris used during the operation". Two Ukrainian Askari or Trawniki guards, peer into a doorway past the bodies of Jewish children killed during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
Eichmann and his officers were responsible for the murder of most of the Jewish population in the ghettos of the territory of Czechoslovakia, and for the transport of men, women and children of all nationalities to extermination camps, for example KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau, May–June 1944.
Collecting bodies after bombing, during Warsaw Uprising. Picture of the courtyard of Tamka 23 street where Tomaszewski was taken after being wounded on 8 September 1944.
This boy's dead, burning body shows damage done by a V-2 on a main intersection in Antwerp, on a main supply line to Holland, 1944.
The bodies of Belgian men, women, and children, killed by the German military during their counter-offensive into Luxembourg and Belgium, await identification before burial, 1944.
Memorial to the murdered children of Babi Jar.
Memorial lidice children (2007).JPG
Memorial to the murdered children of Lidice.
- This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.
German acknowledgment of war crimes
World War I
The Germans had to accept the Treaty of Versailles which outlined many clauses the main being the fact that the Germans had to take the guilt for causing the war and pay out 6,6 billion in ramifications for its damages.
World War II
Germany's response to its war crimes has been largely approved by the former Allies. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany until 1990) offered official apologies for Germany's role in the Holocaust. Additionally, German leaders have continuously expressed repentance, most notably when former Chancellor Willy Brandt fell on his knees in front of a Holocaust memorial in the Warsaw Ghetto, also known as the Warschauer Kniefall in 1970. Germany has also paid extensive reparations, including nearly $70 billion to the state of Israel. It has given $15 billion to Holocaust survivors and will continue to compensate them until 2015. Additionally, the government of Germany coordinated an effort to reach a settlement with German companies that had used slave labor during the war; the companies will pay $1.7 billion to victims. Germany also established a National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Berlin for looted property.
Germany's treatment of war criminals and war crimes has also met with approval. Germany helped track down war criminals for the Nuremberg Trials and opened its wartime archives to researchers and investigators. Additionally, Germany verified over 60,000 names of war criminals for the U.S. Department of Justice to prevent them from entering the United States and provided similar information to Canada and the United Kingdom. On the other hand numerous war criminals were never brought to justice and lived their lives as respected citizens and even state officials, despite numerous pleas for their extradition or trial, stated by countries invaded by Germany. For instance, this was the case of Heinz Reinefarth and Erich von dem Bach, each of them responsible for death of dozens of thousands of civilians in Poland and the Soviet Union.
The German education system focuses on teaching about the Holocaust and the Third Reich and denounces the crimes committed during World War II. Additionally, German legislation makes Holocaust denial a criminal offence. Furthermore, symbols of Nazism, like the Swastika and so-called "Hitler Salute", are illegal in Germany.
However, Germany is still criticized by some regarding its response. The German government never apologized for the invasions or took responsibility for World War II. Poland still insists that Germany must offer an apology for the suffering of its people during the war. Additionally, the emphasis for blame is often placed on individuals like Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party instead of the government itself, so no restitution has been made to any other national government by Germany. Even after German reunification in 1990, Germany rejected claims to reparations made by Britain and France, insisting that all reparations had already been resolved. Additionally, Germany has been criticized for waiting too long to seek out and return looted property, some of which is still missing and possibly hidden within Germany. Germany has also had trouble dealing with stolen property in private hands because of the need to compensate the owners.
References and notes