Scrapbookpages Blog

October 20, 2013

The church funeral plans for Priebke sparked an outcry in the United States.

Filed under: Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:34 am

The title of my blog post today is a quote from a news article about the protests against the funeral of Erich Priebke, who was a convicted Nazi war criminal.

Here is the full quote from the news article on the CNN blog which you can read in full here:

The church funeral plans for Priebke sparked an outcry in the United States.

“Erich Priebke was a monster,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“He does not deserve the dignity and respect of a proper church burial. His body should be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea, without further ceremony.”

Priebke, a former SS captain sentenced to life in prison for his role in an Italian massacre in 1944, died on Friday.

Priebke was convicted by Italian court in 1998 for helping organize the execution of 335 men and boys in retaliation for attacks on German troops. The former Nazi was unrepentant, denying the Holocaust in his final statement, according to the Associated Press.

Note that the news article says that Priebke was convicted of the crime of helping to organize the execution of 335 men and boys in RETALIATION for attacks on German troops.  No, this was not a RETALIATION, but rather a REPRISAL.

There is a difference between a reprisal and a retaliation.  A reprisal was an action that was legal under the Geneva Convention of 1929.  (Reprisals are no longer legal under the Geneva Convention of 1949) The purpose of a reprisal was to stop illegal combatants from killing enemy soldiers during war time.

An example of a reprisal was what happened at Orddour-sur-Glane.  After the reprisal, the killing of German soldiers by French Resistance fighters in the area of Oradour-sur-Glane stopped, so the reprisal was successful.

After World War II, the Allies changed the laws so that illegal combatants were legal combatants and reprisals against illegal combatants were now ex-post-facto war crimes.  After the war, illegal combatants who had been captured were now considered Prisoners of War, and it was a war crime to put illegal combatants into a concentration camp.

Priebke was convicted under ex-post-facto laws, created by the Allies AFTER the war.  In other words, Priebke was not a war criminal at the time that he participated in a legal reprisal.

As for Priebke’s crime of Holocaust denial, Italy did not have a law against Holocaust denial at the time that Priebke made his Holocaust denial statements. He was never convicted of being a Holocaust denier.  Italy is now trying to catch up to the rest of the world; Italy will soon become the 18th country to have a Holocaust denial law.

I previously blogged about Primo Levi, who was a famous Italian Jew who was sent to Auschwitz.  Levi was arrested for being an Italian partisan, i.e. an illegal combatant.  However, when he was admitted to the camp, he said that he was a Jew, because he was afraid that he would be killed if he admitted to being a Resistance fighter.

October 11, 2013

Unrepentant Nazi war criminal “remained an arrogant Nazi monster until his dieing (sic) day,” according to UK newspaper

An article in the International Business Times, which you can read in full here, starts off with this headline:

Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke’s Political Will: ‘Jews were to Blame for the Holocaust’

This quote is from the article:

In the interview, [Eric] Priebke proved he remained an arrogant Nazi monster until his dieing day. He claimed Jews are partially to blame for the Holocaust, which extent he however denied. He reveals himself as an unreconstructed anti-Semite who continued to peddle the lies that stoked the genocide of six million Jews, among them 1.5 million children, as well as millions of Russians, Poles, gypsies and gays.

“Responsibility lies with both parties,” [Priebke] said. “Due to their religious beliefs most Jews considered themselves better and above all other human beings,” Priebke says, adding that nevertheless he doesn’t hate them. “There are also good people among them.”
“In Germany Jews’ behaviour was openly criticised since the early years 1900s. They had amassed a huge economic and political power, despite being a scanty part of the world population. This was perceived as unjust.

“It is a fact that even today if you take the 1,000 most powerful and rich individuals in the world, most are Jews,” Priebke said..

Priebke claimed that Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe caused “a real catastrophe” in Germany after the First World War. [Following World War I, German territory was given to the new country of Poland. The Poles denied citizenship to the Jews, and forced them to go to Germany where they became stateless persons.]

“They stockpiled huge capital while most of Germans were living in poverty. Moneylenders got richer and annoyance towards Jews grew higher,” Priebke says.

Priebke said Hitler tried to persuade Jews to leave Germany peacefully but “had to lock them up in lagers as war enemies” after the Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass. [Jewish men were locked up for several weeks until their families could arrange for them to leave Germany.]

So, what was the heinous war crime committed by Priebke?  Why was he hunted down in Argentina and brought back to Germany for trial?

Erich Priebke as a young SS soldier

Erich Priebke as a young SS soldier

This quote from the article in the International Business Times explains Priebke’s crime:

During WWII [Priebke] served under the command of Herbert Kappler in Rome.

On 23 March 1944 Keppler ordered the execution of 335 Italians, in retaliation for an attack by partisan troops that had killed 33 German soldiers.

The execution by firing squad was carried out under captain Priebke’s supervision in the ancient Ardeatine Caves in central Rome.

At his trial Priebke claimed he had only ticked off the names of those killed from a list that included 12 underage boys, about 80 Jews and a catholic priest.

After World War II ended, the Allies made a new law called “common plan,” or “common design,” under which any German was guilty of a crime if he or she were anywhere near where the crime was committed. So when Priebke “ticked off the names” of the people to be killed in a reprisal action, he was guilty of a  crime under the new law of  “common plan.”

Note that the article in the International Business Times does not mention the word “reprisal.”

During World War II, reprisals were legal.  A reprisal was an action carried out against the enemy in an effort to stop the enemy from engaging in partisan activity.  Note that the people killed in the reprisal in Italy were described as “partisans.”

Under the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929, POWs, who had been captured while fighting on the battlefield, were protected from reprisals.  However, it was not until the Geneva Convention of 1949 that civilians were also protected against reprisals. The Geneva Convention of 1949 states that the principle of the prohibition of reprisals against persons has now become part of international law in respect to all persons, whether they are members of the armed forces or civilians.

According to international law during World War II, under the Geneva Convention of 1929, it was legal to violate the laws of war by responding with a reprisal against civilians in order to stop partisan actions that were against international law.

The fact that “underage boys” as well as Jews and a Catholic priest were killed in the reprisal where Priebke “ticked off the names,” indicates that this was a legal action taken against civilians as revenge against the civilians for killing German soldiers.

Priebke was guilty of being a “war criminal” only because the Allies changed the laws AFTER World War II.

Would it have killed the reporter for the International Business Times to have explained all this?

In today’s news, only one side of the story is told.