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 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : General Questions
Subject Topic: Hemingway the War Criminal ? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Peter Krynicki
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Posted: 05 October 2006 at 1:37pm | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

Someone posted this on the heming-l listserv...

In Germany since some years the "Deutschland-Bewegung" (Alfred Mechtersheimer) propagates, that Hemingway was a "Kriegsverbrecher" ("war criminal").

See:
http://www.deutschland-bewegung.de/weiter/hemingway.html

Since 1999 in Triberg (Schwarzwald, see also "The Snows of Kilimanjaro"), every year in the summer should be "Hemingway Days" for young german authors. But these days were stopped 2002 because of the activities of the Deutschland-Bewegung (= German Movement).

The discussion about "Hemingway a war criminal?" has also reached serious newspapers or broadcasts.

A discussion about the "122" is in:

William E. Cotè:
CORRESPONDENT OR WARRIOR? HEMINGWAY'S MURKY WORLD WAR II 'COMBAT' EXPERIENCE.
Hemingway Review, Fall 2002, Vol. 22 Issue 1


Weird

Pjk

 

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docnme
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Posted: 06 October 2006 at 1:56pm | IP Logged Quote docnme

Hello Peter,

I have read your messages and enjoyed the pictures etc. on the board and find them very interesting and informative, also researched and usually correct. BUT, I have a hard time with this one.  We know and have read plenty about E.H.'s behavior during the war when he was a correspondent, he sure did not play by the rules, but never has the idea that he might even have appeared to be a 'war criminal' ever surfaced in my reading,(except a little in Cuba). I could not bring up the email site that you posted, so could not read it, I will try again later.  Also at a loss as to what you mean by "a discussion about the 122 is in." Not your job to educate me, but I don't know where to look for this one. Just wondered where to find it.

Best,

Docnme 



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papawannab
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Posted: 06 October 2006 at 4:18pm | IP Logged Quote papawannab

Hi Docnme

This is all I could find.

Ernest Hemingway Exposed As Mass Murderer

Because the southwest German town Triberg is briefly mentioned in one of Hemingway's novels, this town used to have so-called "Hemingway days" once a year. But since Hemingway reported in detail in his private letters how he had brutally murdered 122 defenseless German prisoners of war, an activist of a patriotic German organization (Deutschland-Bewegung) distributed a leaflet at this year's "Hemingway days" in Triberg stating : "Triberg honors a murderer". Because the German public prosecutor refused to open a criminal investigation against this patriot, the town council of Triberg finally decided not to have "Hemingway days" anymore in the future (Schwarzwälder Bote, Sept. 29, 2002). For Hemingway's confession, see Ernest Hemingway, "Selected Letters 1917-1961", edited by Carlos Baker,
Charles Sribner's Sons, New York 1981, pp. 672, 697.

Bob

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docnme
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Posted: 07 October 2006 at 10:15am | IP Logged Quote docnme

Hi pappawannab,

Thanks for that input... I study history, my favorite subject. I have many books and read many more on the wars, especially WWI and WWII, before, after and leading up and through the wars.  I have read alot about Germany before and after WWII which includes all of the artocities of Dr. Mengele,Kristallnacht,the concentration camps and the Death camps, Final Solution,Nazi Party,Pope Pius XI, Jews and the roles of many others, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and the German people.  An especially good book that comes to my mind is "A History of the Holocaust" by Rita Steinhardt Botwinick author of the text book in one of the history classes that I took a couple of years ago. I certainly learned many things that I had not heard of before.

So now, I have something more to study, I have the book "Selected Letters-1917-1961". I will go through it again and see what more I can find out .Thanks again for the input.

Best,

Docnme



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hijo
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Posted: 07 October 2006 at 5:24pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

Docnme and Peter:

Been quite some time since I read my copy of "selected leters," but I do have one.

I do not recall such a claim - that he "murdered" 122 "defenseless" German prisoners. I recall him suggesting (exaggerating?) his combat experience with his Fifi irregulars (which is exactly why he got in trouble and nearly court-martialed for acting as a soldier/combatant under uniform and accreditation of a correspondent - a legitimate "non-combatant" at the time).

I also recall reading about him having "found a way to make them talk" related to pulling their pants down, which seemed rather humorous until recent revelations of certain interrogation practices elsewhere.

But I also recall reading in his son, Jack's book, "Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman," that he'd seen for himself what the Austrian troops did with resistance troops and others they captured - something his father had told him about from World War I (when the Italians were fighting the Austrians in the Alps).

It's hard to find the love when you're suddenly not supposed to shoot the very same folks that not so much earlier were shooting at you trying to kill you, I'll admit. It's probably one of the hardest things we ask soldiers to do - soldiers in combat - guard recently acquired prisoners and make certain they get to the rear echelons without an accident or incident. (See "Saving Private Ryan" for a similar situation). Especially if you've heard stories, or worse, are aware of how they've been known to treat their own prisoners - your comrades in arms.

Note the current Geneva Convention was not agreed to until 1949 regarding treatment of prisoners of war, and the treatment of POWs in World War II by both sides was one reason the Convention was agreed upon.

Still. Considering weapons at the time etc, I find it rather hard to imagine EH single-handedly wiping out 122 people essentially for target practice at one time in one place, and the only one to mention it was him.

I think much more research could be done on this one. Particularly, was this 1944? The Battle of the Bulge? (which involved German prisoners of war rising up as well as the remaining functioning German troops trying to "break out" from the allied lines?)

It was called "The Bulge" because of the bulge in the line it caused during the final push toward Berlin. It caught most troops by surprise, and almost succeeded in renewing the fighting for a longer time.

In other words, my guess is EH was exaggerating - I know, I know, hard to imagine - in letters on his war experience to enhance his image as a fighting man, especially considering he never served in any of the U.S. armed forces officially.

Which isn't to say, as I always insist, only soldiers, sailors or airmen (and women) are capable of viewing war's horrors or some of the goodness of humanity that shines through in such times. Civilians - the nameless, faceless mothers, sons, daughters, fathers and children -like correspondents, are the unarmed witnesses many wishing to protect, preserve, or enhance their image of manliness forget exist.

Perhaps someone else in the Hemingway Society could do the further research, and present the findings to Triberg, so it could resume its festival.

Allbest,
hijo
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docnme
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Posted: 08 October 2006 at 1:33pm | IP Logged Quote docnme

Hello Hijo,

Like always, you jump in on something important with a whole lot of common sense.  I really respect your take on this..Especially the statement "I find it hard to believe that E.H. wiped out 122 unarmed civilians and no one else says so but him" . We all know that he said alot of things, that only HE seemed to see it his way.  Either way I also like your suggestion about The Hemingway Society doing a little more research and presenting their findings to Triberg.  What a shame it took sooo long for someone to come up with that, and a reason to stop the festival.

Also like you, I had not read my book on Selected Letters in years, but I sure have been reading the last few days, and I don't read it quite that way. He sure did put people down didn't he? Friends or no friends aslo family, he was a user.

Best,

Docnme



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donmadge
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Posted: 12 October 2006 at 7:28am | IP Logged Quote donmadge

German charges of war crimes against the victors are currently on the rise because of the recent book by Laurence Rees of the BBC called the Nazis.  It is a stark condemnation of the role played by Mr. and Mrs. Germany between 1932 and 1945.  It is based on information that has been gleaned out of former Soviet files.  This is a must read if you are to understand wartime history.

I think the tendency to exaggerate by many in the Western Allied journalists is a plausible explanation of the goings on.  Hemingway exaggerated and assumed the guilt of others as did some other journalists.  I cannot see him so mistreating prisoners.  He may have been influenced by my hero, who as a member of the Veterans Guard of Canada distinguished himself with his treatment of POW.  I for one frankly do not believe Hemingway would commit such a crime.  However, war can create an awful impulse for revenge.

There is the book called "Other Losses”, which accuses Eisenhower of worse atrocities.  It too is historical bunk.  That man if anything suffered from an overabundance of magnanimity.

 



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Peter Krynicki
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Posted: 12 October 2006 at 11:46am | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

There is a whole sub-genre of books about how others reported various wars incorrectly. David Halbertstam's The Powers that Be and Peter Breastup's Big Story, both dealing with Viet Nam.

 

Pjk

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docnme
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Posted: 12 October 2006 at 1:12pm | IP Logged Quote docnme

Donmadge;

I sure will hunt that book up today by Lawrence Rees, "The Nazis"    A most interesting period in Germany 1932-1945. And I sure do love reading the history.

Best,

Docnme



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Peter Krynicki
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Posted: 13 October 2006 at 10:42am | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

You might also like The Dark Valley...

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Valley-Panorama-1930s-Vintage/dp/ 0375708081/sr=1-1/qid=1160750431/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-3835654-60 35144?ie=UTF8&s=books

Pjk

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