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Soon after the sensational Channel 4 film about Sri Lanka, I was sent by someone who seemed upset at this blatant effort to put our government in the dock a review of a book called ‘OTHER LOSSES: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MASS DEATHS OF GERMAN PRISONERS AT THE HANDS OF THE FRENCH AND AMERICANS AFTER WORLD WAR II’. It was written in 1989 by James Bacque and published in Toronto, but its findings are not at all well known.

I have not read the book myself, but what the review states is pretty startling. The subject of the book is ‘succinctly stated by Col. Ernest F. Fisher, a former senior historian with the United States Army, in the foreword’ –More than five million German soldiers in the American and French zones were crowded into barbed wire cages, many of them literally shoulder to shoulder. The ground beneath them soon became a quagmire of filth and disease. Open to the weather, lacking even primitive sanitary facilities, underfed, the prisoners soon began dying of starvation and disease. Starting in April 1945, the United States Army and the French Army casually annihilated about one million men, most of them in American camps.

Bacque’s own narrative is even more gruesome – ‘enormous numbers of men of all ages, plus some women and children, died of exposure, unsanitary conditions, disease and starvation in the American and French camps in Germany and France … The victims undoubtedly number over 800,000, almost certainly over 900,000 and quite likely over a million. Their deaths were knowingly caused by army officers who had sufficient resources to keep the prisoners alive’. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2011
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