MATERIAL: Typed
TYPE: Letter
COMPONENTS: 2pp. 4to, signed
CONDITION: Several lines have been excised by the censor who initials both letter and envelope. File holes and the aforementioned excised lines, else very good.
NOTES: Important.

Erich von Manstein (1887-1973) was a German field marshal who devised the plan to conquer France, held various commands on the Russian front, sacked by Hitler for a retreat.

In 1949 von Manstein was tried in Hamburg for war crimes and was convicted on nine of seventeen counts, including the poor treatment of prisoners of war and failing to protect civilian lives in his sphere of operations. His sentence of 18 years in prison was later reduced to 12, and he served only four years before his release in 1953. As a military advisor to the West German government in the mid-1950s, he helped re-establish the armed forces.
ITEM ID: 3880
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Letter Sent By German Filed Marshall Erich von Manstein

DATE
Year: 1948
Decade: 1940s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

A letter sent by Erich von Manstein while a prisoner in Allied hands. Sent from Munsterlager, on July 29, 1948. Written in German to Major Fred Bieri, Chief Delegate to the London Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Von Manstein, awaiting trial for war crimes, desperately seeks advice. In small part: “…[Gerd von] Rundstedt and I arrived here last night… The court has heard from ‘Press News’ that we would have to appear eventually before a court of the British Government. In this case any statements we would make in Nuremberg could be held against us there. We were advised we could refuse to testify… we waited for the lawyers. I was very much willing to testify there… since I didn’t commit any war crimes. Alone… to stand up against the impudent lies which were put before the world by the S.D…. the attorney, Dr. Laternser… tell us that the defense will do without us as witnesses… the next morning we were transported from here to Nuremberg… It was degrading and against the Geneva Convention that we were completely isolated… and there was a guard in our room (Negro!)… we may not see Brauchitsch and Strauss… We are now three years in captivity. This is against any moral right… guarded and isolated like criminals… If they want to get rid of us why don’t they just shoot us?…” He mentions that he has asked for a parole to visit with his family and again complains that he is being treated as a “criminal”.