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SS Colonel Peiper involved personally in one war Crime?

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed.
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Postby ChristopherPerrien on 07 Mar 2007 00:38

Hi David,

I will note that Article 23 also has a clause that is an "out" for the burning of villages.

To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;


Burning villages was a good way to "kill" your enemy as the lack of shelter in Russia was often fatal. We are talking the about the war in the East were such scorched earth policies were readily employed by both sides as per the "neccessities of war ".

Beyond the burning of houses for the strategic gain of denying them to your enemy , as to real war-crimes in committed in WWII in Russia, I really don't think the ideas/laws of war-crimes should be applied to either side on the Eastern front. Both sides can be considered to have mutually consented by their actions not to follow the laws of war , so the idea of accountability of war crimes there, is a joke. Both sides signed the Geneva conventions but both sides disregarded them in WWII. It is much like debating who was more evil or guilty, ( Uncle Joe or Uncle Adolf).

As to Peiper , wasn't he found Guilty at Nuremburg for a multiplicity of war-crimes in connection with murders during the Battle of the Bulge and sentenced to death because of them? If so, then the whole premise question (one-crime?)of this topic is an out-right denial/minimalization of several confirmed war-crimes by Peiper by the implication that only one occured and this premise should have been "corrected" or at least noted when this topic first started.


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Postby tonyh on 07 Mar 2007 01:50

As to Peiper , wasn't he found Guilty at Nuremburg for a multiplicity of war-crimes in connection with murders during the Battle of the Bulge and sentenced to death because of them?


The problem is that the methods used to gain the conviction are very much in question. Thus, the reliability of the conviction is very much in question. This has been discussed several times on the forum and there's never really been a satisfactory conclusion. But some suggest that the conduct of the interogators at the Dachau trial was what led to the death sentences being commuted later on.

That men under Peiper's command committed war-crimes in certain instances is there in the open however much we wish to take from them. However, Peiper's complicity is far from clear. VERY far from clear. This is the problem. The simple fact remains, no matter where one falls on this matter, is that the actual solid "proof" against Peiper for complictiy war-crimes is slim at best.

Because Joachim Peiper was in command of the men who carried out war-crimes, the buck must stop with him, in miltary terms of course. But this is not guilt.

Both sides signed the Geneva conventions but both sides disregarded them in WWII. It is much like debating who was more evil or guilty, ( Uncle Joe or Uncle Adolf).


IIRC, the Soviet Union weren't signatories to the Geneva conventions, but were subject to the Hague conventions. This certainly doesn't absolve Russia of its questionable conduct at times during the war.


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Postby ChristopherPerrien on 07 Mar 2007 05:14

Because Joachim Peiper was in command of the men who carried out war-crimes, the buck must stop with him, in miltary terms of course. But this is not guilt.


Yes it is, otherwise Goering ,Kietel, etc, were all innocent too. They never pulled a trigger either in the commission of their war-crimes. Like Peiper they were in command and they did nothing to prevent similar instances from occuring besides from being complicit in them.

While I consider the Nuremberg/Dachau trials a travesty of justice, and a concoted farce, there is no doubt in my mind that many people tried there, Joachim Peiper included, were guilty, they by their conduct forfeited any consideration of what rights they had violated through lack of due process. Given the accounts of what occured at Malmedy, Peiper was lucky to have a trial at a high level, post war. A summary court martial and field judgment by members of the US 285th FO Bn, or the US 291st Eng Bn was what he really deserved.

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Postby David Thompson on 07 Mar 2007 05:35

Readers interested in the trial of Peiper by an American military tribunal at Dachau on charges of killing US POWs may find the following threads of interest:

For a review of the evidence against Peiper, see:

Joachim Peiper and the Malmedy massacres once again
viewtopic.php?t=32364

For the results of the US Senate investigation of the treatment of the Malmedy defendants by their American captors, see:

Malmedy Massacre Investigation (Baldwin Report)
viewtopic.php?p=908199

For other discussions on the subject see:

BAUGNEZ (Malmedy) once more (Peiper)...
viewtopic.php?t=280
Was the Malmedy massacre planned?
viewtopic.php?t=25613
Malmedy massacre
viewtopic.php?t=23296
My first post is a question about Malmedy
viewtopic.php?t=13824
Malmedy massacre
viewtopic.php?t=11445
Malmedy
viewtopic.php?t=5825
Malmedy - Once again
viewtopic.php?t=35729
LSSAH war crimes 1939-1945
viewtopic.php?t=34630
How much was Sepp Dietrich really guilty of?
viewtopic.php?t=24329
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Postby Harro on 07 Mar 2007 08:17

tonyh wrote:The problem is that the methods used to gain the conviction are very much in question. Thus, the reliability of the conviction is very much in question. This has been discussed several times on the forum and there's never really been a satisfactory conclusion. But some suggest that the conduct of the interogators at the Dachau trial was what led to the death sentences being commuted later on.

viewtopic.php?t=110742
Harro wrote:During July and August 1948 the Simpson Commission made an investigation of the Dachau cases involving approved but unexecuted death sentences. This investigation was made at the direction of the Secretary of the Army and included the twelve Malmedy accused under approved death sentence at that time. On 14 September 1948 the Commission rendered its report to the Secretary of the Army. Among other things, the Commission recommended that the twelve approved but unexecuted death sentences in the Malmedy Case be commuted to life imprisonment. The Commission gave the following reasons for such recommendations:

a.) The crimes were committed in the heat of one of the most furious battles of the war.

b.) It is extremely doubtful that an American court-martial would impose any punishment more severe than life imprisonment if it were trying members of the American Army who committed like offenses in the heat of battle.

c.) Accused were largely convicted on their own extra-juridical statements and those of their co-accused. Some of the statements were obtained as a result of "mock trials" and other improper practises.

d.) The propriety of many of the methods employed to secure statements is highly questionable. The extent to which these methods were employed cannot be accurately estimated. However, sufficient doubt is cast upon the entire proceeding to make it unwise to proceed with the executions.

Pursuant to the Senate Resolution 42 (Eighty-first Congress), a sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services conducted an investigation in April, May and June 1949, with reference to the allegations of improper practices by representatives of the US Army in the pre-trial investigations of the Malmédy Case. Hearings were held in both Washington D.C. and in Germany. On 13. Oktober 1949 the sub-committee issued ist report and findings. The sub-committee found that some irragularities were practiced in obtaining confessions from accused and statements from witnesses during the pre-trial investigations and there were some irregularities at the trial. The committee, however, limited its consideration of the case to the probable need for legislation concerning possible future war crimes and made no recommendations concerning the sentences of the accused convicted in the Malmédy Case. In fact, the sub-committee specifically stated that its functions were legislative only, and that it had no function to re-try the cases or act as a board of appeals or reviewing authority, or to make any recommendations concerning the sentences.

Harro wrote:The commission recommended to commute the sentences because "sufficient doubt is cast upon the entire proceeding to make it unwise to proceed with the executions."
[...]

[From] the report of the Administration of Justice Review Board earlier in 1948:

c.) That suspects were not deprived of their clothing, but that in some instances cells were not furnished with blankets for short periods of time.

This is one of conclusions a. to r. of this Board that was appointed by the Commander-in-Chief, EUCOM, to make an investigation of allegations of mistreatment of Malmedy suspects held for interrogation during the pre-trial investigation of the case. Their points a., k., l. and m. are interesting:

a.) That there was limited use of "mock trial", probably in eight or ten cases to "soften up"suspects, but that no sentences were pronounced.

k.) That there was a general use of the practise of persuading underlings to talk by telling them the prosecution wanted to get their superiors and was not no much interested in them.

l.) That in certain instances interrogators made threats to suspects that if they did not talk their relatives would be deprived of their ration cards.

m.) That physical force was not systematically applied in order to obtain statements but that undoubtedly in the heat of the moment interrogators on occasions did use some physical force on a recalcitrant suspect.

However, the Board concluded that the practices referred to in a., k., l., and m. in certain instances exceeded the bounds of propriety, but the Board has been unable to identify such cases. Their conclusion marked q. is quite interesting too:

q.) That only 9 out of 73 accused who were convicted took the stand, that it is difficult to understand why the accused who are now claiming duress, violence, etc., did not take the stand at the trial and repudiate their statements and that this fact tends to discredit the allegations now made that the statements were improperly obtained.
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Postby tonyh on 07 Mar 2007 13:18

ChristopherPerrien wrote:
Because Joachim Peiper was in command of the men who carried out war-crimes, the buck must stop with him, in miltary terms of course. But this is not guilt.


Yes it is, otherwise Goering ,Kietel, etc, were all innocent too....


Em...not quite. Göring and Keitel's signatures were present on a number on incriminating documents, from an IMT POV anyway. No such items exist for Peiper, no matter how hard they were looked for.

The "evidence" against him is very thin on the ground and too many holes can be put through the hearsay and scuttlebutt.

Joachim Peiper is simply a figure of history, he's nothing special IMO. His infamy and notoriety are simply results of Malmedy (and he wasn't even present at the event). In fact, if it weren't for the over-hyped Malmedy case, we probably never would have heard of the name Joachim Peiper.



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Peiper ordered killings!

Postby jeweste on 10 Mar 2007 12:59

Back to the topic,
did Peiper ever ordered personally killings of POWs.
Yes, he did.
The prosecution brought up the killing of an GI, directly ordered by Peiper himself on December 19, 1944, a temporary command post was established by Adjutant SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Gruhle, SS-Obersturmführer Rudi Mäule and SS-Untersturmführer Horst Krause at Stoumont. There, an angry Peiper personally ordered radio operator SS-Unterscharführer Hans Hillig to shoot an U.S. prisoner: “Peiper was talking to the man in a foreign tongue. The prisoner only answered the first sentence which was asked by Peiper. Peiper continued talking to the prisoner, but the prisoner remained mute. At the end of the interview, the prisoner gave a very short answer. Peiper was then very angry and shouted. "Hillig! Shoot this man and lay him next to the anti-aircraft gun." I led the prisoner away towards the location which was indicated to me by Peiper. When I was about 75 meters away from Peiper, he shouted after me, "That is far enough." I had a pistol with me, but one machine pistol and I let someone hand me a machine pistol from my vehicle...I took the machine pistol and fired one shot into the region of the American prisoner’s heart. He collapsed immediately. As he lay on the ground, I shot him once more through the temple to make sure he was dead...I returned to Peiper who was still standing on the same spot, and I reported to him that I had executed his order.”
Most astonishing, when in 1948 all the "Persil Scheine"-- fake affidavits were produced, Hillig insisted, that he told the truth [which was admitted by several of Peipers men] and he is not willing to change the story in favour of Peiper. Danny Parker (his book will be published in 2008 by DaCapo Press, it is already announced) will detailed describ the change of affidavits by pressure of German lawyers.

The other better known case is the killing about the end of December or the beginning of January 1945 by SS-Unterscharführer Otto Wichmann of a captured GI at the Tank Regiment Command Post at Petit Thier, were Peiper, SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Kurt Sickel, SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Gruhle and SS-Sturmbannführer Werner Poetschke have been. The Body was later discoverd 300 meters from the post in a forrest, exactly, were Wichmann had described it.

Nevertheless, as he was the "brillant" leader and "all of his men admired him and loved him", it is strange, that his fans did not find it somehow strange, that Peiper "never had control and never knew anything", when his men killed Russian, Italian and Belgian civilians, as well as US POWs.

A totally agree, that Peiper was in no way an important contemporary history figure- but he is important for HIAG, SS Veterans and revisionists. By white-washing him, they whitewash the SS.

And yes, my Peiper bio from 1996 is totally useless, I still feel very ashamed, how I was duped and not able to see my mistakes. Maybe a reason, why I don´t want to play the wiseass and teacher, but to show others the real sources to avoid the same mistakes I made. To learn more about the Waffen SS, it is worthless to read books of Krätschmer, Hausser, Tiemann or nice SS picture books and to interview Holocaust deniners like Johannes Göhler and other hardcore Nazis. But even my naive book from 1996 was attacked by SS buffs, as it linked Peiper in one chapter to Himmler. Nevertheless, in 1996 I gave the full picture of the SS veterans view. From that book, I had to change nearly every single page. Today, there can be no question for me, specially after having seen the autopsi reports and location of bodies found at Boves, that Boves was a masscre, a case, which I have thougth to the end, that this was unfair accusations from Italian side-- but it is not. The Lötlampen Bn. killed 23 civilians. It is very unlikely, that this happened without knowledge of the commander.

So, did Peiper ordered the killings of POW personally- Yes, he did!
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Postby Harro on 06 Apr 2007 09:52

It is very interesting to see how the discussion stopped dead in its tracks after Jens' excellent post.
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Postby Jan-Hendrik on 06 Apr 2007 10:22

As usual :wink:

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Postby tonyh on 06 Apr 2007 11:38

Harro wrote:It is very interesting to see how the discussion stopped dead in its tracks after Jens' excellent post.


It's stopped because all that's to be said, has effectively been said. It certainly doesn't make him correct. Especially with nonsense like this...

"By white-washing him, they whitewash the SS." :roll:

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Postby David Thompson on 06 Apr 2007 13:57

Let's get back to the topic, if there's anything more to discuss. We already have a number of open threads on the general subject of war crimes committed by Waffen-SS units, and whether such crimes were isolated or endemic.
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Re: SS Colonel Peiper involved personally in one war Crime?

Postby Rob - wssob2 on 11 Sep 2009 04:09

The other better known case is the killing about the end of December or the beginning of January 1945 by SS-Unterscharführer Otto Wichmann of a captured GI at the Tank Regiment Command Post at Petit Thier, were Peiper, SS-Sturmbannführer Dr. Kurt Sickel, SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Gruhle and SS-Sturmbannführer Werner Poetschke have been. The Body was later discoverd 300 meters from the post in a forrest, exactly, were Wichmann had described it.


That's correct. Here are my notes from reading James W. Weingartner's Crossroads of Death: The Story of the Malmedy Massacre and Trial (U.California Press Berkley, 1979):


...One statement by the former ordnance officer of the HQ company, SS-PR1, circa late December 1944 alleged that at the Petit Their Chateau, Peiper ordered a wounded American POW executed. The execution was confirmed by Peiper’s sworn statement f March 26, 1946 and a collaborating statement by the battalion surgeon, Karl Schiff, made on April 9, 1946

(background to the Petit Their killing) Peiper and Schiff unsuccessfully attempted to interrogate an American GI who had stumbled into the SS lines after apparently being exposed out side for an extended period of time. Peiper and Schiff ask the POW questions, but the prisoner is too frostbitten and weak to respond adequately. It is not clear if Schiff performed any sort of first aid on the man. An SS NCO asked the two officers if the wounded American should be brought to the aid station. Peiper and Schiff supposedly exchanged looks then Schiff replied “Get the swine out of here and bump him off.”
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Re: SS Colonel Peiper involved personally in one war Crime?

Postby PF on 29 Sep 2009 01:18

Are the POWS killed December 1944-January 1945 ever identified?
What US Units would have been stationed near where the killings took place in begining of December 1944?
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Re: SS Colonel Peiper involved personally in one war Crime?

Postby David Thompson on 29 Sep 2009 01:31

PF --
If you have a question, please let the readers know what steps you have taken to answer it when you post the inquiry. This will eliminate misunderstandings and give responding posters a better idea of your familiarity with the subject.

H&WC Section Rules
viewtopic.php?t=53962

This is the fifth time I've brought this rule to your attention. Here are the other four:

viewtopic.php?p=1335695#p1335695
viewtopic.php?p=1314884#p1314884
viewtopic.php?p=1273763#p1273763
viewtopic.php?p=1127974#p1127974
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Re: SS Colonel Peiper involved personally in one war Crime?

Postby Rob - wssob2 on 29 Sep 2009 03:10

Hey PF - read my post on this thread at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=32364&start=45 to get answers to your questions - Rob
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