A False Confession Made by a German POW under Torture?

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michael mills
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A False Confession Made by a German POW under Torture?

Post by michael mills » 20 Mar 2003 06:09

The following material is drawn from the book "Kalkulierte Morde", by the German leftist historian Christian Gerlach.

In a section on mass-executions of Soviet POWs by the German Army, Gerlach describes what he calls the largest shooting of Soviet POWs on Belorussian territory.

Gerlach writes (page 852), my translation:

In the area of Minsk, the largest shooting of Soviet POWs occurred in January 1943. According to statements by several witnesses, in particular by the German accomplice Alois Heterich, the 3rd Battalion of Infantry Regiment 595 was unloaded in Minsk at the end of January 1943, during the transportation of the 327th Infantry Division to Krasnodar, and had the task of shooting 10,000 persons in three nights at the end of January or the beginning of February, mostly POWs from a camp at the goods station, some kilometres distant from there. Heterich's platoon alone is supposed to have executed 1500 men. Allegedly further mass executions with gas-vans took place in the following days. The victims (among them a very small number of civilians, including women, according to the results of exhumation) were killed by a neck-shot and wore Soviet armoured troop uniforms. The number of dead in the mass-grave at Urechie 6 kilometres to the east of Minsk, estimated by Soviet authorities at 30,000 based on witness-statements, amounted to about 12,500, judging by the dewscription of the mass-graves. As to the motive for the deed only speculation is possible.


The above is what Gerlach says in the text of his narrative. So far so good. He seems to accept that there had been a massacre of Soviet POWs perpetrated by Wehrmacht units, including the witness Heterich. Nothin in his text suggests that there is anything dodgy about the claimed massacre.

But the really interesting detail is in his footnotes.

In footnote 413 on page 852, Gerlach tells us that his source is interrogations of Heterich on 15 and 28 December 1945, and 7 January 1946. He does not tell us who the interrogators were, but it is obvious from other material introduced by Gerlach that they were Soviet.

But the really interesting footnote is 415. om page 853, where Gerlach writes (my translation):

Alfred Streim (["Die Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener im 'Fall Barabarossa' "], 1981 p. 285) has claimed, referring to a Federal German preliminary court proceeding, that such an action never took place. At the time indicated the unit in question was still in France. Heterich (who had got off with a prison sentence in Minsk) claimed after his return to the Federal republic that his statements had been extorted under torture and were false [my emphasis]. The credibility of this retraction must remain undecided. Streim does not go into the question of where the dead in the mass-grave at Urechie came from. As regards the break of journey by the 327th Infantry Regiment, its transportation, which really did take it from France to the Caucasus via Minsk, cannot be reconstructed in full. Parts of the Division and apparently also of the 3rd Battalion do seem really to have had an unplanned break of journey in Minsk, although two weeks later than indicated in Heterich's statements.


So there we have it. Gerlach's text gives the impression that a massacre perpetrated by Wehrmacht units really did take place in Minsk in January 1943. There is no indication that doubts exist as to whether that massacre really did take place.

It is only when the reader consults the footnotes, something that not every reader does, does he discover with amazement that such doubts do exist, doubts so strong as to convince the late Alfred Streim, a respected German judge and one-time head of the Zentralstelle der Landesjustizverwantungen, that no such massacre by German troops took place, and that the Soviet version of events was a lie based on switness statements extracted under torture.

Gerlach tries to retrieve the situation by referring to Streim's failure to address the issue of the origin of the bodies in the mass-grave at Urechie. But bodies in a mass-grave are simply that; proof that a massacre took place, but not indicating where and by whom. The mass-grave at Urechie would not be the only one on Soviet territory that was not the fault of the Germans.

It is entirely possible that the 10,000 or so Soviet soldiers buried in the mass-grave at Urechie were actually killed by the "blocking detachments" of the NKVD, perhaps for mutiny, perhaps at various places and simply brought to that one location for disposal. We cannot know the truth, but it is certainly a known fact that many tens of thousands of Red Army men were summarily executed by the NKVD for various offences, including cowardice, desertion and mutiny.

It is entirely possible that the Soviet authorities, having captured Heterich and other members of his unit and discovered that that unit had passed through Minsk in Jnauary 1943, decided to pin the massacre on the Germans, and tortured Heterich to obtain the requisite "confession". However, it appears they got the dates wrong; Heterich's unit had passed through Minsk two weeks later than the date on which the Soviet authorities claimed the massacre took place. Could Heterich deliberately have given a false date, in order to show that his confession was false?

In any case, Gerlach appears to have hidden in a footnote data that run opposite to the position taken by him in the text. Now who else has been accused of hiding contrary material in footnotes?

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Post by chalutzim » 20 Mar 2003 17:31

Mister Mills wrote:In any case, Gerlach appears to have hidden in a footnote data that run opposite to the position taken by him in the text. Now who else has been accused of hiding contrary material in footnotes?


Just one question:

How could the allegedly fault from Gerlach's part justify the same error in others authors? Particurlaly Mr. Irving, whom you indirectly mention?

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Interesting hypothesis

Post by Stephan » 22 Mar 2003 17:42

Interesting issue. To hang up a whole big story on only one witness.

And we do know NKWD DID similiar things; the most known example is the polish officers POW at Katyn.

And we know they could be rough to the soviet POW who managed to get back; and if there was a mutiny??? Yes, they would be shot mercilessly.
(no, not quite mercilessly; a swift dead by a shot in the neck is a okej death if you must die).

and the shooting in the neck is an traditional russian method.

I am the last one to deny nazi atrocities; but it is possible this masskilling was not done by german-nazists, your hypothesis may be true.

(by the way. you do write about armoured uniforms. Do you mean army uniforms (armed forces uniforms) or do you mean uniformed from armoured troups; = tank crews?)

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 25 Mar 2003 14:19

michael mills wrote:The following material is drawn from the book "Kalkulierte Morde", by the German leftist historian Christian Gerlach.


Careful with the “leftist” crap, Mills. One or the other of our readers may gain the impression that you have some axe to grind.

michael mills wrote:In a section on mass-executions of Soviet POWs by the German Army, Gerlach describes what he calls the largest shooting of Soviet POWs on Belorussian territory.

Gerlach writes (page 852), my translation:

In the area of Minsk, the largest shooting of Soviet POWs occurred in January 1943. According to statements by several witnesses, in particular by the German accomplice Alois Heterich, the 3rd Battalion of Infantry Regiment 595 was unloaded in Minsk at the end of January 1943, during the transportation of the 327th Infantry Division to Krasnodar, and had the task of shooting 10,000 persons in three nights at the end of January or the beginning of February, mostly POWs from a camp at the goods station, some kilometres distant from there. Heterich's platoon alone is supposed to have executed 1500 men. Allegedly further mass executions with gas-vans took place in the following days. The victims (among them a very small number of civilians, including women, according to the results of exhumation) were killed by a neck-shot and wore Soviet armoured troop uniforms. The number of dead in the mass-grave at Urechie 6 kilometres to the east of Minsk, estimated by Soviet authorities at 30,000 based on witness-statements, amounted to about 12,500, judging by the dewscription of the mass-graves. As to the motive for the deed only speculation is possible.


The above is what Gerlach says in the text of his narrative. So far so good. He seems to accept that there had been a massacre of Soviet POWs perpetrated by Wehrmacht units, including the witness Heterich. Nothin in his text suggests that there is anything dodgy about the claimed massacre.

But the really interesting detail is in his footnotes.

In footnote 413 on page 852, Gerlach tells us that his source is interrogations of Heterich on 15 and 28 December 1945, and 7 January 1946. He does not tell us who the interrogators were, but it is obvious from other material introduced by Gerlach that they were Soviet.

But the really interesting footnote is 415. om page 853, where Gerlach writes (my translation):

Alfred Streim (["Die Behandlung sowjetischer Kriegsgefangener im 'Fall Barabarossa' "], 1981 p. 285) has claimed, referring to a Federal German preliminary court proceeding, that such an action never took place. At the time indicated the unit in question was still in France. Heterich (who had got off with a prison sentence in Minsk) claimed after his return to the Federal republic that his statements had been extorted under torture and were false [my emphasis]. The credibility of this retraction must remain undecided. Streim does not go into the question of where the dead in the mass-grave at Urechie came from. As regards the break of journey by the 327th Infantry Regiment, its transportation, which really did take it from France to the Caucasus via Minsk, cannot be reconstructed in full. Parts of the Division and apparently also of the 3rd Battalion do seem really to have had an unplanned break of journey in Minsk, although two weeks later than indicated in Heterich's statements.


So there we have it. Gerlach's text gives the impression that a massacre perpetrated by Wehrmacht units really did take place in Minsk in January 1943. There is no indication that doubts exist as to whether that massacre really did take place.

It is only when the reader consults the footnotes, something that not every reader does, does he discover with amazement that such doubts do exist, doubts so strong as to convince the late Alfred Streim, a respected German judge and one-time head of the Zentralstelle der Landesjustizverwantungen, that no such massacre by German troops took place, and that the Soviet version of events was a lie based on switness statements extracted under torture.


How frightfully shocking.

Especially if you consider that Gerlach's footnotes are always on the respective page of the narrative and can thus hardly be missed, at least in the edition I have.

Mills knows as well as I do that the footnotes often occupy a greater part of a page than the narrative in Gerlach's book, and it doesn't speak much for the care he invests in his reading that he didn't discover this footnote earlier and now makes a fuss about it as if it were a big deal.

The contention that Gerlach's readers may skip the footnotes is rather far-fetched also because Gerlach's books, especially Kalkulierte Morde, which was originally written as a dissertation at Berlin University, address the scholarly reader rather than the general public.

michael mills wrote:Gerlach tries to retrieve the situation by referring to Streim's failure to address the issue of the origin of the bodies in the mass-grave at Urechie. But bodies in a mass-grave are simply that; proof that a massacre took place, but not indicating where and by whom. The mass-grave at Urechie would not be the only one on Soviet territory that was not the fault of the Germans.

It is entirely possible that the 10,000 or so Soviet soldiers buried in the mass-grave at Urechie were actually killed by the "blocking detachments" of the NKVD, perhaps for mutiny, perhaps at various places and simply brought to that one location for disposal. We cannot know the truth, but it is certainly a known fact that many tens of thousands of Red Army men were summarily executed by the NKVD for various offences, including cowardice, desertion and mutiny.


Yeah, sure.

Assuming there's any other evidence to a mass killing by blocking detachments having taken place at the time and place in question.

There's no such evidence that I know of.

But there seems to be documentary evidence that parts of the 327th German Infantry Regiment had an unplanned break of journey in Minsk at about the time at which, according to Heterich's original deposition, the killings took place.

Who is more likely to be responsible for the physical evidence of the Urechie mass graves under these circumstances I'll let our audience decide.

Apart from the fact that, according to Gerlach, there were also other witnesses to the killings besides Heterich (as is clearly stated in the passage from the narrative translated by Mills).

And I also agree with Gerlach that Streim should at least have tried to provide an alternative explanation as to who killed the people found in the mass grave at Urechie, rather than take Heterich's retraction at face value without further checking. I would add that he should further have attempted to clarify why parts of the 327th Infantry Regiment, as Gerlach concluded from documentary evidence, had an unplanned break of journey at Minsk two weeks after the date stated by Heterich in his original confession.

Not to mention the not unimportant consideration that something as spectacular as the massacre of 10,000 real or alleged deserters or shirkers by NKVD troops in a single place would be likely to have come to public knowledge in the course of the ongoing unraveling of Stalin's crimes in Russia.

Not to mention the no less important consideration that the place in question was in the area of Minsk, which was taken by German troops as early as 28 June 1941, on the seventh day of Operation “Barbarossa”, (I don't know if NKVD blocking detachments even existed at that time) and remained under German occupation until 3 July 1944. NKVD units could hardly have carried out a massacre at that place in the haste of retreat without the Germans discovering it and making a big show out of it, like they did at Tarnopol, Lemberg and other places in Ukraine where the NKVD executed large numbers of prison inmates. The suggestion that NKVD blocking detachments would have brought bodies of executed deserters or shirkers to Minsk in the seven days between the beginning of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union and the capture of Minsk by German forces, at a time when Soviet forces were in full-scale retreat from Minsk, is even more absurd.

Last but not least, the Soviets would hardly have been so dumb as to carry out a forensic investigation of the mass graves of their own crimes and then blame these crimes on “poor” Heterich et al. It was far more easy to just zip tight about the place, as they did in regard to Kuropaty (execution site during the purges of the late 1930s), Tver and Kharkov (execution sites of Polish officers in the spring of 1940 besides Katyn).

It seems that Mills sometimes fails to think before writing. Or then he expects the audience of this forum to be stupid, even though by now he should know better.

michael mills wrote:It is entirely possible that the Soviet authorities, having captured Heterich and other members of his unit and discovered that that unit had passed through Minsk in Jnauary 1943, decided to pin the massacre on the Germans, and tortured Heterich to obtain the requisite "confession". However, it appears they got the dates wrong; Heterich's unit had passed through Minsk two weeks later than the date on which the Soviet authorities claimed the massacre took place. Could Heterich deliberately have given a false date, in order to show that his confession was false?


It is equally possible that Heterich was trying to wash his hands in order to avoid being bothered by the criminal justice authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany, and that he simply got the date wrong due to a not uncommon memory failure. In the face of the above considerations, which make the German 327th Infantry Regiment come across as the only candidate to responsibility for the bodies in the Urechie mass grave, I would actually consider this to be the likelier possibility.

michael mills wrote:In any case, Gerlach appears to have hidden in a footnote data that run opposite to the position taken by him in the text.


Given the placing of Gerlach's footnotes, the public mainly addressed by his books (see above) and his not exactly indefensible thesis in regard to Heterich's retraction - i.e. that it deserves no credit – the above brings to mind that old saying, “no matter which way you slice it, it’s still baloney”.

michael mills wrote:Now who else has been accused of hiding contrary material in footnotes?


I see that Mills is trying to make a "moral equivalency" argument on behalf of his old friend David Irving by taking a leak on Gerlach.

Which calls for a demonstration that the cases for which Irving was taken to task are no different from what he accuses Gerlach of.

I'm looking forward to such a demonstration. From what I know of Mills, my guess is that he is again comparing apples with oranges, but I'll give him a chance to convince me otherwise.

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Re: Interesting hypothesis

Post by Roberto » 25 Mar 2003 19:19

Stephan wrote:Interesting issue. To hang up a whole big story on only one witness.


Several witnesses, plus the physical evidence of the Urechie mass graves, plus documentary evidence showing that the German 327th Infantry Regiment had an unplanned break of journey in Minsk at about the time when the massacre took place, according to Heterich's original deposition.

Stephan wrote:And we do know NKWD DID similiar things; the most known example is the polish officers POW at Katyn.


Certainly so, but in this case it's at least rather improbable that they were the authors, for the reasons explained in my last post.

Stephan wrote:(by the way. you do write about armoured uniforms. Do you mean army uniforms (armed forces uniforms) or do you mean uniformed from armoured troups; = tank crews?)


The original German text reads:

[...]Die Opfer (unter ihnen nach dem Exhumierungsergebnis auch ein geringer Anteil Zivilisten, darunter Frauen) wurden durch Genickschuß ermordet und trugen Uniformen der sowjetischen Panzertruppe.[...]


My translation:

[...]The victims (among them, according to the result of the exhumation, also a small portion of civilians, among them women) were murdered by a shot in the neck an carried uniforms of the Soviet tank forces.[...]

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Post by michael mills » 26 Mar 2003 01:45

Roberto's approach is very strange.

Where German judges find that German forces committed a particular atrocity, and find certain individuals guilty of having committed that atrocity, he insists that the verdict must be accepted as proof of historical truth.

Where German judges find that a particular atrocity was not committed by German forces, and that German individuals condemned for it by Soviet courts were not guilty, he insists that the finding of those judges must be rejected, and that historical truth is the opposite of the judicial finding.

That applies even when a respected judge and historian such as the late Alfred Streim examines the evidence, and concludes that the finding by German judges did represent historical truth.

Furthermore, Roberto's analysis of the evidence fails to take account of the fact that there is no irrefutable evidence of when the bodies found at Urechie were actually killed. Without such evidence, the break of journey of a particular German unit at Minsk is of no significance.

Any forensic examination of the bodies by Soviet commissions is nopt conclusive. We know very well that Soviet forensic scientists were quite capable of faking conclusions, as for example they did in the case of the bodies found at Katyn, so as to date the killings after the German invasion.

Therefore, the only indications that date the killing of those found at Urechie to the approximate time when the German unit made its break of journey in Minsk are the witness statements of Heterich and others, presumably local people. Smersh could have found out from Heterich when the German unit had passed through the area, decided to pin the massacre on that unit, and tortured Heterich to make the appropriate "confession" as to when the massacre took place and who did it. Obviously Smersh would have had no difficulty in "persuading" local people to provide corroborating evidence.

Roberto makes much of the fact that the Soviet authorities did not generally dig up the evidence of their own crimes and then try to blame it on the Germans, except where they were forced to, as at Katyn. Why they may have done so in the case of the bodies found at Urechie is not yet known. It is possible that there were rumours circulating about a massacre carried out by the NKVD, and the Soviet authorities decided to quash them by blaming it on the Germans.

Roberto also makes much of the fact that, if Urechie were a crime of the Soviet authorities, it has not been revealed as such in post-Soviet investigations of Stalinist crimes. What he fails to recognise is that the mythology of the "Great Patriotic War" has transcended Stalinism, and is an integral part of the political tradition of Russia today. Hence, although Katyn was finally admitted as a Soviet crime (as early as Gorbachev's time), that was due to pressure from Poland and the necessity to make concessions to Polish sensibilities, not to any desire to absolve Germany or rehabilitate the German officers who were accused of the crime and hanged for it.

Since nobody appears to be making a fuss over Urechie, there would be no incentive for the present-day Russian authorities to investigate the issue. Given that the aim during the El'stin years (and perhaps even today under Putin) was to discredit Stalin and his successors, there were plenty of mass-graves of Stalin's victims that could be revealed without rocking the boat in relation to the concept of German persecution of the Russian people which is one of the major components of the "Great Patriotic War" mythology.

The distinction between the current discrediting of Stalinism and the Soviet period as a whole on the one hand, and the maintenance of the "Great Patriotic War" mythology, is shown by the treatment of Vlasov and other members of the Russian Liberation Army. So far as I know, there has been no official attempt to rehabilitate Vlasov and his followers as patriotic Russians who fought for their country but then tried to liberate it from Stalin. Again as far as I know, they still viewed as dastardly traitors who aligned themselves with the Germans to destroy Russia.

Finally, Roberto castigates me for only now bringing this issue to the attention of members of the forum. However, he himself has read this book, as shown by his constant citing of it, and he did not bring this matter to our attention either.

Could it be that Roberto does not want to reveal that there are instances where the findings of Soviet courts have been discredited by German judicial authorities? Could it be that he wants to maintain the line that Soviet claims in relation to atrocities committed by Germans must always be accepted as representing historical truth?

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Post by Roberto » 26 Mar 2003 11:42

michael mills wrote:Roberto's approach is very strange.


Coming from Mills, this can only be a joke. But I can understand the poor fellow. He must be pissed as hell because I once again exposed the fathomless nonsense he produced.

michael mills wrote:Where German judges find that German forces committed a particular atrocity, and find certain individuals guilty of having committed that atrocity, he insists that the verdict must be accepted as proof of historical truth.


Let’s just say that I consider a guilty verdict at a trial under the procedural laws of a constitutional state a guarantee that the evidence in favor and against the defendant was duly assessed and a balanced decision reached that leaves no room for reasonable doubt. Whoever contends otherwise bears the burden of proof for such contention.

michael mills wrote:Where German judges find that a particular atrocity was not committed by German forces, and that German individuals condemned for it by Soviet courts were not guilty, he insists that the finding of those judges must be rejected, and that historical truth is the opposite of the judicial finding.


Mills seems to be suffering from one of his bouts of premature senility, or then he’s being singularly dishonest. Whether or not a judicial decision is to be accepted or not depends not on whether the defendant was convicted or acquitted (though one may be tempted to think that this is the criterion for Mills in what concerns Nazi criminals), but on whether or not there are indications that the criminal justice authority in question did not take all relevant evidence into consideration, as seems to be the case in regard to the Urechie killings.

michael mills wrote:That applies even when a respected judge and historian such as the late Alfred Streim examines the evidence, and concludes that the finding by German judges did represent historical truth.


More baloney. Even highly respected jurists and historians like Streim (a prosecutor, not a judge, for all I know) make mistakes and are accordingly subject to peer criticism and, in the case of criminal justice authorities, the control of higher judicial instances. It should also be taken into consideration that West German criminal justice authorities don’t seem to have been all too eager to bring suspects to trial for crimes against prisoners of war and civilians in the Soviet Union and other occupied countries, as the mismatch between the number of such crimes on the one hand and the number that made indictment and trial on the other suggests.

michael mills wrote:Furthermore, Roberto's analysis of the evidence fails to take account of the fact that there is no irrefutable evidence of when the bodies found at Urechie were actually killed. Without such evidence, the break of journey of a particular German unit at Minsk is of no significance.


Absolutely brilliant logic, assuming that Mills can show irrefutable evidence that the dead, mostly clad in the uniforms of Soviet tank troops, were killed before 22 June 1941. I don’t know of any large-scale killing of Soviet military rank and file during Stalin’s purges, and after the commencement of the German attack the big bad NKVD had precious little time to commit such a massacre and hide the bodies, even if their blocking detachments had already existed and bumped off deserters and shirkers at that time. The German troops reached Minsk within a week and stayed there for the next three years.

michael mills wrote:Any forensic examination of the bodies by Soviet commissions is nopt conclusive. We know very well that Soviet forensic scientists were quite capable of faking conclusions, as for example they did in the case of the bodies found at Katyn, so as to date the killings after the German invasion.


Very lame, Mills. “Soviet commissions” were not so homogeneous as body that you can draw a falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus conclusion from one individual case where forensic evidence was manipulated. Let us also not forget that the Katyn manipulation was deemed necessary because the Germans had discovered the graves in 1943 and Goebbels had made a big propaganda show out of this discovery. Had it not been for that, the Katyn graves would have been opened at the earliest in the glasnost era, if ever at all. Yet Mills expects us to believe that the Soviets would have on their own initiative opened a mass grave full of their dirty doings, carried out a somewhat less than honest forensic investigation and then tried to blame their deeds on an unfortunate prisoner of war. Elementary logic and what we know of Soviet practices in such cases tells us that nothing could be more absurd.

michael mills wrote:Therefore, the only indications that date the killing of those found at Urechie to the approximate time when the German unit made its break of journey in Minsk are the witness statements of Heterich and others, presumably local people. Smersh could have found out from Heterich when the German unit had passed through the area, decided to pin the massacre on that unit, and tortured Heterich to make the appropriate "confession" as to when the massacre took place and who did it. Obviously Smersh would have had no difficulty in "persuading" local people to provide corroborating evidence.


Could have this, could have that. Historiography is not based on “could have” – speculations, but on evidence that certain things did happen. In this case, not only is there no such evidence to the Smersh manipulations that Mills badly wants to believe in, there is also no reason why those evil Soviet spy killers should have taken all that trouble.

michael mills wrote:Roberto makes much of the fact that the Soviet authorities did not generally dig up the evidence of their own crimes and then try to blame it on the Germans, except where they were forced to, as at Katyn.


Elementary logic combined with knowledge of Soviet practices when it came to covering up their own crimes, as explained above.

michael mills wrote:Why they may have done so in the case of the bodies found at Urechie is not yet known.


And what indication do we have that they “may have done so” in this case, Mills?

michael mills wrote:It is possible that there were rumours circulating about a massacre carried out by the NKVD, and the Soviet authorities decided to quash them by blaming it on the Germans.


Possible this, possible that. It is equally possible that Mills will fall out of bed tonight and break his neck. Any evidence to such “rumors”, Mills? Any documented case you know of where the Soviets went into so much trouble due to mere “rumors”?

michael mills wrote:Roberto also makes much of the fact that, if Urechie were a crime of the Soviet authorities, it has not been revealed as such in post-Soviet investigations of Stalinist crimes. What he fails to recognise is that the mythology of the "Great Patriotic War" has transcended Stalinism, and is an integral part of the political tradition of Russia today. Hence, although Katyn was finally admitted as a Soviet crime (as early as Gorbachev's time), that was due to pressure from Poland and the necessity to make concessions to Polish sensibilities, not to any desire to absolve Germany or rehabilitate the German officers who were accused of the crime and hanged for it.

Since nobody appears to be making a fuss over Urechie, there would be no incentive for the present-day Russian authorities to investigate the issue. Given that the aim during the El'stin years (and perhaps even today under Putin) was to discredit Stalin and his successors, there were plenty of mass-graves of Stalin's victims that could be revealed without rocking the boat in relation to the concept of German persecution of the Russian people which is one of the major components of the "Great Patriotic War" mythology.


Why, Mills, it’s not as if the Katyn killings had been the only crime of the Stalinist regime the Russian government so far admitted to and only external pressure could bring about such admission, is it? Apparently there are organizations in Russia bent on bringing the truth to light. In his post of Fri Mar 07, 2003 7:30 pm on the thread

Ideological war of conquest and Genocide linked?
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... b74#151643

Kokampf wrote:
Please see the series of occasional posts I've made on various NKVD mass grave excavations...

If you know of other mass-graves of Polish POWs killed by the NKVD I'd be interested in hearing about it.
:)


The victims of the Polish NKVD massacre were buried at several different mass grave sites:

http://www.mswia.gov.pl/mednoe.html

However, I was referring to unrelated Soviet massacre sites such as these:

Toksovo execution grounds:
http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2002/09/26092002150432.asp
http://www.laogai.org/en/news-news-others-russia.html

Kurapaty:
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/1447/Belrev2.htm

Possibly, under Moscow Supreme Court building:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2120606.stm

You will notice the important role of the Russian 'Memorial' organisation in trying to locate and excavate these sites. Given the vast geographical area available to the NKVD to dispose of its victims, it would seem likely that these sites will be turning up intermittently for many years to come.
:(


michael mills wrote:The distinction between the current discrediting of Stalinism and the Soviet period as a whole on the one hand, and the maintenance of the "Great Patriotic War" mythology, is shown by the treatment of Vlasov and other members of the Russian Liberation Army. So far as I know, there has been no official attempt to rehabilitate Vlasov and his followers as patriotic Russians who fought for their country but then tried to liberate it from Stalin. Again as far as I know, they still viewed as dastardly traitors who aligned themselves with the Germans to destroy Russia.


Which is appropriate because, unlike other prisoners of war who survived German captivity, Vlassov’s men were traitors by any government’s standards. Surviving Soviet prisoners of war who did not collaborate with the Germans have in the meantime been rehabilitated, for all I know.

michael mills wrote:Finally, Roberto castigates me for only now bringing this issue to the attention of members of the forum.


No, I “castigate” Mills for the previous inattentive reading of Gerlach’s book that becomes apparent from his late discovery, and for making a big bloody fuss about the same.

michael mills wrote:However, he himself has read this book, as shown by his constant citing of it, and he did not bring this matter to our attention either.


Now why on earth should I have? I don’t bear a grudge against either Streim or Gerlach. I find the latter’s argumentation to be rather convincing. And I don’t have an axe to grind on behalf of an old friend of mine, like Mills has.

michael mills wrote:Could it be that Roberto does not want to reveal that there are instances where the findings of Soviet courts have been discredited by German judicial authorities? Could it be that he wants to maintain the line that Soviet claims in relation to atrocities committed by Germans must always be accepted as representing historical truth?


Mills knows me a lot better than that, which makes the above junk a showpiece of his intellectual dishonesty.

While it is generally recommendable to cross-check the findings of Soviet criminal justice authorities with those of other such authorities, namely West German prosecutors and judges, what we have here is an exceptional case where the findings of Soviet criminal justice authorities may be considered accurate although they have not been confirmed by posterior independent criminal investigation, a case where that posterior investigation has been shown by a historian of note to have ignored relevant evidence.

Mills’ attempt to translate this into general blind reliance on Soviet criminal investigations says much about the mind and character of the dissident researcher and expert from Australia.

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Post by Roberto » 26 Mar 2003 11:46

Another thing, I hope Mills doesn't expect me to forget the subject matter of this thread over the recent ramblings of his I commented in my previous post.

Roberto wrote:I see that Mills is trying to make a "moral equivalency" argument on behalf of his old friend David Irving by taking a leak on Gerlach.

Which calls for a demonstration that the cases for which Irving was taken to task are no different from what he accuses Gerlach of.

I'm looking forward to such a demonstration. From what I know of Mills, my guess is that he is again comparing apples with oranges, but I'll give him a chance to convince me otherwise.

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Defending Stalinism

Post by aardvark » 26 Mar 2003 15:40

Roberto- if the Soviets had not confessed their crime at Katyn I am sure you,like many other krypto Stalinists would still argue it was the Germans who had committed the crime. The whole Soviet legal system was corrupt from top to bottom! The Katyn cover up was not an isolated incident. I am sure you have heard of Stalin' s show trials, complete with "voluntary confessions" and "incontrovertable" evidence. Add to this the history of mass murder and mass deportation and one comes to the conclusion that Soviet law and justice were an oxymoron. From what I can read your standards of proof require a signed confession, since the Soviets won their part of WorldWar II there was no chance to ring confessions from these parasites. Likewise Soviet archives are effectively closed, so I think there will be no more embarrassing revelations. Torturing POW's to ring confessions of war crimes is an old Communist tactic. It was done to US prisoners in Korea and Vietnam. By the way the political leanings of authors must be a valid measure of accuracy, you yourself have tried to tarnish the veracity of others by calling them McCarthyists.

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Re: Defending Stalinism

Post by Roberto » 26 Mar 2003 16:15

aardvark wrote:Roberto- if the Soviets had not confessed their crime at Katyn I am sure you,like many other krypto Stalinists


You seem to have a screw loose, buddy. Which is why I won’t even bother to read the presumably no less imbecile rest of your sermon.

I recommend you read the contributions of this “krypto-Stalinist” on the threads

The Soviet War Crimes against Poland: Katyn 1940
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... 7908a68648

Notes from a Land of the Dead
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... 7908a68648

Notes from a Land of the Dead (continuation)
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... 7908a68648

Red Army Killing and Rape Crimes on German Soil
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopi ... 7908a68648

of this forum and then either apologize for this crap of yours or get lost.

History teacher? Be grateful that you're not teaching history to any of my kids.

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Post by David Thompson » 26 Mar 2003 16:17

Aardvark -- Your characterization of Roberto as a "krypto Stalinist" is inaccurate. He has posted many documents in this forum attacking the crimes of the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule.

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Post by Roberto » 26 Mar 2003 16:23

David Thompson wrote:Aardvark -- Your characterization of Roberto as a "krypto Stalinist" is inaccurate. He has posted many documents in this forum attacking the crimes of the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule.


Thanks, David.

If the fellow's post is a reflection of what he teaches kids in history class, I would very much like to know his name and what school he teaches at. I might feel like writing a letter to his superiors questioning his adequacy for the job.

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Post by michael mills » 27 Mar 2003 01:16

Roberto wrote:

Another thing, I hope Mills doesn't expect me to forget the subject matter of this thread over the recent ramblings of his I commented in my previous post.



As it happens, I do not think Gerlach's treatment of Soviet claims about the bodies found at Urechie was particularly dishonest.

My point was to demonstrate that historians quite often put into their main text what they believe, for whatever reason, to be the truth in relation to a particular incident, and relegate opposing interpretations to the footnotes. What would be dishonest would be to pass over in silence the opposing interpretations, or other material that does not fit in with the author's own opinion, and Gerlach does not do that.

But neither is Irving guilty of that particular dishonesty. While he did not include Ribbentrop's words in the main text of his summary of the April 1943 Klessheim conference, he nevertheless quoted them in full in the footnotes, with the additional information that in Horthy's version of events the words were attributed to Hitler.

The point is that Evans exaggerated Irving's relegation of Ribbentrop's words (which were significant) to the footnotes into a major dishonesty. Of course, Evans was not an impartial observer; he was being paid to find every possible fault with Irving that he could.

My own view is that neither Gerlach nor Irving were particularly dishonest in relegating to the footnotes particular data that did not fit easily into the line that they were taking in their main text. They were simply doing what writers of history quite often do.

Here is another example from Gerlach. On page 865 of "Kalkulierte Morde", in relation to the assassination of Kube, Gerlach writes (my translation):

As a reprisal for Kube's death several hundred inhabitants of a Minsk suburb were murdered by the Germans.


In note 32 on the same page, Gerlach, after listing his sources for the occurrence of the reprisal action, tells us:

The claims about numbers of victims differ markedly from each other, and are obviously mostly based on rumours.


Hence, the basis for Gerlach's statement that the reprisal action involved "several hundreds" is not really safe, being based on rumour. Nevertheless, a reader who only looked at the main text and did not consult the footnotes (in smaller type, very cramped, not easy to read) would come away with the impression that it was certain that "several hundreds" were killed.

This is not a trivial matter. The question of the numbers killed in the reprisal action is relevant to Gerlach's use of the term "murdered by the Germans".

The execution of hostages by an occupying army in reprisal for an illegal act by the occupied population (as the assassination of Kube certainly was) was then permitted under the laws of war, provided that the numbers executed were not disproportionate to the offence, and the persons executed had some meaningful connection with the perpetrators of the illegal act.

However, in this case we do not know the actual numbers killed, since the claimed numbers rest on rumour. If the numbers were disproportionate, then Gerlach's assessment of the reprisal action as "murder" would be reasonable; on the other hand, if they were not disproportionate, and those executed had some connection with the crime, eg they were reasonably suspected of having aided the Soviet underground, then it would not be appropriate to call the action murder.

It would have been more accurate for Gerlach to have written something like:

As a reprisal for Kube's death, an unknown number of Minsk residents was executed. There are widely divergent claims about the numbers killed in the reprisal action, but they are obviously based on rumour.

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Post by michael mills » 27 Mar 2003 01:30

Roberto wrote:

Which is appropriate because, unlike other prisoners of war who survived German captivity, Vlassov’s men were traitors by any government’s standards.


Does Roberto consider the German officers captured at Stalingrad who worked on behalf of the Soviet Government to be "traitors by any government's standards"? For example, Graf von Einsiedel, who constantly appears on the various Guido Knopp mini-series?

Does he consider the German officers who tried to assassinate Hitler as "traitors by any government's standards"?

To use a more topical example, would he consider Iraqi military leaders who may defect to the Anglo-American invaders as "traitors by any government's standards"?

I suspect that Roberto's attitude toward Vlasov and his followers, all Soviet POWs who were not offered any incentive by the German Government to defect, who in fact had to struggle very hard to gain acceptance as a force prepared to fight against Stalin, and who were motivated entirely by a desire to rid their homeland of Stalin's tyranny and not by any ideological sympathy for National Socialism or German hegemony, says a lot about his real attitude toward Stalinism and the Soviet Union more generally, despite his protestations.

But I may be wrong in my suspicion. I await Roberto's response.

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Post by Scott Smith » 27 Mar 2003 05:38

Roberto wrote:
David Thompson wrote:Aardvark -- Your characterization of Roberto as a "krypto Stalinist" is inaccurate. He has posted many documents in this forum attacking the crimes of the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule.

Thanks, David.

If the fellow's post is a reflection of what he teaches kids in history class, I would very much like to know his name and what school he teaches at. I might feel like writing a letter to his superiors questioning his adequacy for the job.

But Roberto is an admirer of the Sponti--or maybe I misunderstood him.
:wink:

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