El Pais writes about the book Soldados del Tercer Reich: Así mataban los soldados de Hitler (in Spanish). British and US intelligence eavesdropped on WWII German prisoners of war to collect information about weapons, organization and morale of the troops. In the process, they collected thousands of transcripts. The authors of the book, Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer came across the papers in the British National Archives, where they sifted through the transcripts to compile their book.
The prisoners of war talked openly between themselves about their weapons systems and activities, unaware of the eavesdropping. Decades after the end of the war, it’s astonishing to read about the ease with which they committed murders, for trivial reasons or for no particular reason, for fun. It’s good that this kind of research is coming to light, as the WWII generation is disappearing and with it witnesses of the real nature of the Nazi state. Besides the delirious Holocaust deniers, there is also a lot of insidious trivialization of Nazism, whether in film, literature or games. It’s good to have facts made available to the general public – so that nobody can claim that these things didn’t exist or happen. What’s astonishing, is that it took so many years for these papers to come to light – better late than never.
You may wonder, why did I write about the Spanish translation? Strange as it may seem, the English and the original German editions are due to be released on 26 Sept 2012, long after the Spanish version: Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying: Protocols of Fighting, Killing, and Dying