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Copyright (c) 1997 - Ingrid A. Rimland

February 5, 1998

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:




There is no doubt that the unraveling of the so-called "war crimes" stories and the concomitant blaming of the German Wehrmacht and German people generally for every sin committed during wartime is getting "zugespitzt", as we say in German - that is, coming into focus much more sharply, with additional historical revisions everywhere at an ever accelerating pace, from Katyn to Monte Cassino.

The bombing of Monte Cassino, for instance, has been put in the Germans' shoes for more than five decades by Allied propagandists. Now it turns out the story is not quite as we have been made to believe. In fact, it is the opposite of what the world has been made to believe for more than fifty years.

This matter was mentioned in a brief Don Sellar column in the Toronto Star, January 31, 1998. Here is the real story, as per Karl Halstenbach, now 76, and living in Pembroke, Ontario, outside Ottawa,

Halstenbach was a German soldier in North Africa. He was captured by the Allies in 1943 and shipped as a POW to Texas.

I quote from the Sellar column (Mr. Sellar runs the "Bureau of Accuracy" and is responding in that capacity):
"Before Christmas, (Halstenbach) called the Bureau of Accuracy. 'There were lots of things done wrong by the Germans, especially to the Jews,' he said, but they didn't bomb the Italian town of Cassino, as the Star contended.

'I'm not looking for an apology,' Halstenbach said, but asked that the record be said straight."

It seems that another Star reporter, Rosie DiManno, who is of Italian origin, has reported the alleged German bombing of Cassino as a "fact" in November of 1997. According to the Sellar column, DiManno had written about
". . . an emotional visit to her father's ancestral village, where her grandfather had been killed by German machine gun fire."

Writes Don Sellar, after investigating the story for the Toronto Star:
"It was a fine column about the futility and chaos of war. But in an aside, DiManno noted that the retreating Germans had turned Cassino 'into a fortress by bombing the hell out of it - rubble, apparently, makes for a better defensive position.'

"She also wrote, accurately, that on Feb. 15, 1944, American B-17 bombers had obliterated the Benedict monastery of Monte Cassino above the town."

In other words, while it was true that fighting was going on and the Germans were retreating, it was Americans and not Germans who obliterated the ancient monastery. But the blame for that atrocity, by blurring the facts, was once again conveniently laid at the doorsteps of the Germans.

Well, Halstenbach, apparently prodded by the DiManno article, had complained about the Cassino incident to the Bureau of Accuracy at the Toronto Star, and even though there was foot-dragging and "delays by seasonal diversions", as the Star noted,
". . . with gentle prodding from Halstenbach, a few inquiries turned up interesting facts about the Allies' attack on Cassino, and also about the Germans behaviour in retreat."

According to the Star, Dr. Steve Harris, Chief Historian, Directorate of History and Heritage, at Department of National Defence headquarters in Ottawa, said:
". . . (I)t's possible that the Germans might have covered their retreat with artillery fire on the town of Cassino . . . But when people think of the destruction of Cassino and link it to Allied bombing, they're right."

Moreover, Mr. Sellar also quotes the Encyclopedia Britannica, a month after the Allied bombing, Cassino was
". . . so heaped with rubble that tanks could not operate, and bulldozers cleared the path for them."

Concludes Sellar of the Toronto Star's Bureau of Accuracy:
"When the way was cleared, it was only a couple of months before the Allied forces moved north and took Rome.

"Another fact about the monastery bombing is worth noting:

"A German soldier, Oberstleutnant Julius Schlegel, is credited with saving precious cultural treasures stored in the abbey: 80,000 books, 1,200 manuscripts, scrolls, relics and paintings. Without telling superiors, Schlegel commandeered 120 trucks to rescue valuables from the endangered monastery, with the abbot's permission. They included works by Titian, Raphael, Tintoretto, Ghirlandajo, Brueghel and Leonardo da Vinci. Manuscripts of Cicero, Horace, Virgil and Seneca were also saved.

"After a celebratory mass in the basilica of the monastery on November 1, 1943, the abbot gave Schlegel a document of thanks written on precious parchment. Three months later, the monastery was destroyed."

By the Americans. NOT by the Germans.

We commend the Toronto Star for correcting this matter after checking its facts, something refreshingly new for the Star, and something their columnist might have done herself.

Now how about the Star's Bureau of Accuracy doing the same dedicated, fair and impartial test, checking all the "off the wall" Holocaust survivors' stories? That would be a huge step in the direction of an ethnic healing/pacification program - for Germans, too, have feelings!

Ingrid
Thought for the Day:

"Remain the judge of your own actions. Never surrender that position by default. When the enemy screams "Foul!" the loudest, you know you're doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy."

(Neil Smith)

Comments? E-Mail: irimland@cts.com

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