Truth about hangings of convicted July 1944 defendents

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Panzermahn
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Truth about hangings of convicted July 1944 defendents

Postby Panzermahn » 29 Jun 2005 13:06

Poisoning the already strained atmosphere, the trials of the traitors in the People’s Court ontinued all autumn. Dr Dietrich had strongly opposed allowing any newspaper coverage of them. Goebbels had overruled him.19 Hadamowsky observed the first day, when Witzleben, Hoepner, and Stieff were tried and sentenced; he praised Judge Freisler as magisterial, national socialist, and superior.20 Goebbels had commissioned a film of the trial and hangings.21 Hitler however forbade its release fearing a backlash, an ‘undesirable debate’ about the trial.22 He ordered the execution footage particularly kept under lock and key. Despite this newspapers reported that the British legation in Switzerland had shown a print to Swiss officers there. Investigations showed that it was a fake furnished by a Mr Saunders, a British secret service agent; it was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die.23

Page 872, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich, David Irving, Fpp edition

Footnotes

21 The film was ‘Verräter vor dem Volksgericht.’ The first part, five acts, ran for 105 minutes;
the second, also five acts, for 105 minutes; a silent roll showing the hanging of Witzleben
et al. in four acts ran for 20–25 minutes. Their current location is unknown.—
Reichsfilmintendant (Hinkel) to Naumann, Aug 31, 1944 (BA file R.55/664); and Lindenborn
to JG, Jan 17, 1945 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01, vol.831).

22 Note by Leiter F. (of Hinkel’s staff), Oct 21, 1944 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01, vol.831).—
The film shown at the Nuremberg trials, ‘Proceedings against the Criminals of Jul 20, 1944,’
was edited from unreleased Deutsche Wochenschau newsreel footage confiscated by OMGUS
at the offices of AFIFA in Tempelhof.

23 SS Sturmbannführer Ulenberg (RMVP) to Hinkel, Mar 5 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01,
vol.831). Die Nation, Feb 14, 1945 published an alleged photo of Witzleben and Hoepner
hanging.

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Peter H
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Postby Peter H » 29 Jun 2005 13:42

Also previously discussed here:

viewtopic.php?t=29171

Has Irving dramatically doubled in size his Goebbels book or do you mean page 493 as the reference? :roll:

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Postby Panzermahn » 29 Jun 2005 13:49

Peter H wrote:Also previously discussed here:

viewtopic.php?t=29171

Has Irving dramatically doubled in size his Goebbels book or do you mean page 493 as the reference? :roll:


Thanks for the links, Peter H

But the topic is about the execution film and while I believed the film existed, I questioned about the rumours that the defendents were hanged from meathooks and took 10 hours to die as mentioned in Allied propaganda.

No, I am reading from the Irving's book on Goebbels as published by FPP in electronic edition. It is page 872

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Jun 2005 15:12

Panzermahn -- You quoted Irving as follows:
Despite this newspapers reported that the British legation in Switzerland had shown a print to Swiss officers there. Investigations showed that it was a fake furnished by a Mr Saunders, a British secret service agent; it was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die.23

23 SS Sturmbannführer Ulenberg (RMVP) to Hinkel, Mar 5 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01,
vol.831). Die Nation, Feb 14, 1945 published an alleged photo of Witzleben and Hoepner
hanging.

This quote provides a good example of why so many people don't trust Mr. Irving's scholarship. The quoted passage has two propositions: (1) The minor conclusion -- an SS investigation alleged there was a fake film in circulation; and (2) The major conclusion -- the executions did not happen as described and the fake "was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die."

Irving's footnote supports the first (minor) proposition, but not the second (major) proposition. There is no documentation for Mr. Irving's claim that the stories were "legends" or "rumours," nor does he show that any of the accounts of German witnesses to the executions were untrue, or that they were based on the fake film. There is no source for the "ten hours to die" claim either.

The German eyewitness accounts, including the meathooks, are detailed and discussed in these posts:

viewtopic.php?p=284127#284127
viewtopic.php?p=284608#284608
viewtopic.php?p=284682#284682
viewtopic.php?p=284757#284757
viewtopic.php?p=284767#284767
viewtopic.php?p=284813#284813
viewtopic.php?p=286215#286215

From this we can conclude that Mr. Irving's claim of "legend" and "rumour" either shows a reckless disregard for the truth, or is a deliberate effort to create a false picture of the event.

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Postby WalterS » 29 Jun 2005 15:17

On 21st July, 1944 Witzleben was arrested and during his trial he was humiliated by being forced to appear in court without his belt and false teeth. Erwin von Witzleben was found guilty of treason and on 8th August, 1944 was executed by being hung by piano wire from a meat hook.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERwitzleben.htm

It is estimated that around 4,980 Germans were executed after the July Plot. Hitler decided that the leaders should have a slow death. They were hung with piano wire from meat-hooks. Their executions were filmed and later shown to senior members of both the NSDAP and the armed forces.


http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERjuly.htm

Stauffenberg, Haeften, and Friedrich Olbricht were executed by firing squad. Beck, Lieut. General Erich Hoepner, and General Friedrich Fromm were shot Admiral Canaris and Lieut. Colonel Hans Oster were hanged. Henning von Tresckow, Guenther von Kluge, and Erwin Rommel committed suicide. Other conspirators were given a mock trial before the People's Court. The purpose of the trial was to humiliate the plotters and the sentence was decided even before the trial - death by hanging on meat hooks. According to Hitler:

"This time the criminals will be given short shrift. No military tribunals. We'll hale them before the People's Court. No long speeches from them. The court will act with lightning speed. And two hours after the sentence it will be carried out. By hanging - without mercy."4


http://www.thirdreichpages.com/valkyrie.htm

note 4: Shirer, William, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. (pg. 1389)





The vast majority of German conspirators were hanged from the meat-hooks above by piano wire.

Many died a slow excruciating death in this manner, though all went courageously to their doom.

Hitler, neverthless, ordered films made of the hangings for his personal pleasure.


http://www.joric.com/Conspiracy/Plotzensee.htm
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Postby David Thompson » 29 Jun 2005 15:28

Note also that the meathooks were Hitler's idea:
"I want them to be hanged, strung up like butchered cattle."
(W. Scheidt, Gespraeche mit Hitler, quoted in D. Ehlers, Technik und Moral einer Verschwoerung, Kassel, Bonn: 1964, p. 113; see also Zeller, Eberhard, Geist der Freiheit, Hermann Rinn Verlag, Munich: 1954, p. 461)

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Postby Brumbar » 29 Jun 2005 15:49

As to Mr. Irving's trustworthiness or lack thereof (noted by Mr. Thompson above), it is indeed interesting to see Irving shift responsibility for the commisioning of the executions film from Hitler (in Hitler's War, 1977 edition) to Goebbels (in this more recent biography) and that he does so without citation or explanation.

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Postby maxxx » 29 Jun 2005 19:05

the hanging on a meathook (note: the NOOSE was attached to the meathook, nothing like Texas chainsaw massakre :roll: ) was not unlike the hanging used in austria until after WW1 (and so a ("dishonoring" death-penalty Hitler was familiar with). Under "normal" 8O circumstances death would occur between 45 seconds to 15 minutes. For the procedure see the biography of Josef Lang, austrias last executioner.

The meathooks are history, dear panzermahn, ten hours of agony may be untrue- but I also would not wish you a quarter of an hour of that horrible death...

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Postby Larry D. » 29 Jun 2005 23:02

If the well-known wooden handled British commando garrote, that used the same kind of piano wire, cut right through to the spinal column in a couple of seconds like a hot knife through butter, severing the wind pipe and the aorta, then how could a 175-lb. human body suspended from such a wire sustain life for 15 minutes? Was it double- or triple-looped? From a strictly anatomical/physiological standpoint, something doesn't sound right here. It seems like the number of loops would dictate the time to death given the absence of any slack in the wire.

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Postby David Thompson » 30 Jun 2005 00:53

Larry D. -- The eyewitness accounts speak of meathooks and a "short thin cord," rather than some kind of wire. viewtopic.php?p=286215#286215

The first mention of "piano wire" that I know of appears in John Toland's biography of Adolf Hitler, though the embellishment probably didn't originate with him. viewtopic.php?p=284608#284608 Lack of experience with the wire garotte may have left him credulous.

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Postby Larry D. » 30 Jun 2005 01:07

That sounds about right, David. Those two comments are much more logical.

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Postby Panzermahn » 30 Jun 2005 07:48

Okay then,

Thanks to everyone for the info. But I just wonder, why isn't the film were shown even until now? It would be a good evidence to show the brutality of the "fascist beasts" or "Hitlerite criminals" just like the human soap or the human lampshades?

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Postby michael mills » 06 Jul 2005 06:43

The comments by the moderator are another example of his tendency to divert attention from the more important issue (whether the British Military Intelligence fabricated a photograph of the execution of the officers condemned for treason and showed it in Switzerland, presumably for the propaganda purpose of exaggerating the brutality of the procedure, and whether the photo of the hanging of Witzleben and Hoepner published in "Die Nation" of 14 February 1945 was the British-produced fake) to a subsidiary one (whether there were post-war legends about the executions, and what their nature were) for the obvious purpose of delegitimating any questioning of the claimed brutality of that particular act of the German Government.

In doing so, the moderator reverses the significance of the two issues.

Irving has provided a source for the information that a British agent fabricated a photograph of the hangings and that the faked photograph was shown to Swiss officers at the British Legation in Switzerland, namely a note by Leiter F of Hinkel's staff, dated 21 October, 1944, and held in the files of the Zentralstelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, the Federal German agency for the investigation of National Socialist crimes of violence. We have to presume that the note reported the showing of the photograph, claimed that it was a fake, and named the person who allegedly fabricated it.

The moderator tries to brush aside the account of the faked photograph by asserting that it was an "allegation" by "an SS investigation".

What is his source for his claim that there was an "SS investigation"?

Irving's source is a note by Leiter F of Hinkel's staff. If the moderator had bothered to check Irving's book, he would have discovered that Hans Hinkel was a journalist and an official in Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, the head of the Jewish desk in that ministry. There is no apparent link to the SS whatever.

I see no prima facie reason for dismissing the information provided by Leiter F. The British would have every reason to make propaganda capital out of the execution of several senior German officers, and if they could not get a copy of the genuine film they would have had no compunction about fabricating an image playing up the assumed brutality of the procedure.

As for the existence of "legends" about the execution procedure, a number of them are listed in the post by WalterS:

Erwin von Witzleben was found guilty of treason and on 8th August, 1944 was executed by being hung by piano wire from a meat hook.



The vast majority of German conspirators were hanged from the meat-hooks above by piano wire.

Many died a slow excruciating death in this manner, though all went courageously to their doom.


The moderator himself has discarded the legend of the piano wire.

Hanging in itself is a fairly normal method of inflicting death according to law. For example, the United States Government executed by hanging a number of persons found guilty of involvement in the assassination of President Lincoln, including one woman. Photographs were taken of the hanging, and have appeared in documentaries (which also stated that the process of dying took five minutes, although I suspect that that simply means that the doctor pronounced them dead after five minutes).

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Postby WalterS » 06 Jul 2005 07:16

Somehow, I find Mr Mills's attempt to equate Abraham Lincoln with Adolf Hitler to be morally reprehensible. But that's just me.

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Postby Panzermahn » 06 Jul 2005 10:02

WalterS wrote:Somehow, I find Mr Mills's attempt to equate Abraham Lincoln with Adolf Hitler to be morally reprehensible. But that's just me.


Michael Mills did not attempt to equate Abraham Lincoln with Adolf Hitler and I see not a single sentence from him pointing to it. Michael was giving an example on what happened to the perpetrators of assassination attempts or successful assassination of head of state especially on the aspects of execution as stated in this topic.

I see nothing from Michael whom you claimed in your rants that he is trying to equate Abraham Lincoln with Adolf Hitler apart that Michael took the example of assassination of Abraham Lincoln as he was a head-of-state (of the United States of America) and its consequences on the perpetrators to compare with Adolf Hitler as a head-of-state (of Greater Germany) and its consequences on the perpetrators.


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