Letter: German PoWs suffered, too

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The Independent Online
From Ms Jane McCarthy

Sir: With reference to your article "Scandal of PoWs sent to death on minefields" (23 May), concerning the clearing of French minefields by German PoWs, may I draw attention to another "legacy of war".

My father was one of over a million German PoWs who were held in American PoW camps on the Rhine at the end of the war. These were known as starvation camps, where hundreds of thousands of people died in appalling conditions. It has been reported that, at the direct command of Eisenhower and with the tacit agreement of the British command, Red Cross and American food was not released to feed the prisoners. My father's recollection is that thousands of men were held in open fields surrounded by barbed wire, where it was possible to see the piles of supplies which were not released. Men suffocated to death beneath the earth shelters which they dug to protect themselves from the elements.

Perhaps the time is now right for other personal and political truths to be told.

Yours faithfully,


Newcastle upon Tyne