how much was Sepp Dietrich really guilty of?

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Beppo Schmidt
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how much was Sepp Dietrich really guilty of?

Post by Beppo Schmidt » 10 Jun 2003 01:16

what was the evidence used to convict Sepp Dietrich of killing prisoners in Belgium and elsewhere? also, does anyone know if Dietrich had anything to do with the Holocaust?

mottii
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Post by mottii » 10 Jun 2003 11:08

Sepp complained to Hitler more than once about the treatment of the jews

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Michael Miller
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"Sepp" and protests to Hitler re: Jews

Post by Michael Miller » 10 Jun 2003 15:30

motti~

Do you have further details on / sources for this? I'm working on a comprehensive biographical sketch of "Sepp" and this info. would be of great value to it.

Best wishes,
~ Mike Miller / ABR

mottii
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Post by mottii » 10 Jun 2003 16:43

Will try to locate the source

Rob - wssob2
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Dietrich

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 10 Jun 2003 16:55

"Sepp" Dietrich was indited in Case #6-24 - The United States vs. Valerin Bersin et. al. (aka "The Malmedy Trial") in May 1946 at Dachau. He was charged with violations of the laws and usages of war, specifically in regards to the actions of KG Peiper in at least 14 separate incidents (not just the Baugnez crossroads) of the mistreatment, torture, abuse and killing of several hundred GI PWs (prisoners of war) and over 100 Belgian civilians between Dec 17, 1944 and January 13 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.

It's important to note that Dietrich wasn't charged for materially participating in the events (e.g. meaning he wasn't physically there at the Baugnez crossroads during the killing of GI PWs) but for passing down an order to kill POWs and terrorize civilians during the advance.

There's a lot of conflicting evidence and a lack of primary documents as to whether or not Dietrich did or didn't order PWs shot. There were many different types of evidence - e.g. forensic (autopsies of the slain, etc.) photographic, statements from GI and Belgian civilian suvivors, transcripts and surviving documents from various German HQ's. The most contraversial evidence presented by the prosecution were the extrajuducial confessions by the SS men, which may have been obtained under duress and were recanted at the trial. The American Colonel Everett, the defense lawyer, unsuccesfully attempted to have the extrajuducial statements rendered indamissable.

The accused, including Dietrich, were found guilty, but serious doubts regarding the treatment under which the extrajudical statements were made and the rather ad hoc rules of procedure cast the whole trial and verdict into doubt. Colonel Everett, Senator McCarthy, The New York Herald Tribune and Dietrich Ziemmssen's book "The Malmedy Trial" and a US congressional committee kept these doubts alive, and eventually the US military authories commutted the death sentences and released the guilty (including Dietrich).

Did Dietrich issue a "take no prisoners" order? Let's not open THAT can of worms! Dietrich did admit in the trial to saying at his Dec 14, 44 staff meeting with his officers "Prisoners...you know what to do with them" - a maddeningly ambigious phrase if there ever was one.

Sepp was paroled in 1955, but by 1957 he was appearing before a West German court for his role in the "Night of the Long Knives." He was charged and convicted of manslaughter under exisiting (ie. 1934) statues. Dietrich spent most of 1958-59 in jail, but was released due to health reasons.

Did Dietrich have anything to do with the Holocaust? No, not directly. I'd be interested in learning the exact source for the "Dietrich complained to Hitler about the treatment of the Jews" which I've read on the internet several times but to date have not seen a published source. It may be an apocrypha, similar to the medals-in-a-chamberpot-Hitler-kiss-my-ass story he supposedly said in the spring of '45 but didn't.

However, Sepp Dietrich's relationship to and thoughts about National Socialism is a subject that has yet been unexplored. Most biographers such as Charles Messenger, concentrate on the military aspects of Sepp's career and tend to downplay or ignore whatever non-military ideological motivations Sepp had. But Dietrich, if not a major player in the rise of the Third Reich like Göring, Himmler, Goebbels, etc., was an extremely important minor character. He had become a Nazi in 1928, he (literally) formed Hitler's bodyguard, he murdered SA members in 1934 for Hitler. It is unfortunate that Dietrich did not write of his experiences and motivations 1928-45, because they would be extremely useful to postwar historians. However, given his long affiliation with the NSDAP and his personal relationships with many of the III Reich leaders, I doubt that his personal beliefs were as straightforward and as benign as some claim. However, Dietrich didn't leave much (if any) writings on himself for posterity.

mottii
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Post by mottii » 10 Jun 2003 17:00

Dietrich complains to Hitler----------------

GOOGLE search engine---type in -sepp dietrich jews-----------
scroll down to --joseph sepp dietrich and click on

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Post by David Thompson » 10 Jun 2003 17:44

mottji's post sort of leaves the reader hanging, but I think he's referring to the Josef "Sepp" Dietrich biographical sketch in the Jewish Virtual Library at:

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biogra ... trich.html

This sketch mentions Dietrich's complaints, without adding further details.

Here's what I have on Dietrich's legal scrapes:

arrested by American troops 12 May 1945 (NYT 13 May 1945:8:3); put on trial by an American military tribunal at Dachau 16 May 1946 on charges of complicity in the murder of US POWs at Malmedy, Belgium in Dec 1944 (LT 17 May 1946:3e; LT 21 May 1946:3c); convicted (LT 12 Jul 1946:3c); sentenced 16 Jul 1946 by an American military tribunal in the "Malmedy case" to life imprisonment for war crimes (LT 17 Jul 1946:4f; History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and the Development of the Laws of War p. 525, United Nations War Crimes Commission, London: HMSO, 1948; Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP [9 Nov 1944]; Marcus Wendel and Dean Robson, "Malmedy Massacre Trial" at http//www.skalman.nu/third-reich/warcrimes-trials-malmedy.htm; Third Reich Forum posts at http//keywest.dnsvault.com/~forum3rd/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6865; "Trials by U.S. Army Courts in Europe 1945-1948," http://www1.jur.uva.nl/junsv/JuNSVEng/D ... 0start.htm; Case No. 6-24 [US vs. Valentin Bersin et al]); sentence reduced to 25 years imprisonment; released from American custody at Landsberg-am-Lech prison 22 Oct 1955 (NYT 25 Oct 1955:12:4; NYT 29 Oct 1955:3:7); arrested by German police in Aug 1956 for the 1934 murder of SA Chief Ernst Roehm (Röhm) and 6 other SA leaders during the "Night of the Long Knives;" put on trial by a West German court at Munich, convicted and sentenced to serve an eighteen or nineteen (Who's Who pps. 50-2) month prison term 14 May 1957; released 6 Feb 1959 for health reasons (NYT 7 Feb 1959:2:6); died of a heart attack at Ludwigsburg 21 Apr 1966 (Who's Who pps. 50-52; Hitler's Gladiator 204; Encyclopedia of the Third Reich p. 197; Allgemeine-SS p. 144; SS: Roll of Infamy pps. 33-34).

randwick
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Re: how much was Sepp Dietrich really guilty of?

Post by randwick » 20 Feb 2012 08:35

.
The Soviets wanted Dietrich for passing on an Himmler orders in 1941 not to take prisoners for a period of three days as reprisal for the torture and execution of captured SS men .
Sepp Dietrich made no comments and passed the order down , he did not follows up if the order was executed or not .

keeping him in Western custody probably saved his life , a Soviet tribunal would have him shot of a certainty
the Waffen SS were hardly angels but committed no more atrocity than the "clean" whermacht
the systematic killing of Jews was done by special units which were not part of Sepp Dietrich command

Rob - wssob2
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Re: how much was Sepp Dietrich really guilty of?

Post by Rob - wssob2 » 25 Feb 2012 16:14

The Soviets wanted Dietrich for passing on an Himmler orders in 1941 not to take prisoners for a period of three days as reprisal for the torture and execution of captured SS men .
Sepp Dietrich made no comments and passed the order down , he did not follows up if the order was executed or not
Actually, James Pontolillo on pp.56-7 in his monumental work of scholarship Murderous Elite: The Waffen-SS and its complete record of war crimes (Leandoer & Ekholm, 2009) discounts this allegation, documenting its source as a passing reference in former W-SS veteran's Eric Kern's 1947 service biography Dance of Death.

Note that postwar the West German Landesjustizverwaltungen Ludwigsburg also investigated the allegation and could find no evidence to support it.

A "take no prisoners" order certainly could have happened, and it would have been in keeping with SS practices in general, but until someone does more reserach on the unit diaries of the LAH, 16th Infantry Division, etc. its nothing more than an allegation picked up by several historians (Reitlinger, Hohne, Stein) and attributed as fact.

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