For years we have blamed the 1.7 million missing German POW's on the Russians. Until now, no one dug too deeply.
One month before the end of World War II, General Eisenhower issued special orders concerning the treatment of German Prisoners and specific in the language of those orders was this statement:
"Prison enclosures are to provide no shelter or other comforts."
Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose, who was given access to the Eisenhower personal letters, states that he proposed to exterminate the entire German General Staff, thousands of people, after the war. Eisenhower, in his personal letters, did not merely hate the Nazi Regime, and the few who imposed its will down from the top, but that HE HATED THE GERMAN PEOPLE AS A RACE. It was his personal intent to destroy as many of them as he could, and one way was to wipe out as many prisoners of war as possible.
Of course, that was illegal under International law, so he issued an order on March 10, 1945 and verified by his initials on a cable of that date, that German Prisoners of War be predesignated as "Disarmed Enemy Forces" called in these reports as DEF. He ordered that these Germans did not fall under the Geneva Rules, and were not to be fed or given any water or medical attention. The Swiss Red Cross was not to inspect the camps, for under the DEF classification, they had no such authority or jurisdiction.
Months after the war was officially over, Eisenhower's special German DEF camps were still in operation forcing the men into confinement, but denying that they were prisoners. As soon as the war was over, General George Patton simply turned his prisoners loose to fend for themselves and find their way home as best they could. Eisenhower was furious, and issued a specific order to Patton, to turn these men over to the DEF camps. Knowing Patton as we do from history, we know that these orders were largely ignored, and it may well be that Patton's untimely and curious death may have been a result of what he knew about these wretched Eisenhower DEF camps.
Others, such as Omar Bradley and General J.C.H. Lee, Commander of Com Z, tried, and ordered the release of prisoners within a week of the war's end. However, a SHAEF Order, signed by Eisenhower, countermanded them on May 15th.
The book, "Other Losses," found its way into the hands of a Canadian news reporter, Peter Worthington, of the Ottawa Sun. He did his own research through contacts he had in Canada, and reported in his column on September 12,1989 the following, in part: "...it is hard to escape the conclusion that Dwight Eisenhower was a war criminal of epic proportions. His (DEF) policy killed more Germans in peace than were killed in the European Theater."
Col. James Mason and Col. Charles Beasley, who were in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, published a paper on the Eisenhower Death Camps in 1950. They stated in part:
"Huddled close together for warmth, behind the barbed wire was a most awesome sight; nearly 100,000 haggard, apathetic, dirty, gaunt, blank-staring men clad in dirty gray uniforms, and standing ankle deep in mud ... water was a major problem, yet only 200 yards away the River Rhine was running bank-full."
Martin Brech of Mahopac, New York, is a semi-retired professor of philosophy at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. In 1945, Brech was an 18 year old Private First Class in Company C of the 14th Infantry, assigned as a guard and interpreter at the Eisenhower Death Camp at Andernach, along the Rhine River. He stated for "Spotlight," February 12, 1990:
"My protests (regarding treatment of the German DEF'S) were met with hostility or indifference, and when I threw our ample rations to them over the barbed wire. I was threatened, making it clear that it was our deliberate policy not to adequately feed them."
Betty Lou Smith Hanson, writes: "When they caught me throwing C- Rations over the fence, they threatened me with imprisonment. One Captain told me that he would shoot me if he saw me again tossing food to the Germans ... Some of the men were really only boys 13 years of age...Some of the prisoners were old men drafted by Hitler in his last ditch stand ... I understand that average weight of the prisoners at Andernach was 90 pounds...I have received threats ... Nevertheless, this...has liberated me, for I may now be heard when I relate the horrible atrocity I witnessed as a prison guard for one of 'Ike's death camps' along the Rhine."