The Rheinwiesenlager (Rhine meadow camps) were a group of 19 camps built in the Allied-occupied part of Germany by the U.S. Army to hold captured German soldiers at the close of the Second World War. Officially named Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosures (PWTE), they held between one and almost two million surrendered Wehrmacht personnel.
Prisoners held in the camps were designated disarmed enemy forces, not prisoners of war. This decision was made in March 1945 by Dwight D. Eisenhower: by not classifying the hundreds of thousands of captured troops as POWs, the logistical problems associated with accommodating so many prisoners of war mandated by the Geneva Convention governing their treatment were negated.
Many of these died from starvation, dehydration and exposure to the weather elements because no structures were built inside the prison compounds. How many is disputed. See the "Exernal links section in this article and the one on James Bacque regarding less politically correct estimates.
- Claimed mass killings of Germans by the WWII Allies
- James Bacque
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Morgenthau plan
- Western Holocaust camps: Reuse of the camps