a seperate article about the Principality of Stavelot-Malmedy should be made
During the war an organization was put together in the US composed of German-speaking Jewish refugees, who were put in uniform, commissioned and empowered to investigate and punish alleged war crimes. Many of the post-war war crimes tribunal personnel were also Soviets or communists. In one of many of these 'tribunals,' one each officer of each command level of the entire chain of command of 6th Panzer Army were charged with war crimes along with certain troops under their command, the troops for doing it, the officers (who were not even there) with being 'complicit.' Peiper was about the middle of the chain of command, a lieutenant colonel. Most of this was propagandistic nonsense and has subsequently been evidenced as being contrived. But I got to this site wanting specifically to know if a massacre by German troops, 'murdering over 100 men, women, and children in Stavelot, was at all real? And if so, why? The Leibstandarte officers were not only honorable but they and their men subject to disciplinary measures by their own command for any such infringements. And this was German border country, with most of the population friendly to the Germans and vice versa. As I understand it, many Belgian civilians died because they unfortunately and inadvertently found themselves in a combat zone, most killed by US artillery and bombing. What exactly occurred in Stavelot? Was there a real massacre and if so, why? 18.104.22.168 04:15, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
- The massacre of more or less 100 Belgian civilians in Stavelot and the surrounding area is a true and real fact. There is no discussion on that point. Neither is that “propagandic nonsense created be German-speaking Jewish (Soviet of communists) refugees”. This is the kind of literature you can usually find on revisionist websites and/or books.
- In so far Stavelot is concerned, the massacre did actually take place and is well recorded. I have even seen several times a movie showing the burial of the victims (including women and very young children) in a temporary mass grave that took place after the retreat of the German troops. Moreover there are many testimonies over these massacres whose existence and reality has been confirmed not only by the International military Tribunal at Dachau (the Jews, as you call them), but also by investigations led by the Belgian Justice authorities(also Jews?).
- Of course, one of the theories developed by your "honorable officers" of the LSSAH is that the civilians were helping the Americans or even opening fire on them. A similar theory had already been used in 1914 by the German army in order to explain why they had killed 5,000 Belgian civilians during the invasion of Belgium.
- As far the other theory is concerned (i.e., many Belgian civilians died because they unfortunately and inadvertently found themselves in a combat zone), at some massacre sites, after the German troops had left the place, the US troops or the neighbours have found the dead bodies of local inhabitants who were still alive the day the Germans reached the place. Those people were found in the interior (most of the time in the basement) of houses that had never been shelled and it was obvious they were killed with guns. It is clear that this whole story has never been a hoax. The dead were real.
- Yes, many civilians died during the Battle of the Bulge "because they unfortunately and inadvertently found themselves in a combat zone" (it almost happened to my own mother, who was living in a small village 20km away from Stavelot - she had indeed the misfortune to find herself (with almost all the inhabitants of her village) under a US artillery fire), but not in Stavelot. The vast majority of the civilians killed in the Stavelot area were the innocent victims of cold blood killers wearing German SS uniforms. That's a fact and the truth.
- Do you really believe that the LSSAH's officers and men were "subject to disciplinary measures by their own command for any such infringements"? Then, please explain what disciplinary measures were applied to Peiper and the men of his unit for having put in fire several villages in Ukraine and killed all the inhabitants of two of these villages. They were nicknamed the "blow torch battalion". Is this what you call "disciplinary measures"?
- You probably know that the crimes of Stavelot are not the only ones that have been perpetrated by the so-called "Kampfgruppe Peiper". Peiper and/or his men also killed approximately 300 Americans POWs in several places, the most known of these massacres being the Malmedy massacre. For this, 74 of them, officers and soldiers all together were tried in Dachau during the Malmedy massacre trial (please, if you follow these links, try to also read the German and French versions, you might find them interesting). Again, although you will find in the revisionist literature numerous pages where the massacre is put in doubt (e.g. "the US POWs having recovered their weapons started to fight again and the Germans had to kill them"), what is sure is that the testimonies of the survivors of the massacre, collated the very same day or within the next few days, all basically report the same account (i.e. "the Germans killed us while we were gathered in a pasture, disarmed and with our hands upon our heads"). And those testimonies come from men who were under shock, often injured and, more important, who were not given time or opportunity to talk together in order prepare the same story. The story of the survivors is also corroborated by the findings of the coroners. No less than 40 men were found with a letal gun made injury in the heead.. If, as they claim, this happened in the course of a fight, these Waffen SS must have been oustanding marksmen.
- On the other hand, after action and after the war Peiper and his men had plenty of time to agree on a common story. I have even read in a report issued by a sub-Committee of the US Senate in 1949 that they agreed to put the guilt on an officer called Poeschke (who had, very conveniently I must say, been killed in action at the end of the war). What is obvious is that the accounts about that incident made by the former LSSAH members have constantly changed over the years.
- Unfortunately, Malmedy (or better said, Baugnez as it is the true name of the crossroads where the massacre happened) was not the only war crime perpetrated by Peiper and his men. There were several others in places called Honsfeld, Büllingen, Ligneuville (in German Engelsdorf), Stoumont and La Gleize. And there are testimonies for this. For instance, in Ligneuville, men of the LSSAH killed at least 8 US POWs and there were Belgian witnesses of this..
- As far Peiper is concerned, it is almost certain he was not at the crossroads when the massacre happened and probably he was not in Stavelot as well. Things are not as clear in so far Ligneuville, for instance, is concerned. However, there are testimonies that he ordered at occasion to kill some US POWs (notably in La Gleize or/and Stoumont, if I remember well).
- Furthermore, during the trial, one of the bulk questions was to know whether he had given orders to kill POWs. There are testimonies that confirm he did. Anyway, as an officer, he bears and shares responsibility for what his men did (good or bad) during the battle of the Bulge.
- The sentence "during the war an organization was put together in the US composed of German-speaking Jewish refugees, who were put in uniform, commissioned and empowered to investigate and punish alleged war crimes" also deserves an answer. The report of the Senate's subcommittee indeed found that some (not all) of the investigators were Jewish refugees. The “39er” as Senator Joseph McCarthy called them. However, I don't think this is enough to allow you to speak of an "organisation". Moreover, the Court was composed by US officers. They took the final decision. Even if subsequent investigations have evidenced that in the Malmedy massacre trial Justice may be not have been administered as properly as one could expect, no one has ever put in doubt the reality of the massacres nor the fact that it was men belonging to the "Kampfgruppe Peiper" who had perpetrated these atrocities. It was quite easy to check, in fact. The Kampfgruppe was the sole German unit operating in the vicinity when the massacres occurred. One could, perhaps, discuss for Honsfeld and Büllingen, which later on fell in the hands of the Germans (after the massacres happened, in fact), but there is no place for doubt in so far Baugnez, Ligneuville, Stoumont, La Gleize and the Stavelot civilians are concerned. In the case of Stavelot for instance, no other German unit was even able to reach this city, since the clever Colonel Peiper had completely forgotten to protect his rear. Thus, when this kind of massacres is perpetrated and only one German unit is on the field at the date where this happened, you don’t need an army of investigators and lawyers to draw some relevant conclusions, the most obvious being “it is men of this unit who are the culprits”.
- "And this was German border country, with most of the population friendly to the Germans and vice versa" deserves an answer as well. The nearest German border is 40km away from Stavelot. I don't know whether the population was friendly to the Germans in December 1944, but I can tell you they were not that much friendly to the Germans in the 1960th. I guess things now change (or even have already changed), but the remembrance of these events still remains hardy in the Stavelot area, even 60 years after the facts. I wonder whether this would still be the case if that whole affair would have been proven to be a hoax.
- A last word. Despite the fact that some of them were sentenced to death, none of your noble and fine Waffen SS officers and soldiers has been executed. Some of them still enjoy the pleasure of being alive, maybe telling to their grandchildren how bravely their fought in WW2. Their victims never got that opportunity. Never forget it!--Lebob-BE 13:05, 2 January 2007 (UTC)