Malmedy-proces

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Davy
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Malmedy-proces

Post by Davy » 04 Nov 2006 21:55

Hi,
in the book of Dietrich Ziemssen "Der Malmedy-Prozess"
is a picture of a group prisoners at Dachau with the titel "Die Angeklagten im Malmedy-Prozess treten zur Gerichtsverhandlung an - Dachau Mai 1946".

Is there a better picture of it because these is not very clear.

In the right-front of the group is a prisoner with only his right leg.
Can someone identifie him?

Greatings Davy

Jochen S.
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Post by Jochen S. » 05 Nov 2006 00:01

Friedel Kies. Former SS - Sturmmann in 3rd Pz.(Pi.). Co.

Phil Nix
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Post by Phil Nix » 05 Nov 2006 11:30

Hedre is a pic from Editions Heimdal LSSAH
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gunslinger
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Post by gunslinger » 05 Nov 2006 13:37

They seem to be in a good mood, for someone who goes to trial,?
At what stage in the trial is this picture taken,

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Davy
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Post by Davy » 05 Nov 2006 14:22

Thanks for the info,

do you know where he's lost his leg,
and are there any bio's about these men (not for the officers, there is info enough on the net), but for the lower ranks?

Greatings Davy

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Harro
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Post by Harro » 05 Nov 2006 18:26

They all are in a very good mood given their claim that they were tortured during interrogations.

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Photos

Post by Lebensbornagain » 06 Nov 2006 21:20

The reason the death sentences for these men were commuted is because it was learned that their confessions were extracted through torture. That is a fact. The facts surrounding the massacre are cloudy. There are Germans that to this day swear that the Americans tried to overtake their captors. Who knows for sure? One SS man hung himself after being interrogated. He may not be one of those smiling in the photo. For almost everyone to be smiling simultaneously would lead one to surmise that something funny was said. To imply that this photograph shows that they were lying is absurd.

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Harro
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Re: Photos

Post by Harro » 06 Nov 2006 22:10

Lebensbornagain wrote:The reason the death sentences for these men were commuted is because it was learned that their confessions were extracted through torture. That is a fact.

You are wrong. They didn't establish as a fact that torture was used as a method. The report of the Simpson commission mentioned "mock trials and other improper practices" in connection with some of the confessions, but does not specify these practices. "Torture" isn't mentioned and as such was not the reason to commute these death sentences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lebensbornagain wrote:The facts surrounding the massacre are cloudy.

So are the facts surrounding the Malmédy Trial. It is highly suspicious that the issue of mistreatment was first raised by the defense lawyers after the trial and those convicts who did file a complaint about mistreatment in Schwäbisch Hall used more or less exactly the same statement. In my opinion there is no doubt that some accused were mistreatened to get confessions. But I think it is also quite obvious that their lawyers and supporters blew these complaints way out of proportions in order to get everybody off the hook.
Lebensbornagain wrote:One SS man hung himself after being interrogated. He may not be one of those smiling in the photo.

Yes, he could not live with the fact that his statements incriminated his former comrades.
Lebensbornagain wrote:To imply that this photograph shows that they were lying is absurd.

I do not imply that these photos show liars. I do say that they look remarkably happy and relaxed for people who claims to be victims of torture.

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Post by Lebensbornagain » 07 Nov 2006 01:33

I may have been wrong to state my assertion as fact. However, the documentation you presented not only fails to disprove the assertion, but, in fact, tends to support it. The report mentioned "mock trials and other improper practices" in connection with some of the confessions, but does not specify the practices. Then what were the practices not specified? Sending them to bed without their blankey? The Simpson (not O.J.) Commission's reasons for the recommendation of commutation of sentence was based on (c) Statements obtained through improper practices and (d) The propriety of methods employed to secure statements being highly questionable, and the extent to which these methods were employed unable to be accurately estimated. None of these statements rule out torture, but, in fact, imply it thru euphemisms such as "improper practices".
You state that in your opinion, there is no doubt that some of the accused were mistreated to get confessions, so what is the argument you're putting forth? You also stated that it is also quite obvious that their lawyers and supporters blew the complaints way out of proportion. Why is it obvious and what are you basing this on? No, you did not call them liars, but questioning their demeanor in the photo (which, in fairness, I also found interesting), in effect, questions their claims. Since we don't know exactly when the photograph was taken, or the circumstances, it's just speculation. Thanks for providing the Simpson Commission report that shed light on these historical matters. Best Wishes

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Post by Harro » 07 Nov 2006 03:28

The argument I am putting forward is that your claim that death sentences in the Malmedy Case were commuted to life imprisonment because they were tortured is incorrect. "Improper practices and mock trials" do not equal "torture" and the commission clearly stated that "the extent to which these [highly questionable] methods were employed cannot be accurately estimated". Thus the convicts were not commuted, as you claim, because "they were tortured. fact". The commission recommended to commute the sentences because "sufficient doubt is cast upon the entire proceeding to make it unwise to proceed with the executions." The argument I am putting forward is also that no doubt some prisoners were abused by their interrogators but certainly not all of them. After the trial Everett and later Aschenauer deliberately started a campaign using false statements about torture to get all "Malmédy Boys" off the hook. For this matter they told their clients exactly what to write when they put their complaints about mistreatment on paper. It is indeed quite obvious. One simply has to compare the individual statements to see the pattern.

BTW, "sending them to bed without their blankey" is actually one of the points in the report of the Administration of Justice Review Board earlier in 1948:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BTW2, when you claim that "we don't know exactly when the photograph was taken" my reply is that you should speak for yourself.

BTW3, I also base my opinion on all the files regarding defendant no. 31: Gustav Knittel. He was interrogated in Schwäbisch Hall together with the other suspects. The Americans claimed his unit had been part of KG Peiper and tried to link him with Malmédy. He was tried for other warcrimes (Stavelot) and senteced to life imprisonment. He desperately tried to prove that he was innocent and - in close cooperation with his lawyers (Rau, Leyling, Everett and Aschenauer) - tried every trick in the book, yet none of his statements, including his post-war writings, claim any torture or abuse, other than shouting at him, threatening him with a choice between fair American justice and "Belgian rage" and locking him up in a "death cell". No torture, no beatings (apart from one single slap in the face), no mock trials. After the trial he claimed that he deliberately made the false statements in Schwäbisch Hall because he believed he could prove his innocence in court.

BTW4, providing the Simpson Report: my pleasure :)

Regards,
Timo

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Re: Photos

Post by logibear64 » 10 Nov 2006 16:02

Timo Worst wrote:
Lebensbornagain wrote:The reason the death sentences for these men were commuted is because it was learned that their confessions were extracted through torture. That is a fact.

You are wrong. They didn't establish as a fact that torture was used as a method. The report of the Simpson commission mentioned "mock trials and other improper practices" in connection with some of the confessions, but does not specify these practices. "Torture" isn't mentioned and as such was not the reason to commute these death sentences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lebensbornagain wrote:The facts surrounding the massacre are cloudy.

So are the facts surrounding the Malmédy Trial. It is highly suspicious that the issue of mistreatment was first raised by the defense lawyers after the trial and those convicts who did file a complaint about mistreatment in Schwäbisch Hall used more or less exactly the same statement. In my opinion there is no doubt that some accused were mistreatened to get confessions. But I think it is also quite obvious that their lawyers and supporters blew these complaints way out of proportions in order to get everybody off the hook.
Lebensbornagain wrote:One SS man hung himself after being interrogated. He may not be one of those smiling in the photo.

Yes, he could not live with the fact that his statements incriminated his former comrades.
Lebensbornagain wrote:To imply that this photograph shows that they were lying is absurd.

I do not imply that these photos show liars. I do say that they look remarkably happy and relaxed for people who claims to be victims of torture.


Very well supported and factual response. Kudos to you.

Phil

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Post by David Thompson » 10 Nov 2006 22:00

For the findings of the US Senate investigation into allegations that US personnel tortured the Malmedy defendants see:

Malmedy Massacre Investigation (Baldwin Report)
viewtopic.php?t=102513

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Post by Harro » 11 Nov 2006 20:10

Thanks Phil! :)

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