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German instructions in case of capture
Transcribed by Justin Smith


The following was taken from the No. 12, Vol. I August 1944 issue of The Intelligence Bulletin.  This publication was issued by the U.S. War Department to military personnel with the intention of providing helpful information concerning the enemy.

 German instructions in case of capture

Like the troops of other nations, German soldiers are instructed to reveal nothing more than "name, rank, and serial number" in case of capture, and are reminded that in accordance with international law, any other information may (and must) be refused. In addition, the German Army warns its soldiers to obey certain special instructions:

a.) If you believe you are in danger of being captured, destroy all papers that you have on your person. Above all, tear out page 4 of your soldbuch (pay book), which mentions your unit.

b.) If you are captured, be strictly military and, at the same time, polite. Don't be influenced by friendliness on the part of the enemy, or by threats.

c.) Never speak the enemy's language.

d.) Always remember that the most trivial things, to which you attach no importance, can often give valuable information to the enemy.

e.)  No interest in technical questions is to be shown, not even when the questioner tries to provoke an argument by belittling German weapons.

f.) Don't try to deceive by false answers.

g.) Don't let yourself be fooled by an assumed knowledge, on the questioner's part, of the subject under discussion.

h.) Don't discuss military matters or details of operations with your fellow prisoners.

In North Africa the German Army regarded the following information as especially valuable to the United Nations, and warned its troops that they must take every precaution to keep it secret:

a.) the unit to which you belong, and its location.

b.) The effectiveness of your unit, and its losses.

c.) The other units which belong to your regiment or your division. The other unitswhich were engaged at the same time as yours, and their effectiveness.

d.) When, and by what means, you arrived in the theater of operations, what you saw on your way, and when you had your last leave.

e.) What weapons the German Army has, whether you have seen any new ones, and if and when new or repaired tanks may be expected to arrive.

f.) The morale of the German troops; details regarding supplies and materiel.

g.) The morale at home; the effect of United Nations bombing.

German soldiers in other theaters of operation receive similar warnings. The Germans caution their troops not to believe that better treatment will be given them if they consent to talk. It is stressed that even after a soldier has been interrogated, he must be careful when talking to other comrades in camp, because of the possibility that a listening apparatus may have been installed. Troops are warned, too, that strangers in German uniforms may try to win their confidence, and that these strangers will certainly be spies. Speaking over the radio, making phonograph recordings, and writing of war experiences are strictly forbidden. Of special significance is the German Army's threat of future punishment if these orders are not fully obeyed:

Every prisoner remains a German soldier. You must realize that after your return you will, if necessary, be called upon to answer for your behavior during your time of captivity.

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