|Unidentified May 7 1945|
Killing, the Czech Way
Image: A young German prisoner of war smiles at the camera when receiving soup from an outdoor stove set up in the fields of Pilsen, Czechoslovakia on May 7 1945. This image is a photo still from film material taken by Capt. Oren W. Haglund who served with the American F.M.P.U. (First Motion Picture Unit). Public domain. The following external links contains material not suitable for anyone under 18 years of age: U.S. Army Footage Film. The film shows a long line of unarmed German POWs walking in the Böhmen countryside with fields on either side of the road on May 8 1945. Between 00:56 – 02:18 it shows armed White Russians from General Andrey Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army (ROA) who had enlisted into the Wehrmacht to fight against the Soviet Union. They later surrendered to U.S. forces near Pilsen but were all returned to the Soviets by the Americans. The camera crew inadvertantly stumbled on a village where reprisals had taken place by the local communist partisans prior to their arrival. Shots of surrendered German troops, individually beaten to death by the Czechs, lying on the grass. Some of the men are badly wounded but not yet dead. A dead body with blood on his face lies with Haglund's identifying slate beside his head. Several more shots of dead and severely wounded Germans. A half-naked man with blood on his face lies on the grass and looks at the camera. A group of American soldiers stand and look down at the corpse of a young boy in a German military coat. Various scenes with smiling Czech civilians. Source: NARA. Producer: U.S. Army Air Force 4th CCU. Public domain. More film material from F.M.P.U. at: Critical Past. Warning extremely graphic. There were at least 15,588 documented killings of ethnic Germans committed by the Czechs after the end of World War II. German records show 18,889 confirmed deaths including 3,411 suicides. Czech records indicated 22,247 deaths including 6,667 unexplained cases or suicides. But the estimated number of missing Sudeten Germans in Böhmen-Mähren is by far much higher than the number of confirmed and documented deaths from violence. Edvard Beneš - president of Czechoslovakia, gave his fellow country men absolution for all the expulsion, butchery and massacres committed against German prisoners of war, women, children and civilians in the Sudetenland or the Banat (including the burning of German children at Wenzelsplatz, Prague on May 20 1945).