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December 19, 2014

The last hurrah in the prosecution of German war criminals who perpetrated the Holocaust

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:15 am
Ruins of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Ruins of one of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau

I have written about the case of German war criminal Oskar Gröning in several previous blog posts, which you can read at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/oskar-groening/

According to the latest news, as reported in a British newspaper, which you can read in full here, Okkar Gröning will be put on trial in Germany in April 2015. This is likely to be “the last hurrah,” the last trial of a German SS man who committed crimes against the Jews in World War II. He will be tried under the “common plan” principle, an ex-post-facto law which makes it a crime for an SS man to have been anywhere near where Jews died in a “death camp” during the Holocaust. There is no defense against this law, so Oscar Gröning will be automatically convicted.

This quote is from the news article:

His case highlights the failure of the German judiciary adequately to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice since the end of the Second World War. An estimated 1.2 million were murdered at Auschwitz. Some 6,500 SS guards worked at the camp but only 49 have been convicted of war crimes. […]

In the decades after the Nuremberg trials, German prosecutors relied almost exclusively on evidence, largely from eyewitnesses, that linked suspects to specific murders in order to convict them. The practice explains the low conviction rate of Nazi death camp guards. It took a new generation of prosecutors to bring about the recent change in the German judiciary’s attitude to Nazi war crimes. In 2011 they set a legal precedent by securing the conviction of the former Sobibor Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk by a Munich court.

Demjanjuk was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 28,000 Dutch Jews at Sobibor, an “extermination-only” camp in Nazi occupied Poland, in which all prisoners were gassed within hours of their arrival. There were no eyewitnesses at Demjanjuk’s trial. But judges for the first time accepted the prosecution’s argument he was an accessory to mass murder simply by having worked as a guard at the camp. Prosecutors will use the same legal arguments at Gröning’s trial. However Gröning has already denied the charges.

Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp

Krema I gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp

November 7, 2011

Germany will attempt to try more WWII “war criminals” under the “common design” ex-post-facto law

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:44 am

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.

(more…)

September 26, 2011

Franz Hoessler, the Commander of the women’s camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:23 am

Franz Hoessler is shown in a British documentary film

The photo above is a still shot of Franz Hoessler (Hössler) who was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp was abandoned on January 18, 1945.  From December 1943 to January 1945, Hoessler had been the Commander of the women’s camp at Birkenau, where he worked with Dr. Josef Mengele, who was the women’s doctor at Birkenau.

In the photo above, Franz Hoessler is standing in front of a truck loaded with corpses of prisoners who died from typhus at Bergen-Belsen after the camp was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945 by Heinrich Himmler.  Hoessler was one of the 80 SS men and women on the staff at Belsen who volunteered to stay behind and assist the British.  Twenty of these SS staff members died after they were deliberately exposed to typhus.

Hoessler was one of twelve SS men and women, who were put on trial by the British in The Belsen Trial in 1945, and charged with crimes committed at both Belsen and Auschwitz. He was convicted of war crimes committed at Birkenau, including his alleged participation in the selection of prisoners to be gassed.

During the trial, Hoessler testified that he had been in charge of staffing the brothel, in the main Auschwitz camp, with volunteers from the women’s camp at Birkenau.  He testified that Dr. Mengele had examined the volunteers and selected those who were free from disease.  Franz Hoessler was hanged on December 13, 1945 for crimes committed at Auschwitz-Birkenau. (more…)

August 24, 2011

Only the Germans were held accountable for violations of the Geneva Convention during World War II

When World War II ended in May 1945, German war criminals were put on trial by the Allies at the Nuremberg IMT and also in separate trials held by the American military, the British, the French and the Soviets.  There were no trials for any violations of the Geneva Convention committed by any of the Allied troops.

At the trials held by the American Military Tribunal on the grounds of the former Dachau concentration camp, the American lawyers for the defense and the American lawyers for the prosecution could not agree on the laws of the Geneva Convention of 1929.  The defense attorneys argued that the Germans were not responsible for any crimes committed against soldiers of the Soviet Union because the Soviets had not signed the convention and were not following it with regard to the Germans.   (more…)