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Crimes of the Wehrmacht

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Date: June 3, 1999

From: Fred Klein

I AM a new member of the H-NET. I am survivor of Theresienstadt, Birkenau and Friedland. Regardless of the controversy of the Wehrmacht exposition I have "practical" experience with lower level members of the Wehrmacht from commandos outside the ghetto.

These were always positive. But, in addition, to refrain from stereotypes, I have personal experience with the last German SS commander of Friedland. When I sabotaged, I was not executed. In this small camp, no brutalities existed.

Before liberation, the camp commander talked to us at roll call, said, we would be taken over by the "civilian guard" and that he hoped we would have no reason to complain. Before leaving, all food was distributed to us prisoners, and, afterward I found out that the commander disobeyed orders to destroy us and the camp.

We were some 500 prisoners. I am trying to document this extraordinary event, but I know only one survivor and not the name of the commander.

Fred Klein


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Website note:

THIS reminds us that in the files of the Hoover Library at Stanford, California, are the papers of British secret service (MI6) agent Captain S. Payne Best, who was captured by the Gestapo with fellow-agent Stevens in the famous Venlo Incident in May 1940. [AR]Both were held for most of the war in Dachau concentration camp. After Stevens wrote a best-seller in which he laid it on thick and rotten about how they had been brutally tortured by the Nazis, Best wrote to him a letter (the carbon copy is in the Hoover manuscript collection) suggesting that he shut up, as both knew that they had been treated decently and well by their captors, and that there had not been the slightest maltreatment.

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