Hemingway's holocaust

Read and post various viewpoints or search our large archives.

Moderator: Moderator

Forum rules
Be sure to read the Rules/guidelines before you post!
User avatar
ASMarques
Valuable asset
Valuable asset
Posts: 623
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:47 pm

Hemingway's holocaust

Postby ASMarques » 1 decade 1 year ago (Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:40 pm)

Translation form the Portuguese, from the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, September 29, 2006
http://txt.estado.com.br/editorias/2006 ... 9.10.1.xml

Hemingway a war criminal, German says
The American writer alleged to have killed 122 German prisoners, according to letters revealed by journalist

Antonio Gonçalves Filho


Don't ask for whom the bells toll. They certainly toll for the second death of american writer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), the most recent case of hero turned villain, coming after the Günter Grass scandal. The German author, in the autobiography Peeling the Onion, still published in his lifetime, was able to recant for having been a member of the Hitlerjugend and the elite Waffen-SS. Hemingway died untouched as a heroic war correspondent who integrated the first American batallion that marched into Paris after the Allied victory. But two letters in which the writer confesses to having killed German prisoners with pleasure during the Second World War threaten to stain the name of another Literature Nobel Prize winner (for 1954).

While Grass swears not to have killed a single soldier during the world conflict, Hemingway takes pride in saying he shot unarmed prisoners, in an August 27, 1947 letter sent to his publisher Charles Scribner (1890-1952). The letter was disclosed by German journalist Rainer Schmitz, from Focus magazine. Its contents is not as literary as the description of the ethical conflict between Jordan, the impetuous brigadist, and the indifferent Pablo, narrated in Hemingway's best known book "For Whom the Bells Toll."

In that rough and resorting to no half-words letter, Hemingway states he killed a "Kraut" (as he pejoratively refers to the German soldier) that dared to defy his power. "You're going to kill me because you're afraid and you belong to a degenerate race," the German soldier allegedly said to Hemingway, invoking violation of the Geneva Convention (as a war correspondent Hemingway broke the law by keeping weapons and grenades in his Paris hotel). "You're wrong, I said, and I shot him thrice, first in the stomach, then in the head, making him spill his brains through his mouth," writes the author of A Farewell to Arms in his letter.

Three years later, in another letter, - to Cornell University's professor Arthur Mizener (1907-1988) -, Hemingway again boasts of his wartime behaviour, describing, in a macabre tone, his homicidal passion. "I've made a few calculations and I can affirm with precision that I killed 122 Germans." One of them, according to the writer, a 16 year old, shot while trying to escape in his bycicle.

Evoking wartime experiences with such callousness doesn't seem to fit the writer who gave the world books like The Old Man and the Sea, but it could explain his tragic end, in July 2, 1961. He killed himself with a gunshot to the head. Guilt? God only knows.



avatar
Bergmann
Valued contributor
Valued contributor
Posts: 382
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:29 pm

Postby Bergmann » 1 decade 1 year ago (Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:08 pm)

I think that Hemingway has overdone this a little here. Is this what is understood as “poetic licence”?

The town in which I lived at that time, Ilsenburg, in the north rim of the Harz mountains, was taken by the American troops in 1945. And no civilians or German POW’s were shot by Americans.
On my long trip home I had to pass through several American roadblocks, I was 15 years old and had a military coat on. Nobody harmed me. I remember that the GI’s tried to give me chewing gum, which of course was about the last thing I needed at that time.
Also later did many American GI’s try to help Germans who were suffering from lack of food.

If Hemingway does not like Germans, well, that is quite mutual. There are many Germans who don’t like Americans.

User avatar
ASMarques
Valuable asset
Valuable asset
Posts: 623
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:47 pm

Postby ASMarques » 1 decade 1 year ago (Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:04 am)

Bergmann wrote:I think that Hemingway has overdone this a little here. Is this what is understood as “poetic licence”?


It's likely that Hemingway may have overdone his stories. This is not exactly new, and he had a reputation as a liar and braggart. Nevertheless, it seems to me quite probable that he may have commited a number of war crimes (or simply plain crimes, since he was a war correspondent not even entitled to carry arms -- I'm not sure about the legal statute for that kind of doings).

The interesting point to me, however, is the misplaced pride in such terrible actions, whether a degree of exaggeration is present or not, and also what looks to me as a relatively recent tendency to see war crimes committed against Germans under a somewhat less "tolerant" light than used to be the case.

avatar
J William
Valued contributor
Valued contributor
Posts: 151
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 2:21 pm

Postby J William » 1 decade 1 year ago (Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:27 am)

I have had more than one american veteran of WWII tell me they took no prisoners. They actually bragged how they shot surrendering German soldiers after surrendering. One vet actually complained about conditions in the German POW camps while he was a POW but stated he killed surrendering Germans rather than keeping them as captives. Poetic license? I doubt it. Action motivated by hate is a terrible thing no matter which side performs it. Just look at the hate propaganda in the media today.

User avatar
Hektor
Valuable asset
Valuable asset
Posts: 2859
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:59 am

Re: Hemingway's holocaust

Postby Hektor » 2 months 1 day ago (Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:38 pm)

J William wrote:I have had more than one american veteran of WWII tell me they took no prisoners. They actually bragged how they shot surrendering German soldiers after surrendering. One vet actually complained about conditions in the German POW camps while he was a POW but stated he killed surrendering Germans rather than keeping them as captives. Poetic license? I doubt it. Action motivated by hate is a terrible thing no matter which side performs it. Just look at the hate propaganda in the media today.

Interestingly the self-incriminating writings by Hemingway are mentioned in the German wikipedia article. However they quickly dismiss it as "fictional statements", even a commission has come to that conclusion (I have few doubts that was the commissions task right from the beginning, to vindicate him).

So here you have it, someone hating Germans on the Allied side freely incriminates himself, while neither being under duress or in captivity. The "historians" vindicate him and dismiss it as "fictional". Meanwhile any statement made by a German on Axis side incriminating the German side is taken as rock-solid truth. Just think about that for a while.


Return to “'Holocaust' Debate / Comments / News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 5 guests