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

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23261
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

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

michael mills
Member
Posts: 8820
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

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.

User avatar
Ivan Ž.
Host - Music section
Posts: 6029
Joined: 05 Apr 2005 12:28
Location: Serbia

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

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax, Canada

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.

User avatar
Ivan Ž.
Host - Music section
Posts: 6029
Joined: 05 Apr 2005 12:28
Location: Serbia

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

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax, Canada

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.

User avatar
Ivan Ž.
Host - Music section
Posts: 6029
Joined: 05 Apr 2005 12:28
Location: Serbia

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

User avatar
Gorque
Member
Posts: 1007
Joined: 11 Feb 2009 18:20
Location: Clocktown

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.

User avatar
wbell
Member
Posts: 161
Joined: 24 Oct 2017 16:53
Location: Halifax, Canada

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.

David Thompson
Forum Staff
Posts: 23261
Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
Location: USA

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.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”