Was the Nuernberg Trial a Kangaroo Court?

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 29 May 2003 17:31

Another point--I am not saying Speer did not know about Slave labor. How could he not. I do maintain that he was powerless to do anything about it. The circumstances in wartime Germany left slave labor as his only option as Minister of Armament. This points him in the position of betraying his country by not fulfilling his duty as Amrmament minister or be found guilty of war crimes. Speer's predicament is that he must use slave labor in order to help his nation--there was no alternative to the production of munitions given Riech policy on labor. I would only convict those who decided to implement the slave labor system--not those who resorted to it in carrying out otherwise honorable duties. The reason for this is that someone in Speer's position simply has no other choice. He can either use slave labor and serve his country by producing munitions so vital to the war effort and the millions of men on the frontline whose lives rely on these materials, or he can object to inevitable policy of higehr Reich leadership and betray his country and those fighting for it. In my view, it is unconsionalbe to put men like Speer in this predicament. Therefore, only those who were involved in the decision to implement slave labor should be found culpable.

Einsamer Wolf

User avatar
Roberto
Member
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 29 May 2003 17:43

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:On the point about Soviet POWs--beleive me, I have no delusions. However, German POWs met a very similar threat.
The effect may have been very similar for German POWs in Soviet hands (even though their mortality rate, even by the highest count, was still somewhat lower than that of Soviet troops in German hands). The big difference lay in the degree of government intention behind the mass dying here and there. Regarding Soviet prisoners of war, there was this clear statement by Hitler on 30 March 1941 that they were "no comrades before and after" and the even more clear instruction by General Quarter Master Eduard Wagner on 13 November 1941 that "non-working prisoners of war in the prisoner camps are to starve to death". On the Soviet side, on the other hand, the captors (the guards and the Soviet civilian population) often seem to have been as much in dire straits as the prisoners of war, and German historians seem to agree that there was no plan or intention of the Soviet government to systematically decimate the German prisoners of war, as opposed to the murder program applied by the Nazi and Wehrmacht leadership in 1941/42, until they realized that Soviet prisoners of war might, after all, be useful as forced laborers (which didn't bring their mortality rate down too much, for their were still looked upon as "subhumans", inferior beings).

What follows is my translation from an article by Dr. Rüdiger Overmans that appeared in the June 2001 edition of the German history magazine Damals. Overmans is a historian at the Institute of Military History in Potsdam and author of several studies on the German armed forces during World War II, including Soldaten hinter Stacheldraht. Deutsche Kriegsgefangene des Zweiten Weltkriegs and Deutsche Militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg.
Worse than Death?

Of the 110,000 German soldiers taken prisoner at Stalingrad only about 5,000 came back home after the war. What were the reasons for this unparalleled mass dying?

When the soldiers of the 6th Army went into captivity at the end of January/beginning of February 1943, they were closer to death than to life. The supply situation of the 6th Army had already been difficult since the summer of 1942 due to the reduced transportation possibilities during the advance. Assuming a calorific need of a soldier in combat of 3000 to 4000 calories a day, this would have required a daily bread ration of 700 to 800 grams. Already in September 1942, however, a military physician estimated the actually issued daily rations to have a nourishment value of only 1800 calories, the daily bread ration being 300 grams – about three thin slices. When the 6th Army then had to be supplied from the air, the daily bread ration sank until Christmas 1942 to 100 grams, only soldiers able to fight still receiving 200 grams. In the course of January 1943 the situation worsened again – in the end only the fighting men received rations food rations at all, which lay below 100 grams of bread. The wounded and sick were not entitled to rations anymore. Although the picture shown here applied to most of the soldiers, there were a few who were quite well fed. This inequality, however, also resulted from the same cause, too little supplies. This because, after the 12,000 horses originally used by the 6th Army had been slaughtered and eaten by the troops, there were not enough means of transportation and fuel to supply the troops.
This deficit did not only affect the supply of food, but also that of combustion material. In other words: the 6th Army was not only hungry, if was also miserably cold.Additionally the insufficient sanitary conditions already in November 1942 led to the first cases of spotted fever, which many soldiers would die of later in captivity. [emphasis Roberto]
What made the soldiers nevertheless hold out until the end of January? The first main reason was the promise given by Hitler on 27 November 1942 that he would do all that was in his power to support them. The Head of the General Staff of the 6th Army, General Major Arthur Schmidt, coined the following verse: “Drum haltet aus, der Führer haut euch raus.” (“Hold out because the Führer will get you out.” The failure of the relief attempt and the interdiction to break out then made the confidence clearly go down towards Christmas. In the course of January the hope to be freed from the cauldron finally faded away. The most depressing event was Göring’s speech on 30 January 1943, which could also be heard in Stalingrad. In his address he compared the soldiers of the 6th Army with the fighters at Thermopylae, who had also fallen as their duty required. Only through this the soldiers realized that they had been given up.
It would be superficial to explain this late realization only with indoctrination and terror by the leadership. Desertion and capitulation were punishable by death, but who in the collapsing 6th Army of January 1943 could have provided for the execution of such orders? That there nevertheless were little signs of dissolution was on the one hand due to the hunger, which had long exceeded the state of a temporary deficiency and led to dystrophy. The symptoms thereof include, besides a general apathy, the total slowing down of all physical and psychological processes in a human being and the detachment from the outer world. And as the Red Army only after the capitulation offer of January 1943 went over to crush the cauldron from the west without too much of a hurry, the German soldiers at the other fronts of the cauldron could apathetically wait for what was to come.
The deeper reason for the soldiers’ holding out, however, was the lack of an alternative. In this respect it is necessary to understand the soldiers’ views and perceptions. Some of them had still been in World War I as active soldiers, while most of them had after the war read the accounts of those coming home from Russian captivity. Even if those accounts were exaggerated according to what we know today, the fate of German prisoners of war in Russia had been one of the harshest in the First World War. During the construction of the Murman Railway alone around 20,000 to 25,000 out of 70,000 employed prisoners of war had died. These were the images that National Socialist propaganda could successfully hark back to. Defection or capitulation was thus out of the question for German soldiers on the Eastern Front. Many expected Soviet captivity to be worse than death.
In the course of January 1943 the encircled increasingly had to contemplate the threat of capture, however. Committing suicide was often discussed, but in fact happened rarely. The capture itself in the end was the result not so much of a fight or an autonomous decision, but of a “natural process” experienced in apathetic passivity. The prisoners were mostly robbed, but the shootings expected by many nevertheless occurred only very rarely. What surprised the soldiers even more, however, was the treatment of the higher staff officers, but mainly that of the generals. Instead of treating them with especial harshness, the Soviets led them away together with their bags and servants in cars and by rail – all others had to walk, whether they felt in conditions to do so or not.

In Stalingrad there were not only German soldiers, however, but also members of a number of nations, both soldiers and civilians. Among these there were about 1,000 members of the Organization Todt (OT), among them civilian workers from Western Europe. Then there were Croatian and Romania units with about 1,000 and 5,000 soldiers, respectively, and a few Italians encircled in the cauldron. The numerically largest non-German group should have been the about 50,000 Russian “auxiliaries” and prisoners of war who as late as the end of January 1943 had surrendered to the German troops in the cauldron. Out of a total of about 250,000 encircled 25,000 had been flown out and 100,000 had perished inside the cauldron. Thus there were about 130,000 soldiers and “auxiliaries”, thereof 110,000 Germans, who went into captivity.
Especially precarious was the situation of the sick and wounded. Until 23 January 1943 planes had still managed to land in the cauldron, the heavily wounded and sick had to a limited extent been flown out. The less lucky had gathered in the ruins of Stalingrad next to the completely overcrowded hospitals. There was no such thing as regular medical attention; in mid-January even the command of the 6th Army admitted that it had lost track of the situation.
When the final collapse came the number of sick and wounded should have been around 50,000.
About the “handling” of the prisoners of war of the 6th Army there are so far no studies from the Soviet point of view, but the procedures of the Red Army can be clearly deducted from the existing accounts. As in Stalingrad and its surroundings there were neither habitable buildings nor usable railway connections, it was not possible to take away the tens of thousands of sick and wounded. In Stalingrad six “hospitals” were installed for them, the medical treatment and accommodation not being much different, however, from what it had been during the “cauldron time”.
The “healthy” were collected and put into march in groups of 20 to 500 headed by German officers to collection camps at the periphery or in the farther surroundings of Stalingrad. For the prisoners from the northern cauldron there were the camps Dubovka, Kissljakov and Frolovo, while those from the southern cauldron were mainly sent to the by far largest camp, Beketovka, about ten kilometers away from Stalingrad. The camp of Krassno-Ameisk, a little further away, mainly housed officers.
The term “march”, however, is an inappropriate description of the reality. An eyewitness saw it like this: “There they hobbled, numb, part of them supporting each other, guarded by only a few guards, in an endless row through the frosty, moonlit night”. Some of the collection camps, especially the largest, Beketovka, were only a day’s march away for a healthy man, but the prisoners’ health did not allow them to cover such distances. Thus the march to the collection camp lasted at least two days, often even longer, there usually being nothing to eat or to drink along the way. The nights were generally spent under open sky. What this meant in wintertime an eyewitness describes as follows: “Each morning the same picture: A part got up with their last strength, a black spot of dear remained behind.”
During the march it happened that the prisoners got hallucinations. If they then departed from the column, like to reach their “approaching saviors”, they were shot by the Soviet guards. What happened when someone lost his forces during the march an eyewitness describes as follows: ”Some sat or lay in the ditch by the road, calling or screaming for help, some were already quiet. Then we saw a covered-up figure approaching them, heard a dry crack – and knew enough.” These actions by the Soviet guards were seen also by the guards not as a crime but as mercy – the alternative to this quick death would have been slow freezing.
Once they arrived at the collection camps the prisoners did not encounter well-prepared accommodations, but makeshift-prepared barracks and factory halls. Often they had to content themselves with completely inadequate food. An eyewitness describes his experiences with grain not ground as follows: ”It is understandable that the individual grains cannot be digested by the weakened stomach and leave the body in the same state in which they have been taken in. The human excrements were washed out and the same wheat grains cooked again.” One of the consequences of this undernourishment which had been going on for about half a year and now worsened was cannibalism. Although there are no official investigations about this, there are accounts from several prisoner war camps about prisoners who were seen cutting chunks of meat out of the bodies of dead comrades.
During the “cauldron time” the soldiers, apart from the sick and the wounded, had been together only in relatively small groups. Now the massing of the prisoners in camps and their physical weakness created ideal conditions for the spreading of the already latently existing infectious diseases. The result was a mass dying the dimension of which maybe becomes clearest on hand of the following account of a survivor about a walk he took after his recovery: “Thus one day I sneaked around the barracks and found myself on the camp’s main street, of which I had no clear notion prior to my disease. At first I didn’t manage to distinguish what it was that I saw there. It all looked so different. I especially could find no explanation for the dams on both sides of the street, which extended for about 500 meters. Only when I got very close I noticed that it was simply dead. Corpses, which filled up the whole ditch and had been stacked in piles about one meter high along both sides of the road, waiting for the columns of cars that were to take them away.” After about a month of the 110,000 Germans who had been taken captive only 35,000 were still alive.[emphasis Roberto]

Since March 1943 the prisoners of war were then taken from the collection camps to permanent camps. For the transport cattle cars were used. Depending on the distance and the handling of the rail transport, the ride took a few days to several weeks – like in the case of the further away camps Begovat and Astrakhan. An officer describes his transport to Jelabuga on the Kama as follows: ”In the wagon it was all dark, the slits were closed, nailed with planks and barbed wire, no light, nothing. Every other day they gave us 200 grams of bread and a dirty salt fish. No tea and no water …With great effort one of the slits had been opened a bit. With a cup we gathered snow.” When arriving at their destination the prisoners were often no longer in conditions to stand, but often still had to march a long way to the camps. The result of such living conditions was that of the 35,000 prisoners still alive, but weakened and sick anyway when the transports started, only 18,000 arrived at their places of destination.
Originally the purpose of the transports had been to bring the prisoners to their future places of work – in the case of Begovat this was the construction site of the Syr-Darja dam. Things happened differently, however, a part of the prisoners was still suffering from spotted fever or typhus, and the others became infected or got sick on the transport. Thus there was another mass dying. ”Soon most of the sick had fallen into apathy and were partially lying in agony. The task of the medics was to empty the five wooden buckets for the necessities and to sort out the dead. Only a few could get up from their sick beds and carry themselves to one of the available buckets. Often it happened that the so-called medics were themselves grabbed by spotted fever during their service and thus nobody was there to take out the buckets. They spilt over, and the excrements ran among the sick. These were lying in their own dirt anyway …”
[emphasis Roberto]
These waves of disease affected the huge camps for the rank and file and the officer camps, such as Jelabuga, but not the VIP-camps Susdal and Krassnogorsk, where also the generals lived. While the living conditions in the VIP-camps remained unknown to the mass of the prisoners, however, the difference between “normal” supplies and those given to officers was visible every day. The food rations were only a little higher, for sure – but this difference could in a situation of scarcity that lasted for months mean the difference between life and death. The emotionally most important difference, however, was that the officers received tobacco.
At the end of May 1943 a considerable change occurred in all camps. In the meantime news of the mass dying of the “Stalingraders” had reached the Moscow leadership. Unlike the German leadership in the case of Soviet prisoners of war in Germany Stalin was not interested in the death of the prisoners. They should be used as means of propaganda and used as a labor force. Thus the food norms were increased and the prisoners actually fed better. Equally important it was that now the prisoners also had to be registered. Deaths from now on had to be immediately reported, increased mortality leading to inspections from higher up.[emphasis Roberto] Thus life in a certain way began to normalize, without a sufficient living standard being however achieved throughout the war.
How many “Stalingraders” lost their lives in this second period of captivity has not become exactly known. Presumably in the summer of 1943 of the 18,000 who arrived at the work camps no more than 10,000 were still alive. In quantitative terms their trace is lost in the following years in the general fate of the increasing number of German prisoners of war in Soviet custody.

If at the end we ask for the reasons for the extreme fate of the 6th Army, one aspect must be pointed out that cannot be exactly established chronologically and differed from prisoner to prisoner. Up to the mentioned speech of Göring the members of the 6th Army had more or less relied that “the Führer would get them out”. But now not only the 6th Army was at the end. The whole war seemed lost, the existence of Germany seemed to be at issue. For the mass of the prisoners this breakdown of all future perspectives represented a catastrophe without parallel. It deprived them of the will to live that was essential for survival.
The second main factor was the underfeeding in captivity. In this respect it would be wrong to assume that the Soviets allowed their prisoners to starve to death on purpose. Most prisoners of war could observe that the Soviet civilians were also hungry.[emphasis Roberto] A consequence of this deficiency, however, was that the Soviet guard personnel took away a part of the anyway scarce food supplies. This was due not to greed and eagerness for profit, however, but to naked need. Also the German personnel at the camp administrations did not behave differently – comradeship in a general, group-oriented sense did not exist in the first years of captivity. Here it was every man for himself. With medical supplies things were no different. Apart from rather few, who for instance wanted to take revenge for the loss of relatives, many merciful actions by Soviet medical personnel are known. But of course there were also both German and Soviet medics who traded medications instead of treating the sick therewith.
On the whole it can be concluded that, while most of the “Stalingraders” died, this was not due to an intention of the Soviet state leadership. On the contrary, the dying of the “Stalingraders” was what alarmed the Soviet leadership. In its last consequence the catastrophe of the 6th Army contributed to the prisoners later arriving in masses having a harsh, but by no means comparable fate.[emphasis Roberto] Another thing should also have become clear from the above account. If the army leadership had capitulated at Christmas 1942, when the relief attempt had failed, or at the latest accepted the Soviet capitulation offer at the beginning of January, the soldiers would still have gone into captivity hungry and freezing, yet by no means in such a desolate state as at the end of January / beginning of February 1943. Even though the effect cannot be exactly calculated, such a decision would certainly have saved tens of thousands of lives.[emphasis Roberto] As it was, of the 170,000 Germans who were lastly encircled in the cauldron and not flown out, only 5,000 came back home.
There were differences, however. Due to the Soviet preferential treatment of the generals and VIPs only a few died, and these usually of natural causes. Of the officers more or less half survived, whereas the proportion of survivors among non-commissioned officers and common soldiers was about two per cent.
And this is my translation of an article by Hans-Michael Kloth that appeared in the issue 51/2002 of the German news magazine Der Spiegel:
The things that matter to him Friedrich Paulus, commander of the vanished 6th Army, doesn’t lose sight of even in captivity. On 25 February 1943, three weeks after the capitulation, the general, recently promoted by Hitler, asks by letter to the German military attaché in neutral Turkey for “six pairs of shoulder flaps for a field marshal”. The Soviets let the package get through.
Also otherwise Stalin’s highest-ranking prisoner of war doesn’t suffer too much. Paulus lives in a dacha with a garden at Tomilino near Moscow and even goes on holiday in the Crimea. On occasion of the Nuremberg Trial, where the Soviets present him as a witness, he in 1946 answers as follows to a question about the fate of his men: “Tell the mothers and wives that the prisoners are well.”
That is a bald-faced lie. Most of the more than 90,000 German soldiers who survived in the Stalingrad cauldron die soon after the battle. The wounded and sick perish in cattle cars in which they are taken away. Those able to walk give up during the days-long marches of misery to the camps, completely exhausted. “They pulled their coat over their head, sat on the street and let themselves be shot dead”, remembers Jakob Vogt, back then a doctor in a medical company of the 305th Infantry Division.
Who reaches the goal is often closer to death than to life. In the camp Beketovka near Stalingrad alone more than 27,000 prisoners, half of all inmates, die between 3 February and 10 June 1943, while of the 1,800 officers in the former monastery of Jelabauga almost three fourths die until April of the same year. “All they did was die. All the time, all the time, all the time”, sighs a survivor thereafter.
The death rate of Germans in Soviet captivity is one third on average, among the Stalingraders it is above 90 percent. Army commander Paulus, who is released to the GDR in 1953, is one of only 5,000 men of his troops who come back from the USSR until 1956.
Did Josef Stalin exact a particularly cruel revenge against the invaders who had tried to conquer the city named after him? Experts consider this improbable.
From the mass dying it “cannot be concluded that it was the goal of the Soviet government to let the German prisoners of war die”, sums up Rüdiger Overmans of the Institute for Military History Research at Potsdam. “However ‘inhumane’ the conditions in the camps were”, writes the historian Albrecht Lehmann, “the reason was not an inhumane attitude of the Soviet custodian power.”
The 6th Army is the first large German unit that goes into captivity – in a single battle the Soviets thus have made almost as many prisoners as up to then in the entire war. The capacities in the collection camps of the seven armies that had closed the ring around Stalingrad are not nearly sufficient; the only railway line leading out of the city is destroyed by bombs. Furthermore the besiegers had expected only 80,000 enemies inside the cauldron.
More or less healthy men may have had a chance in captivity. But for the completely worn out men of the 6th Army it often means death. Hitler, who gave the order to hold out, Paulus, who didn’t dare to break out, and Göring, who bragged about being able to provide supply from the air, are as responsible for this as Stalin and his military.
Hunger is a torment – often the prisoners eat grass to survive. The guards are mostly not better off. “One could watch the guards, how in the spring they stood by growing birches, debarked them and fed on the freshly grown bark”, reports one who returned.
The civilian population is even worse off in many places. Numerous Russians even beg to the prisoners when after the war they occasionally receive food from the USA and since 1949 also packages from the German Federal Republic.
Those able to work often get into a terrible circuit: working in mines or cutting trees in arctic cold, they are exploited until exhaustion and then more or less pampered up again for work.
When from the army of elegant Field Marshal Paulus only a few thousand men are still alive, the victors show themselves merciful. Camp physicians, as the prisoner doctor Vogt observes, receive orders to show consideration to the Stalingraders: “They were not all to die.”
Enjoy reading!

User avatar
Roberto
Member
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 29 May 2003 17:51

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:Another point--I am not saying Speer did not know about Slave labor. How could he not. I do maintain that he was powerless to do anything about it. The circumstances in wartime Germany left slave labor as his only option as Minister of Armament. This points him in the position of betraying his country by not fulfilling his duty as Amrmament minister or be found guilty of war crimes. Speer's predicament is that he must use slave labor in order to help his nation--there was no alternative to the production of munitions given Riech policy on labor. I would only convict those who decided to implement the slave labor system--not those who resorted to it in carrying out otherwise honorable duties. The reason for this is that someone in Speer's position simply has no other choice. He can either use slave labor and serve his country by producing munitions so vital to the war effort and the millions of men on the frontline whose lives rely on these materials, or he can object to inevitable policy of higehr Reich leadership and betray his country and those fighting for it. In my view, it is unconsionalbe to put men like Speer in this predicament. Therefore, only those who were involved in the decision to implement slave labor should be found culpable.

Einsamer Wolf
Well, my opinion on Mr. Speer and his "honorable duties" you know, so I won’t repeat it.

Again, nice talking to you.

User avatar
Einsamer_Wolf
Member
Posts: 855
Joined: 19 May 2003 06:49
Location: New York, NY

Post by Einsamer_Wolf » 29 May 2003 18:28

I learned a lot from you Roberto. You certainly rehabilitated some of my misgivings about Nuremberg. Though I no logner will use terms like sham or kangaroo court, I still think some of its more questionable moments resonate from Siegerjustiz. Thanks for the dialogue.

EW

User avatar
PolAntek
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 04:41
Location: The Beautiful West Coast of Canada

Post by PolAntek » 29 May 2003 21:41

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I learned a lot from you Roberto. You certainly rehabilitated some of my misgivings about Nuremberg. Though I no logner will use terms like sham or kangaroo court, I still think some of its more questionable moments resonate from Siegerjustiz. Thanks for the dialogue.

EW
Roberto, as always, brings a wealth of knowledge along with his well researched replies. I, hardly a historian, have also benefited from his participation here.

Nonetheless, the way that the Katyn matter was handled still, for me, puts a pall over the Nuremberg proceedings.

Of course I understand the extreme sensitivity of charging a fellow victorious ally with war crimes and what this sort of thing would have wrought at the time. However, one must remember the extreme gravity of the Katyn crime. This is without a doubt one of the most serious and reprehensible ‘war crimes’ of WW2. The following statement from lead prosecutor Robert Jackson, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, succinctly states the case:

"The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated."

The Katyn murders were premeditated by Stalin and his henchmen and certainly qualify. Whether or not Nuremberg itself was the forum for this is debatable – but where and when if not here? That the Soviets were the guilty perpetrators was well known, despite their lies to the contrary. Even if the focus of the trials was to punish the Nazi’s, something should have been done rather than cleverly sidestep and brush the whole issue under the rug – where it was destined to remain. After all, this crime against the Poles was in fact against one of their fellow “Allies”. The protests of the Poles came on deaf ears as even after the war the Stalin Appeasement Program was still in full swing. By at least acknowledging that the Soviets were also guilty of crimes – which I maintain were on the level of the Nazi’s - and thus barring their representation would have at least been a minimal concession. Although undeniably a diplomatically difficult one. Instead, we have representatives of a government who are guilty of a crime that they actually accused the defendants of now judging those same defendants for crimes committed. Yes – truth is stranger than fiction. But that’s the way the game is played I guess.

Despite its other successes, the Nuremberg Trials will forever be stained by this travesty of justice.

User avatar
Roberto
Member
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 30 May 2003 11:07

What follows is my translation of an assessment of the handling of the Katyn killings at Nuremberg on a German web site under

http://www.h-ref.de/ar/misc/katyn.shtml
In April 1943 German units found mass graves with the corpses of more than 4,100 murdered Polish officers next to the village of Katyn. Examinations revealed that the shootings had taken place in March and April 1940. During the Nuremberg Trials the Soviets tried to blame these mass murders on the Germans.

The other prosecutors urged Rudenko to do without this accusation which – whatever it was that had happened in reality – would give the German defense the right to reject it and thereby to implicate the powers charged with carrying out the trial in a horrible atrocity.
T. Taylor, The Nuremberg Trial [German translation by Heyne editors, 1996], page 148 and following.

But the Soviets would not give in. They insisted in changing the indictment accordingly and charging the Germans with the murder of 11,000 captured Polish officers ( Taylor, p. 157), which seems to more or less correspond to the number of those actually murdered. The Russians for this purpose submitted an "expert report" that dated the murders to the autumn of 1941, when the area was already controlled by German troops.
Taylor points out that the question who was to blame for these mass murders did not constitute a "tu quoque" – argument, for in the case of Katyn

the circumstances were such that only the Soviet Union or Germany could have committed the atrocity. Thus there was only one way for one of these countries to prove its innocence: it had to prove that the other was guilty.
Taylor, p. 541

Thus, as Taylor goes on explaining, a strange situation had come about. Until now the prosecutors had always tried to prove the defendants guilty of concrete deeds. In this case, however, as Taylor presumes, the Soviets were out not so much to incriminate [emphasis in original] a given defendant as to relieve [emphasis in original] themselves.
With a procedural trick and a self-serving interpretation of the statutes General Nikitshenko tried to block the German objections against the unjustified accusations,

but Biddle rightly recognized that he and the others could not give in this time, for if the tribunal allowed the Soviet prosecution to pronounce the Germans guilty of the Katyn massacre but blocked every German counter-argument, this would render the trial an absurdity.
Taylor, S. 543

Against the vote of Soviet judge Nikitshenko German witnesses for the defense were admitted. Thereupon Soviet prosecutor Rudenko submitted to the tribunal another petition in which he accused the tribunal of not fulfilling its duty. Biddle, the American judge, called this submittal "outrageous" (Taylor, p. 543) and instructed his assistant Herbert Wechsler […] to clarify the issue.

When the tribunal on 6 April discussed the petition, Biddle had armed himself with an opinion prepared by Herbert Wechsler, which was as full of dignity as it was convincing and swept Rudenko’s petition off the table.
Taylor, p. 543

Rudenko’s petition, Biddle declared, was defamatory and could in the US have led its author to be charged with disrespecting the court.

The he turned to Nikitshenko and asked him what he thought was to be done. The completely flabbergasted general murmured something that could not be understood. Biddle thereupon read the opinion to his listeners and said that it could be "read in open session before we arrest general Rudenko".
Taylor, S. 543

After some negotiations the issue was off the table, and besides three German three Soviet witnesses were interrogated. As the Soviets stuck to their version, the question who was responsible for the Katyn massacre could not be finally clarified, but Taylor remarks: "According to all indications the guilt for Katyn lay heavily on the Soviet Union ..." (Taylor, p. 546). Rudenko had through his insistence only made things worse, Taylor states at the end.

At that time there was not yet a clear proof that the Russians rather than the Germans were responsible, but many thought so and thus the tribunal had a hot iron on its hands. Cleverly it allowed both the Russians and the Germans to make their depositions about the Katyn massacre, but did not mention this tremendous occurrence with a single syllable in the judgement.
Taylor, pages 738 and following
And indeed you will find nothing about Katyn in the IMT’s judgement, which is transcribed under

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/judcont.htm

User avatar
Scott Smith
Member
Posts: 5602
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 21:17
Location: Arizona

Post by Scott Smith » 30 May 2003 13:53

Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I learned a lot from you Roberto. You certainly rehabilitated some of my misgivings about Nuremberg. Though I no logner will use terms like sham or kangaroo court, I still think some of its more questionable moments resonate from Siegerjustiz. Thanks for the dialogue.
Kangaroo Court is actually a generous term. Even if the Allied courts had acquitted all the German leaders presented in this spectacle, the purpose of the trial was to separate the German people from their leaders in order to control them better and to brand the entire German nation with War-Guilt in such a way that it would not lead to a populist counterreaction as had Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. Nowadays concentration camp propaganda serves as the universal symbol for war-guilt since Germany was acting in its legitimate national interests to cast off the yoke of Versailles.
:)

User avatar
witness
Member
Posts: 2279
Joined: 21 Sep 2002 00:39
Location: North

Post by witness » 30 May 2003 14:04

Scott Smith wrote:
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I learned a lot from you Roberto. You certainly rehabilitated some of my misgivings about Nuremberg. Though I no logner will use terms like sham or kangaroo court, I still think some of its more questionable moments resonate from Siegerjustiz. Thanks for the dialogue.
Kangaroo Court is actually a generous term. Even if the Allied courts had acquitted all the German leaders presented in this spectacle, the purpose of the trial was to separate the German people from their leaders in order to control them better and to brand the entire German nation with War-Guilt in such a way that it would not lead to a populist counterreaction as had Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. :)
Sheer nonsense. The purpose of the trial was to codemn the criminals quilty in deaths of millions of people which is clear to everybody with the brains not eaten by Nazi propaganda to the point of debility.
Nowadays concentration camp propaganda serves as the universal symbol for war-guilt since Germany was acting in its legitimate national interests to cast off the yoke of Versailles.
And nonsense again."Nowadays concentration camp" memorials serve as a friendly reminder what one human being is capable of doing to another.
The memorials were built with the weak hope that they can serve as a warning against propaganda of war and intolerance.

User avatar
chalutzim
Member
Posts: 803
Joined: 09 Nov 2002 20:00
Location: Südamerika - Brazil

Post by chalutzim » 30 May 2003 14:13

witness wrote:
The Muppets Master wrote:Nowadays concentration camp propaganda serves as the universal symbol for war-guilt since Germany was acting in its legitimate national interests to cast off the yoke of Versailles.
And nonsense again."Nowadays concentration camp" memorials serve as a friendly reminder what one human being is capable of doing to another.
The memorials were built with the weak hope that they can serve as a warning against propaganda of war and intolerance.
Never mind, witness. If Scott wishes to self-elude himself and lock his mind in the realm of selective memory, I guess there is nothing to do about it but regret.

User avatar
Roberto
Member
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 30 May 2003 15:29

Scott Smith wrote:
Einsamer_Wolf wrote:I learned a lot from you Roberto. You certainly rehabilitated some of my misgivings about Nuremberg. Though I no logner will use terms like sham or kangaroo court, I still think some of its more questionable moments resonate from Siegerjustiz. Thanks for the dialogue.
Kangaroo Court is actually a generous term.
Now who asked for your unsubstantiated and unqualified opinion, Mr. Smith ?

I can understand you being pissed at Einsamer Wolf having taken no more than half a dozen posts to get where you never will, but do you really think shooting some more of your staple bull will improve your standing on this forum ?
Scott Smith wrote:Even if the Allied courts had acquitted all the German leaders presented in this spectacle, the purpose of the trial was to separate the German people from their leaders in order to control them better and to brand the entire German nation with War-Guilt in such a way that it would not lead to a populist counterreaction as had Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty.
Boy, you can almost see the gibber of hatred dropping from the true believer's chin. And of course he cannot offer the slightest evidence in support of his verbal diarrhea, as usual. This is supposed to be a historical forum, not a parade ground for ideological articles of faith, in case Smith hasn’t yet noticed.
Scott Smith wrote:Nowadays concentration camp propaganda
What are evidence and facts when Smith wants whatever doesn't fit into his bubble to be "propaganda"? Faith moves mountains, as they say.
Scott Smith wrote:serves as the universal symbol for war-guilt since Germany was acting in its legitimate national interests to cast off the yoke of Versailles.
:)
Yeah, the aggression against Poland is supposed to have been meant to "cast off the yoke of Versailles", even though Smith’s beloved Führer expressly stated on several occasions that he was after much more than that. So, of course, was the equally unprovoked aggression against the Soviet Union, long looked upon by Germany as a fellow victim of the Versailles Treaty. And so, of course, was the "reckoning" with the "parasites" supposed to be responsible for Germany’s misery, millions of completely harmless and innocent men, women and children.

As we’re at it, I thought the notion of German collective guilt for war and Nazi mass murder was abandoned sometime in the late 1940s. But for Smith it seems to be alive and kicking – although I doubt the poor fellow can show us a single historian or politician who still endorses this notion.

User avatar
PolAntek
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 04:41
Location: The Beautiful West Coast of Canada

Post by PolAntek » 31 May 2003 02:18

Roberto wrote:What follows is my translation of an assessment of the handling of the Katyn killings at Nuremberg on a German web site under

http://www.h-ref.de/ar/misc/katyn.shtml
In April 1943 German units found mass graves with the corpses of more than 4,100 murdered Polish officers next to the village of Katyn. Examinations revealed that the shootings had taken place in March and April 1940. During the Nuremberg Trials the Soviets tried to blame these mass murders on the Germans.

The other prosecutors urged Rudenko to do without this accusation which – whatever it was that had happened in reality – would give the German defense the right to reject it and thereby to implicate the powers charged with carrying out the trial in a horrible atrocity.

T. Taylor, The Nuremberg Trial [German translation by Heyne editors, 1996], page 148 and following.

But the Soviets would not give in. They insisted in changing the indictment accordingly and charging the Germans with the murder of 11,000 captured Polish officers ( Taylor, p. 157), which seems to more or less correspond to the number of those actually murdered. The Russians for this purpose submitted an "expert report" that dated the murders to the autumn of 1941, when the area was already controlled by German troops.
Taylor points out that the question who was to blame for these mass murders did not constitute a "tu quoque" – argument, for in the case of Katyn

the circumstances were such that only the Soviet Union or Germany could have committed the atrocity. Thus there was only one way for one of these countries to prove its innocence: it had to prove that the other was guilty.
Taylor, p. 541

Thus, as Taylor goes on explaining, a strange situation had come about. Until now the prosecutors had always tried to prove the defendants guilty of concrete deeds. In this case, however, as Taylor presumes, the Soviets were out not so much to incriminate [emphasis in original] a given defendant as to relieve [emphasis in original] themselves.
With a procedural trick and a self-serving interpretation of the statutes General Nikitshenko tried to block the German objections against the unjustified accusations,

but Biddle rightly recognized that he and the others could not give in this time, for if the tribunal allowed the Soviet prosecution to pronounce the Germans guilty of the Katyn massacre but blocked every German counter-argument, this would render the trial an absurdity.
Taylor, S. 543

Against the vote of Soviet judge Nikitshenko German witnesses for the defense were admitted. Thereupon Soviet prosecutor Rudenko submitted to the tribunal another petition in which he accused the tribunal of not fulfilling its duty. Biddle, the American judge, called this submittal "outrageous" (Taylor, p. 543) and instructed his assistant Herbert Wechsler […] to clarify the issue.

When the tribunal on 6 April discussed the petition, Biddle had armed himself with an opinion prepared by Herbert Wechsler, which was as full of dignity as it was convincing and swept Rudenko’s petition off the table.
Taylor, p. 543

Rudenko’s petition, Biddle declared, was defamatory and could in the US have led its author to be charged with disrespecting the court.

The he turned to Nikitshenko and asked him what he thought was to be done. The completely flabbergasted general murmured something that could not be understood. Biddle thereupon read the opinion to his listeners and said that it could be "read in open session before we arrest general Rudenko".
Taylor, S. 543

After some negotiations the issue was off the table, and besides three German three Soviet witnesses were interrogated. As the Soviets stuck to their version, the question who was responsible for the Katyn massacre could not be finally clarified, but Taylor remarks: "According to all indications the guilt for Katyn lay heavily on the Soviet Union ..." (Taylor, p. 546). Rudenko had through his insistence only made things worse, Taylor states at the end.

At that time there was not yet a clear proof that the Russians rather than the Germans were responsible, but many thought so and thus the tribunal had a hot iron on its hands. Cleverly it allowed both the Russians and the Germans to make their depositions about the Katyn massacre, but did not mention this tremendous occurrence with a single syllable in the judgement.
Taylor, pages 738 and following
And indeed you will find nothing about Katyn in the IMT’s judgement, which is transcribed under

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/judcont.htm
Roberto,

Many thanks for the translation - Good info! Once again - your translating efforts are much appreciated.

Best Regards

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23720
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

Post by David Thompson » 02 Jun 2003 00:44

An off-topic post by Einsamer_Wolf on the denazification trial of Gertrud Scholz-Klink now has its own thread, at:

"Denazification Trial of Gertrud Scholz-Klink"
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=23709

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”