I’ve been reading in the news lately about the Polish government’s search for more German war criminals to put on trial. The trials will be conducted by the Germans in German courts.
After the conviction of John Demjanjuk in a German court, I predicted in this blog post on May 12, 2011 that Germany would have more trials based on the “common design” ex-post-facto law. German courts will now “proceed according to precedent” and use this ex-post-facto law to convict more Germans who served at concentration camps during World War II. I assume that the German government will also pay for their incarceration in nursing homes. The World War II German criminals are at least 85 or 86 years old now. At the time that they were working in a concentration camp, they didn’t know that someday they might be convicted as a war criminal just for BEING THERE.
Here is a quote from a news article about Poland’s new investigations, which you can read in full here:
The Institute of National Remembrance – a research body affiliated with the Polish government – stated last week that the main “purpose of the investigation is a thorough and comprehensive explanation of the circumstances of” the crimes that took place at Auschwitz.
During November 2010, there were “852 ongoing investigations of Nazi war criminals,” though there are certainly others living in secret, according to Slate. From the past decades, these people have essentially been getting away with their crimes, living quiet lives among the families of their victims. All because they aren’t criminals of the same caliber as those prosecuted at Nuremburg or Dachau. They were the lower ranking members of the Gestapo and the SS, following orders and murdering and torturing innocent people. For this reason, lower-ranking soldiers should not be left to live their lives after war: They should be prosecuted just like their superior officers have been. Lower-ranking soldiers are just as guilty as the upper command and should be treated as such.
The re-launched investigation into Auschwitz can be the way to address this problem, even without convictions by the Institute of National Remembrance. Instead, this Polish body can make inquiries, form conclusions, make indictments, and leave obtaining convictions to the German government. In the past year, Germany has been able to convict John Demjanjuk “based on the theory that if he worked there, he was part of the extermination process, even without direct proof of any specific killings,” according to the Huffington Post. This new German precedent, along with the fact that Berlin asks to be allowed to extradite Nazi war criminals, gives new hope for convictions.
You can read another article on the Southern California Public Radio website here. The title of the article is “Nazi war criminals may get their day in court.” No, the Nazi war criminals will NOT get their day in court. Under “common design,” the ex post facto law that was used by the Nuremberg IMT and the American Military Tribunal, there is no defense. Anyone who worked at a concentration camp, in any capacity, is automatically a war criminal, including the Kapos, who were prisoners that assisted the SS men.
The following information is from my own website scrapbookpages.com. I have highlighted the important points.
Between November 1945 and December 31, 1947, there were 489 cases brought before the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. There was a total of 1,672 persons who were tried; 1,416 of them were convicted and then sent to War Criminals Prison #1 at Landsberg am Lech for execution or incarceration. There were 297 death sentences, and 279 sentences to life in prison. Between 1946 and 1951 there were 284 death sentences carried out at Landsberg, which included the death sentences at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
The 1,672 accused war criminals who faced the American Military Tribunal at Dachau had been selected from a group of 3,887 people who were initially accused. The last of those who were not put on trial were finally released from their imprisonment in War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 at Dachau in August 1948. By 1958, the last of the German war criminals, convicted at Dachau, had been released from the War Criminals Prison #1 in Landsberg.
According to Robert E. Conot, author of “Justice at Nuremberg,” the idea of bringing the German war criminals to justice was first voiced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on October 7, 1942, when he declared: “It is our intention that just and sure punishment shall be meted out to the ringleaders responsible for the organized murder of thousands of innocent persons in the commission of atrocities which have violated every tenet of the Christian faith.” Roosevelt was referring to atrocities committed in the concentration camps, beginning in 1933; most of the war crimes that were prosecuted by the American Military Tribunals at Dachau had not yet been committed.
Even before the start of World War II, Heinrich Himmler predicted what would happen to the German people, who were already under attack.
This quote is from a speech made by Himmler on November 8, 1938:
“Furthermore, Czechoslovakia has become anti-Semitic, all the Balkans are anti-Semitic, the whole of Palestine is engaged in a desperate struggle against the Jews, so that some day there will be no place in the world left for the Jew. He says to himself, this danger will only be removed if the source, if the originating country of anti-Semitism, if Germany is burnt out and destroyed (ausgebrannt und vernichtet). Be clear about it, in the battle which will decide if we are defeated, there will be no reservation remaining for the Germans, all will be starved out and butchered. That will face everyone, be he now an enthusiastic supporter of the Third Reich or not – it will suffice that he speaks German and had a German mother.”
Now the current generation of Germans is preparing to “starve out and butcher” their grandfathers and great-grandfathers with the help of their long-time enemy, Poland. Any Kapos in the concentration camps, who were Polish citizens, will not be carried into a German court on a stretcher and prosecuted as war criminals. Only those who “speak German and had a German mother,” whether they be American citizens or German citizens now, will be prosecuted simply for being associated with a concentration camp, whether or not they committed a crime.
You can read about how the Allies treated their German Prisoners of War here.