Official Resistance to War Crimes

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Official Resistance to War Crimes

Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 03:27

Not everyone in WWII Germany had the same reaction to war crimes, such as the Einsatzgruppe executions. On another thread, I mentioned that some officials protested the executions, apparently in the belief that they were criminal "individual excesses". Here's one example, involving Hinrich Lohse, Reich Commissioner for the Eastern Lands (Ostland), from Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, vol. 6, pp. 401-03. Note Lohse's questioning of the authority for the executions, and the evasive response:
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 03:53

Here's another example, from Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression vol. III, pp. 783-89, involving Lohse, Wilhelm Kube (Commissioner-General of White Ruthenia) and Sluzk Area Commissioner Heinrich Carl. Carl's report has been frequently reprinted; Kube's endorsement is only occasionally seen:
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 03:56

Part 2:
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 03:56

The end:
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 08:32

Here's some more on Kube's activities from Raul Hilberg's "Destruction of the European Jews":
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 08:36

More on Kube from Heinz Hoehne's "The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS":
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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 08:37

The end:
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Postby Phaethon » 13 Jan 2003 09:56

I suppose, as with all human matters, there is a spectrum of motivations at work in terms of active participants:

1) Desire to destroy the Jews at all costs.
2) Desire to destroy the Jews, but to employ them in the war effort first.
3) Neutral feeling towards destruction of the Jews but a desire to use them in the war effort first.
4) Secretly desire to save the Jews, use the excuse to employ them in the war effort as a cover.
5) Desire to save the Jews at all costs.

Type 5 motivation, though laudable, is a pretty poor survival strategy unless you had the protection of a higher or foreign power (e.g. foreign diplomats who issued false travel documents to Jews). You might term 3 or 4 as Schindler-like behaviour depending on how you view his real motivation. The question with the above, particulalry the first exchanges, is does it represent type 2, 3 or 4 behaviour. Because any individual genuinely desiring to save Jews must necessarily do so by concealing their true motivation, it is often impossible to differentiate them from those who cared not how many Jews died so long as they were put to use first. Evidence of sympathy for the Jews is dangerous under the regime you are resisting, but equally dangerous is the lack of such evidence when the regime falls and you are called to account by the victors.

K.
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Ken Cocker, London

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Postby David Thompson » 13 Jan 2003 22:23

Phaethon -- I think Kube's caustic remarks to Dr. jur Strauch go above and beyond what one would expect with the motivations you numbered 2) and 3). The man, who was obviously no Wallenberg, is a "hard read." Kube's official behavior, whatever his motivation, was so extraordinarily confrontive that I thought I'd post the accounts.

There is also official resistance which doesn't fit well into the motivational behavior model. For example, the cautious wording of the secret report dated 2 Dec 1941 to Gen. d. Inf. Thomas, Chief of the Army Industrial Armament Department, posted near the bottom of p. 4 of this thread:
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... 6&start=60

Another sort of official resistance which doesn't fit well into the motivational behavior model, is to ignore criminal orders because the recipient has a moral objection to the instructions. In this example (from "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression" vol. VI, pp. 435-36), it's impossible to ascertain Gen. d. Pztrp. Lemelsen's attitude toward Jews, but his attitude toward criminal conduct is perfectly clear:
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Postby David Thompson » 15 Jan 2003 21:53

Here are some more source documents on Lohse and Kube (from "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression" vol. 8, pp. 205-08):
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Postby David Thompson » 15 Jan 2003 21:57

The end:
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Postby witness » 15 Jan 2003 23:07

This Kube character is really fascinating.
On one hand we see this evidence of his negative attitude to the
policy of Einsatzgruppen "Aktionen''.

On the other hand ..
This is from Kube's letter to Lohse ( dated -31 July 1942 ):
We have liquidated [using gas vans} about 55000 Jews in the past ten weeks.In the Minsk area the Jews have been completely eradicated without any negative effect on the workforce.In the mainly Polish area of Lida 16000 Jews have been liquidated ,in Slonim 8000 Jews.
Our preparations for the liquidation of the Jews in the Glebokie area were disrupted when the rear army area preempted us , liquidating 10000
Jews whom we had been due to eradicate systematically, without any prior liason with us ...On 28 and 29 July about 10000 Jews were liquidated
in the city of Minsk 6500 of them Russian Jews - for the most part old people,women and children - and the rest [German and Austrian] Jews
unfit for work, who had mostly been sent from Vienna,Broen ,Bremen and Berlin in November of last year to Minsk on the Fuhrer' orders .
In addition , the Slutsk area has been alleviated of several thousand Jews.
The same applies to Novgogrudok and Vileyka.
Radical measures have yet to be taken in Baranovicze and Gantsevice .There are still some 10000 living in the city of Baranovicze alone , of whom 9000 will be liquidated next month.
There are 2600 Jews from Germany left in the city of Minsk .In addition to these, there are total of 6000 Russian Jews and Jewisses still alive,left over from the labour units in which they were employed during the
Aktion ...
In all the other areas the SD and I have limited the number of Jews coming for [work assighnment ] to a maximum of 800 and, where possible ,500. Thus in the conclusion of the Actionen we have reported , we retain in the city of Minsk 8600 Jews and in the other ten areas ,including the Minsk area which is Judenfrei ,some 7000 Jews.

The emphases are mine.

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Postby David Thompson » 15 Jan 2003 23:59

Witness -- I think after the 1941 complaints someone took Kube and Lohse aside and told them what the unwritten policy (the murder order) was. Nevertheless, they kept objecting, and Kube kept obstructing, on any basis they could find.

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Postby witness » 16 Jan 2003 00:14

Maybe.
However it is difficult to conlude from the above letter that he was particularly persistant in his objections. Besides was there any use of them ? Did all his objections reduce the number of doomed to any rate ? This is an interesting question.
Anyway I really could not make my mind about Kube.That's why I called
his character 'fascinating"
Also -after his assasination by the Russian spy-woman - did the policy of extermination become any more brutal then before ?

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Postby David Thompson » 16 Jan 2003 00:30

Witness -- I agree with you. Kube is a strange case, and "fascinating" is an accurate description. I can't tell whether Dr. jur. Strauch was any the less murderous on account of Kube berating him, but Kube's indirect tip-off to the 5,000 Jews of Minsk about the "resettlement" plans may have saved lives.

I don't know that the extermination policy was any more brutal after Kube's assassination, either. I'll check my chronologies of mass killings in the area and see what I've got on that question.

By the way, what's your source for the quote?


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