During the Hague peace conferences at the beginning of the 20th century the so called civilized states agreed to submit to a higher-level international law. The international law should include humanized warfare, ie, excluding violence against defenseless people.
On 26 January 1910, the Hague Convention is ratified by the participating countries, including the United States.
The prisoners of war are part of the defenceless.
About POWs the following statutes are established:
Prisoners of war are under the supervision of the enemy state and not of individuals or nits who captured them. They should be treated with humanity. All their personal belongings, remain their property except arms, horses, and military papers.
The enemy state is allowed to use the POWs according to their ability as a labor force. Officers are excepted. The work should not be extraordinarily hard.
The enemy state has to take care of the livelihood of the prisoners of war. If respective communications concerning food, housing and clothing do not exist, the prisoners of war should be treated at the same level as their own troops.
As soon as the hostilities begin an office of POW affairs has to be established by all the war fighting parties.
After the conclusion of peace, the prisoners of war are to be released within the shortest possible time in their home.
On July 27, 1929, the Protective Regulations of the Geneva Convention for wounded soldiers were expected to include now also POWs. All accomodations should be equal to the standard of their troops. The Red Cross supervises. After the end of the hostilities the POWs should be released immediately.
The Allies signed those provisions.
Breach of international law
1943, some the Allies decided to treat the resulting German POWs not as prisoners of war but under disregard of international law as convicts. The respective commander in chief of the armed forces should be able to freely dispose of the prisoners in this sense.
In this sense, the supreme commander of US forces Dwight David Eisenhower obtained on 10 March 1945 from Washington, the authorization not to release German prisoners captured on German territory but keep them in captivity as "Disarmed Enemy Forces" (DEF) . These prisoners therefore were not protected by the International Law and left at the mercy of the victors.
Failure to comply with international law in military operations shall under international law constitute a war crime.
After crossing the Rhine River in March 1945, the Americans under Eisenhower created camps along the western bank of the Rhine for the German prisoners. Vast areas were confiscated and surrounded by barbed wire and prisoners were herded in daily in increasing numbers, including the wounded and amputees, women, children and old people.
Rhine camps were set up at or near the following towns:
On May 8th 1945, at the end of the war, German soldiers, having surrendered at various fronts of the war theater, were imprisoned, cramped into closed cattle wagons and trucks and then dumped like garbage across the barbed wire fences. At that time some of the prisoners were already dead. To those transports were added the German soldiers who had escaped the onrushing Russians hoping to be treated more humanely by the Allies. Also thrown into these camps were civilians, primarily party leaders, high government officials and industry captains, fallen under the so called "automatic arrest", an arrest without further legal process.
When the Allies advanced further East the Americans established about 200 more camps all over Germany and Austria.
After a while most of the camps outside the Rhine River were eventually closed and the prisoners sent to the Rhine camps. One can assume that finally about 5-6 million Germans were kept at the Rhine camps.
Conditions at the Camps
Some might have heard about the conditions at the camps. However, important facts should be repeated:
- No registration of the prisoners, neither on arrival nor at their say
- The camps are guarded on all sides, at night with floodlights. Escape attempts are answered with immediate execution.
- Sometimes guards fire into the masses of prisoners for no apparent reason.
- The prisoners live in spite of the cold, rain and sleet without shelter on the bare floor, which transforms over time into an unfathomable mud desert. To build accommodation, is prohibited.
- Tents are not distributed even though German army depots as well as American ones are full of them.
- The prisoners dig holes in the ground to protect themselves against the icy cold. Yet again and again they are told not to do it and forced to fill the holes with dirt again.
- Bulldozers drive through the camps rolling over holes and killing POWs.
- There are no washing facilities. Latrines consisting of pits with exposed beams are usually created near the fences, so that the guards can observe the prisoners during their use.
- During the initial period, there is no food or water, although the mentioned German and American depots are richly filled with supplies and the Rhine has high water level. To empty the German depots, they are left to German civilians to plunder.
- Later the prisoners receive from US stock egg powder, milk powder, biscuits. Block chocolate, coffee powder, but still hardly any water, so that added to the hunger severe intestinal diseases occur.
- The prisoners have no connection to the outside world, postal services does not take place. The public is threatened with the death penalty if they try to supply the prisoners with food over the fence.
- The German civilian authorities are directed to instruct the population accordingly. If people still try they are chased away or fired at with rifles.
- The International Red Cross has no access to the camps. Eisenhower orders the return of Swiss Red Cross trains loaded with food and supplies. Seriously ill and dying prisoners are insufficiently or not at all cared for while nearby hospitals and hospitals remain unused.
- Guards are partly recruited from released foreign workers. Former inmates of German Army prisons (eg, from the army penitentiary Torgau) are employed as camp police. Arbitrary abuses of prisoners are a regular occurrence, and are not stopped.
For additional detailed information about the Rhein Meadows camps we refer you to James Baque's "Other Losses". Two of Bacque's eyewitness reports may illustrate the conditions at the Rhine camps.
An American report:
"April 30th was a stormy day. Rain, sleet and snow took turns a penetrating to the bone cold wind swept from the north across the plains of the Rhine valley towards the camp. A deeply terrifying view appeared at the other side of the barbed wire fence: Closely pushed together to warm up each other were almost 100,000 emaciated, apathetic, dirty, gaunt men with hollow eyes wearing dirty field-gray uniforms, ankle-deep in mud standing.
Here and there you could see dirty white spots. When looking closer you could notice men wrapped up their heads or arms with bandages or men wearing merely their shirts. The German division commander said they did not eat for at least two days, and getting water caused a major problem even though the Rhine river with a high water level was only 200 meters away."
(Quoted by James Bacque, supra, p.51 f.)
Another American reported:
One prisoner reported:
"In April, some 100,000 German soldiers, sick people out of hospitals, women of the military support services and civilians were captured. An inmate of Rheinberg camp was over 80 years old, and another one only nine years old. Prolonged hunger and tormenting thirst plagued them and they died of dysentery. A cruel heaven poured down, week after week with pouring torrentous rains. Amputees slithered like amphibians through the mud, drenched and shivering. Day after day and night after night without shelter, they camped hopelessly in the sands of Rheinsberg, finally falling asleep in their collapsing holes."
(Heinz Janssen, a prisoner of war in Rheinberg, quoted by James Baque ibid, p.52)
Even in the US there is the search for the facts.
An eyewitness reported:
"In late March or early April, 1945, I was sent to guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine. I had four years of high school German, so I was able to talk to the prisoners, although this was forbidden. Gradually, however, I was used as an interpreter and asked to ferret out members of the S.S. (I found none.)
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 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.
Even more shocking was to see the prisoners throwing grass and weeds into a tin can containing a thin soup. They told me they did this to help ease their hunger pains. Quickly, they grew emaciated. Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement, too weak and crowded to reach the slit trenches. Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes. We had ample food and supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance.
Outraged, I protested to my officers and was met with hostility or bland indifference. When pressed, they explained they were under strict orders from "higher up." No officer would dare do this to 50,000 men if he felt that it was "out of line," leaving him open to charges. Realizing my protests were useless, I asked a friend working in the kitchen if he could slip me some extra food for the prisoners. He too said they were under strict orders to severely ration the prisoners' food and that these orders came from "higher up." But he said they had more food than they knew what to do with and would sneak me some.
When I threw this food over the barbed wire to the prisoners, I was caught and threatened with imprisonment. I repeated the "offense," and one officer angrily threatened to shoot me. I assumed this was a bluff until I encountered a captain on a hill above the Rhine shooting down at a group of German civilian women with his .45 caliber pistol. When I asked, Why?," he mumbled, "Target practice," and fired until his pistol was empty. I saw the women running for cover, but, at that distance, couldn't tell if any had been hit.
This is when I realized I was dealing with cold-blooded killers filled with moralistic hatred. They considered the Germans subhuman and worthy of extermination; another expression of the downward spiral of racism. Articles in the G.I. newspaper, Stars and Stripes, played up the German concentration camps, complete with photos of emaciated bodies; this amplified our self-righteous cruelty and made it easier to imitate behavior we were supposed to oppose. Also, I think, soldiers not exposed to combat were trying to prove how tough they were by taking it out on the prisoners and civilians.
These prisoners, I found out, were mostly farmers and workingmen, as simple and ignorant as many of our own troops. As time went on, more of them lapsed into a zombie-like state of listlessness, while others tried to escape in a demented or suicidal fashion, running through open fields in broad daylight towards the Rhine to quench their thirst. They were mowed down. Some prisoners were as eager for cigarettes as for food, saying they took the edge off their hunger. Accordingly, enterprising G.I. "Yankee traders" were acquiring hordes of watches and rings in exchange for handfuls of cigarettes or less. When I began throwing cartons of cigarettes to the prisoners to ruin this trade, I was threatened by rank-and-file G.I.s too.
The only bright spot in this gloomy picture came one night when I was put on the "graveyard shift," from two to four A.M. Actually, there was a graveyard on the uphill side of this enclosure, not many yards away. My superiors had forgotten to give me a flashlight and I hadn't bothered to ask for one, disgusted as I was with the whole situation by that time. It was a fairly bright night and I soon became aware of a prisoner crawling under the wires towards the graveyard. We were supposed to shoot escapees on sight, so I started to get up from the ground to warn him to get back. Suddenly I noticed another prisoner crawling from the graveyard back to the enclosure. They were risking their lives to get to the graveyard for something; I had to investigate.
When I entered the gloom of this shrubby, tree-shaded cemetery, I felt completely vulnerable, but somehow curiosity kept me moving. Despite my caution, I tripped over the legs of someone in a prone position. Whipping my rifle around while stumbling and trying to regain composure of mind and body, I soon was relieved I hadn't reflexively fired. The figure sat up. Gradually, I could see the beautiful but terror-stricken face of a woman with a picnic basket nearby. German civilians were not allowed to feed, nor even come near the prisoners, so I quickly assured her I approved of what she was doing, not to be afraid, and that I would leave the graveyard to get out of the way.
I did so immediately and sat down, leaning against a tree at the edge of the cemetery to be inconspicuous and not frighten the prisoners. I imagined then, and still do now, what it would be like to meet a beautiful woman with a picnic basket, under those conditions as a prisoner. I have never forgotten her face.
Eventually, more prisoners crawled back to the enclosure. I saw they were dragging food to their comrades and could only admire their courage and devotion.
On May 8, V.E. Day, I decided to celebrate with some prisoners I was guarding who were baking bread the other prisoners occasionally received. This group had all the bread they could eat, and shared the jovial mood generated by the end of the war. We all thought we were going home soon, a pathetic hope on their part. We were in what was to become the French zone, where I soon would witness the brutality of the French soldiers when we transferred our prisoners to them for their slave labor camps. On this day, however, we were happy.
As a gesture of friendliness, I emptied my rifle and stood it in the corner, even allowing them to play with it at their request! This thoroughly "broke the ice," and soon we were singing songs we taught each other or I had learned in high school German ("Du, du liegst mir im Herzen"). Out of gratitude, they baked me a special small loaf of sweet bread, the only possible present they had left to offer. I stuffed it in my "Eisenhower jacket" and snuck it back to my barracks, eating it when I had privacy. I have never tasted more delicious bread, nor felt a deeper sense of communion while eating it. I believe a cosmic sense of Christ (the Oneness of all Being) revealed its normally hidden presence to me on that occasion, influencing my later decision to major in philosophy and religion.
Shortly afterwards, some of our weak and sickly prisoners were marched off by French soldiers to their camp. We were riding on a truck behind this column. Temporarily, it slowed down and dropped back, perhaps because the driver was as shocked as I was. Whenever a German prisoner staggered or dropped back, he was hit on the head with a club until he died. The bodies were rolled to the side of the road to be picked up by another truck. For many, this quick death might have been preferable to slow starvation in our "killing fields."
When I finally saw the German women in a separate enclosure, I asked why we were holding them prisoner. I was told they were "camp followers," selected as breeding stock for the S.S. to create a super-race. I spoke to some and must say I never met a more spirited or attractive group of women. I certainly didn't think they deserved imprisonment.
I was used increasingly as an interpreter, and was able to prevent some particularly unfortunate arrests. One rather amusing incident involved an old farmer who was being dragged away by several M.P’s. I was told he had a "fancy Nazi medal," which they showed me. Fortunately, I had a chart identifying such medals. He'd been awarded it for having five children! Perhaps his wife was somewhat relieved to get him "off her back," but I didn't think one of our death camps was a fair punishment for his contribution to Germany. The M.P.s agreed and released him to continue his "dirty work."
Famine began to spread among the German civilians also. It was a common sight to see German women up to their elbows in our garbage cans looking for something edible -- that is, if they weren't chased away.
When I interviewed mayors of small towns and villages, I was told their supply of food had been taken away by "displaced persons" (foreigners who had worked in Germany), who packed the food on trucks and drove away. When I reported this, the response was a shrug. I never saw any Red Cross at the camp or helping civilians, although their coffee and doughnut stands were available everywhere else for us. In the meantime, the Germans had to rely on the sharing of hidden stores until the next harvest.
Hunger made German women more "available," but despite this, rape was prevalent and often accompanied by additional violence. In particular I remember an eighteen-year old woman who had the side of her faced smashed with a rifle butt and was then raped by two G.I.s. Even the French complained that the rapes, looting and drunken destructiveness on the part of our troops was excessive. In Le Havre, we'd been given booklets warning us that the German soldiers had maintained a high standard of behavior with French civilians who were peaceful, and that we should do the same. In this we failed miserably.
"So what?" some would say. "The enemy's atrocities were worse than ours." It is true that I experienced only the end of the war, when we were already the victors. The German opportunity for atrocities had faded; ours was at hand. But two wrongs don't make a right. Rather than copying our enemy’s crimes, we should aim once and for all to break the cycle of hatred and vengeance that has plagued and distorted human history. This is why I am speaking out now, forty-five years after the crime. We can never prevent individual war crimes, but we can, if enough of us speak out, influence government policy. We can reject government propaganda that depicts our enemies as subhuman and encourages the kind of outrages I witnessed. We can protest the bombing of civilian targets, which still goes on today. And we can refuse ever to condone our government's murder of unarmed and defeated prisoners of war.
I realize it is difficult for the average citizen to admit witnessing a crime of this magnitude, especially if implicated himself. Even G.I’s sympathetic to the victims were afraid to complain and get into trouble, they told me. And the danger has not ceased. Since I spoke out a few weeks ago, I have received threatening calls and had my mailbox smashed. But its been worth it. Writing about these atrocities has been a catharsis of feeling suppressed too long, a liberation, and perhaps will remind other witnesses that "the truth will make us free, have no fear." We may even learn a supreme lesson from all this: only love can conquer all."
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 161-166
These facts prove that the conditions at the Rhine meadow camps were not, as so often stated, caused by the inability of the Americans to handle the masses of prisoners. On the contrary, those conditions with all of their consequences were wanted, as stated above. James Bacque confirmed that General Dwight Eisenhower is responsible for conditions:
"The responsibility for the treatment of German prisoners of war in American hands was the commanders of the US Army in Europe, subordinate only to the political control of the government. All decisions on prisoner treatment were actually made solely by the US Army in Europe ..."
(Bacque, ibid, p.45)
Dr. Ernest F. Fisher, Jr., Colonel of the Army of the United States of America, writes:
"Eisenhower's hatred, tolerated by a military bureaucracy, produced this horror of the death camps, which is unlike anything in American military history."
(Quoted from Bacque, ibid, p.17)
When the occupation zones were formed in July 1945, the Rhine camps were handed over to the British or French, depending on the geography. The British tried to improve the food supply for the prisoners. The French did nothing. They started transporting the still physically able as forced labor to France. Only a few returned.
Soon after the Rhine camps were set up the conditions at the camps caused death.
"From May 1st until June 15th 1945, the army doctors registered at the camps along the banks of the Rhine reported a terrible increase of the death rate - 80 times higher than they ever experienced. Efficient and conscientious they registered death causes: many died from diarrhoea, many from dysentery and typhoid fever, from tetanus and blood poisoning, numbers not heard of since the Middle Ages. Medical terminology could not describe the catastrophe the doctors were witnessing. Death caused by emaciation and exhaustion were registered - heart failure and pneumonia."
(Bacque, supra, p.78 f.)
Every morning the dead are transported away from the camps to be dumped in mass graves.
An eyewitness wrote:
"The corpses of the starved are daily transported with carts outside the camp and then dumped into deep pits, five layers deep in a long row. After the pits were filled with the dug out soil the mass graves were flattened."
- Willi Griesheim, The Hell of the American prisoner of war, internal pressure, p 2
Then there are also the dead which submerged at the bottomless quagmires and latrines never being recovered.
From the camp Büderich is reported:
"It was estimated that about 230 corpses are buried each night. Nobody could excavate the dead, none of them has been registered. The Americans levelled the dead and pits with bulldozers."
- Lager Büderich, Paul Jäger
Bacque says that between 800,000 and 1,000,000 German prisoners died at the American and later on at the French prisoner and labor camps, 3/4 of them, however, at American camps.
"The nunber of the victims is undoubtedly higher than 800,000 and almost certainly more than 900,000, very possible over 1,000,000. Army officers well aware of the situation caused their death. There was enough food and other supplies available to save the life of the prisoners. Relief organizations tried to help the prisoners at the American camps. The Army would not allow it. All that was concealed at the time and covered up with lies. ...documents were destroyed, altered or kept as secret matters under lock and key. And this goes on up to our days."
(Bacque, ibid, p.11)
The official US history reports only about 5,000 dead at the Rhine Meadow Camps. Germany's official history books go along with that. Perhaps 10,000 dead in the Rhine Meadow Camps, by no means more!
That would mean that of the 5-6 million prisoners who were held at the Rhine Meadow Camps only 0.1% of the imprisoned did not survive. A death rate of 0.1%, however, is the death rate of people living under normal conditions. A death rate of 0.1% is impossible regarding conditions in the Rhine Meadow Camps.
The Red Cross says that in spite of all research, 1,400,000 German soldiers are still missing.
According to the Tracing Service of the Red Cross.:
"Even more than 50 years after the end of World War 2 German 1.4 million are still missing."
This missing million can't be caused by the Russians. In 1990 they have opened their archives to researchers and shown that they unexpectedly have a detailed registry of the prisoners' names having died in Russia from 1946 onward. Only about 100,000 names of the missing soldiers were found. One could also suspect that about 200,000 of these missing had died in Russia nameless through 1945. The "missing million" remains.
The death toll of about 750,000 deaths in the US Rhine Meadow Camps may be illustrated by reports from the camp Bretzenheim at Bad Kreuznach.
The following is a description of the camp Bretzenheim:
"I was born in 1924 and as a member of the 3rd Parachute Division captured by Americans on April 20th 1945, nearly three weeks before the German capitulation in the Harz Mountains near Quedlinburg after a hasty retreat from France. A few days later we were transported on Belgian coal freight cars to Bretzenheim near Bad Kreuznach, 60 men in a car, standing shoulder on shoulder, no food, no water, no toilets. After 24 hours we were unloaded at an open field, nearly all the men had water in their legs because of the long standing. Hardly anyone could walk. The camp was a bare field fenced in with barbed wire, not a single tent, no buildings. We lay on the muddy soil, body to body, one wool blanket for three men. There was no drinking water and no food. The latrine was dug with a bulldozer, about the size as two rooms, a large pit without without any seating. If you fell into the pit you drowned in the feces. Water for washing did not exist. Every morning first aid attendants walked along the endless rows of laying men and kicked at the foot the ones who they thought were dead. After the first night about 180 dead German soldiers were counted. After a few days we received the first drinking water and "food", one wheat bread, a spoonfull of coffee powder, milk powder, egg powder and sugar for 50 prisoners. At that camp I stayed until June 12th 1945, when I was officially released."
About a fellow prisoner is reported:
"...Although he is now reduced to a skeleton, and in spite of staring with his burning eyes at the dark sky and trying to figure out when you will join your comrades who were collected every morning, then lined up at the edge of the road to be dumped at the "military cemetary"..."
-Rolf Spenner, tears, death, and a thousand torments, POW camp Bretzenheim, Pfaffen-Schwabenheim, 4 cover plates, 1995, p 38
A former inmate of the camp wrote:
From April until July 1945, the people of Bretzenheim could have seen every morning the piles of up to 180 corpses at the gate and watched the loading of the deceased on trucks then speeding away to the "Galgenberg" (gallow mountain) near Kreuznach and the "Stromberg" (stream mountain).
Erich Werner, S 9
This means that under American administration about 15,000 men died in the Bretzenheim camp. With a camp capacity of 130,000 prisoners, reported by the author, a death rate of 11.15% sounds correct. Add to this the innumerable emaciated prisoners who suffocated at the bottomless mud or fell into the latrines from where there was no escaping.
"How many died already in this mud? And how many hunger starved men might this mud still engulf? The mud still gushes often with his terrible power over us, the totally weakened and defenseless during these May weeks when death harvested so mercilessly."
-E. Werner, S. 12
"Many or even most of the men were victims of the mud and the bottomless pitfalls of the latrines. When we used them after the long lasting rains like now, April early May, it degenerated to an ugly game of life and death. That fact should not be missed by any camp chronicle. At that time, primarily at night some with emaciate legs could only arduously crawl along the urgent way to the latrines and he never returned to the fox holes of his comrades because he fell into the smelly and indescribable abyss from which there was no escape."
- R. Spenner, p.37 f.
If you add to the dead at the gate of the camp Bretzenheim the ones who perished during the first months in the mud and the latrines, you will reach a conservative estimate of the death rate of 15%. There is no reason to figure out a lower death rate for the other camps. Similar conditions existed there. If you accept a total camp population of 5 million in American camps and a death rate of 15%, a total of 750,000 dead seems reasonable. Bacque arrives at the same figure.
Where are the remains of the dead of the Rhine Meadow Camps? About 5,000 dead were buried during that time at the cemeteries of the American camps. Just as many as the official histiography admits today. In 1953, approximately 2000 deaths were moved from the camp cemeteries Galgenberg and Stromberg in Bad Kreuznach to the cemetery in Lohr Forest.
The official authorities never felt responsible to look out for mass graves in the vicinity of the Rhine Meadows Camps or the dead at the camp sites. The dead who officially do not exist are not searched for.
The hands of the "Volksbund für Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge" (Association for the care of German war cemeteries) are tied up. According to the War Graves Law of 1952 the association can only work on cases happening in foreign countries. At home they have to wait for an excavation order from their German authorities. Such an order will never be given.
Only in one case could the Volksbund take action on its own: if someone is to issue an affidavit about the location of a known mass grave. That has not yet happened. Who should be able to? The mass graves were created by the Americans without witnesses. Only through a professional search could they be traced.
Excavation at the Camp Bretzenheim
Otto Schmitt from Guldenthal near Bretzenheim, a member of the German Bundeswehr (army), started around 1970 on his own initiative to find out about the fate of the lost prisoners of the camp Bretzenheim. He started a private excavation.
After a short while, however, uninvited guests arrived at the area. A deputation of the Bad Kreuznach county delivered a letter informing that the area is from now on protected as an historical monument and that the office for Care of Monuments in Mainz does not permit an excavation. A penalty of 250,000 DM is set. Otto Schmitt had to leave and eventually give up.
He knows that German soldiers are found on the former camp grounds of the Rhine Meadow camps by their dog tags.
"Farmer Karl Schneider from Sinzig sometimes found when plowing his fields on the former camp premises the dog tags of German soldiers. To date, no one looked at the pits of the former 'Toilet facilities' regarding the remains of missing German Wehrmacht members."
(Helmuth Euler, the decisive battle on the Rhine and Rhur 1945 Stuttgart 1981², p 271)
He decides to excavate the grounds of the camp Bretzenheim at his own expense. The approximately 8 sq km terrain is merely redeveloped at one of its edges. In 1966, on the road leading over a memorial has been erected.
The situation in November 2011
Eight years have passed since creation of this website, eight years, in which the dead are still waiting in German groun in the Rhine Meadows in forgotten graves.
The BRD continues to insist that in addition to those officially buried in the Rhine Meadows area no further deaths in any significant number.
Excavations in the "cultural monument" Bretzenheim area continue to be banned.
Excavations in other areas could be authorized only if some dead have already been found. But the dead are found through excavation, and digging is prohibited.
So there has been no investigation of possible mass graves in the near or far surroundings of each camp.
The missing million is still missing.
Why is it this way?
Why are the war crimes committed at the Rhine Meadow Camps still unpunished?
Why are our fathers and grandfathers still not recovered from the mass graves, the mud holes and latrines at the Rhine river?
Why do the defeated, the Germans, even after more than half a century not dare to touch their own dead?
Why do the defeated still accept that mourning for their dead is not allowed?
Why is it almost a criminal act to honor the dead of the Rhine Meadows?
It is as if a curse hovers not only over the death camps on the Rhine but over the whole country, where the dead cry in vain for the ones who still live.
For how much longer?