Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Berga: Soldiers of Another War
Stories of Berga What Would You Do? Timeline & Maps Berga and Beyond War Crimes
Intro POWs and the Laws of War WWII and Its Legacy
POWs and the Laws of War
Intro Traditional Laws of War World War II and Berga The Legacy of WWII

World War II and Berga
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Soldiers being carried

Dead and wounded soldiers being removed from the battlefield.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Hague Conventions envisioned that prisoners of war could and most likely would perform labor while serving as prisoners of war. Their work, however, was to be compensated; could not involve working conditions poorer than those set for the civilians of the detaining country; and could not be connected to the war effort. The other recognizable tenets set forth in the 1899 and 1907 Conventions include:


As a signatory to the 1929 Geneva Convention, Germany was obligated under international law to uphold its mandates and observe its limitations.
Soldiers in line

Captured soldiers being escorted to prisoner camps.
  • "Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile Government, but not of the individuals or corps who capture them."

  • Prisoners of war "must be humanely treated."

  • Prisoners of war can be detained, but cannot be "confined except as in indispensable measure of safety and only while the circumstances which necessitate the measure continue to exist."

  • "Every prisoner of war is bound to give, if he is questioned on the subject, his true name and rank, and if he infringes this rule, he is liable to have the advantages given to prisoners of his class curtailed."

  • A government holding prisoners of war is responsible for their maintenance and, in the absence of a special agreement between the warring countries, prisoners of war shall be treated the on the "same footing as the troops of the Government who captured them" with respect to "board, lodging, and clothing."

  • "Prisoners of war shall enjoy complete liberty in the exercise of their religion, including attendance at the services of whatever church they may belong to, on the sole condition that they comply with the measures of order and police issued by the military authorities."

  • The 1929 Geneva Convention built upon the framework and principles established in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions and the experiences of World War I, and the 1929 Geneva Convention was in force throughout World War II. As a signatory to the Convention, Germany was obligated under international law to uphold its mandates and observe its limitations.

    Berga - The Investigation and Trial

    continue to page 3



    © 2003 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

    E-mail this page Print this page About the Film For Teachers Resources Pledge Sitemap