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Hi Bennie:

Thanks so much for the information on the black soldiers that were tortured to death by those evil SS soldiers. Many remember the terrible massacre at Malmedy where American soldiers were slaughtered by an SS Panzer division headed up by Col. Joachim Peiper. Your link mentions Peiper as the much-speculated culprit of the slaughter of African-American soldiers at Wereth.

You may remember that I wrote and told you that Leonard Smith veteran of the 761st Tank Battalion and the Battle of the Bulge was invited by the American Army in Germany to participate in the memorial ceremony for these fallen men. The symbolism of his laying a wreath at Wereth was not lost on "Smitty". Although he never knew the details of this awful murder when he was fighting his way through the Bulge, he and his fellow tankers knew of the cruelty that Blacks suffered at the hands of the SS. Capture meant death. "They took no prisoners and sometimes neither did we."

I mention this to respond to the question:

Why did the SS murder the Wereth 11?

"Maybe it was because they were American or maybe because these men were black or perhaps simply because the SS unit could murder at will," Lichtenfeld said. "We will never know."

In all due respect to Lichtenfeld's dedication to memorializing these men, I am compelled to add this:

African-American soldiers, the African " Untermenchen " living in Germany and occupied Europe certainly knew that their lives meant nothing to the SS. They only had to look to the fate of the Jews, homosexuals and gypsies to know what was in store for them. The black soldiers from America and Africa and the men and women of color who somehow survived the POW camps and the concentration camps suffered an unimaginable hell before their liberation. I only knew of two men, who survived during the Nazi terror, one was Arthur Briggs and the other a native son of Yellow Springs Ohio, Elmer Spyglass. Arthur's remembrances were not pretty.

I've included two URL's. One describes the Malmedy massacre. The other is from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum that details the suffering of people of color under Hitler.

As for listing my credentials, such a request in the tradition and sprit of this military forum is an affront to my intelligence and frankly tacky and it would be equally tacky for me to present them.

K Wyer Lane

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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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