IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by David Thompson » 24 Nov 2017 00:17

wbell -- You asked (at viewtopic.php?p=2109454#p2109454):
Generally speaking, where did the responsibility for atrocities stop? What was deemed to be reasonable regarding military accountability? What does this mean in the context of SS members being criminally responsible because they're SS? Perhaps this is a new topic, but it does relate specifically to the discussion.
See this new thread:

Command Responsibility for War Crimes
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=231992

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by michael mills » 24 Nov 2017 05:26

I would like to get back to the actual topic of this thread, namely the image propagated by Hausser of the Waffen-SS as a military force similar to other military forces, with the task of engaging an armed enemy in combat rather than of committing atrocities against unarmed civilians.

In that regard, I found some very interesting information in a book I am currently reading, "The 'Final Solution' in Riga: Exploitation and Annihilation, 1941-1944", by Andrey Angrick and Peter Klein. The two authors are trying to explain why the massacres of Jews in Latvia in the summer and autumn of 1941 were carried out primarily by Latvian auxiliaries rather than by German units, and this is the explanation they give; the part relevant to this discussion is bolded by me.

Pages 75-76:
If one adheres to the Stahlecker October 1941 report, one reason why the Arajs Commando worked so ruthlessly lay in the fact that in assigning "Latvian forces to execution commandos", a premium was put on choosing men "whose family members and relatives had been murdered or taken away by the Russians". Here it is implied that the desire for revenge was specifically used for shootings. It must be added, however, that some men from the order Police testified after the war that they were repulsed by the executions and had felt misemployed, assertions that cannot be disproved. Astonishingly, Arthur Rosenow, the leader of the Waffen-SS company with EG A, is also said to have refused the enlistment of his men in executions, wishing to have them used in battle instead. Solely for these reasons, the leadership of the Einsatzgruppe was forced to fall back on more reliable Latvians.
Here we have the example of a Waffen-SS commander refusing to allow his men to be diverted from legitimate military activities into actions against civilians of dubious legality. And this was not the commander of a Waffen-SS unit in the field, but of the specific unit assigned to Einsatzgruppe A to provide it with the military muscle to enable it to carry out its task of ensuring security in the rear of the advancing German forces. It is clear that Rosenow envisaged that security task as one of fighting against real armed enemies, such as partisans, or saboteurs, or Red Army stragglers, and not one of killing masses of helpless civilians, and when he found out that the "security task" really was the latter, he refused to allow his men to take part.

The example of Rosenow shows that there were indeed Waffen-SS officers whose view of themselves reflected Hausser's view of the Waffen-SS as a military organisation created to fight real battles against a real enemy, and not as a police force to be used against civilians. It is unlikely that Rosenow was an isolated example, and there were probably many other Waffen-SS officers who took the same view as he did. Accordingly, Hausser's image of the Waffen-SS as a genuine military force that engaged in combat against real enemies rather than in atrocities against civilians is not entirely without merit, although one-sided. I think it can be fairly said that Hausser described the Waffen-SS as he wanted it to be, rather than as it actually was, and that he was basing his view on the example of officers like Rosenow.

I wonder how many members of this Forum were aware that the commander of the Waffen-SS unit assigned to Einsatzgruppe A refused to allow his men to take part in the execution of innocent civilians. I certainly was not until I read this book. I think the widely propagated image of the Waffen-SS as consisting of fanatics who were ready, willing and able to perpetrate the most brutal atrocities is largely based on ignorance of the existence of SS officers like Rosenow.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 24 Nov 2017 11:46

michael mills wrote:I would like to get back to the actual topic of this thread, namely the image propagated by Hausser of the Waffen-SS as a military force similar to other military forces, with the task of engaging an armed enemy in combat rather than of committing atrocities against unarmed civilians...
Wow, you really have some nerve, Michael. If you wish to "get back on the actual topic", then for starters stop sabotaging the ongoing discussion and ignoring every single incriminating question you've been asked, to explain yourself for justifying the persecution of a nation.

May I remind you:
- you've tried to justify the rounding-up of civilians based on their ethnicity
- you've tried to justify the locking-up of civilians based on their ethnicity
- you've tried to justify the robbing of civilians based on their ethnicity
- you've tried to twist facts to justify the murders of two civilians
- you keep silent about the humiliations of imprisoned civilians
- you keep silent about the destruction of a religious temple
- you've hinted that the person responsible for the above-listed was tried and executed because of his ethnicity

After all this, you wish to get back on the topic and to talk about the book you've just read? Either explain yourself for being extremely disrespectful towards the victims and for repeatedly sabotaging the topic with comments whose solely purpose was to shut one's eyes before obvious crimes and to lead the discussion away from the subject matter - or leave the thread. Enough is enough.

Ivan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 24 Nov 2017 14:11

Ivan,

It would seem (like in any large organization) that each branch of the SS had their own set of responsibilities and authorities. Unless a unit was detached from a Waffen SS Division, it's reasonable to assume that their primary function was on armed aggression against the enemy and not the civilian population. As such, they would not be responsible for the local policing of a recently conquered area.

If in fact, two people were murdered (as you've suggested), it seems unlikely that the Waffen SS would be involved at the Division level to: organize a trial, print notices, execute prisoners, etc.. This would seem to fall under whatever unit was responsible for security and the administration of martial law in the area.

Hausser has stated that the Waffen SS was responsible to the Army and not to any administrative authority. Himmler apparently was involved in some aspects, but not the day-to-day operational control.

The destruction of the temple in the context of removing and transporting bricks, the collection of valuables, etc. also would not fall under the Waffen SS responsibilities. I'm not attempting to defend any criminal action undertaken by any party, but feel it important to lay the responsibility for a crime on the correct perpetrator. That said, it may be that there are specific individuals within the Waffen SS that could be held responsible. This should be a result of specific actions they were directly responsible for and not the actions of another.

The crimes of Petrovgrad and the prosecution of Wagner have already been discussed in another thread. I would however be interested in understanding why charges against Hausser (as Division Commander) were not pursued.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 24 Nov 2017 14:42

wbell,

Your fellow-member has been asked several questions - again - and you are interrupting - again.

May we have some order please.

Ivan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 24 Nov 2017 15:41

Ivan,

Paul Hausser has given expert testimony on the workings of the Waffen SS. He has described the origin of the organization, command structure and operations during the war. More to the point, he has stated that the organization did not sanction war crimes. He did however admit that individuals who were Waffen SS members committed crimes (as did the Allies). He has stated that no crimes were committed under his command, of which he was aware.

You have however called him a hypocrite and have focused on the crimes of Jürgen Wagner, who was one of many commanders under Hausser's command. I've yet to see evidence that Hausser was implicated in anyway with Wagner's crimes.

You have spoken of robbery, murder and destruction of property. I don't doubt that these occurred, however unless this can be shown to have anything to do with Hausser, it's you who are off topic.

It is up to the Court to weigh the evidence being presented. Hausser's credibility as a witness and the evidence presented by him is the topic.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 24 Nov 2017 15:43

Ivan Ž. wrote:wbell,

Your fellow-member has been asked several questions - again - and you are interrupting - again.

May we have some order please.

Ivan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Gorque » 24 Nov 2017 16:11

Gorque wrote:....and the E.G. responsible for the Banat is headed by SS-Obersturmführer Ernst Zöller.

What further details regarding the initial military occupation administration have I missed?
Thanks to Ivan Z for the correction.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by wbell » 24 Nov 2017 20:55

michael mills wrote: ...The example of Rosenow shows that there were indeed Waffen-SS officers whose view of themselves reflected Hausser's view of the Waffen-SS as a military organisation created to fight real battles against a real enemy, and not as a police force to be used against civilians. It is unlikely that Rosenow was an isolated example, and there were probably many other Waffen-SS officers who took the same view as he did. Accordingly, Hausser's image of the Waffen-SS as a genuine military force that engaged in combat against real enemies rather than in atrocities against civilians is not entirely without merit, although one-sided. I think it can be fairly said that Hausser described the Waffen-SS as he wanted it to be, rather than as it actually was, and that he was basing his view on the example of officers like Rosenow.

I wonder how many members of this Forum were aware that the commander of the Waffen-SS unit assigned to Einsatzgruppe A refused to allow his men to take part in the execution of innocent civilians. I certainly was not until I read this book. I think the widely propagated image of the Waffen-SS as consisting of fanatics who were ready, willing and able to perpetrate the most brutal atrocities is largely based on ignorance of the existence of SS officers like Rosenow.
Thanks Michael. I agree that this would tend to collaborate Hausser's statement to reflect his honest assessment of the situation from his perspective. I was wondering if records were available regarding Nazi military prosecution of officers and men who disobeyed the directive regarding treatment of civilians (my post of Nov 22nd). Hausser mentioned that there were such charges by the military. It's interesting that the defence didn't refer to such cases in an effort to highlight the military intolerance for lack of noncompliance.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by David Thompson » 24 Nov 2017 21:26

The commander of Einsatzgruppe A, Dr. Walter Stahlecker, explained the use of collaborators to carry out pogroms, and why the SS did not want to appear openly involved in the murders:
Similarly, native anti-Semitic forces were included to start pograms against Jews [at Kovno, Lithuania on 25-26 Jun 1941} during the first hours after capture, though this inducement proved to be very difficult. Following out orders, the Security Police was determined to solve the Jewish question with all possible means and most decisively. But it was desirable that the Security Police should not put in an immediate appearance, at least in the beginning, since the extraordinarily harsh measures were apt to stir even German circles. (p. 979, emphasis added; see also p. 984).
Another example appears in the report at p. 985:
Action against Jewry. From the beginning it was to be expected that the Jewish problem in the East could not be solved by pogroms alone. In accordance with the basic orders received, however, the cleansing activities of the Security Police had to aim at a complete annihilation of the Jews. Special detachments reinforced by selected units in Lithouania partisan detachments, in Latvia units of the Latvian auxiliary police therefore performed extensive executions both in the towns and in rural areas. (emphasis added).
Einsatzgruppe A comprehensive report 22 Jun-15 Oct 1941
viewtopic.php?p=540402#p540402

Please post any further comments to that thread, as the subject is off-topic here.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by RichD-M » 26 Jan 2020 18:54

wbell wrote:
24 Nov 2017 15:41
Ivan,

Paul Hausser has given expert testimony on the workings of the Waffen SS. He has described the origin of the organization, command structure and operations during the war. More to the point, he has stated that the organization did not sanction war crimes. He did however admit that individuals who were Waffen SS members committed crimes (as did the Allies). He has stated that no crimes were committed under his command, of which he was aware.

You have however called him a hypocrite and have focused on the crimes of Jürgen Wagner, who was one of many commanders under Hausser's command. I've yet to see evidence that Hausser was implicated in anyway with Wagner's crimes.

You have spoken of robbery, murder and destruction of property. I don't doubt that these occurred, however unless this can be shown to have anything to do with Hausser, it's you who are off topic.

It is up to the Court to weigh the evidence being presented. Hausser's credibility as a witness and the evidence presented by him is the topic.
Hausser was implicated as an accomplice in absentia. I've spent the past three years investigating Jürgen Wagner's career, crimes and trial, which will eventually be published in book form, citing all available evidence from many different archives.

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by lartiste » 06 Feb 2020 22:38

Ivan Ž. wrote:
22 Nov 2017 13:22

According to the public announcement...? Nothing was written in the public announcement about their guilt and trial except that they were a Jew and a Serb. The fact that the court-martial sentenced them to death (and executed the same day) speaks only about the validity of the court-martial and does not prove in any way that they had a fair trial. No one claimed that they were randomly-picked victims. Both were killed in revenge and because of their ethnicity. One for being Jewish and the other for being a Serb. Why do you think that their ethnicity was written next to their names in the announcement, and not, for example, "a criminal" or "a murderer"? The mentioned football accident happened half a year ago; if the man was guilty, he would have been prosecuted in the meantime. What are you defending, Michael? The people were killed for crying out loud! For an old accident and for (an alleged!) mistreatment of workers (more likely because he was one of the richest Jews in town). Not innocent civilians? Interesting! But, on the other hand, when SS men round-up, lock-up, rob and torment Jewish civilians, that's a security measure? And when a Jew mistreats workers and gets executed - he was not innocent. Unbelievable.
michael mills wrote:
Wagner sending Jewish valuables to Hausser (which included: dollars, gold, silver, jewellery, brilliants etc) shows that Hausser at least knew of - and participated in thievery that was a product of persecution based on ethnicity (i.e. racial hatred).
That was confiscation of enemy property, an action commonly practised by all sides in wartime.
Again, since the Jews were the other side here: when exactly did the Jews confiscate German property? (This was not a confiscation of Yugoslav property, but Jewish.) And how and why exactly were the Jews enemy? Unbelievable what is tolerated here.
michael mills wrote:
I do find it interesting that Wagner was executed for war crimes and his Division Commander (Hausser) wasn't implicated.
Tito's Communists basically executed every German officer they could get their hands on, as well as massacring large numbers of ethnic Germans and Hungarians. Perhaps Hausser was just lucky not to fall into their hands.
What do Tito's communists have to do with Hausser's responsibility for the criminal actions of his troops in April 1941? The SS General Wagner had a way-longer period of time between his capture, trial and execution than the Jew Elek and the Serb Cukić. Yet, the Jew and the Serb were not innocent and the SS General was just unlucky to fall into the hands of the murderous communists? Once again, unbelievable.

Ivan
Ivan Ž. wrote:
20 Nov 2017 14:28
Dear Michael - that was a completely unnecessary reply, especially considering the beginning and the ending lines of my post (and then also everything else in-between). I chose my words carefully, well aware of the points that you would mention afterwards.

First of all, the prosecution's question, as well as my post, was focusing on racial hatred and persecution, which does not necessarily include the extermination (which was the focus of your reply).

I am shocked that anyone in 2017 can write that rounding and locking the civilians up based on their ethnicity "rather was a case of internment of population elements believed to be particularly hostile to Germany and to pose a security risk." Well what was that if not racial hatred? Don't you think that was a crime? Wouldn't you mind being locked up yourself together with your family, humiliated and tormented by some guys because of your ethnicity? Would you consider it a crime or a "mistake"? And why would Hausser's men believe that Jews pose a security risk, Michael? Because they just fealt like it or because they were taught so (or was there perhaps some third option that did not cross my mind)?

I guess not giving hundreds of people food for days, making them (women included) use a public (and their only) yard as a toilet, making them lick floor, beating them, and so on - were also security measures? Taking all of their money and valuables in exchange for freedom and then leaving them locked up anyway (Jürgen Wagner) - was that a security measure? Closing their stores, destroying their synagogue (Wagner again) - more security measures? Yes, Jewish temples were surely potential threats, the same as Jews themselves having money and earning sources :roll:

The point, dear Michael, and again, that was just one example of Hausser's hypocrisy, was that regardless of whether the (Waffen-)SS man was taught racial hatred in an SS school or not, the SS man was taught racial hatred, if nothing else than through German media (denying that suggests only that the SS man was born with it). Regardless of whether the persecution of an entire nation was demanded in an SS school or not, the SS man did participate in it (the extermination too). Hausser's answers were very often only partially true - and thus cannot be really considered true, but false. He kept showing only the "bright" side of the SS coin and hiding the other, the very dark one (which was clearly known to him, he was part of it), thus giving the world a false idea about the organisation. As I wrote the last time: Hausser was extremely skilled in avoiding giving straight answers, often answering only partially, or completely avoiding awkward questions. Why do you think they had to ask him three (!) times before he finally opened his mouth and confirmed that the "Prinz Eugen" Division was a Waffen-SS division too? Take a guess.

Ivan
Ivan, let me be devils advocate and also to offer other point of view. I am really thankful that you provided translations from (Serbian?) books on situation in Banat. I was not aware of that and was always curious why Jürgen Wagner was hanged.

First of all I would like to note, that I have no doubt, that Hausser was aware of what is going on. He was, in my opinion, always clever enough not to get his hand dirty, I mean he received the reports, but never answered/react. It is impossible, that Wagner was doing anything without Hauser’s approval.

Second it is huge mistake to judge what happened nearly 80 years ago with current norms. Locking up and rounding up people based on their ethnicity is not question of Germans only. If I remember correctly the Japanese were locked up in camps based on their ethnicity by US Government post Pearl Harbour. And I am afraid that there were more examples. Of course not to feed them and /or to kill them is other question and is awful crime.

Third the accident which led to death of German football player. Do you have more information concerning the accident? It is rare (I am not sure whether I have ever read similar story) that the football accidental injury lead to death. And are you sure that in situation when clearly there was inter ethnic tension would Yugoslav authorities fairly investigate the situation?

Fourth I agree that it was harsh injustice to sentence to death the two inhabitants immediately and to execute them straight away. On the other hand, that was justice of that time. After the war specifically Soviet, Czechoslovak and Yugoslav courts were quick and harsh as well. E.g. Voss - whole trial took few hours, hanged the same day even Wagner’s trial did not take too much time.



Jan

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Re: IMT Testimony of Paul Hausser in defense of the Waffen-SS

Post by Ivan Ž. » 07 Feb 2020 02:10

Hello, Jan

1. Thanks for the kind words. All sources have been listed in the related post that I linked in my first post here, and I've mentioned them occasionally here too. Most of the text on the situation in Banat originates from the aforementioned Momčilović's book.

2. I don't know what you consider to be the current norms nor what you think were the norms in the 1940s, but I myself use my own conscience and common sense when judging abuse of innocent people and their murder. And you can take my word for it, the norms were pretty much the same for any remotely normal/civilised person back in the 1940s. Your comparison between the systematic persecution of the Jews in an entire continent and the locking up of the local Japanese after the Pearl Harbor attack is simply wrong (the latter was a crime too though).

3. You can read more on the football incident in: Đorđe Momčilović, "Zrenjaninske vatre", SUBNOR, Zrenjanin, 1987, pp. 174-175. Apparently, both players jumped for a high ball and collided. The German player got hit real bad - knee in the stomach - which resulted in internal bleeding. The accident resulted in a mass fight at the stadium. Such injuries and deaths, sadly, do happen at football matches (luckily, not often).

4. Sentencing civilians to death immediately was not justice of that time. How could you write that? Those were and still are war crimes. That's why the people involved were and still are put on trials. And to compare an invader's ad-hoc court for a local civilian with a local court for an invader after the war is, again, simply wrong. You think that the Soviet or Yugoslav courts were quick and harsh? Did you ever happen to wonder why, and did you check if the majority of the "quick and harsh" sentences actually might have been fair? Do you know what the Germans did in those countries? Not just any Germans - those very commanders put on trial, and many more that got away. There were cases of innocent commanders being executed too - and those were crimes of their own. And some were released. A crime is a crime, on any side, and a just sentence is a just sentence. Each case should be examined individually. In comparison to what the Germans did in the East and South-East, the local courts can be in many cases considered generous. Thousands of German victims were given no trial whatsoever. Imagine your family being one of them. Those people may be statistics now, but they were all individuals, like you and me. No less important than some commander.

Before having a "soft spot" for an SS officer, one should read more about what happened in the country he occupied (yes, he occupied it, in case someone forgot that). I've seen too many researchers here and elsewhere falling for the HIAG/Western fairy tales and having foolish prejudices towards the countries that were in fact most horribly tortured by the German troops - without having basic knowledge on what truly went on in there, observing the occupation through the eyes of the occupier for some reason, having more sympathies for the invader than for the invadee.

Ivan

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