Once again, German intellectuals have gone the extra mile to make themselves feel guilty about WWII. If you want a book which will assault your common sense and your vision more than any other book dealing with the Holocaust or war crimes, this is it. Herr Wagner has it right, most of the incidents portrayed in this book are photos of barbarism committed by the Russians, NOT the Germans, and are scenes the Germans came upon as they moved east. This has been proven, and most of these photos are taken from former Soviet archives.
Here are just a few of the glaring problems that bother me about this book. One series of photos spread across three pages is captioned as being some 1,800 Jews rounded up in a Russian village prior to being shot. Yet, these people are very well clothed, in many cases carrying bags, some seem downright cheerful, and most interestingly, there are only four German soldiers to be seen in any of the photos, and only one of those four has a weapon - a pistol holster on his hip. These four guys shot 1,800 Jews with one pistol?
Another photo series across two pages shows "Russian soldiers in Civilian Clothes being led away to be executed" and aludes to the point that these are not Russian soldiers at all, but innocent villagers. The problem here is, the men ARE wearing Russian uniforms! Three of them are wearing Russian officer's uniforms for pity's sake! It's now a war crime to lead POWs away at gunpoint?
There are a large number of photos of German soldiers just standing around, interacting with seemingly unbothered civilians, and in one case, HEAVEN FORBID, a German soldier is shown carrying "stolen" chickens! NO JOKE!
There are photos of partisan hangings and shootings, which no one would deny took place. There are also reprisal shootings shown in this book which are most certainly legitimate. One of the most graphic of these photo spreads shows Hungarian troops shooting a dozen partisans, however, not German soldiers. A number of the lynching photos are shown multiple times from different angles to give the impression of multiple events. I find it amazing how many innocent villagers who were lynched for no good reason happen to be wearing riding breeches and jack boots in these photos (Commisars perhaps?).
I collect WWII vintage photos, and I have many photos of German POWs under guard by American and British soldiers. I have some showing German POWs and even former Hitler Youth boys (still in HJ uniforms) digging trenches while US GI's stand over them with rifles and Thompson machine guns. If I used the logic of this particular book, I would caption these photos, "German soldiers being forced to dig their own graves before being shot." I have no idea what these guys are digging trenches for and I don't think anybody shot them. The same can be said for most photos in this book. Just because there's a photo of a Russian digging a ditch, often times photographed without a German anywhere in the picture, that doesn't mean he's digging his own grave! Give it a rest!
Then there's the problem of using the exact same photos several times in this book and captioning them as seperate incidents. One photo showing two partisans being lynched is captioned early in the book as having occured in 1941, and the exact same photo appears some fifty pages later, in a smaller format, and is captioned to be a reprisal hanging in the winter of 1944 and was "a photo found on a dead German soldier."
In short, yes, crimes were committed by the German army. Crimes are committed by every army in time of war. This book is an concerted effort to create a negative image on the Wehrmacht using very sketchy evidence and inventing facts which simply did not occur. This is a book with absolutely no credibility. If you can get this one on sale for a few bucks, it's worth it just to see how outrageous it is. As a historical record of "war crimes" or "genocide", this is a work of pure fantasy and all you have to do is look at the photos and believe your eyes to realize this.