Transcripts from microphones planted by British and American intelligence during the Second World War dismiss Nazi soldiers’ claims of performing atrocious acts only because they were ordered to.
The book Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret Second World War Tapes of German POWs reveals that the “clean” Wehrmacht, regular SS man, enjoyed mass murder just as much as higher up officers. The book was written by German historians Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, and the English edition has just come out.
The disturbing tales of violence speak of acts committed between 1940 and 1945 by German soldiers. Microphones planted on American and British prisoners of war, as well as German and Italian soldiers, conveyed not only military secrets, but also regular conversations between enforcers of the Nazi regime.
On one account, Daily Mail
reports, soldiers describe genocide as fun.
“There was an event in the market square, crowds of people, speeches given. We really sprayed them! That was fun!”
Others took pleasure in planting bombs and shooting not only soldiers, but defenseless women and children, in a quest for an adrenaline rush.
“I loved dropping bombs. It makes you feel all tingly, a great feeling. It’s as good as shooting someone down.”
“There seemed to be a ball or something – anyhow a lot of ladies in evening dress and a band. […] The first time we flew past; then we attacked and kept at it. Boy oh boy, was that fun,” the soldiers said.
Shocking accounts of rape and physical and mental torture were caught on tape, as is the one attributed to a young soldier from a Nazi base in Frankfurt. He spoke of how female spies were being treated, if captured:
“First we hit her in the [expletive] with a stick and then we beat her rear end with a bare bayonet.
Then we [expletive] her, and then we threw her outside and shot at her. When she was lying there on her back, we threw grenades at her.”
“Every time one of them landed near her body, she screamed,” the German soldier said, as eight other SS officers sat next to him, laughing.