Mon, Dec 19, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Hundreds tortured by UK in 1940s Germany: report


Hundreds of people were tortured at a British-run secret prison in Germany after the end of World War II, the Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday citing previously secret documents.

A total of 372 men and 44 women allegedly suffered brutal treatment, including starvation and severe beatings at the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Center (CSDIC) at Bad Nenndorf, west of Hanover, it said.

The revelations follow a Freedom of Information request from the newspaper for Foreign Office files that have remained closed for 60 years.

The CSDIC is said to have operated for 22 months to July 1947 after Britain took control of northwest Germany at the end of the war in 1945.

The Guardian said the files detailed an investigation into the facility by a Scotland Yard detective, Tom Hayward, following complaints by a British army major and a British doctor who had seen alleged torture victims in hospital.

Hayward's probe reportedly details how prisoners were systematically beaten, woken during the night, exposed to extreme cold, repeatedly doused in water or starved to death.

Others were allegedly tortured with instruments recovered from a Gestapo (Nazi secret police) prison.

"Even today, the Foreign Office is refusing to release photographs taken of some of the `living skeletons' on their release," the newspaper stated.

Detainees were initially said to be former Nazi party or Waffen-SS armed protective squadron members who had been rounded up in a bid to thwart a resurgence in Nazism.

But industrialists, tobacco importers, oil company bosses or forestry owners whose business boomed under Hitler were also said to have been detained.

By 1946, detainees included suspected Russian agents, members of the Soviet secret police, Czechs and Hungarians or left-wing Germans, the paper said the files -- and others previously declassified -- showed.

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