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PostWhy Were the Germans Obsessed with Prisoners at the End of WWII? From Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 01/21/17 3:58 pm)
Gary Moore writes:
Regarding David Pike's (January 21) important discussion of the Nazi death camps at the close of World War II, per his coming book A Spaniard's Death Camp Notebook: I hope David can illuminate an enigma. He described how, in the last, particularly disastrous death marches mounted by the Nazis emptying camps just ahead of the Soviet advance, "the SS escorts themselves did not understand the where or the wherefore."
I had wondered previously why the Hitler forces, facing the urgent need for last-ditch defense, made such a special point to keep their human booty, the prisoners, away from Allied liberation, when it was clear it would come anyway. Did they want the last surviving prisoners for V-2 labor or some other (barely) practical reason? Was the destruction of the Jews so important to the top that it was clung to with dying ferocity? Was there a knee-jerk sense of German military dignity viewing the surrender of prisoners as strategically undesirable? Or why, with the end so near, would the hierarchy be concerned with hiding the emaciated prisoners from the world?
Even if the Soviets had found and used them for propaganda, could it have made the Allied advance any faster? Is David aware of specific statements from within the hierarchy that might illuminate this glimpse of the psychological clockworks behind the evil?
JE comments: To add to Gary Moore's important questions, in the waning months of the war, didn't death transports even take priority over using the dwindling number of trains for war materiel? Or are these History Channel oversimplifications?