Scrapbookpages Blog

April 2, 2016

Otto Skorzeny, once nicknamed “the most dangerous man in Europe”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:39 am

The title of my blog post today comes from the words in a comment by one of the regular readers of my blog.

The words in a comment by Tim are quoted below:

Begin quote

I got a question(actually two questions) It’s off the subject . Anybody that knows of this,feel free to jump in. Otto Skorzen. He was one of hitlers most favored ss men. Heard he went to work for the Mossad. It said he told Wiesenthal he’d go to work for them,if Wiesenthal tore up the arrest warrant he had on him for war crimes . I don’t know what his “crimes” were,but if the hebs put out the arrest warrant,I’m guessing it had something to do with the holo. He was put on trial at the end of WW2 ,by the Americans,for something unrelated to the holo. He became a contract killer for mossad. I don’t care if you’re a hired gun for mossad or you worked at one of the units in the nazi prison system . Murder is murder. Yet this guy is handed a “get out of jail free card”,because he becomes a killer for Israel .So what’s up here ? You’re going to be arrested for crimes involving the holo,but if take out marked people for Israel,they’ll turn a blind eye to your past transgressions ? I’m beginning to think they weren’t to overly concerned with getting justice for the Jews . How many other nazis did the Jews let skate,because they went to work for them? I know Israel had their own hit people. What. Did they feel like God having a former ss man under their thumb. They pull shit like this,don’t bang on my door looking to borrow a cup of sympathy.

End of Comment by Tim

Otto Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny

I have written at length about Skorzeny on my website. The words below are from my website:

In another Dachau [trial] proceeding, which began in August 1947, Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny and nine others were charged as war criminals for the illegal use of US Army uniforms and with killing more than 100 Prisoners of War during the Battle of the Bulge. Lt. Col. Rosenfeld was also the law member of the panel of judges in this proceeding, but this time he allowed defense testimony that US troops had worn German uniforms in combat during World War II in similar efforts to confuse the enemy.

An affidavit from the Malmedy Massacre proceeding was introduced by the prosecution in the Skorzeny case, and when the defense protested, Lt. Col. Rosenfeld dropped the charges of killing POWs. There were no corroborating witnesses for the killings, and Rosenfeld ruled that the case could not be tried on affidavits alone.

This was an important ruling because in all the war crimes military tribunals conducted in Germany after World War II, witnesses were not required to appear in person and affidavits were allowed to be entered, so that the defense had no opportunity to cross-examine the person who signed the affidavit.

Otto Skorzeni

Otto Skorzeni

Otto Skorzeny, shown in the photo above, was acquitted after the presiding judge allowed testimony that the American military had committed the same crime of wearing enemy uniforms during the Battle of the Bulge. Although he was acquitted, Skorzeny was still held in prison after the verdict; he finally escaped and fled to South America.

In the first few days of the Battle of the Bulge, there was mass confusion caused by a team of 28 Germans dressed in American uniforms, led by the famous commando Otto Skorzeny. Riding in stolen American jeeps, they created havoc by directing American troops down the wrong road, changing signposts and cutting telephone wires to General Bradley’s field headquarters. Four of the team were captured and when they confessed their mission, the American army immediately broadcast the news that there were thousands of Germans operating behind enemy lines. Skorzeny and his men were later brought before the American military tribunal at Dachau in another proceeding.

Although there was an automatic review process in which American military personnel reviewed all the Dachau proceedings, there was no appeal process for war crimes verdicts handed down by the American military court. This did not seem fair to Everett, who was a southern gentleman from a prominent family in Atlanta, GA. Everett prepared a 228-page analysis of the pre-trial interrogations and the trial, which he sent to the officers who would be conducting the automatic review of the case. This report included the accusations against the prosecution interrogators.

When 12 of the death sentences were upheld by the review board, including that of Col. Jochen Peiper, Everett decided to petition the US Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the 73 accused were being illegally held in Landsberg prison after being convicted as a result of “illegal and fraudulently procured confessions.”

When the news of Everett’s charges, that the Malmedy Massacre accused had been forced to sign confessions, was leaked to the media, the American public was outraged. World War II was “the Good War” in which Americans fought for their democratic ideals and their freedom. The Malmedy Massacre case had made a mockery of the rights of the accused to a fair trial. This was not the American way. American soldiers had fought and died to preserve this freedom.

When the case came to the attention of Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall, he ordered a stay of execution for the 12 men who were scheduled to be hanged in just a few days, and then directed General Lucius D. Clay, the highest authority of the American occupation in Germany to investigate Everett’s charges against the prosecution. Not satisfied with that, Royall then appointed a three-man commission, headed by Judge Gordon Simpson of the Texas Supreme Court, to investigate not only the Malmedy Massacre case, but other Dachau proceedings, which had involved the same Jewish interrogators. The other two members of the commission were Judge Edward L. Van Roden and Lt. Col. Charles Lawrence, Jr.

After a six-week investigation conducted from an office which they set up in Munich, the Simpson Commission made its recommendation to Royall. The Commission had looked at 65 mass trials of German war criminals in which 139 death sentences had been handed down. By that time, 152 German war criminals tried at Dachau had already been executed.

The 139 men who were still awaiting execution were staff members of the Dachau concentration camp, SS soldiers accused of shooting POWs at Malmedy and German civilians accused of killing Allied pilots who were shot down on bombing missions over Germany. On January 6, 1949, they recommended that 29 of these death sentences, including the 12 death sentences in the Malmedy Massacre case, be commuted to life in prison.

In February 1949, an article entitled “American Atrocities in Germany,” which was allegedly written by Judge Van Roden, was published in The Progressive. In his article, Van Roden wrote as follows:

American investigators at the U. S. Court in Dachau, Germany, used the following methods to obtain confessions: Beatings and brutal kickings. Knocking out teeth and breaking jaws. Mock trials. Solitary confinement. Posturing as priests. Very limited rations. Spiritual deprivation. Promises of acquittal. Complaints concerning these third degree methods were received by Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall last Spring (1948).

The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four, and, five months. They were confined between four walls, with no windows, and no opportunity of exercise. Two meals a day were shoved in to them through a slot in the door. They were not allowed to talk to anyone. They had no communication with their families or any minister or priest during that time.

This solitary confinement proved sufficient in itself in some cases to persuade the Germans to sign prepared statements. These statements not only involved the signer, but often would involve other defendants. Our investigators would put a black hood over the accused’s head and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him, and beat him with rubber hose. Many of the German defendants had teeth knocked out. Some had their jaws broken.

All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was Standard Operating Procedure with American investigators. Perl admitted use of mock trials and persuasive methods including violence and said the court was free to decide the weight to be attached to evidence thus received. But it all went in.

Read more at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauTrials/MalmedyMassacre04.html