November 12, 2010
Re: German Treatment of Canadian POWs
Charles Kantor (Letters, Nov.12) casts aspersions on Germans for their alleged cruel treatment of Canadian prisoners of war. In fact, Canadians who fell into German hands, mostly RCAF Aircrew, were well fed, well housed, kept healthy and provided with educational materials and recreational facilities. Very few, if any, who arrived on German soil intact, died once captured, in contrast to the Allied treatment of German prisoners, millions of whom were killed through exposure and starvation in Siberia and in Eisenhower's horrific death camps on the Rhine, as revealed by James Bacque in "Other Losses". Even more reprehensively, the majority of German POWs were killed after the war when they constituted no conceivable threat.
Whatever Mr Kantor's sources, I have the advantage of conversations with a number of Canadian former prisoners, not long after the war, none of whom complained of harsh conditions. Anecdotally, a former colleague, who was captured while serving as an Infantry Officer in Italy, said he was treated very respectfully - even allowed to keep his 9mm pistol during interrogation, until he insisted that the German officer take it!
Compared with the Allied treatment of enemy soldiers in Iraq, tens of thousands of whom were massacred while attempting to surrender, the German treatment of Canadian POWs was both chivalrous and in accord with the Geneva Conventions, in complete contrast to the hate-filled, racist Hollywood version portraying the camps as veritable torture chambers and the German camp commandants and guards as brutal sadists. You should apologize for attempting to give credence to such tawdry, partisan, anti-German wartime propaganda, especially so close to Remembrance Day when reconciliation and truth should be your guide..
Ian V. Macdonald (ex-RCAF)
455 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa ON K1N 6M7
613 241 5389