13th French SS man at Bad Reichenall massacre

Foreign volunteers, collaboration and Axis Allies 1939-1945.

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Laurent Daniel
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Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed May 10, 2006 8:49 am

Paddy Keating wrote:Who consulted FFL HQ
In May 1945, there were not anymore any FFL....
But a Government of the French Republic and a French Army in Germany.
The Army of the French Republic was composed of former FFL, former Resistants, former French colonial army and quite a number of other volunteers.

Paddy Keating

Post by Paddy Keating » Wed May 10, 2006 10:23 am

No comment.

PK

Paddy Keating

Post by Paddy Keating » Wed May 10, 2006 10:38 am

Actually, I will make a comment. I wrote: "Leclerc had served in the colonies where extreme brutality towards the natives was the order of the day. The lives of those he considered inferior or worthless were therefore of little consequence to such a man."

Laurent Daniel wrote:
Oh, dear. When will you at least TRY to substantiate your distorted affirmations with some sort of sources?
Before WW2, Captain de Hautecloque served 3 years in Morocco as Instructor or HQ officer, end 1926 - early 1630. No traces of any fights in Morocco during those years. Anything sound to say?
Now, here is an extract from a mini-biography published on the website of the Fondation de la Résistance, which shows what kind of man the Comte de Hauteclocque was. I do not think that even Laurent Daniel can find a way of suggesting that the people behind the Fondation de la Résistance are pro-Nazi apologists!
L'orgueil, Leclerc l'investit visiblement dans les défis qu'il se lance à lui-même : peu doué pour l'équitation, il s'acharne à maîtriser cet art et choisit la cavalerie comme arme à la sortie de Saint-Cyr. Ses qualités lui ouvrent rapidement une brillante carrière d'officier instructeur. Mais bien plus que l'ambition, c'est l'indépendance d'esprit qui le caractérise. En 1930, on le prive du commandement de ses goums marocains pour avoir usé de procédés disciplinaires contraires au règlement : il leur a infligé des coups de bâton plutôt que des amendes, sachant que la modestie de leur solde contraint leurs épouses à se prostituer. Trois ans après, alors qu'il est maintenant instructeur à Saint-Cyr, il profite d'une permission pour retourner au Maroc. Il y participe à des combats contre les " insoumis ", se mettant dans une situation totalement irrégulière. On peut penser qu'il cherche dans l'épreuve du feu à la fois l'accomplissement de sa vocation d'officier et une dette à acquitter vis-à-vis de ses aînés (ses deux oncles, saint-cyriens eux-mêmes, et son cousin Bernard sont morts pendant la Grande Guerre).
Here is the URL: http://www.fondationresistance.com/

Some of you read French. Perhaps Laurent will provide us with an accurate translation. If not, I will supply a translation. The gist of the passage is that Leclerc was a brute and abused native soldiers under his command to such an extent that he was relieved of his command. That a fairly conservative, establishment-oriented body should say this about Leclerc is quite damning.

PK

Paddy Keating

Post by Paddy Keating » Wed May 10, 2006 11:28 am

Not fast enough! OK, the Irishman will translate it for you since the Frenchman has gone quiet.
Leclerc clearly took pride in confronting the challenges he set himself: not a very accomplished horseman, he made the effort to master this skill and chose the cavalry after graduation from Saint-Cyr. His qualities led to a brilliant career as an instructor. However, far more than his amibition, it was his independence of mind that characterised him. In 1930, he was relieved of his command for having subjected his Moroccan troops to disciplinary procedures that were contrary to regulations: aware that their poor rates of pay drove their wives to prostition, he had them beaten with sticks [PK note: as in flogged] rather than fined. Three years later, when an instructor at Saint-Cyr, he took advantage of a period of leave to return to Morocco. There, he took part in actions against «unsubmissives», thereby placing himself in a completely irregular position. On can only surmise that he was seeking, through this baptism of fire, a vindication of his worth as an officer and an discharge of a debt to his older relatives: his two uncles, themselves late of Saint-Cyr and his cousin Bernard had been killed in the Great War.
I suppose that the Comte de Hauteclocque felt that he was an enlightened commander, meting out painful, deeply humiliating and totally illegal beatings to the Arab solders under his command instead of fining them in accordance with military regulations in order that their wives, already prostituting themselves to feed their children, should not have to work overtime in the streets and brothels if their husbands’ army pay packets were light at the end of the month as a result of fines.

I wonder how the Arabs felt about it. Such was the Glory of the French Empire. Still, I suppose it was marginally better than being under the Belgians, or the Portuguese. So much for the nation that gave the world les Droits de l’Homme. Leclerc appears to have had a problem with «unsubmissive» people, doesn’t he? Flogging his soldiers, jumping at the chance to go on “pacification expeditions” to kill other Arabs – rebels and civilians of all ages alike, regardless of gender - who simply wanted freedom from French tyranny and, to return to the topic in hand, young Frenchmen whose displayed une attitude insolente on that May day outside Bad Reichenhall in 1945.

Leclerc was by no means untypical. Such attitudes persisted long after WW2, as evidenced by French behaviour in Algeria in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the late 1940s, they used all sorts of methods against "unsubmissive" people. In Madagascar, for instance, the village elders or anyone they could grab from communities who were refusing to pay their taxes unless their treatment by French administrators, policemen and soldiers improved were thrown to their deaths from aircraft over their villages, in front of their families.

I could go on...and on...and on.

PK

Laurent Daniel
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Post by Laurent Daniel » Wed May 10, 2006 11:36 am

Paddy Keating wrote:
En 1930, on le prive du commandement de ses goums marocains pour avoir usé de procédés disciplinaires contraires au règlement : il leur a infligé des coups de bâton plutôt que des amendes, sachant que la modestie de leur solde contraint leurs épouses à se prostituer
Perhaps Laurent will provide us with an accurate translation. If not, I will supply a translation. The gist of the passage is that Leclerc was a brute and abused native soldiers under his command to such an extent that he was relieved of his command. That a fairly conservative, establishment-oriented body should say this about Leclerc is quite damning
The quote says:
"In 1930, he was deprived of his command of the Morrocan goums as he used disciplinay process against the rules: He was inflicting them "coup de batons" (Physical punishment) instead of "amendes" (Financial cuts in their meager salaries) knowing that the modesty of their salaries where pushing his soldiers wifes to prostitute themselves."
Honorable way to help his men with the means he had.
Going against the "establishment" at his own cost.
Leclerc at his best, as usual.

:D
Regards
Daniel Laurent

Paddy Keating

Post by Paddy Keating » Wed May 10, 2006 12:31 pm

His choice of alternative punishment is significant. Why flogging? Why not other forms of punishment, of which there would be a wide range available to any imaginative commander? He could have given them extra duties, route marches with packs full of rocks, latrine duty and so on.

Given the rather intense, tightly-wound nature of the man, one has to wonder if our Conservative Catholic aristocrat did not want to feel that women were engaging in immoral activities as a direct consequence of his actions? As long as his men's wives were prostituting themselves as a consequence of their men's low salaries, Leclerc probably felt absolved of any personal responsibility for this appalling state of affairs. Speaking as a Catholic, I can tell you that some of us are quite warped like that, you know. Had he fined them, he would have been encouraging prostitution.

So he had them flogged instead, which is a truly terrible humiliation for an Arab. And he was fired for it. There is nothing honourable in what he did. It was cruel and degrading and all too typical of an attitude commonly encountered in the French officer corps until long after WW2. However, he was not fired for murdering the twelve French Charlemagne soldiers. Nor was he fired for not controlling his men after they occupied the town of Freudenstadt: more than eight-hundred local women were treated in the town hospital for injuries caused by rape and serious sexual assault. The French army behaved quite badly in Germany.

I am not judging them for this. How could I? I was not a Frenchman in 1945, full of rage at the shame and humiliation of my country. People do bad things in war. Every side has people who misbehave. I think that what we are saying here is that we need to recognise this. We need to accept that the Germans were not the only people who put murderers in uniform in WW2 and whose soldiers did bad things. To accept this is not to condone or apologise for Nazism, despite what some people, like the French documentary maker Claude Lanzmann, say.

As a General in the army of a country that was part of an alliance combatting Nazism and Fascism and all its excesses, Leclerc had a duty to observe the rules we wished to reimpose on Germany and her allies. One cannot go about shooting POWs out of hand because it is illegal and negates everything for which the majority of ordinary Allied soldiers were supposed to be risking and losing their lives.

On another tack, Sid Gutteridge appears to have found the idea of German veterans singing Ich hatt' einen kameraden offensive. The song - it was actually a poem set to music - was written by Ludwig Uhland during the Napoleonic Wars - another glorious episode in France's history - and has absolutely no Nazi connotations whatsoever. It is a soldiers' lament for fallen comrades and friends. In fact, German volunteers in the International Brigade in Spain during the civil war there sang it regularly.

Sid?

PK

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John W. Howard
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Closing

Post by John W. Howard » Wed May 10, 2006 1:16 pm

Hello Gents:
I am going to close this thread; I have been away and right now I do not have the time to read all of it in detail. I did read enough to want to caution Daniel; I know you are a passionate person, but so is Paddy and while he has done an admirable job keeping his cool, you have not. Being a passionate person is not an excuse to cut loose with insults. Best wishes.
John W. Howard

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