German war crimes

German war crimes

The government of Germany ordered, organized and condoned several war crimes in both World War I and World War II. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of people were murdered or died from abuse and neglect, 60% of them (approximately 6 million out of 10 million[citation needed]) Jews. However, millions also died as a result of other German actions in those two conflicts.


World War I

Rape of Belgium

Bombardment of English coastal towns

The raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, which took place on December 16, 1914, was an attack by the German navy on the British seaport towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, and Whitby. The attack resulted in 137 fatalities and 592 casualties. The raid was as a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention provisions that prohibited naval bombardments of undefended towns without warning,[original research?] because only Hartlepool was protected by shore batteries.[1] Germany was a signatory of the Hague Convention.[2] Another attack followed on 26 April 1916 on the coastal towns of Yarmouth and Lowestoft but both were important naval bases and defended by shore batteries.[citation needed].

Unrestricted submarine warfare

Unrestricted submarine warfare was instituted in 1915 in response to the British blockade of Germany in the North Sea. Prize rules, which were codified under the 1907 Hague Convention—such as those that required commerce raiders to warn their targets and allow time for the crew to board lifeboats—were disregarded and commercial vessels were sunk regardless of nationality, cargo, or destination. Following the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on 7 May 1915 and subsequent public outcry in various neutral countries, including the United States, the practice was withdrawn.

Attempts to destroy evidence of German crimes

During World War II, after occupying France, Nazis seized Allied documentation regarding German war crimes in World War I and destroyed monuments commemorating them[3]

World War II

The Holocaust: ghettos per region and state. Color burgundy stands for 8 or more, color blue for none.
Man showing corpse of a starved infant in the Warsaw ghetto, 1941
Polish farmers killed by German forces, German-occupied Poland, 1943
Polish hostages preparing for mass execution 1940
  • The Holocaust of the Jews, the Action T-4 killing of the disabled and the Porajomas of the Gypsies. Not all the crimes committed during the Holocaust and similar mass atrocities were war crimes. Telford Taylor (The U.S. prosecutor in the German High Command case at the Nuremberg Trials and Chief Counsel for the twelve trials before the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunals) explained in 1982:
it should be noted that, as far as wartime actions against enemy nationals are concerned, the [1948] Genocide Convention added virtually nothing to what was already covered (and had been since the Hague Convention of 1899) by the internationally accepted laws of land warfare, which require an occupying power to respect "family honors and rights, individual lives and private property, as well as religious convictions and liberty" of the enemy nationals. But the laws of war do not cover, in time of either war or peace, a government's actions against its own nationals (such as Nazi Germany's persecution of German Jews). And at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the tribunals rebuffed several efforts by the prosecution to bring such "domestic" atrocities within the scope of international law as "crimes against humanity."
—Telford Taylor[4]

Nazi concentration camps

After 1939, with the beginning of the Second World War, concentration camps increasingly became places where the enemies of the Nazis were enslaved, starved, tortured and killed.[5] During the War concentration camps for “undesirables” spread throughout Europe. New camps were created near centers of dense “undesirable” populations, often focusing on areas with large communities of Jews, Poles, Communists or Roma. Since millions of Jews lived in pre-war Poland, most camps were located in the area of General Government in occupied Poland for logistical reasons. It also allowed the Nazis to transport the German Jews outside of the German main territory.




  • The Holocaust in Estonia






Soviet Union





  • The Holocaust in Lithuania

Please sort these massacres into the upper sections

  • 1 September, Marijampolė massacre (1,404 children)
  • 2 September, Wilno massacre (817 children)
  • 4 September, Čekiškė massacre (60 children)
  • 4 September, Seredžius massacre (126 children)
  • 4 September, Veliuona massacre (86 children)
  • 4 September, Zapyškis massacre (13 children)
  • 6 September – 8 September, Raseiniai massacre (415 children)
  • 6 September – 8 September, Jurbork massacre (412 people, including children)
  • 28 September – 17 October, Pleszczenice-Bischolin-Szack (Šacak)-Bobr-Uzda (White Ruthenia) massacre (1,126 children)
  • 2 October, Žagarė massacre (496 children)
  • 29 October, Kaunas massacre (4,273 children)
  • 2 November, Mass murder of children in Pärnu synagogue (34 children)
  • 25 November, Kauen-F.IX massacre (175 children)


  • 27 March Murder of Pliner children (Holocaust in Estonia; 3 children)
  • 9 – 12 May, Kliczów-Bobrujsk massacre (520 people, including children)
  • Beginning of June, Słowodka-Bobrujsk massacre (1,000 people, including children)
  • 15 June Borki (powiat białostocki) massacre (1,741 people, including children)
  • 21 June Zbyszin massacre (1,076 people, including children)
  • 25 June Timkowiczi massacre (900 people, including children)
  • 26 June Studenka massacre (836 people, including children)

  • 18 July, Jelsk massacre (1,000 people, including children)
  • 15 July – 7 August, Operation Adler (Bobrujsk, Mohylew, Berezyna; 1,381 people, including children)
  • 14 – 20 August, Operation Greif (Orsza, Witebsk; 796 people, including children)
  • 22 August – 21 September, Operation Sumpffieber (White Ruthenia; 10,063 people, including children)
  • August, Bereźne massacre
  • 22 September – 26 September, Małoryta massacre; 4,038 people, including children)
  • 23 September – 3 October, Operation Blitz (Połock, Witebsk; 567 people, including children)
  • 11 – 23 October, Operation Karlsbad (Orsza, Witebsk; 1,051 people, including children)
  • 23 – 29 November, Operation Nürnberg (Dubrowka; 2,974 people, including children)
  • 10 – 21 December, Operation Hamburg (Niemen River-Szczara River; 6,172 people, including children)
  • 22 – 29 December, Operation Altona (Słonim; 1,032 people, including children)


  • 6 – 14 January, Operation Franz (Grodsjanka; 2,025 people, including children)
  • 10 – 11 January, Operation Peter (Kliczów, Kolbcza; 1,400 people, including children)
  • 18 – 23 January, Słuck-Mińsk-Czerwień massacre (825 people, including children)
  • 28 January – 15 February, Operation Schneehase; Połock, Rossony, Krasnopole; 2,283 people, including children); 54; 37
  • Until 28 January, Operation Erntefest I (Czerwień, Osipowicze; 1,228 people, including children)
  • Jaanuar, Operation Eisbär (between Briańsk and Dmitriev-Lgowski)
  • Until 1 February, Operation Waldwinter (Sirotino-Trudy; 1,627 people, including children)
  • 8 – 26 February, Operation Hornung (Lenin, Hancewicze; 12,897 people, including children)
  • Until 9 February, Operation Erntefest II (Słuck, Kopyl; 2,325 people, including children)
  • 15 February – end of March, Operation Winterzauber (Oświeja, Latvian border; 3,904 people, including children)
  • 22 February – 8 March, Operation Kugelblitz (Połock, Oświeja, Dryssa, Rossony; 3,780 people, including children)
  • 12 March, Murder of Czesława Kwoka in KZ Auschwitz-Birkenau (1 child)
  • Until 19 March, Operation Nixe (Ptycz, Mikaszewicze, Pińsk; 400 people, including children)
  • Until 21 March, Operation Föhn (Pińsk; 543 people, including children)
  • 21 March – 2 April, Operation Donnerkeil (Połock, Witebsk; 542 people, including children)
  • 1 – 9 May, Operation Draufgänger II (Rudnja and Manyly forest; 680 people, including children)
  • 17 – 21 May, Operation Maigewitter (Witebsk, Suraż, Gorodok; 2,441 people, including children)
  • 20 May – 23 June, Operation Cottbus (Lepel, Begomel, Uszacz; 11,796 people, including children)
  • 23 May, Kielce cemetery massacre (45 children)
  • 27 May – 10 June, Operation Weichsel (Dniepr-Prypeć triangle, South-West of Homel; 4,018 people, including children)
  • 13 – 16 June, Operation Ziethen (Rzeczyca; 160 people, including children)
  • 25 June – 27 July, Operation Seydlitz (Owrucz-Mozyrz; 5,106 people, including children)
  • 30 July, Mozyrz massacre (501 people, including children)
  • Until 14 July, Operation Günther (Woloszyn, Lagoisk; 3,993 people, including children)
  • 13 July – 11 August, Operation Hermann (Iwie, Nowogródek, Woloszyn, Stołpce; 4,280 people, including children)
  • 3 August, Szczurowa massacre (93 people, including children)
  • 14 September - 16th September, Holocaust of Viannos (ca. 500 people, including children)
  • 24 September – 10 October, Operation Fritz (Głębokie; 509 people, including children)
  • 29 September, Ostrówki[disambiguation needed ] massacre (246 children)
  • 29 September, Wola Ostrowiecka massacre (220 children)
  • 9 October – 22 October, Stary Bychów massacre (1,769 people, including children)
  • 1 November – 18 November, Operation Heinrich (Rossony, Połock, Idrica; 5,452 people, including children)
  • December, Spasskoje massacre (628 people, including children)
  • December, Biały massacre (1,453 people, including children)
  • 20 December – 1 January 1944, Operation Otto (Oświeja; 1,920 people, including children)


  • 14 January, Oła massacre (1,758 people, including children)
  • 22 January, Baiki massacre (987 people, including children)
  • 3 – 15 February, Operation Wolfsjagd (Hłusk, Bobrujsk; 467 people, including children)
  • 5 – 6 February, Baryczi (Buczaczi lähedal) massacre (126 people, including children)
  • 28 February, Huta Pieniacka massacre
  • 28 – 29 February, Korosciatyn Massacre (ca. 150 people, including children)
  • Until 19 February, Operation Sumpfhahn (Hłusk, Bobrujsk; 538 people, including children)
  • Beginning of March, Berezyna-Bielnicz massacre (686 people, including children)
  • 7 – 17 April, Operation Auerhahn (Bobrujsk; ca. 1,000 people, including children)
  • 17 April – 12 May, Operation Frühlingsfest (Połock, Uszacz; 7,011 people, including children)
  • 25 May – 17 June, Operation Kormoran; Wilejka, Borysów, Minsk; 7,697 people, including children)
  • 2 June, Murder of Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam's children (9 children)
  • 2 June – 13 June, Operation Pfingsrose (Talka; 499 people, including children)
  • 10 June, Distomo massacre (218 people, including children)
  • 10 June, Oradour-sur-Glane massacre (205 children)
  • 29 June, Civitella-Cornia-San Pancrazio massacre (Toscana; 203 people, including children)
  • June, Operation Pfingstausnlug (Sienno; 653 people, including children)
  • June, Operation Windwirbel (Chidra; 560 people, including children)
  • 4–August 25, Ochota massacre (ca. 10,000 people, including children)
  • 5 – 8 August, Wola massacre (40,000 [8] up to 100,000 [9] people, including children)
  • 12 August, Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre (560 people, including children)
  • 29 September – 5 October, Marzabotto massacre (250 children)
  • 5 November, Heusden Town Hall Massacre (134 people, including 74 children)






This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.

See also


  1. ^ Chuter, David (2003). War Crimes: Confronting Atrocity in the Modern World. London: Lynne Rienner Pub. pp. 300. ISBN 158826209X. 
  2. ^ Willmore, John (1918). The great crime and its moral. New York: Doran. pp. 340. 
  3. ^ France: the dark years, 1940-1944 page 273 Julian Jackson Oxford University Press 2003
  4. ^ Telford Taylor "When people kill a people" in The New York Times, March 28, 1982
  5. ^ CNN - Army to honor soldiers enslaved by Nazis
  6. ^ Complete tabulation of executions carried out in the Einsatzkommando 3 zone up to 1 December 1941
  7. ^ Gesamtaufstellung der im Bereich des EK. 3 bis zum 1. Dez. 1941 durchgeführten Exekutionen
  8. ^ Muzeum Powstania otwarte, BBC Polish edition, 2 October 2004, Children accessed on 13 April 2007
  9. ^ O Powstaniu Warszawskim opowiada prof. Jerzy Kłoczowski, Gazeta Wyborcza – local Warsaw edition, 1998-08-01. Children accessed on 13 April 2007

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External links

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