Revelations: The new book reveals how soldiers like this one callously murdered the innocent and then joked about it with fellow soldiers

Secret recordings made by British  intelligence during the Second World War have revealed for the first time the  horrific atrocities carried out by everyday German soldiers.

For years the blame for horrific war crimes,  rape and genocide were laid at the hands of the SS and Hitler’s right hand men  but a new book details how widespread the barbarity went.

Transcripts taken from hidden microphones on  prisoners of war have been collated for the disturbing book Soldaten:  On Fighting, Killing and Dying: The Secret Second World War Tapes of German  POWs.

Between 1940 and 1945 the British and  Americans bugged about 13,000 German and several hundred Italian soldiers of all  ranks and services – many of which in the Trent Park detention centre for POWs  in north London.

It was hoped the recordings would reveal  military secrets of potentially strategic importance, instead they catalogued  open and uncensored conversations about war experiences – often as to  boast.

Revelations: The new book reveals how soldiers like this one callously murdered the innocent and then joked about it with fellow soldiers
Tainted: German soldiers crouch over the bodies of two shot down civilians
Recordings: The tapes reveal that many of the German soldiers were fully aware of death camps – despite many stating differently

They detail not only the extreme level of  violence but a disturbing sense of enjoyment from the soldiers. One example of many  recounts: ‘There was an event in  the market square, crowds of people, speeches  given. We really sprayed them!  That was fun!’

Another reveals the following conversation:  ‘We once did a strafing near Eastbourne. We flew up and saw a big castle; there  seemed to be a ball or something — anyhow a lot of ladies in evening dress and a  band.

‘The first time we flew past; then we  attacked and kept at it. Boy oh boy, was that fun.’

Another reveals: ‘I loved dropping bombs. It  makes you feel all tingly, a great feeling. It’s as good as shooting someone  down.’

The book, which has been compiled by German  historians Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer has been translated in to English  for the first time, dispelling myths that German soldiers were not responsible  for such war crimes.

It offers a bleak inside view  of World War  II and in doing so, they destroy once and for the myth of a ‘clean’ Wehrmacht -  the German name for the armed forced.

In one section a passage attributed to Reimbold reads: ‘In the first officers’  prison camp where I was being kept here, there was a really stupid guy from Frankfurt, a young lieutenant, a young  upstart.

‘And he said: ‘Oh, we caught this female spy  who had been running  around in the neighborhood.

‘First we hit her in the **** with a stick  and then we beat her rear end with a bare bayonet.

Then we threw her  outside and shot at her. When she was lying there  on her back, we threw  grenades at her.

‘Every time one of them landed  near her  body, she screamed.’

‘And just think, there were eight German  officers sitting at that table with me, and they all broke out  laughing.’

War crimes: The likes of Josef Mengele (left) known as ‘The Angel of Death’, Rudolf Hess and Josef Kramer were well known war criminals but hidden microphones reveal how Wehrmacht soldiers were embroiled in the atrocities

The soldiers talk about their views of the  enemy and their own  leaders, discuss the details of combat missions and trade  astonishingly  detailed accounts of the atrocities they both witnessed and  committed.

Executions: German soldiers line up and execute a group of Jewish men by the banks of the Danube in Hungary
Disturbing: Women and children were not spared by trigger happy soldiers, some of whom described killing as ‘fun’



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here