Conduct Unbecoming: The Story of the Murder of Canadian Prisoners of War in Normandy
Published: January 2000© 2000
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 336 Pages
Dimensions: 6.03 x 9.01
336 Pages, 6.03 x 9.01 x 0.87 in
On the afternoon of 7 June 1944, Lorne Brown, a private serving with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in Normandy, was bayoneted to death while trying to surrender to troops of Nazi Germany's Tlite 12th SS Division 'Hitler Youth.' Over the next ten days, more than a hundred and fifty Canadian soldiers were brutally murdered after capture by the 12th SS. Despite months of post-war investigation by Allied courts, however, only two senior officers of the 12th SS were ever tried for war crimes.
Drawing extensively on archival sources, Howard Margolian reveals the full account of an atrocious chapter in history and exposes the causes - an inept and indifferent Canadian military justice system, and a Canadian government all too willing to let bygones be bygones - of the flagrant inaction that followed. Highly praised for both its meticulous research and its engaging passion, this book will resonate with veterans, those interested in war crimes, military buffs, and historians.
'This was a story that needed to be told, and we should be glad that Howard Margolian has told it with such intelligence and feeling.'Alex Good, Kitchener-Waterloo Record
"[This] book is clear, documented, and though very sad is neither mawkish nor vengeful.'Douglas Fisher, The Ottawa Sun
"Conduct Unbecoming should make every Canadian seethe with rage. Margolian pulls together ... all the pathos, treachery, outrage, villainy and terror that resulted in the needless and illegal deaths of those 156 men. [It] is one of the best researched books I have read.'Gary Hebbard, The Sunday Telegram
"This is well written and well researched but more importantly it forces us to think about the consequences of war.'Marilynn Gordon, Kanata Kourier-Standard
"Author Margolian lays out the shame and horror of the way these young men went to their deaths in stark detail and with meticulous documentation. If that makes the reader's blood run cold, the shameful way the Canadian government abandoned them and their memory after the war will surely make it boil.'Ron Riter, Vancouver Sun
"The plethora of war books and biographies published in the 1990s about Canadians in uniform during the century's two world wars has not produced a more moving and chilling story of cruelty than that told in Conduct Unbecoming. Even this book's all-encompassing 75 pages of notes adds to its authenticity. At the same time, the book's easy style, marked both by the author's emotional engagement and his expertise ... unravels a slow and stark story that details one of the most brutal and heart-rending experiences of our army during the Second World War.'John D. Harbron, The Globe and Mail