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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptyThu 24 Oct 2019, 22:05

Watching a French film this week that spoke of a large army before capitulation, no one here could tell me what happened to the armed forces who did not escape at Dunkirk. Poles and Russians were treated badly. that I know but what of the Benelux lands and France - and come to that, what happened in Italy  to the remains of that army?   before that, Italians PoWs came to Britain - many to Wales.....I've met some of their families and grandchildren there so not all bad then.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptyFri 25 Oct 2019, 22:35

Priscilla, to start with France...

after Dunkirk, there were nearly 100,000 French escaped to England together with the English, but a few days later they were returned to France to fight on, from the redoubt of Brittany if I recall it well. Thus in fact they were for the Germans soldiers ennemies till they were captured and became PoWs. The French fought bravely retreating to the South, but after the speech of Pétain about the armistice on 17 June, many soldiers lost their fighting power because of that depressing surrender rethoric. Only the cadets of Saumur did on that same 17 June a brave resistance to the Germans for the honour and to show that France was not yet defeated. And on the 18th June you had the famous call from de Gaulle from London to resist. Only on the 25th if I recall it well there was at the end the armistice, where all French soldiers became PoWs or were released to become citizens or to escape to Vichy France or to Britain again. And for instance de Gaulle had to do it with a mere 5,000 to 6,000 in London to resist for the first time. Mers el Kebir was also a reason for the French to not fight for the Englishman.
In France the former soldiers were treated of course very well. 
If I recall it well the French PoWs in Germany were also relatively well till the winter of 1941/42 after Barbarossa, but then the resistance grew and in France and among the PoWs, although the general French population was misled by the Vichy regime as to the fate of their PoWs in Germany, to make it better than it was, only for "regime" reasons and of course the letters of the PoWs were censured by the Germans. And then again these same brave soldiers from 1940 were by the collapse of the Vichy regime in 1944, on their return nearly treated as Vichy collaborators as those, who had voluntary worked for the Germans in Germany by the propaganda of the Vichy regime. We had here in Belgium the same propaganda to work for the Germans as in France.

As for the Benelux, as there was in both countries (have to seek for Luxemburg) a capitulation (there seems to be a big difference between capitulation and armistice) the Benelux soldiers became normal citizens again, only the PoWs in Germany had to wait a bit before repatriating. And again as some discord in post-war Belgium, the Flemings were first released (Northern! as the German brother Volk) before the Walloons. If I recall it well also the same early release in the Netherlands? Dirk?

The fate of the French PoWs in Italy is perhaps a special one. Although all Italian PoWs were returned to Italy after the Armistice, the 155 official French PoWs were perhaps well treated, but remained in Italy and some became perhaps French PoWs in German custody after the change of Italy in 1943.

Kind regards, Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 10:06

I remember seeing a documentary film MANY years ago (1969) about four former German prisoners of war who had remained in Wales.  I may have mentioned it on this website some time ago.  One of them spoke English with the version of a Welsh accent from where he was living and another said he had stayed because his home was Breslau, which of course was given over to Poland with the boundary changes that happened after the Second World War.  From my childhood, there was a boy a few years younger than me whose father was Italian and had been a prisoner-of-war though his mother was English.  His Dad was fair complexioned and his mother very dark as it happened.  I know there were some German prisoners-of-war buried in the environs of the Cannock Chase War Memorial (though strictly speaking I suppose they would have died before surrender).

Although they weren't prisoners-of-war I STILL haven't been able to find the "Times" July book of the month "Shadow of the Wolf" by Aldys Slepikas about the "wolfs kinder" children displaced from East Prussia (now the Russian Oblast) post-World War II and of the events that unfolded as they tried to make their way in Lithuania but I haven't formally reserved the book as yet - I have just searched on the appropriate shelf on library visits.  The author's name actually has an inverted circumflex accent over the capital S in his surname but I haven't managed to work out how to enter that sign on my computer.
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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 21:41

Paul,

 in your post above and your answer to LIR you did mention the capitulation of the Netherlands army.

When Holland capitulated (15thMay 1940) the German army treated the Dutch army as POWS but then during June/July  released all of the lower ranks and especially those whose employer had promised them to re-employ them on return from their military service.
All the officers ( except the senior top ranks) were asked to sign a document and make an oath NOT to obstruct or undermine the German military administration and if they signed would also be released.
Actually most of those who did sign and made the oath just ignored it and did some form of resistance.

The senior top officers were kept in isolation as a kind of hostages some in Holland and some others in Germany.

However during May 1942 Hitler ordered that all the officers who had been released would have to report for internment in Germany due to increased resistance.
Some of them did but many went into hiding ( onderduikers) .
All over the country resistance increased and many people were arrested and were dispatched to concentration camps.

Anyway have a read through :
http://www.mei1940.nl/Meidagen/Demobilisatie.htm

I Was hoping to find a translation of this link  into English but was unable to do so.


Dirk


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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 22:35

@LadyinRetirement wrote:I remember seeing a documentary film MANY years ago (1969) about four former German prisoners of war who had remained in Wales.  I may have mentioned it on this website some time ago.  One of them spoke English with the version of a Welsh accent from where he was living and another said he had stayed because his home was Breslau, which of course was given over to Poland with the boundary changes that happened after the Second World War.  From my childhood, there was a boy a few years younger than me whose father was Italian and had been a prisoner-of-war though his mother was English.  His Dad was fair complexioned and his mother very dark as it happened.  I know there were some German prisoners-of-war buried in the environs of the Cannock Chase War Memorial (though strictly speaking I suppose they would have died before surrender).

Although they weren't prisoners-of-war I STILL haven't been able to find the "Times" July book of the month "Shadow of the Wolf" by Aldys Slepikas about the "wolfs kinder" children displaced from East Prussia (now the Russian Oblast) post-World War II and of the events that unfolded as they tried to make their way in Lithuania but I haven't formally reserved the book as yet - I have just searched on the appropriate shelf on library visits.  The author's name actually has an inverted circumflex accent over the capital S in his surname but I haven't managed to work out how to enter that sign on my computer.

 
LiR, first of all: "His Dad was fair complexioned and his mother very dark as it happened." I did some research for "complexion" and it seems to have to do with the colour? of the skin? Did that mean that you spoke about a light skinned Italian and a dark skinned English?

Yes "Shadow of the Wolf". We discussed it here already on this board. I mentioned then, why there is such an eulogy in Germany about the book. As the "Bund der Vertriebener" had in the past and still has some complex attitudes towards the expellees, as if only the German expellees had the hardship and each time if these Germans are highlighted in a publication, they make a lot of fuss about it. It is only in the last years that this "Bund" has lost a bit of its influence.
See about the critiques in the following wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation_of_Expellees
I saw also in the time many documentaries from the ZDF https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZDF
about the former lost territory, which was in my opinion tendentious (biased?).

But that wouldn't say in my eyes that it can't be an excellent book, that I also want to read.
https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Wolves-Alvydas-%C5%A0lepikas/dp/1786074680
I let it perhaps come together with some others (with the help of the granddaughter), as I see it for only 7 $ and perhaps 4 $ shipping fee.
I read from the other side then some four or five famous Jewish novels about WWII, that I found very good. There, one could also say that they are promoted by the Jewish lobby.

PS: I gave yesterday perhaps in my reply to Priscilla, the impression that the fate of the Belgian PoWs was not that harsh in the first year. As I had the testimony of a Belgian ex-PoW in my factory in the time, it wasn"'t a vacation stroll either. He told me that he was first billeted in a farm and there helping with the farmer he had a relatively good life and enough food. But after some  months he was moved to a concentration camp and there life was harsh, especially the food. He told me that he for one potato did some painstaking work of moving it between his feet, without putting attention on him till he could take it in his hands and then in a corner chewing on pieces of that raw potato.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptySat 26 Oct 2019, 22:38

Dirk in the meantime I was working on another reply and just see your post now.
I will try to comment as soon as possible.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptySun 27 Oct 2019, 23:16

@Dirk Marinus wrote:
 the capitulation of the Netherlands army.

When Holland capitulated (15thMay 1940) the German army treated the Dutch army as POWS but then during June/July  released all of the lower ranks and especially those whose employer had promised them to re-employ them on return from their military service.
All the officers ( except the senior top ranks) were asked to sign a document and make an oath NOT to obstruct or undermine the German military administration and if they signed would also be released.
Actually most of those who did sign and made the oath just ignored it and did some form of resistance.

The senior top officers were kept in isolation as a kind of hostages some in Holland and some others in Germany.

However during May 1942 Hitler ordered that all the officers who had been released would have to report for internment in Germany due to increased resistance.
Some of them did but many went into hiding ( onderduikers) .
All over the country resistance increased and many people were arrested and were dispatched to concentration camps.

Anyway have a read through :
http://www.mei1940.nl/Meidagen/Demobilisatie.htm

Dirk,

thank you very much for your detailed reply especially the link in Dutch. I read it all. I tried to find something in English, but it is perhaps not that interesting for an Anglophone public, so that sources in English are scarce.
In your source about the demobilisation I found it a bit odd that from the Dutch High Command during the demobilisation they asked to deliver information from each detachement about the amount of: a: chief officers b: head officers c: subaltern officers d: sergeants e: corporals and soldiers f: horses! Wink Of course, horses are also "living" material of the army I suppose...

Overhere 1942 was also the turning point and in the resistance perhaps due to the compulsory employment in Germany from Belgium and Northern France (october 1942). Many go into hiding and that are also possible resistants. And for the PoWs it was also the lose of the Protectif Power from the US according to the Genève convention with the declaration of war of Germany against. the US.

Dirk thanks to you I did research for the Belgian PoWs and found a complete survey in detail in a thesis for the university of Leuven.
http://www.ethesis.net/conventie_geneve/conventie_geneve.pdf

So I have now nearly a complete survey less Luxemburg of the Benelux countries about the PoWs question during WWII. And yes we had also the Ost Kantons in Belgium, who became for the second time in some decades again German citizens (as the French from Alsace-Lorraine) "Heim ins Reich"

With reading the whole evening the mentioned e-thesis of the Leuven student, I remembered again an episode that some former PoW told to me:
and I guess, if I recall it well about Russians. And it can be as I read now the story of the Belgian PoWs in the last months of the war, captured in the exodus from East-Prussia from the Germans fleeing for the Russians.
He told me that wherever he came he spoke French among his compatriots (in that time most Flemings could speak French or had a good grasp of French) because Russians could interpret his Flemish Dutch dialect as a German dialect.
He had also foreseen, when he was pressed in a crowd. He had a quadrangle in wood with him, which he could hold around his middle to avoid the pressing of human bodies against him, he said.

Kind regards, Paul.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptyMon 28 Oct 2019, 00:31

Paul, about Luxembourg. iirc the Germans suppressed the French language, in an attempt to "Germanise" the country (speaking Letzeburgesch became a mark of resistance), and conscription into the Wehrmacht was introduced - provoking a general strike.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Surrender in WW2   Surrender in WW2 EmptyMon 28 Oct 2019, 22:02

@Green George wrote:
Paul, about Luxembourg. iirc the Germans suppressed the French language, in an attempt to "Germanise" the country (speaking Letzeburgesch became a mark of resistance), and conscription into the Wehrmacht was introduced - provoking a general strike.

Gil, you don't know what you put in motion  Wink...normally we don't know that much about the Luxemburg history here in Belgium, I am nearly sure Walloons included...apart from the tax heaven (which is more and more closed), the cheap stuff that you can buy overthere because of the minor taxes and archdukes and duchesses part of the Belgian royal family...

But by your message I did for the first time research about PoWs from Luxemburg during WWII. And as I see it there were no PoWs but internments for all kind of reasons. Very early as the Grandducces fled first to Portugal if I recall it well and then to London (and the government left in Portugal?), there was a direct government from the Nazis and from 1942 on even an obligation to be soldier in Germany, as they were Germans.
So, I found PoWs from Luxemburg, but that were Luxemburgers become soldiers against their will (and some with their will) and having by that the German nationality and put by the Russians as Germans into a concentration camp of Tambov.
I remember from the French forum the same stories about those from Alsace-Lorraine (become German soldiers) "les malgrés-nous".
And as I see it from what I read the whole evening these questions are not yet fully "burried".
Even a lot of fuss, even on government level, because of a well resourced thesis about the collaboration and the status of Luxemburg during the German occupation. 2013.
https://www.franceculture.fr/oeuvre/la-collaboration-au-luxembourg-durant-la-seconde-guerre-mondiale-1940-1945-accommodation
https://www.franceculture.fr/personne-vincent-artuso
https://www.amazon.com/collaboration-Luxembourg-Seconde-mondiale-1940-1945/dp/3631632568
The collaboration in Luxemburg during WWII, 1940-1945: accomodation, adaptation, assimilation.
Book review by Henri Wehenkel:
https://www.forum.lu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/7699_332_Wehenkel.pdf
As I read here in Letzeburgesh he is a retired history professor and till 2002 vice-president of the Luxemburg Communist party. (although in my opinion his critique is balanced and not biased)

After reading this the whole evening, I have the impression that Luxemburg during WWII is to compare with our German language East-Cantons and the French Alsace-Lorraine (I know a lot about the last one, because I learned that much about it during the years on the French forum of Passion Histoire.)

Kind regards, Paul.
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