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Slave Labourers

Discussion in 'Hitler's Atlantic Wall' started by Jim, Sep 22, 2006.

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  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Slave Labourers

    "Very little distinction seems to have been made by the Germans between Russian war prisoners and forced labour mobilised in the towns and in the villages from the civil population in occupied territory. They have all been treated with the same brutality, undernourished, a very large proportion worked to death and many beaten to death."

    That is how MI19 (RPS) report 2292 on 'Forced Labour Prison Atrocities' dated 25 July 1944 begins. It was compiled from the experiences of 14 Red Army soldiers and Russian civilians, all of whom without exception told of “torture, starvation and very hard work”. However, they also said that the Germans had slack control over both POWs and forced labour, not only when they were still in occupied Russian territory but also after they were taken to France and the Channel Islands.
    'In Alderney, Jersey and Cherbourg, many prisoners succeeded in escaping four or five times and to keep in hiding for months on end in semi-demolished houses in Cherbourg, with French farmers in the villages or with English people on the islands. Whilst they were in hiding they were treated well and on no occasion were they ever denounced. When recaptured, particularly in France and the islands, the prisoners were given very hard sentences. In addition to the beatings on recapture they would be sentenced to 25 to 50 lashes a month and to three months' solitary confinement in one of the prison dungeons 200 grams (less than half a pound) of bread a day and no other food. Stealing was a further method of staying alive. This consisted of digging up a few potatoes and eating them raw or sneaking away to the shore to find mussels or winkles. Occasionally a German food store would be raided and food stolen. Those who did not steal, died, which accounts for the large proportion of deaths (over 50% in Alderney, 40% in Jersey)

    Organisation Todt Workers, work on the foundations of a gun platform on the Atlantic Wall. 1942

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    "Why the Germans should have allowed such a high proportion of workers doing essential work for them to die was answered by the informants as follows: “We were treated worse than cattle. Our term of usefulness was generally accepted by the Germans as being six months. After that we were expended. They tried to get out of us every ounce of labour and energy they could on as little food as possible. If we managed to carry on for a another few months well and good, and if not all went to schedule."

    This explanation is nor altogether complete for, though it is true that when a Russian prisoner fell ill hardly any medical assistance was given to him, beyond placing him in a separate barrack and excusing him from work, when 800 workmen on Alderney and 600 on Jersey were too exhausted to work, they were all sent away for a prolonged rest. At St Malo and at Cherbourg, exhausted Russian prisoners were given three to four months' improved food and no work to enable them to recover their strength. Thereupon they were sent back to work. Furthermore several of the informants were gashed or maimed by German guards. Some of these were taken to hospital for treatment and were operated on by German doctors. In at least three instances men were sent to Paris for a further operation, yet, whilst taking this amount of trouble over the injured, no measures were at any time taken against the guards who crippled the workers and caused this extra work to the German medical organisation.

    The explanation according to some of the informants is that the cases quoted are the exception and not the rule, and the fact that a few German doctors were sufficiently humane to take an interest in the Russian patients, does not affect the huge proportion of deaths. Moreover, if a short treatment can revitalise sturdy workers there is no reason why they should not be treated for a certain period so that they may be further exploited…
     
  2. Junkie88

    Junkie88 New Member

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    My grandad told me about his grandad the other day: WWI veteran, and he had to work on the roads as a 'slave' warrior. It was hard work and if you fell down, the Germans put a shovel between your eyes and that was that. So they stood against eachother to hold a weaker man up so they wont kill him. They could drink four times a day.
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Does your Grandfather often talk of the Wars Junkie? :confused:
     
  4. Junkie88

    Junkie88 New Member

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    yes, he's born in 1938, but he knows a lot about it. In a time when there was no tv, people gathered round to tell stories, mostly about the war,
    the mother of my grandmother survived both wars and she told me everything when I was a child, she awakend the hisorian in me.:eek:
     

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