Was Otto Skorzeny a War Criminal?

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 16:43

Heinz VanNoon wrote:Please read my question, and the excerpt from the Geneva convention again. Being a "partisan" is not a war-crime and is not subject to summary execution.
That was HIS opinion and he as well as you is entitled to it.

Those "rules" that you pasted here are subject to interpretation (especially as we have seen depending on the victor & Vanquished)...you see "written in stone" but there are areas here which are indeed gray. Take the Battle of the bulge and Skorzeny's men. They (the unlucky ones) were captured and promptly shot...Skorzeny after the end of the war faced similar punishment, if it was not for a few brave soldiers on the allied side such as OSS operatives that came forward saying that they TOO worn the enemies uniform, he'd have been placed against a wall or had his neck stretched.

Apocalypse_Now
Banned
Posts: 603
Joined: 27 Feb 2004 20:17
Location: Canada/Former Berliner

Post by Apocalypse_Now » 05 Apr 2004 18:36

That was HIS opinion and he as well as you is entitled to it.
Yes and?
Those "rules" that you pasted here are subject to interpretation (especially as we have seen depending on the victor & Vanquished)...you see "written in stone" but there are areas here which are indeed gray.
Please state an example.

Take the Battle of the bulge and Skorzeny's men. They (the unlucky ones) were captured and promptly shot...Skorzeny after the end of the war faced similar punishment, if it was not for a few brave soldiers on the allied side such as OSS operatives that came forward saying that they TOO worn the enemies uniform, he'd have been placed against a wall or had his neck stretched.
Skorzeny used enemy uniforms and equipment, thus committing a criminal act , how this in any relation to partisans and the topic at hand I do not know? :roll:

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 18:52

Heinz VanNoon wrote: Skorzeny used enemy uniforms and equipment, thus committing a criminal act , how this in any relation to partisans and the topic at hand I do not know? :roll:
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Hate to burst your bubble Heinz but about every army since the dawn of time has used enemy equipment and uniforms to raid/recon...

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

...it depends on who catches whom I guess.


:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

User avatar
Penn44
Banned
Posts: 4214
Joined: 26 Jun 2003 06:25
Location: US

Post by Penn44 » 05 Apr 2004 19:08

fknorr wrote:
Heinz VanNoon wrote: Skorzeny used enemy uniforms and equipment, thus committing a criminal act , how this in any relation to partisans and the topic at hand I do not know? :roll:
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Hate to burst your bubble Heinz but about every army since the dawn of time has used enemy equipment and uniforms to raid/recon...
Heinz is correct, it is a war crime.

And it is not a common practice. Stealth is a better practice.


Penn44

Apocalypse_Now
Banned
Posts: 603
Joined: 27 Feb 2004 20:17
Location: Canada/Former Berliner

Post by Apocalypse_Now » 05 Apr 2004 19:13

Hate to burst your bubble Heinz but about every army since the dawn of time has used enemy equipment and uniforms to raid/recon...



...it depends on who catches whom I guess.
Your point?

Show me it's not a war crime. Or, would you like to continue with off topic examples?

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 19:28

So you are saying that if a German was shot for wearing the enemies uniform and using their equipment, then Canadians, Americans, etc should also? Tread lightly as I fear we'll be rounding up a pile of 80 year old allied veterans and lining them up against the wall...fair is fair right?

Regarding "off topic", if you say it is off topic then it is?

I find them strikingly similar.

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 19:41

Penn44 wrote:And it is not a common practice. Stealth is a better practice.
Stealth is an option of course but why stealth if you look like your enemy (i.e. uniform/kit)

How many times did Skorzeny's men wear US uniforms that we know of?
I believe we parachuted men into occupied Europe for the duration (i.e. Heydrich's assassination, etc). I am sure that had they been captured and shot as saboteurs, instead of dying avoiding capture, the outcry would have as large as it was for Lidice.

It depends on what side you are on whether “action A” is a war crime or not…even Bomber Harris admitted that if the Germans had won the war that he’d probably be tried for war crimes.

This IS “on topic” as it "explains” that one man’s “war crime" is the others (the victors) perfectly acceptable way to conduct war…i.e. partisans as war criminals.

Caldric
Member
Posts: 8077
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 21:50
Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Post by Caldric » 05 Apr 2004 20:06

It is shootable crime if you are caught wearing the uniform. It is not really a crime if you got away with it just don't get caught and then you can brag about it later.

They can be shoot out of hand without trial if caught in enemy uniform.

User avatar
WalterS
Member
Posts: 1497
Joined: 22 Feb 2004 20:54
Location: Arlington, TX

Post by WalterS » 05 Apr 2004 20:09

Using enemy uniforms to infiltrate has long been considered "spying" and spies, as such, are no longer under the protection of Geneva or Hague accords for precisely that reason: the uniform identifies the enemy combatant. Thus, Skorzeny's troops were violating accepted conventions of warfare by donning American uniforms. I know of no cases where a German officer was tried for executing American/British soldiers who wore German uniforms in the same manner.

Parachuting Czech partisans for the purpose of assassinating an enemy leader is also not a war crime. Retaliating for this by destroying an entire town and murdering most of its inhabitants is. Military and political leaders were a legitimate target. The British tried to kill Rommel several times, the Americans got Yamamoto, the Germans had plots against Churchill and, during the Bulge, against American commanders Eisenhower and Patton. Those are acts of war.

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 20:36

WalterS wrote:during the Bulge, against American commanders Eisenhower and Patton.
Can you please show me where to find data on this?
Sources, etc?

User avatar
Tom Houlihan
Member
Posts: 3983
Joined: 06 Oct 2002 05:53
Location: MI, USA

Post by Tom Houlihan » 05 Apr 2004 20:55

Caldric wrote:It is shootable crime if you are caught wearing the uniform. It is not really a crime if you got away with it just don't get caught and then you can brag about it later.
They can be shoot out of hand without trial if caught in enemy uniform.
Caldric, that's correct, but spying is not a "warcrime" as is being discussed in this section of the forum. I think there's some confusion on that.

The comment about lining up 80-year old men was a tad off, too. That's one of those things that's really only punishable if you get caught!! If you don't get caught, and your side wins, then you're all set!

Caldric
Member
Posts: 8077
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 21:50
Location: Anchorage, Alaska

Post by Caldric » 05 Apr 2004 20:56

Tom wrote:
Caldric wrote:It is shootable crime if you are caught wearing the uniform. It is not really a crime if you got away with it just don't get caught and then you can brag about it later.
They can be shoot out of hand without trial if caught in enemy uniform.
Caldric, that's correct, but spying is not a "warcrime" as is being discussed in this section of the forum. I think there's some confusion on that.

The comment about lining up 80-year old men was a tad off, too. That's one of those things that's really only punishable if you get caught!! If you don't get caught, and your side wins, then you're all set!
I did not say it was a crime. I said they could be caught and shot. It is a crime if you are caught in the act or more to the point there is no protection if you are caught.
Last edited by Caldric on 05 Apr 2004 20:57, edited 1 time in total.

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 20:56

Tom wrote:If you don't get caught, and your side wins, then you're all set!
The most accurate thing said here in some time.

User avatar
WalterS
Member
Posts: 1497
Joined: 22 Feb 2004 20:54
Location: Arlington, TX

Post by WalterS » 05 Apr 2004 21:31

fknorr wrote:
WalterS wrote:
during the Bulge, against American commanders Eisenhower and Patton.


Can you please show me where to find data on this?
Sources, etc?
OK... Skorzeny and Operation GREIF during the Battle of the Bulge. The plan for the operation was to place teams of German troopers, dressed in American uniforms, behind enemy lines to create confusion and to seize key bridges. Some teams infiltrated with front-line troops, others were parachuted in. It should be noted that Skorzeny was concerned that his troopers could be shot as spies if caught wearing American uniforms. His legal advisers told him that it was acceptable to wear the enemy's uniform as a ruse, as long as one didn't fight it in it. This is why many of Skorzeny's troopers wore German uniforms beneath their American ones... to change quickly into German dress if they had to.

One team was captured near the Meuse river because they were wearing Nazi armbands beneath their uniforms and had German weapons and explosives. The team leader was a Lt. Gunther Schulz, who told interrogators that a principal goal of their operation was to penetrate SHAEF HQ and assassinate General Eisenhower and other senior leaders. Eisenhower's HQ put out an alert to Patton, who was leading an attack against the Germans near Bastogne, and to other Allied commanders.

Eighteen of Skorzeny's men were captured, and all were executed within 24 hours.

The source for this account is "A Time for Trumpets: The Untold story of the Battle of the Bulge," by Charles B. MacDonald.

My original point was that targeted killing of enemy military and political leaders during war time is not a crime. Dressing up in the enemy's uniform invalidates POW status protection.

fknorr
Banned
Posts: 189
Joined: 30 Jan 2004 21:25
Location: Pa USA

Post by fknorr » 05 Apr 2004 21:53

WalterS wrote:Lt. Gunther Schulz, who told interrogators that a principal goal of their operation was to penetrate SHAEF HQ and assassinate General Eisenhower and other senior leaders.
I have always read that this was never the intention and at least never proven. Are there any orders that have survived?

If indeed Schultz confessed to this was this after he was "questioned" (i.e. the type of questioning allegedly given to members of Pieper's command to get those "confessions"?) How many (alleged) kicks to the testicles to get this story? How close was the nearest (captured) SS soldier to Ike/SHAEF?

It seems to me that troops the caliber of Skorzenys, the same troops who kidnapped Mussolini from his kidnappers and other assorted missions would've been able to shoot at least a staff member if not Ike himself if that was indeed the intent.

I believe as most do, that this is another tall tale from that time.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”