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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 87 (April 1947)

General,   pp. 14-20 PDF (3.9 MB)


Page 19

German Camp Situation Clarified
Conditions at Civilian Internment Enclosure at Darmstadt
Are Described by Hesse OMG Director in Detailed Statement
Dr. James R. Newman, Director of the Of-
fice of Military Government of Hesse, issued
at Wiesbaden the following statement con-
cerning comments by Dr. Eugen Kogon, Ger-
man civilian of Frankfurt, about the civilian
internment enclosure at Darmstadt. Dr.
Kogon, who had been confined in concentra-
tion camps for several years during the Nazi
regime, is author of the current German
best-seller, "Der SS Staat."
This enclosure has been inspected by me
upon several occasions and the only reason
for such inspections was to ascertain the
true condition prevailing therein and to as-
sure myself that the German administration
of the camp was doing everything within its
power to place operations upon a humane
plane and that the duties imposed by law be
fully performed. In addition, I have, for
some time, had an officer of my staff on
permanent duty in that enclosure to aid the
German administration and to supervise its
operation.
Dr. Kogon commented upon the fact that
food, while sufficient, is unappetizing and
monotonous. This is probably true. However,
the fact that food is sufficient in quantity
despite present German food shortages
speaks pretty well for the camp administra-
tion and government authorities. My own
observations lead me to the definite con-
clusion that the inmates' food is not a bit
less appetizing or monotonous than that
which is available to the civil population.
The housing conditions are not satis-
factory, but a description of their being dark,
dirty, and overcrowded is not justified. The
facilities, since the turnover to full German
control in March of this year, are better than
they were. Some permanent buildings have
been procured for use in addition to the
tents used. The present state of Hessian
economy, however, does not warrant the
erection of permanent or more substantial
structures.
Clothing is not good, but is adequate. The
statement that the internees are "dressed in
rags" is unwarranted.    Negotiations are
under way to obtain better clothing from
US Army stocks. There are not sufficient
German stocks to provide special clothing
for these people.
Dr. Kogon's statement that there are 1,205
internees who come under the youth amnes-
ty is incorrect. Under the Law for Libera-
tion, all of these people fall into either Class
I or II. Their ultimate classification rests
with the tribunals after trial. Attention must
also be called to the statement that there
are many political persecutees in the camp
who were taken into the Waffen SS against
their will. If this is true, then these same
people were promoted in the same organi-
zation against their will, for SS members
without rank are not interned.
A similar situation pertains to the for-
mer police officials and civil servants men-
tioned by Dr. Kogon. Of these classes, only
those who held such high ranks as to re-
quire tribunal hearing are being held in
Darmstadt.
Unsubstantiated statements by internees
do not constitute an ideal basis for allega-
tions of fact concerning their status.
Camp administration is also mentioned.
Prior to Dr. Kogon's visit to Darmstadt, the
Minister for Political Liberation had been
instructed by Military Government to see
that internees are to have no more than
purely routine administrative duties in the
camp and that in no case were they to be
placed into positions in which they could
exercise authority over their fellows. This
new system is being installed to replace
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