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During World War II, prisoners of war were required by the Geneva Conventions to be treated according to established rules. But in late 1944, when a large number of Americans were captured or surrendered during the Battle of the Bulge and elsewhere, their captors had different plans. Those who were Jewish or from some other "undesirable" ethnic or religious group were separated from their fellow captives and sent to the brutal slave-labor camp at Berga. Until now, the story of what these men endured has been a ...
During World War II, prisoners of war were required by the Geneva Conventions to be treated according to established rules. But in late 1944, when a large number of Americans were captured or surrendered during the Battle of the Bulge and elsewhere, their captors had different plans. Those who were Jewish or from some other "undesirable" ethnic or religious group were separated from their fellow captives and sent to the brutal slave-labor camp at Berga. Until now, the story of what these men endured has been a well-guarded secret.
Posted April 21, 2011
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Flint Whitlock has done it again! After reading and reviewing "Internal Conflicts" I was glad that the conclusion of that book was based on historical fiction. Quite the contrary, I was horrified that the contents of this book are very real and lurid, with such inhumane acts being inflicted to American prisoners of war that were doled out by barbaric men who in the end were given a slap on the wrist. The history of W. W. II is well known. However, "Given up For Dead" is not about the war, politics or the "Battle of the Bulge." It is about the American prisoners Hitler's forces took in their initial success at this battle, specifically 350 of them. The seven main protagonists that Whitlock used were Morton Brooks, Gerald Daub, Anthony Acevedo, Norman Fellman, Joe Mark, William Shapiro, and the only non Jew, Peter Iosso, who, as Whitlock would later write: "By Christmas (1944-45) they would be fighting for their very lives in struggles of great magnitude. And their fates would be intertwined in ways they never could have imagined." The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle fought by the Americans in World War Two. 600,000 American troops were involved in the battle. The Americans lost 89,500 men while the Germans lost 100,000 killed, wounded and captured. 19,000 Americans were killed, 47,500 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing. This book chronicles how Hitler's stooges treated Americans, particularly Jewish G.I.'s in captivity. Hitler's attack was so fast and furious, that many soldiers were captured without even their boots on. Immediately, the Geneva conference was flaunted by the Germans. Joe Mark reported after surrendering: "After capture, we were assembled by the road and Krause shared a K-ration with me. While waiting, the Germans prepared their anti aircraft weapons for transport. A German officer told one of the Americans to help. The American said it was against the Geneva Convention to help. The German said "Ja, Geneva Convention" and shot him." There are several books existent of how Germans were treated as POW's in this country, distributed in camps located in Wisconsin, Texas and New Hampshire, et al. There is no American equivalent as to the beastly treatment American G.I.'s were accorded in Nazi Stalag's, or Nazi sentiment if one was Jewish, Catholic,or "an undesirable" in Concentration Camps, used for slave labor. How many of the original POW's made it home? Who liberated them, and how? During the war crimes trials, were the Nazi's that were guilty of atrocities receive punishment commensurate to their crimes? How much did the "Cold War" of the late 1940's affected the outcome of those trials? Were any of the POW's allowed to testify? Since Flint Whitlock did a follow up of the originally mentioned 7 POW's, did any in this groups suffer from "Survivor Syndrome" or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?" You will have to read "Given Up For Dead" to discover the answer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
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