Wwii “Atrocities”

by Jonah Goldberg

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg:

I’ve heard of two “atrocities” in WWII from guys who were there.

1. My dad’s division (U.S. 7th Armored, then under operational control of the British 2d Army) overran one of the satellite concentration camps (near Belsen, I think) in April of 1945. He’s said very little about it, but I gather that while many of the SS camp guards surrendered to the Americans, none were taken prisoner. Violation of the Geneva Convention? Probably. Am I bothered by my father’s participation in a “war crime?” Not in the least. There’s law, and there’s justice.

2. A friend’s father was in the 101st Airborne. After they discovered evidence of the Malmedy massacre, he said they extracted a bit of vengeance on the SS. He related one incident in which a detail was told to march some SS prisoners to a collection point several miles away, “and be back in five minutes.” Interestingly enough, this is probably not a “war crime:” the Geneva Convention specifically permits reprisals.

Hope this is helpful.

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