German war crimes: Wikis


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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[citation needed]) 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.[1] Germany was a signatory of the Hague Convention. [2] 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.[citation needed].

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on 7 May 1915 and subsequent public outcry in various neutral countries, including the United States, the practice was withdrawn.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.

Lusitania Sinking

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 [1948] 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."
Telford Taylor [3]

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)




  • 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 [6] up to 100,000 [7] 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)






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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ Chuter, David (2003). War Crimes: Confronting Atrocity in the Modern World. London: Lynne Rienner Pub. pp. 300. ISBN 158826209X. 
  2. ^ Willmore, John (1918). The great crime and its moral. New York: Doran. pp. 340. 
  3. ^ Telford Taylor "When people kill a people" in The New York Times, March 28, 1982
  4. ^ Gesamtaufstellung der im Bereich des EK. 3 bis zum 1. Dez. 1941 durchgeführten Exekutionen
  5. ^ Complete tabulation of executions carried out in the Einsatzkommando 3 zone up to 1 December 1941
  6. ^ Muzeum Powstania otwarte, BBC Polish edition, 2 October 2004, Children accessed on 13 April 2007
  7. ^ O Powstaniu Warszawskim opowiada prof. Jerzy Kłoczowski, Gazeta Wyborcza – local Warsaw edition, 1998-08-01. Children accessed on 13 April 2007

Further reading

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