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The Malmédy Massacre: A Lesson In Pictures for Bill O'Reilly (photos)

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keopeli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:07 AM
Original message
The Malmédy Massacre: A Lesson In Pictures for Bill O'Reilly (photos)
I thought perhaps a lesson in photos might help Bill O'Reilly remember the truth about The Malmédy Massacre. Maybe this will prevent future abuse of our Soldiers and War Heroes by slandering their memory.

--

On December 17, 1944, the European War of the fascist aggressor, Adolph Hitler was about the experience it's defining moment.

The German Army had taken devastating losses in Russia and was losing ground in the west as well. Though his advisers disagreed, Hitler wanted to launch an assault into Belgium and reach the sea, dividing the enemy. His advisers knew the troop strength had waned. They knew their premier forces were teenagers, recently recruited to replace catastrophic losses. They knew the enemy had heavy advantages. But, Hitler always believed the same thing on Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened on Tuesday.

There was a lot of activity in the region around Bastogne in December of 1944. The Germans were given the order to charge, and they ran a large force of their best troops across the region.

The elite Panzer troops were fresh from their homes where many had learned their families had been killed in intense bombing raids. They were young men, teenagers, and they were rabid for blood.


Current photo of The Malmédy Massacre site.

When the first two tanks on the road that day entered a clearing at a crossroads called 5-Points, they saw the tail end of an American convoy headed south. The blood thirsty troops fired on the convoy, killing a number of soldiers and taking over 100 prisoners.

But, the German Leader, Jochen Peiper, was furious about the delay. The troops were already 12 hours late and they were supposed to take out an American command post just a few miles ahead.



It was 2 o'clock and the temperature was zero degrees, though no snow was on the ground. They'd been delayed for two hours now.

Suddenly, three American soldiers decide to make a run for the trees, just a few dozen yards away. Pistol shots were fired. One escapee was killed.


Kenneth Ahrens demonstrates how he surrendered

An American soldier was executed which terrified the American POWs, and they started pushing to get behind each other. An American Officer yelled, "Stand fast!" but within moments, machine gun fire began plowing down the Americans who fell to their deaths in a group.

Though two soldiers escaped, one was killed by gunfire and found nearby. The other returned to Malmédy around 4 PM and told the story of what had happened. The Americans decided they would not investigate the crime alleged just 13 km south.


Distribution of the remains at the scene.

73 soldiers were executed that day. Amazingly, about 40 American soldiers SURVIVED the massacre by playing dead. They waited about an hour for the Germans to leave before extricating themselves from the pile of dead friends that had saved their lives. They made a run for the woods, but some German soldiers had remained in the area and many more soldiers were killed before they could get away. Still, there were about 30 survivors of the event.

The frozen corpses of the bodies were discovered on January 14, 1945. They were all sent to be autopsied and identified by the Americans. Several were frozen with their arms over their head in surrender.



The perpetrators of this war crime were tried at Dachau on May 1945 and found guilty. Though many were sentenced to death, all of their sentences were commuted because the prosecution had assembled their case so hastily. Appeals lasted more than 10 years and involved both the US Supreme Court and the Hague Court. The last prisoner, Peiper himself, was released in 1956.





In his defense, Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper said that he had instructed his men to fight as they had fought against the Russians, disregarding international law about the treatment of prisoners of war. The defendants testified that they had been instructed to take no prisoners, but they understood this to mean that because they were fighting in a tank unit, they were supposed to send POWs to the rear to picked up by infantry units.


Each of the accused was assigned a number because it was hard to keep the names of the 73 men straight. Gen. Sepp Dietrich (11) and Lt. Col. Jochen Peiper (42) were sentenced to death by hanging; General Fritz Krämer (33) was sentenced to 10 years in prison; General Hermann Priess (45) was sentenced to life in prison, but his sentence was commuted to 20 years.

In all, the accused were charged with murdering between 538 to 749 nameless Prisoners of War and more than 90 unidentified Belgian civilians in the locations mentioned on the charge sheet, which is quoted above. The accused SS men claimed that the civilians, who were killed, had been actively aiding the Americans during the fighting.

"The Malmédy Massacre! Who knows and cares anymore? No one – no one – will ever sort out the mess now! Too many lies have been told these last twenty-five-years."

"It's so long ago now. Even I don't know the truth. If I had ever known it, I have long forgotten it. All I knew is that I took the blame as a good CO should and was punished accordingly."

— Jochen Peiper, quoted in A Traveler's Guide to the Battle for the German Frontier by Charles Whiting, 1970



Lt. Col. Joachim Peiper on the witness stand, June 17, 1946.


Waiting for the Malmedy Massacre verdict outside the courtroom


Peiper poses for his mug shot at Schwabish Hall prison


Memorial to the victims of the Malmedy Massacre in Malmedy, Belgium.


The names of the victims are set on plaques within the stone.

more photos
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks keopeli for posting this thread;
I'm a new DUer, and I've physically stood on or near the places those photos were taken.
This is a thread well worth bookmarking, as you've gone above and beyond gathering a useful node of resources on this subject.
'Achim was a very bad man...
Thanks again for posting it.
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keopeli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Cheers, and welcome to DU
I've been around since 02.

I've spent good time in Belgium and have friends there. The history in that land is filled with recent wars, from Waterloo to Bastogne, and you can feel...well, you can feel something. It's hard to describe, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

It's so shameful to have people like O'Reilly spouting such anti-American propoganda to my family. Fox News is all they watch, so they just absorb this stuff like zombies.
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Thanks for the welcome, keopeli.
DU is a great place to stumble upon some great shit you might not see anyplace else, or somebody put all the links together about something you always wanted to, but never got the time.
Kick-ass job.
My short story about my connection to Belgium is that I went there as an exchange student from the US, and in the areas where Belgium borders West Germany, the Belgians and Germans living there refused to take money from Americans, once the locals knew we were. Free admittance to the local museums, and free food and beer!
The web is a great way to keep informed, and I don't think I'd travel openly as an American now.
Thanks again for the welcome to DU.
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Jack from Charlotte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. On more thing. Joakim Peiper was burned to death in his home....
in France in 1976. His home was firebombed for some reason. He lived in France because he was shuned everywhere he went in Germany.

If it was my brother shot down, this guy would never have made it to 1976.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:40 AM
Response to Original message
2. There will probably be bigger massacres in the future in Iraq
The longer the US stays in Iraq, the greater the odds something even worse than Haditha will be unearthed for the world to see.
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. With all due respect Selatius,
your post doesn't seem to be analogous to anything the OP took all the time to gather.
If there's some point you're trying to make, just type it.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. It was a side comment, really
I am aware of what went down with O'Reilly's gaffe in his debate with Clark.
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. OK, I'm out of the loop on that;
I don't have cable, so I missed the reference.
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Garbo 2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Just to provide context: O'Reilly, in a discussion with Wes Clark, claimed
that American servicemen massacred unarmed SS prisoners at Malmedy. Bill O'Reilly on his Fox News Channel program claimed this on two separate occasions. (Since you don't have cable this is why this is an issue at this particular time.)

Keith Olbermann on MSNBC responded to Billdo's lies and the video is available at Crooks and Liars site: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/06/01.html#a8537 .

And thanks for sharing a bit of your experience in Belgium as an exchange student. It's good to know at least there was still good will toward Americans when you were there.
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Garbo 2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:13 AM
Response to Original message
6. Just a footnote: Charles Durning, the actor, was a survivor of Malmedy.
How amazed any still existing survivors must be to learn, via the loofalafel loving Billdo, that they were not the intended potential victims of the massacre but the perpetrators of a war crime against the SS.
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. I do seem to recall something about that,
now that you mention it.
Keopeli's thread will take you wherever you let it...
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keopeli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:40 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for sharing! I loved him in Tootsie!
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mortlefaucheur Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:22 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. He's Out There, man... eom
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juajen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. He was fantastic in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
I love that man!
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. AND in O Brother, Where Art Thou
Durning is a national treasure--as an actor, and as a war hero. I wish more people knew about his life.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. and he's a wonderful dancer
really. Have you ever seen "True Confessions" with Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall, and Charles Durning?
Good film. The story loosely revolves around the Black Dahlia story. I believe there's a new movie in the works about that same 1940's Hollywood murder.
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Nickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. Wow, so when he was talking about being a war hero in "Rescue Me" he wasn'
kidding. That's an interesting bit of info, thanks.
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spuddonna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
15. Thank you very much, keopeli...
My uncle was in the 82nd Airborne. I am beyond outraged at O'Reilly...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I had never heard of Malmedy. The pictures and the information break my heart, just as the atrocities in Haditha break my heart.

Peace. For God's sake, peace...
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
16. kick! nt
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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
17. Good work...........thanks
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Nickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
18. Awesome job and well written. Thanks. n/t
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
19. Excellent work putting this together!
Thank you for posting this.
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PublicWrath Donating Member (597 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
21. A+ report. Thank you. Recommended!
I'd like to strangle O'Lielly. He's always posing as an expert on WW2.
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stanwyck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
23. O'Reilly attracts an older audience. I hope
they picked up on his glaring error (made twice) and make sure he knows that "the greatest generation" doesn't appreciate his turning war casualties into war criminals.
And his "apology" was beyond weak. It was merely a snarky aside, very Bushian. An offhand, "well, there WERE atrocities..."
Then, Faux scrubbed the transcript and substituted a reference to "Normandy".
Do these idiots not realize people have Tivo? And Comcast?
Listen: you can't scrub the news. It's out there.
And you can't control a bunch of 19+ yr. old soldiers with cell phones and digital cameras. They'll document war crimes. They document everything.
So. Stop trying to rationalize and cover-up.
The truth is out flying around cyberspace. You can't put in back in the bottle.
Too late.
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FogerRox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 06:33 PM
Response to Original message
25. Great piece, KNR.
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
26. Kick!
:kick:
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