I’m not talking about the movie Judgment at Nuremberg which starred Burt Lancaster; I’m talking about the convictions of the accused German “war criminals” in the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
There have been numerous articles in the news lately about the Majdanek concentration camp where around 10,000 old shoes recently burned up. Almost all of the articles mention that 79,000 or 80,000 prisoners died at Majdanek.
At the Nuremberg IMT, the Soviet Union submitted documents USSR-8 and USSR-29, which told in detail how the Germans killed 4 million prisoners at Auschwitz and 1.5 million at Majdanek. Now it is accepted by historians that 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz and 79,000 died at Majdanek. Around 900,000 Jews died at Auschwitz and 59,000 Jews died at Majdanek, according to the latest figures.
The Charter of the International Military Tribunal allowed evidence that normally would be inadmissible in a trial.
Article 19 of the Charter read:
“The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence [...] and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value.”
Article 21 stipulated:
The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Nations, including acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military and other Tribunals of any of the United Nations.
Using these rules, the Nuremberg IMT allowed a report by American Congressmen as evidence of a homicidal gas chamber at Dachau, along with a documentary film in which it was shown how gas was put into a Dachau shower room through the shower heads. Now the Dachau Memorial site tells visitors that gas pellets “could have been” put through two bins on the outside wall of the gas chamber building. This means that, according to the Dachau Memorial site, the congressional report and the film were both false.
There was also a Polish government report, submitted to the Nuremberg IMT by the American prosecutor, which claimed that prisoners were killed in steam chambers at Treblinka. Now it is accepted that the Jews who were sent to Treblinka were killed in gas chambers which used Zyklon-B.
The defense attorneys at Nuremberg protested that some of the prosecution documents were fake, and now it is generally acknowledged that some of the most important documents submitted by the prosecution were fraudulent.
The rule that “The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof.” was used to accept the Soviet claim that soap was made from human fat at Buchenwald without the proof of a forensic report. Today, not even the Yad Vashem museum accepts the human soap story.
The alleged “death bed confession” of Franz Ziereis, the Mauthausen commandant, is now believed to be a fake. As I previously wrote in another blog, Ziereis never regained consciousness after he was shot “while attempting to escape” and he made no confession. Nuremberg documents 1515-PS, 3870-PS, and NO-1973, based on the non-existent confession of Ziereis, were entered into the IMT to prove that prisoners were gassed at Mauthausen and Hartheim Castle.
In a trial, the rule is “false in one, false in all.” If the Germans had been given a trial instead of being accused at a Military Tribunal, all of the so-called evidence would have been thrown out because of the accusation that the Germans had killed thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk. (Nuremberg document USSR-54) A detailed report by a Soviet investigative commission was submitted as proof for this charge which was made in the joint indictment of the British, French, Soviet and American governments.
The Soviet prosecutor said this at the Nuremberg IMT:
We find, in the Indictment, one of the most important criminal acts for which the major war criminals are responsible was the mass execution of Polish prisoners of war shot in the Katyn forest near Smolensk by the German fascist invaders.
In 1990 the Russian government finally admitted that the Katyn massacre had been committed by the Soviet secret police, not by the Germans.