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October 31, 2015

An interesting and important subject for discussion

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 8:43 am
German boy looks at the bomb damage in Nuremberg, Jan. 1945

German boy looks at the bomb damage in Nuremberg, Jan. 1945

Nurenberg Germany January 1945 (Click to enlarge)

Nurenberg Germany January 1945 (Click to enlarge)

Wolf Murmelstein, one of the regular readers of my blog, has offered a subject for discussion.  I am astounded at the knowledge of history, shown by the readers of my blog in the comments section, so I am looking forward to the comments on the following essay, written by Wolf Murmelstein:

To furtherglory, Hermie and other readers of this blog:

In various comments here, the question about the post World War II and Holocaust trials has been brought up, so I am answering all of them here.

From personal experience and from historical research, I admit that some of those trials were driven by political rivalries for positions or interest to prevent some really informed person from giving evidence concerning many wrong doings and enunciations by careless talk, appropriations of Jewish owned assets, etc. which occurred during World II and the Holocaust.

Another chapter refers to the interest of the Communist parties to weaken the middle class in the countries where they rose into power, so said by Clement Gottwald on April 10, 1945 in a speech to party activists at Kosice.

At Theresienstadt that day, we were still in danger of being killed in a mass shooting.

So, in the East, as well as in the West, the Communist parties enlisted former Nazis and Fascists, and many of them were able to avoid trial for their wrongdoing, as long as they obeyed party orders.

When there had not been any political interest, many accusations leading to Judiciary investigations had been found baseless and due to hysteria and the persecution complex of traumatized persons. Stating this, the judge could avoid starting procedures for slander.

In many trials, the statements of the defendants would have been precious historical documents.

I am quoting from memory, but I could find many other examples:

1. Herr Groening had been employed in sorting the money and jewels of the victims. In this way, he avoided being sent to the battlefront in the East.
2 . Herr Demjanjuk stated in a Munich court that he had had a choice: Enlisting in the SS auxiliaries  or starving.

3. In the Auschwitz trial, it had been stated by a defendant that selection started only after the train with the police escort had left the station; this was clearly done for better secrecy.

At Nuremberg, Papen was acquitted by a German court for his high responsibilities for the Nazi rise to power.

This subject deserves better analysis and research, so I hope that this essay will generate some discussion.

September 15, 2014

Who collected the luggage at Auschwitz — the SS men or the Kapos?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 4:36 pm
Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Hungarian Jews who have just arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Click on the photo above to see it in a much larger size.

According to a recent news article, the Germans have located another old man [aged 93] to put on trial as a war criminal, charged with “aiding in the murder of 300,000 people” at Auschwitz-Birkenau. His crime was that he collected the luggage that the Hungarian Jews had brought with them on the transport trains.

This quote is from a news article about the case:

The man, who wasn’t identified, disposed of the luggage new prisoners left on train tracks at the concentration camp, Sabine Stuenkel, spokeswoman for Hanover prosecutors, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The goal was to “hide traces of the mass murder for subsequent inmates,” Stuenkel said. “Above all, his task was to count banknotes taken from the luggage and transfer them to the SS’s economy and administration agency in Berlin.”

Look closely at the photo at the top of this page.  Can you see any Waffen-SS soldiers collecting the luggage?  The men who are wearing striped uniforms, that look like pajamas, were Kapos, or prisoners who helped the Germans when the transport trains arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  I’m pretty sure that it was the Kapos who collected and disposed of the luggage.  Some of the Kapos, who survived, have written about how they stole things from the luggage.

My 1998 photo of the luggage collected from the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz

My 1998 photo of the luggage collected from the Jews who were sent to Auschwitz

Tadeusz Borowski, a prisoner at Auschwitz, wrote a book in which he said that three thousand Jews would arrive on a train transport and a privileged group of Kapos would be there to take their luggage and reassure them.  He wrote about how the Kapos stole items from the luggage.  I blogged about him at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/tadeusz-borowski-auschwitz-survivor/

How could Tadeusz have been so wrong?  We now know that it was those German criminals in the Waffen-SS who took the luggage from the trains.  They will finally be put on trial for their crimes of murdering Jews by disposing of their luggage.

Filip Müller, a Sonderkommando Jew, who wrote a book entitled Eye Witness Auschwitz, Three years in the Gas Chambers, wrote  that the Jews entered the gas chamber in the main camp, with all their clothes on, and even carried their luggage with them into the Krema I gas chamber in the main camp.

This quote is from the news article:

Frankfurt prosecutors first investigated the unidentified man about three decades ago, but closed the case in 1985 due to a lack of evidence, Stuenkel said. Hanover prosecutors closed three similar cases because the suspects died or were found unfit to stand trial, she said.

A court in Lueneburg must rule whether the case can proceed to trial. Sixteen survivors or relatives of the victims have asked to be added as co-plaintiffs.

The Nazis killed an estimated 6 million Jews in death camps throughout Europe during the war. Auschwitz, in a part of Poland annexed by Germany, was the largest of the camps and became a symbol of the tragedy of the holocaust.

The Demjanjuk verdict triggered a new wave of investigations after the judges veered from previous cases that required proof of individual acts. In Demjanjuk’s case, the court said it was enough to show he worked at the camp where everyone was involved in the mass killings.

If this new victim is brought into court on a stretcher, he will surely be convicted because there is no defense against the “Demjanjuk principle,” formerly known at the “common plan” theory of guilt.  This man should not be subjected to this torture.  Just kill him now, with a lethal injection.

 

September 27, 2013

93-year-old former Auschwitz guard will go on trial as an accessory to murder

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 11:21 am

You can read the news of an impending trial of a former cook at Auschwitz in The Guardian newspaper here.

This quote is from the news article:

German prosecutors on Thursday charged a 93-year-old alleged former guard at the Auschwitz death camp as an accessory to murder, part of a renewed drive to bring lower-level Nazi collaborators to justice before they die.

The prosecution service in the city of Stuttgart said the accused worked as a guard at Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland from 1941 to 1943. During that time they say he was on duty when 12 prisoner convoys arrived at the death camp. More than 10,000 of those prisoners were determined unfit for work and sent to the gas chamber immediately on arrival.

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944

Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz in 1944 (Click on the photo to enlarge)

The photo above shows a train load of Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

How many Jews were on each convoy to Auschwitz?  A thousand Jews on each train?  If more than 10,000 prisoners were killed after they arrived on 12 convoys, there must have been 1,000 Jews on each train.

From 1941 to 1943, there were four gas chambers in operation at Auschwitz-Birkenau, so that means that the capacity of those four chambers was 10,000 Jews per day.  This sounds like a gross exaggeration to me.

This quote is also from the news article in The Guardian:

The head of the German agency that probes Nazi war crimes, Kurt Schrimm, said the accused was on a list of 30 former Auschwitz guards it wants to prosecute for their role in facilitating mass murder.

“The investigation was short but intensive. We looked for documents that showed that [the accused] was on duty on particular days when the transports came in,” said Claudia Krauth, state prosecutor for the Stuttgart court. “If we have proof that someone has committed a crime, we are required to prosecute that person.”

[…]

[This man’s] arrest was made possible by the 2011 conviction in Munich of Ivan Demjanjuk, who was found to have been an accessory to the murder of almost 28,000 Jews in Sobibor by virtue of having served as a guard at a death camp. He was the first ex-Nazi convicted in Germany without evidence of a specific crime or a specific victim.

[The accused man] told the German newspaper Die Welt this year that he had been a cook at Auschwitz and had later left the camp to fight on the eastern front, although he could not remember which unit he had been in.

Demjanjuk lying on a stretcher in the courtroom Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ivan Demjanjuk lying on a stretcher in the courtroom Photo Credit: Getty Images

According to the precedent established at the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk, anyone who was present at a concentration camp, where a Jew was killed, is guilty of a crime, even if the accused had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime.

This was a new law established by the Allies after World War II, know as the “common plan” principle of guilt.  Anyone who was present in a concentration camp, in any capacity, was guilty of a crime if anyone died in the camp.

I previously blogged about the “common plan” theory of guilt at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/the-demjanjuk-principle-aka-common-plan-explained/

The war crimes trials were planned by the Allies long before the war crimes were even committed, so why shouldn’t the trials continue until the last German soldier is dead and buried.

According to Robert E. Conot, author of the book entitled 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, after the war, by the American Military Tribunal at Dachau had not yet been committed.

The Declaration of St. James on January 13, 1942 announced British plans for war crimes trials even before the British BBC first broadcast the news of the gassing of the Jews in June 1942. On December 17, 1942, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told the House of Commons: “The German authorities are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe.”

On October 26, 1943, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, composed of 15 Allied nations, met in London to discuss the trials of the German war criminals which were already being planned by the Allies, even before the war was won. That same year, in 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin issued a joint statement, called the Moscow Declaration, in which they agreed to bring the German war criminals to justice after the war.

The United States participated in war crimes trials in Europe under three jurisdictions: the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, the U.S. Military Tribunals at Nuremberg, and the American Military Tribunal at Dachau. The authority for the proceedings of all three jurisdictions derived from the Moscow Declaration, called the Declaration of German Atrocities, which was released on November 1, 1943. This declaration, which was made long before many of the war crimes were committed, expressed the Allied plan to arrest and bring to justice Axis war criminals.

If only the names of the 10,000 Jews, who were gassed at Auschwitz, when the accused man was a cook at Auschwitz, then the relatives could be in the courtroom to see that justice is served.  Unfortunately, the Nazis did not keep a record of the names of the 10,000 Jews who were gassed.

May 19, 2011

Finally, Dutch Jews get justice, long delayed

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:51 am

According to the latest news about John Demjanjuk, which you can read here, “Families of Jews who were slaughtered in Sorbibor death camp said Saturday they were pleased with the conviction of John Demjanjuk, who was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for his role in the killing of 27,900 Jews as a guard at the Nazi camp.”

Jews from many countries were sent to Sobibor to be “slaughtered.”  When will their relatives get justice?  Why were only Dutch Jews included as co-plaintiffs in the prosecution of Demjanjuk?    (more…)

May 18, 2011

Lipstadt compares “Demjanjuk in Munich” to Eichman in Jerusalem

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:50 pm

In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, which you can read here, Deborah Lipstadt compared the recent trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich to the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem.  In her article, Lipstadt pointed out that “Coincidentally, this year is the 50th anniversary of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a case that, in its significance, appears to dwarf the Demjanjuk proceedings.” Lipstadt has recently published a book entitled The Eichmann Trial.

In comparing the two trials, Lipstadt wrote this:

But what happened at both of these trials is more important than the ultimate fates of the guilty. Now as then, the victims were given a chance to tell their story, not in a book, interview or speech, but in a court of law. At the Eichmann trial close to 100 witnesses testified about their suffering. At the Demjanjuk trial we heard from the victims’ children. They joined the prosecutor in pointing their fingers at the man who facilitated their parents’ murders. In other words, the Demjanjuk trial proves that while Eichmann himself may be history, the robust process that made Holocaust trials into something more than mere court proceedings is still effective.

Can the same “robust process” be used in place of “mere court proceedings” in any trial, or just in a trial involving Holocaust victims?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a “robust process” can be used in a trial in America. Or in Germany, for any other crime.  The victims  of a crime in America have a chance to speak in court before the convicted criminal is sentenced, but I don’t think the victims are given the opportunity to tell about their suffering before the judge makes his decision on guilt or innocence.  I would be very surprised if this can be done in a German court when it is not a trial involving the Holocaust.

Lipstadt also wrote this in her Op-Ed piece in the New York Times:

The Demjanjuk trial also underlines the lessons learned from Eichmann. Like Mr. Demjanjuk, Eichmann claimed he was only a small cog in the wheel. Both men argued that they did not have the choice to say no; it was kill or be killed.  […]

Both men could have said no with few consequences; no defense lawyer or historian has found evidence of someone being killed for refusing to participate in the Holocaust. But these men chose not to refuse.

According to Wikipedia, “In December 1939, he (Eichmann) was assigned to head RSHA Referat IV B4 (RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4), which dealt with Jewish affairs and evacuation, where he reported to Heinrich Müller.[17] In August 1940, he released his Reichssicherheitshauptamt: Madagaskar Projekt (Reich Main Security Office: Madagascar Project), a plan for forced Jewish deportation that never materialized.[18]”

Wikipedia also gives this information about Eichmann’s early career:

By 1934, Eichmann requested transfer into the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS, to escape the “monotony” of military training in SS-Standarte Deutschland at Dachau. Eichmann was accepted into the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and assigned to the sub-office on “Freemasons” that was run by SS-Sturmbannführer Prof. Schwarz-Bostowitsch.[12] After a short time, Eichmann had a meeting in the Wilhelmstrasse with Leopold von Mildenstein, a fellow Austrian, and was invited to join Mildenstein’s “Jews Section”, or Section II/112, of the SD at its Berlin headquarters.[12] He later came to see this as his “big break”.[13] Eichmann’s transfer was granted in November 1934.

So when Eichmann was invited in 1934 to join the “Jews Section,” was he given a chance to refuse to be part of the Holocaust?  Did Mildenstein say to Eichmann, “Hitler is planning the genocide of the Jews.  Do you want to participate or not?”

When Eichmann was assigned in 1939 to RSHA Sub-Department IV-B4, did anyone say to him, “This is the department that will be in charge of the transportation of the Jews to the death camps that Hitler is planning. Do you want to participate in the genocide of the Jews or not?”

Was it explained to Demjanjuk before he was sent to Trawniki for training that he was going to be trained to be a “death camp” guard and that he would be participating in the Holocaust?

In my humble opinion, neither Demjanjuk nor Eichmann was given the opportunity to refuse to participate in the Holocaust because it was not explained to them that they would be participating in the Holocaust if they accepted a job that was offered to them.

In Demjanjuk’s case, he was given the choice of being a prisoner in a POW camp, where he had a good chance of dying, or going to a training camp to learn to be a concentration camp guard.  I doubt that it was explained to him that Hitler had given an order to kill all the Jews and that he might be assigned to work at one or more of the “death camps.”