The NAZis through the SS committed some of the worst attrocities of the 20th Century. The most prominant was the NAZI Holocaust targeting the Jews. Other attroicities were aimed at other ethnic groups, especially the Gypseys and Slavs. There were also attrocities associated with the shooting of civilian hostages. While the SS was the central frce involved, the Wehrmacht played a major contributing role in the Holocaust and was invoved in numerous reprisal actions against civilians. Many of these actions involved youths and sometimmes even children. HBC has chronicled much of the crimes committed by the SS and German military. We have noted another side of the Germany military. Quite a number of soldiers, we think mostly officers took photographs during their assignments and compiled photographic albums. Some of these privately compiled albums have come up for sale in Germany. We also notice sales from the Ukraine. We think these albums may be war booty brouht back tonthe Soviet Union as war booty. We note in many of these albums photographs of cildren. They of course give a rather different image of the individual German soldiers than that we have from the terrible policies implement by NAZI officials. We are not sure how to interpret these images, but it is an aspect of the German soldier that we think needs to be explored. Unfortunately, many of these photographs are not identified. Some of these images are condescending. Others show an element of affection like the image here (figure 1).
Here we see Luftwaffe soldiers giving a boy a hair cut. Unfortunately the photograph is not identified. It is impossible to tell where the photograph was taken. We suspect that the boy here is foreign, although we can not be sure. The tatty clothes and long pants suggest to us that the boy is foreign. And it is probably tken somewhere in the East. We do not notice much cintact between the German soldiers and children in the West.
Here we see some children playing war with toy rifles in front of German soldiers. Unfortunately there is no inscription decribing what is going on here. We can make a assessment based on the way the children are dessed. This is a rare image. We have not found any other images images of children playing war in the occupied countrues, especially the Eat. It is clear we think that the children are not Reich Germans. Thy are dessed much more like Soviet children than Germans. Notice the flat caps, cut-off shorts or long pnts, abnd barefeet. That seems much more like how Soviet boys dressed than German boys. The location seems to be a train depot of some kind. That means that the children are not just playing. They must have chose the location so the Germans would see them. We are not entirely sure about their motivation. Perhaps they are hopeing that the German soldiers will throw them a few coins. The Soviet Union of course is a big olace. We might guess that this is the Ukraine. At the onset of Barbarossa there was considerable support for the Germans. Some Ukranians saw them as liberators. I supose the chikdren could have been Volk deutsche, but the Soviets deported most of the Volkdeutche to the east. And we would guess that this is the summer of 1941, either July or August. We douubt that wither the Ukranians or Germans would have been as stympathetic to each other by 1942.
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