They took the easy way out

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After all the suffering,death and destruction they caused there were several in the Nazi leadership ,and lower ranks , who were too cowardly to stand trial and killed themselves instead.In this summary I am excluded Hitler, Himmler,Goebbels and Goering because I have already done separate blogs on their suicides.

Eduard Wirths ,

picture above  (4 September 1909 – 20 September 1945) was the Chief SS doctor (SS-Standortarzt) at the Auschwitz concentration camp from September 1942 to January 1945. Thus, Wirths had formal responsibility for everything undertaken by the nearly 20 SS doctors (including Josef Mengele, Horst Schumann and Carl Clauberg) who worked in the medical sections of Auschwitz between 1942–1945.

Wirths was captured by the Allies at the end of the war and held in custody by British forces. Later, on 20 September 1945, knowing that he would surely face trial for numerous war crimes, Wirths committed suicide by hanging.

Johannes Blaskowitz

Johannes Blaskowitz

A German general during World War II and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords.16822

Blaskowitz was charged with war crimes during the Nuremberg Trials in the High Command Trial (Case No. XII).

In one notorious case he was accused of ordering the execution of 2 deserters after the German surrender. He committed suicide on 5 February 1948: after breaking away from his guards, he threw himself off a balcony into the inner courtyard of the court building

Robert Ley

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He headed the German Labour Front from 1933 to 1945.

As Nazi Germany collapsed in early 1945, Ley was among the government figures who remained fanatically loyal to Hitler.He last saw Hitler on 20 April 1945, Hitler’s birthday, in the Führerbunker in central Berlin. The next day he left for southern Bavaria, in the expectation that Hitler would make his last stand in the “National Redoubt” in the alpine areas. When Hitler refused to leave Berlin, Ley was effectively unemployed. On 16 May he was captured by American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division in a shoemaker’s house in the village of Schleching. Ley told them he was “Dr. Ernst Distelmeyer,” but he was identified by Franz Xaver Schwarz, the treasurer of the Nazi Party and a long-time enemy.

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At the Nuremberg Trials, Ley was indicted under Count One (“The Common Plan or Conspiracy to wage an aggressive war in violation of international law or treaties”), Count Three (War Crimes, including among other things “mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilian populations”) and Count Four (“Crimes Against Humanity – murder, extermination, enslavement of civilian populations; persecution on the basis of racial, religions or political grounds”). Ley was apparently indignant at being regarded as a war criminal, telling the American psychiatrist Douglas Kelley and psychologist Gustave Gilbert who had seen and tested him in prison: “Stand us against a wall and shoot us, well and good, you are victors. But why should I be brought before a Tribunal like a c-c-c- … I can’t even get the word out!”

On 24 October, three days after receiving the indictment, Ley strangled himself in his prison cell using a noose made by tearing a towel into strips, fastened to the toilet pipe in his cell.

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Franz Friedrich Böhme

Franz Böhme

An Austrian general in the Wehrmacht during World War II, serving as Commander of the XVIII Mountain Corps, Hitler’s ‘Plenipotentiary Commanding General’ in the Balkans, and commander-in-chief in German-occupied Norway during World War II. Böhme stood trial in Nuremberg in the Hostages Trial for having massacred thousands of Serbian civilians.

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After being captured in Norway, he was brought before the Hostages Trial, a division of the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, and charged with war crimes committed in Serbia during his control of the region in 1941. He had upped the ante of retaliatory strikes against Serbs, killing a hundred Serbs for every German killed, and fifty for every German wounded; this resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians. When his extradition to Yugoslavia seemed imminent, Böhme committed suicide by jumping from the 4th story of the prison in which he was being held. His body was interred at St. Leonhard-Friedhof in Graz.

Emil Haussmann

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A  German SS-Sturmbannführer, in Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D, which perpetrated the Holocaust in occupied Ukraine. Haussmann was accused in 1947 at the Einsatzgruppen Trial.43043

Haussmann took part in Einsatzkommando 12 during the invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1947 he was one of 24 defendants at the Einsatzgruppen Trial. On 29 July 1947, he received the indictment along with his co-defendants: (1) crimes against humanity, (2) war crimes, and (3) membership in a criminal organization. Two days later, before the arraignment, Haussmann committed suicide in his cell and was removed from the process.Thus, he was the only defendant at the Einsatzgruppen trial who escaped a sentence.

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Nuremberg Trials

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Today marks the 71st anniversary of the trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

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Held for the purpose of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice, the Nuremberg trials were a series of 13 trials carried out in Nuremberg, Germany, between 1945 and 1949. The defendants, who included Nazi Party officials and high-ranking military officers along with German industrialists, lawyers and doctors, were indicted on such charges as crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) committed suicide and was never brought to trial. Although the legal justifications for the trials and their procedural innovations were controversial at the time, the Nuremberg trials are now regarded as a milestone toward the establishment of a permanent international court, and an important precedent for dealing with later instances of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

The best-known of the Nuremberg trials was the Trial of Major War Criminals, held from November 20, 1945, to October 1, 1946. The format of the trial was a mix of legal traditions: There were prosecutors and defense attorneys according to British and American law, but the decisions and sentences were imposed by a tribunal (panel of judges) rather than a single judge and a jury. The chief American prosecutor was Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Each of the four Allied powers supplied two judges–a main judge and an alternate.

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Rather then going into the details of the trials I will put pictures of the trials below. The arrogant faces of some of the defendants, especially Goering’s, never ceases to amaze me.

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The Judges bench.

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Defendant Julius Streicher, Editor-in-Chief of the venomous antisemitic paper, Der Sturmer, takes the stand during the Nuremberg Trials.

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British Judge Lawrence and American Justice Francis Biddle confer at the opening of the War Crimes Trial in Nuremberg, Germany on November 20,1945. Four Allied nations–the United States, Great Britain, France and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics–worked together to bring officials of the Third Reich to trial in an international courtroom.

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Defendants Rudolf Hess (first row, left), Joachim von Ribbentrop (first row, right), Karl Doentiz (second row, left), Erich Raeder (second row, middle), and Balder von Schirach (second row, right) sit in the dock during the Nuremberg Trials, 1945-46.

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SS General Oswald Pohl gives testimony at the Nuremberg trials. One of the most important and illustrative cases in Nuremberg, was the trial of Oswald Pohl, who headed the wartime SS organization wide (WVHA), in charge of the concentration camps

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Hermann Goering has supper during the trials

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Baldur von Schirach takes the stand at the Nuremberg Trials

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John C. Woods-the Nuremberg executioner

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“I hanged those ten Nazis… and I am proud of it… I wasn’t nervous…. A fellow can’t afford to have nerves in this business…. I want to put in a good word for those G.I.s who helped me… they all did swell…. I am trying to get them a promotion…. The way I look at this hanging job, somebody has to do it. I got into it kind of by accident, years ago in the States.”

I suppose it is understandable that he was proud of doing his job ridding the planet of some of worlds most evil and vile people. However it begs the question though how he mentally coped with the killing. Even though I believe that when forced to we are all able to kill, we are just like any other animal when it comes to that. When in danger of our own life our primeval instincts will kick in, but killing someone who doesn’t pose a threat to you is another issue. It takes a certain kind of person.

John C. Woods (June 5, 1911 – July 21, 1950) was a United States Army master sergeant who, with Joseph Malta, carried out the Nuremberg executions of ten former top leaders of the Third Reich on October 16, 1946, after they were sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials. Time magazine credited him with 347 executions to that date during a 15-year career.According to recent research, a number of 60 to 70 over a period of two years is more credible.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Woods joined the US Navy on December 3, 1929, and went absent without leave within months. He was convicted at a general court martial and subsequently examined by a psychiatric board on April 23, 1930. He was diagnosed with “Constitutional Psychopathic Inferiority without Psychosis”, was found “poor service material” and discharged.Before being inducted into the United States Army in August 1943, Woods was intermittently employed in construction as a laborer, and was working part-time at a feed-store in Eureka, Kansas, when he was registered for Selective Service in 1940. He was married to a nurse, Hazel Woods, but had no children.

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Before D-Day, American military executions by hanging in the European Theater of Operations occurred in England only and were performed by the civilian executioner Thomas Pierrepoint with assistance by Albert Pierrepoint and other British personnel.

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When in autumn of 1944 military executions by hanging were scheduled in France, the Army looked for a volunteer enlisted hangman and found Woods, who falsely claimed previous experience as assistant hangman in two cases in Texas and two in Oklahoma – there is no evidence that the U.S. Army made any attempt to verify Woods’ claims. In fact, Woods had no documented pre-war experience as a hangman. Woods at that time was a private and a member of the 37th Engineer Combat Battalion. He was promoted to master sergeant and transferred to Paris Disciplinary Training Center.Woods performed as the primary executioner in the hangings of 34 American soldiers at various locations in France over 1944–1945, and assisted in at least three others. U.S. Army reports suggest that Woods participated in at least 11 bungled hangings of US soldiers between 1944 and 1946.

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The Nuremberg executions took place on October 16, 1946, shortly after the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials. Ten prominent members of the political and military leadership of Nazi Germany were executed by hanging: Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher.

While serving with the 7th Engineer Brigade in Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, on July 21, 1950, Woods was accidentally electrocuted while attempting to repair an engineer lighting set.He is buried in Toronto Township Cemetery, Toronto, Kansas.

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The Nürnberg(Nuremberg) Sentences

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Today marks the 71ST anniversary of the Nürnberg Trials sentencing. Three of the defendants were acquitted: Hjalmar Schacht, Franz von Papen, and Hans Fritzsche. Four were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 10 to 20 years: Karl Dönitz, Baldur von Schirach, Albert Speer, and Konstantin von Neurath. Three were sentenced to life imprisonment: Rudolf Hess, Walther Funk, and Erich Raeder. Twelve of the defendants were sentenced to death by hanging. Ten of them—Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Alfred Rosenberg, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Keitel, and Arthur Seyss-Inquart—were hanged on October 16, 1946. Hermann Goering managed to take a cyanide capsule hours before the execution.

Below are just some of them.

Martin Bormann: Penalty Death

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Successor to Hess as Nazi Party Secretary. (Tried in absentia, and sentenced to hang.  DNA testing conducted in 1998 on human remains found in Berlin in 1972 showed that Bormann had committed suicide in 1945 by taking cyanide.)

 

 

Karl Dönitz:Penalty 10 Years

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Leader of the Kriegsmarine from 1943, succeeded Raeder. Initiator of the U-boat campaign. Became President of Germany following Hitler’s death.In evidence presented at the trial of Karl Dönitz on his orders to the U-boat fleet to breach the London Rules, Admiral Chester Nimitz stated that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war. Dönitz was found guilty of breaching the 1936 Second London Naval Treaty, but his sentence was not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the international law of submarine warfare.

Hans Frank:Penalty Death

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Reich Law Leader 1933–1945 and Governor-General of the General Government in occupied Poland 1939–1945. Expressed repentance.He smiled politely, ‘Death by hanging,’ he said softly, nodding his head in acquiescence. ‘I deserved it and I expected it, as I’ve always told you. I am glad that I have had the chance to defend myself and to think things over in the last few months.

 

 

 

 

Wilhelm Frick:Penalty Death

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Hitler’s Minister of the Interior 1933–1943 and ReichProtector of Bohemia-Moravia 1943–1945. Authored the Nuremberg Race Laws.

 

 

Hans Fritzsche: Acquitted

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Popular radio commentator, and head of the news division of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry. Tried in place of Joseph Goebbels.

 

 

Walther Funk: Penalty Life imprisonment.

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Hitler’s Minister of Economics. Succeeded Schacht as head of the Reichsbank. Released due to ill health on 16 May 1957. Died 31 May 1960.

 

 

Hermann Göring:Penalty Death

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Goering came down first and strode into his cell, his face pale and frozen, his eyes popping. ‘Death!’ he said as he dropped on the cot and reached for a book. His hands were trembling in spite of his attempt to be nonchalant. His eyes were moist and he was panting, fighting back an emotional breakdown. He asked me in an unsteady voice to leave him alone for a while.

When Goering collected himself enough to talk, he said that he had naturally expected the death penalty, and was glad that he had not gotten a life sentence, because those who are sentenced to life imprisonment never become martyrs. But there wasn’t any of the old confident bravado in his voice. Goering seems to realize, at last, that there is nothing funny about death, when you’re the one who is going to die.Committed suicide the night before his execution.

Rudolf Hess:Penalty Life imprisonment.

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Hess strutted in, laughing nervously, and said that he had not even been listening, so he did not know what the sentence was and what was more, he didn’t care. As the guard unlocked his handcuffs, he asked why he had been handcuffed and Goering had not. He was told it was probably an oversight with the first prisoner.Hitler’s Deputy Führer until he flew to Scotland in 1941 in attempt to broker peace with Great Britain. After trial, committed to Spandau Prison; died in 1987.

Alfred Jodl:Penalty Death.

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Wehrmacht Generaloberst, Keitel’s subordinate and Chief of the OKW’s Operations Division 1938–1945. Subsequently exonerated by German court in 1953, though the exoneration was later overturned, largely as a result of pressure by American officials. “Death – by hanging! – that, at least, I did not deserve. The death part – all right, somebody has to stand for the responsibility. But that -‘ His mouth quivered and his voice choked for the first time. ‘That I did not deserve.”

 

Ernst Kaltenbrunner:Penalty Death.

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Highest surviving SS-leader. Chief of RSHA 1943–45, the Nazi organ made up of the intelligence service, Secret State Police and Criminal Police. Also had overall command over the Einsatzgruppen and several concentration camps.

 

Wilhelm Keitel:Penalty Death.

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Head of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) 1938–1945.”Death-by hanging!” he announced his voice hoarse with intense shame. “That, at least, I thought I would be spared.”

 

 

Albert Speer:Penalty 20 Years.

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Hitler’s favorite architect and close friend, and Minister of Armaments from 1942. In this capacity, he was ultimately responsible for the use of slave laborers from the occupied territories in armaments production. Expressed repentance.Speer laughed nervously. ‘Twenty years. Well; that’s fair enough. They couldn’t have given me a lighter sentence, considering the facts, and I can’t complain. I said the sentences must be severe, and I admitted my share of the guilt, so it would be ridiculous if I complained about the punishment.’ ”

Joachim von Ribbentrop:Penalty Death.

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Ambassador-Plenipotentiary 1935–1936. Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1936–1938. Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs 1938–1945.Ribbentrop wandered in, aghast, and started to walk around the cell in a daze, whispering, ‘Death!-Death! Now I won’t be able to write my beautiful memoirs. Tsk! Tsk! So much hatred! Tsk! tsk!’ Then he sat down, a completely broken man, and stared into space.

 

Alfred Rosenberg:Penalty Death.

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Racial theory ideologist. Later, Minister of the Eastern Occupied Territories 1941–1945.His theories played a big part in the Nazi racial policies and were the foundation of the Wannsee conference.

 

 

Fritz Sauckel:Penalty Death

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Gauleiter of Thuringia 1927–1945. Plenipotentiary of the Nazi slave labor program 1942–1945.At the Nuremberg trials, Fritz Sauckel was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity. He defended the Arbeitseinsatz as “nothing to do with exploitation. It is an economic process for supplying labour”. He denied that it was slave labour or that it was common to deliberately work people to death (extermination by labour) or to mistreat them.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart:Penalty Death

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Instrumental in the Anschluss and briefly Austrian Chancellor 1938. Deputy to Frank in Poland 1939–1940. Later, Reich Commissioner of the occupied Netherlands 1940–1945. Expressed repentance.During the trial, Gustave Gilbert, an American army psychologist, was allowed to examine the Nazi leaders who were tried at Nuremberg for war crimes. Among other tests, a German version of the Wechsler-Bellevue IQ test was administered. Arthur Seyss-Inquart scored 141, the second highest among the defendants, behind Hjalmar Schacht.

Dr. Hjalmar Schacht:Acquitted.

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Prominent banker and economist. Pre-war president of the Reichsbank 1923–1930 & 1933–1938 and Economics Minister 1934–1937. Admitted to violating the Treaty of Versailles.

 

 

 

 

 

Julius Streicher:Penalty Death

100px-julius_streicher_72-920_cropGauleiter of Franconia 1922–1940. Publisher of the weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer

For his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as ‘Jew-Baiter Number One.’ In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. … Streicher’s incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.

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