Harald Turner- Evil business as usual.

Turner

Despite his English sounding name, Harald Turner was born in the town of Leun in the district of Hesse in Germany in 1891. He served as an SS commander in Serbia during WWII.

His description of some crimes he had been involved in are truly chilling, not so much because of the horrific crimes themselves but more in the business as usual kind of way he described them. Below are some examples.

“Already some months ago, I shot dead all the Jews I could get my hands on in this area, concentrated all the Jewish women and children in a camp and with the help of the SD got my hands on a “delousing van,” that in about 14 days to 4 weeks will have brought about the definitive clearing out of the camp…” Dr. Harold Turner’s letter to Karl Wolff, dated April 11, 1942

The  “Delousing” van he referred to were Gas vans.

gas vans

Between 16 September 1941 and 2 December 1941, Franz Böhme,as Commanding General and Commander of Serbia,  ordered the reprisal executions of 2,000 civilians in Kragujevac after a partisan assault on 22 soldiers of the 421 Korps-Nachrichten-Abteilung.

Bohme

It was not only for the partisan assault but also for what Böhme saw as the betrayal and the backstabbing by the Serbians which caused so much German blood in 1914. The civilians were to be Jewish and Gypsies.

On October 11 ,Harald Turner reported the following.

“After thorough exploration of the square and preparation, the first shooting took place on October 9, 1941.

The prisoners were picked up from their camp in Belgrade at 5.30 am with their emergency luggage. Providing them with  spade and other tools, for a job which was faked. Each vehicle was guarded by only three men, to hide the fact of what really was about to happen

The transport took place without any difficulties. The mood of the prisoners during transport and preparation was good. They were happy about the distance from the camp, because their accommodation had not been to their liking as of yet. The prisoners were set to work 8 kilometers from the shooting site and afterwards taken to the site.  The shooting took place by rifle at a distance of 12 meters. For each prisoner 5 marksmen were ordered to shoot. Additionally , two marksmen were available to the doctor, who had to kill the prisoners via head shots  as instructed by the doctor.”

That day 180 men were murdered.

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Sources

German Wikipedia

Mahmnal Koblenz

 

The killing of Athletes

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It is often said that the death of a million is a statistic but the death of one is a tragedy, and unfortunately this is true. People just become desensitized when they see the pictures of a great number of corpses. It is just human nature, a defense mechanism because the brain just can’t fathom the horror.

However people do get emotionally touched when the stories are personalized and especially when they are able to identify or associate themselves to that story. I was going to do a blog on the Palmiry massacre.

The Palmiry massacre was a series of mass executions carried out by Nazis , during the occupation of Poland , near the village of Palmiry in the Kampinos Forest, located northwest of Warsaw. The best documented of these massacres took place on 20–21 June 1940, wherein 358 members of the Polish political, cultural and social elite were murdered in a single operation.

Loading up on trucks

However I decided to focus on just 2 victims, athletes, and not just any athletes but Olympic medal winning athletes.

Tomasz Stankiewicz

Tomasz_Stankiewicz_(cyclist,_-1924) (1)

 

I would nearly say this is a double tragedy because so little is known or written about Tomasz. He was a Polish track cyclist who represented his country in the 1924 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

As a as member of the Polish team he won a silver medal in the  team pursuit event.

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As so many other he became involved in underground activities at the beginning of the German occupation of Poland

One day he  accidentally ,  fell into a trap prepared by the Germans. Unfortunately, he was carrying illegally printed underground newspapers. He was arrested and was sent to Pawiak prison in Warsaw

prison

From there, he was deported to Palmiry on 20 or 21 June 1940 and executed.

Janusz Kusociński.

Janusz

Born in Warsaw into the family of a railroad worker, Janusz Kusociński, or Kusy as he was nicknamed. As a schoolboy he was more interested in playing football, and he played  for several clubs in Warsaw. He turned to  athletics in 1928 after joining the sport club “Sarmata”. His coach at the club was the famous Estonian, decathlete Aleksander Klumberg.

In his first competition at the Polish National Championships, Kusociński surprisingly won the 5000 m and cross country titles.

During the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 1932 he won the Gold medal in the 10 000 m with a time of 30:11.4.

race

He volunteered for the Polish army when Poland was invaded by the Germans and was wounded twice.  He worked as a waiter during the German occupation, but was also a member of the Polish resistance. Janusz was arrested by the Gestapo on 26 March 1940 and  imprisoned in  the Mokotów prison. He was also executed during the June 20/21 executions.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The few times when justice was served.

trial

So many involved in the Nazi atrocities did get off so lightly or escaped punishment altogether. How the judges in the war crimes trials came to some of the sentences or lack thereof has always been a puzzle to me.

Additionally there were also many how fled to countries where they knew they would face little or no chance of ever being extradited.Others took the easy way out by killing themselves.

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In my opinion, and I want emphasize the fact that it is my opinion, there could have only been one sentence, the death sentence. Regardless what their rank or involvement was, if they knew about the atrocities, and all of them did, they were either actively involved in the killings or were complacent,either way they were responsible.

I have heard the argument that some of them had no choice. But there is always a choice, and if you can’t make that choice then you have to face the consequences of your actions or inaction.

However there were some who did get what they deserved below are examples of just a few of them.

General Anton Dostler

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The General, Commander of the 75th Army Corps, was sentenced to death by an United States Military Commission in Rome for having ordered the shooting of 15 unarmed American prisoners of war, in La Spezia, Italy, on March 26. He was executed on December 1, 1945 by a firing squad in a stockade in Aversa, Italy.

Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling

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In the course of the Dachau Trials following the liberation of the camp at the close of the war, Schilling was tried by a U.S. General Military Court, appointed at November 2 1945. He was convicted of using 1,200 concentration camp prisoners for malaria experimentation. Thirty died directly from the inoculations and 300 to 400 died later from complications of the disease. His experiments, all with unwilling subjects, began in 1942.The tribunal sentenced Schilling to death by hanging on 13 December 1945. His execution took place at Landsberg Prison in Landsberg am Lech on 28 May 1946.

Max Blokzijl

Max Blokzijl

Max Blokzijl was a Dutch singer and journalist. Following the German occupation of the Netherlands Blokzijl was executed for his collaboration with Nazi Germany.

Blokzijl  was the effective head of the  Nazi controlled press in the Netherlands. He also broadcast pro-Nazi shows on Radio Hilversum which were particularly noted for the strength of their anti-British sentiment.

On 16 March 1946 Blokzijl became the first Dutch collaborator to be executed, by firing squad in Scheveningen.

Rudolf Mynzak, Wilhelm Mueller and Kurt Kleiwitz.

Rudolf Mynzak, Wilhelm Mueller and Kurt Kleiwitz.

Three of the 19 camp guards tried and convicted by a general military court at Dachau for atrocities committed at Mauthasen.

Ans van Dijk

Ans van Dijk

Ans van Dijk  was a Dutch-Jewish collaborator who betrayed Jews to Nazi Germany during World War II. She was the only Dutch woman to be executed for her wartime activities.

On 14 January 1948 she was executed by firing squad at Fort Bijlmer in the then municipality Weesperkarspel (now the Bijlmermeer municipality of Amsterdam). The night before her execution she was baptized and joined the Roman Catholic Church.

Rudolf Hoess

Rudolf Hoess the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, is hanged next to the crematorium at the camp, 1947 (1)

During his trial in Poland, although he never  denied that he had committed crimes, he claimed that he had only been following orders. He knew exactly what  fate  awaited him. To the end, Hoess contended that, at the most, a million and a half people had died at Auschwitz, not 5 or 6 million. He he requested the court’s permission to send his wedding ring to his wife,at the end of the trial. Hoess was sentenced to death by hanging on 2 April 1947. The sentence was carried out on 16 April immediately adjacent to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. The gallows constructed specifically for that purpose, at the location of the camp Gestapo.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The executioner who escaped execution.

Johann-Reichhart

The name Johann Reichhart might not be one synonymous with Nazi Germany but his ruthless killing streak made him one of the most feared members of the regime.

Reichhart was born into a line of German executioners dating back eight generations. He got his start as a judicial executioner in 1928.

Johann Reichhart took 3,165 lives during his time as Germany’s chief executioner. Ironically, after the collapse of the Third Reich , he would hang some of those he once served, Nazi war criminals, on behalf of the victorious Allies.

The beheadings of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and a third member of The White Rose, their student resistance group, were among 2,873 executions he carried out in the Second World War.

 

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His career in killing began in earnest with the execution by guillotine of Rupert Fischer and Andreas Hutterer for murder.

The administration promised him 150 Goldmarks for each execution, and announced: ‘From April 1, 1924, Reichhart takes over the execution of all death sentences coming in the Free State of Bavaria to the execution by beheading with the guillotine.

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A lull in executions forced Reichhart to become a green grocer in neighbouring Holland but he was back in action after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and soon became a vital clog in the Nazi killing machine.

Despite the enormous workload he was asked to complete, Reichhart was very strict in his execution protocol, wearing the traditional German executioners’ attire of black coat, white shirt and gloves, black bow-tie and top-hat. His work took him to many parts of occupied Europe including Poland and Austria. His record for the most executions in one day was 32. He was so determined to be punctual at all his “appointments” he asked the transport ministry if he could be spared speeding tickets. His request was denied.

Reichhart immersed himself in his role and even invented a device called the ‘double detective tongs’ that kept prisoners pinned down without the need to tie them with rope.

The metal clamp held the prisoner beneath the guillotine instead of rope meaning execution time was reduced to four seconds flat.

Cruelly, the Nazis even charged the families of those they had imprisoned and beheaded. For every day that a prisoner was held, a fee of 1.50 Reichsmarks was charged. The executions cost 300 Reichsmarks.

300Even the 12 pfennig cost of posting the invoice was demanded back by the Nazi state.

Married dad-of-three Reichhart had gained such notoriety that his children were taunted at school with chants such as ‘headcutter, headcutter, your dad’s a headcutter!’

The reputation of their father even drove one of his sons to suicide.

Following VE Day, Reichhart, who was a member of the Nazi Party, was arrested and imprisoned in Landsberg Prison for the purposes of de-nazification but not tried for carrying out his duty of judicial executioner.

Reichhart had to justify himself at a de-Nazification court, where he said: “I have carried out death sentences in the firm conviction that I should serve the state with my work, and to comply with lawfully enacted laws. I never doubted the legality of what I was doing.”

He was subsequently employed by the Occupation Authorities until the end of May 1946 to help execute 156 Nazi war criminals at Landsberg am Lech by hanging.John_C._Woods_holding_a_noose

He cooperated with Allied chief executioner Master Sergeant John C. Woods

 

in the preparations for further executions of those found guilty and sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials,but refused to carry out any further executions himself following two cases of mistaken identity.

 

One of the reasons he ended up working for the Allies was that there were not a lot of people prepared to do that kind of thing.’

Reichhart ended his days alone and lonely, first breeding dogs and making perfume, and later being looked after in a care home near Munich, where he died in 1972

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Martyrs of Gorkum(Gorinchem)

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This story might surprise many for the Netherlands is known as a tolerant and multi cultural society, this wasn’t always the case.

The Martyrs of Gorkum (Dutch: Martelaren van Gorinchem) were a group of 19 Dutch Catholic clerics and friars who were hanged on 9 July 1572 in the town of Brielle (or Den Briel) by militant Dutch Calvinists during the 16th century religious wars in the Low Countries.

As of 1572, Lutheranism and Calvinism had spread through a great part of Europe. In the Netherlands this was followed by a struggle between the two denominations in which Calvinism was victorious. On 1 April of the next year, Calvinist forces and a rebel group called the Watergeuzen (Sea Beggars) conquered Brielle (Den Briel) and later Vlissingen.

Capture_of_Brielle,_April_1_1572_(Frans_Hogenberg)

 

In June, Dordrecht and Gorkum fell, and at the latter the rebels captured nine Franciscans: Nicholas Pieck, guardian of Gorkum; Hieronymus of Weert, vicar; Theodorus van der Eem of Amersfoort; Nicasius Janssen of Heeze; Willehad of Denmark; Godefried of Mervel; Antonius of Weert; Antonius of Hoornaer, and Franciscus de Roye of Brussels. To these were added two lay brothers from the same friary, Petrus of Assche and Cornelius of Wijk bij Duurstede. At almost the same time the Calvinists arrested the parish priest of Gorkum, Leonardus Vechel of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and his assistant.

Also imprisoned were Godefried van Duynsen of Gorkum, a priest in his native city, and Joannes Lenartz of Oisterwijk, a canon regular from a nearby priory and spiritual director for the monastery of Augustinian nuns in Gorkum. To these fifteen were later added four more companions: Joannes van Hoornaer (alias known as John of Cologne), a Dominican of the Cologne province and parish priest not far from Gorkum, who when apprised of the incarceration of the clergy of Gorkum hastened to the city in order to administer the sacraments to them and was seized and imprisoned with the rest; Jacobus Lacops of Oudenaar, a Norbertine, who became a curate in Monster, South Holland; Adrianus Janssen of Hilvarenbeek, a Premonstratensian canon and at one time parish priest in Monster, who was sent to Brielle with Jacobus Lacops. Last was Andreas Wouters of Heynoord.

In prison at Gorkum (from 26 June to 6 July 1572), the first 15 prisoners were transferred to Brielle, arriving there on 8 July.On their way to Dordrecht they were exhibited for money to the curious. The following day, William de la Marck, Lord of Lumey, commander of the Gueux de mer, had them interrogated and ordered a disputation. In the meantime, four others arrived. It was demanded of each that he abandon his belief in the Blessed Sacrament and in papal supremacy. All remained firm in their faith. Meanwhile, a letter arrived from the Prince of Orange, William the Silent, which enjoined all those in authority to leave priests and religious unmolested. But to no avail.On 9 July, they were hanged in a turf shed.

Martyrs_de_Gorkum

A shrub bearing 19 white flowers is said to have sprung up at the site of the martyrdom. Many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of the Gorkum martyrs, especially the curing of hernias.The beatification of the martyrs took place on 14 November 1675, and their canonization on 29 June 1867. They were canonised on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, as part of the grand celebrations to mark the 1800th anniversary of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul AD67.

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For many years the place of their martyrdom in Brielle has been the scene of numerous pilgrimages and processions. The reliquary of their remains is now enshrined in the Church of Saint Nicholas, Brussels, Belgium.

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Anguish, defiance, stoicism, acceptance and fear.

Bromberg, Leichen getöteter Volksdeutscher

Bloody Sunday was a series of killings of members of the German minority that took place at the beginning of World War II. On September 3, 1939, two days after the beginning of the German invasion of Poland, highly controversial killings occurred in and around Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), a Polish city with a sizable German minority. The number of casualties and other details of the incident are disputed among historians.

The sequence started with an attack of German Selbstschutz snipers on retreating Polish troops and then was followed by a Polish reaction and then the final retaliatory execution of Polish hostages by the Wehrmacht and Selbstschutz, after the fall of the city. All these events resulted in the deaths of both German and Polish civilians. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance found and confirmed 254 Lutheran victims, assumed to be German victims, and 86 Catholic victims, assumed to be Polish civilians, as well as 20 Polish soldiers. Approximately 600–800 Polish hostages were shot in a mass execution in the aftermath of the fall of the city.

Bromberg, Leichen getöteter Volksdeutscher

The Nazis exploited the deaths as grounds for a massacre of Polish inhabitants after the Wehrmacht captured the town. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.

Polish_Priest_as_a_German_Hostage_1939

According to German historian Christian Raitz von Frentz, 876 Poles were tried by German tribunal for involvement in the events of Bloody Sunday before the end of 1939. 87 men and 13 women were sentenced without the right to appeal. Polish historian Czesław Madajczyk notes 120 executions in relation to Bloody Sunday, and the execution of 20 hostages after a German soldier was allegedly attacked by a Polish sniper.

Bydgoszcz-rozstrzelanie_zakładników_9.09.1939

One picture of the executions gives the whole range of attitudes and emotions that went through the minds of those facing the firing squad. It’s interesting to see the range of emotions displayed by these men. Anguish, defiance, stoicism, acceptance and fear, the third one from the left is even smiling.

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The 9th of April 1945 Executions

Flossenbürg_April_9_1945_Memorial

The 9th of April 1945 was picked by the Nazi’s to get rid of some those they had considered to be traitors. In fact some of these men were actually heroes, since they all had been part in one way or another(or at least were convicted of that)of trying to kill Adolf Hitler during Operation Valkyrie or the 20 July plot.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1972-025-12,_Zerstörte_Lagerbaracke_nach_dem_20._Juli_1944 (1)

The executions by way of hanging all took place in Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Flossenburg

Dietrich Bonhoeffer  4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German pastor, theologian, spy, anti-Nazi dissident, and key founding member of the Confessing Church. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential, and his book The Cost of Discipleship has become a modern classic.

Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews.He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1987-074-16,_Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then executed by hanging on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/05/26/dietrich-bonhoeffer-the-good-german/

Wilhelm Franz Canaris (1 January 1887 – 9 April 1945) was a German admiral and chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. Initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler, he later turned against the Nazis as he felt Germany would lose another major war. During the Second World War he was among the military officers involved in the clandestine opposition to the Nazi regime. He was executed in Flossenbürg concentration camp for high treason.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1979-013-43,_Wilhelm_Canaris

Canaris was arrested on 23 July 1944 on the basis of the interrogation of his successor at Military Intelligence, Georg Hansen.Schellenberg respected Canaris and was convinced of his loyalty to the Nazi regime, even though he had been arrested.Hansen admitted his role in the 20 July plot but accused Canaris of being its “spiritual instigator”. No direct evidence of his involvement in the plot was discovered, but his close association with many of the plotters and certain documents written by him that were considered subversive led to the gradual assumption of his guilt. Two of the men under suspicion as conspirators who were known in Canaris’ circle shot themselves which incited activity from the Gestapo to prove he was, at the very least, privy to the plan against Hitler

Ludwig Gehre (5 October 1895 – 9 April 1945) was an officer and resistance fighter involved in the preparation of an assassination attempt against Hitler.

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At the beginning of the Second World War Gehre was active as a Captain in the Abwehr (Military Intelligence) under Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. By 1939 a group in the Abwehr had formed to remove the Nazi regime and end the War. This circle included Admiral Canaris, General Ludwig Beck, Hans von Dohnanyi, Hans Oster, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as Gehre.

By March 1943 Gehre was privy to the Military Opposition’s preparations under Henning von Tresckow to assassinate Hitler. In January 1944 Helmuth James Graf von Moltke was arrested, and in March 1944 Gehre was also taken by the Gestapo. Gehre, however, was soon able to flee and disappeared.

After the failed 20 July 1944 assassination attempt to kill Hitler, the search for Gehre intensified. Gehre, together with his wife, kept himself hidden for several more weeks. Further shelter was procured by the brothers Hans and Otto John. When Gehre realized that he was about to be discovered by the Gestapo on 1944 November 2, he shot his wife and then directed the gun toward himself. Although he was badly hurt, he survived.

Hans Paul Oster (9 August 1887 – 9 April 1945) was a general in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany who was also a leading figure of the German resistance from 1938 to 1943. As deputy head of the counter-espionage bureau in the Abwehr (German military intelligence), Oster was in a strong position to conduct resistance operations under the guise of intelligence work; he was dismissed for helping Jews to avoid arrest.

Hans Oster

He was a key planner of the Oster Conspiracy of September 1938. Oster was arrested in 1943 on suspicion of helping Abwehr officers caught helping Jews escape Germany. After the failed 1944 July Plot on Hitler’s life, the Gestapo seized the diaries of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, in which Oster’s long term anti-Nazi activities were revealed. In April 1945, he was hanged with Canaris and Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Karl Sack (born June 9, 1896 in Bosenheim (now Bad Kreuznach), executed April 9, 1945 in Flossenbürg concentration camp) was a German jurist and member of the resistance movement during World War II.

Sack

Karl Sack studied law in Heidelberg where he joined a Burschenschaft (Burschenschaft Vineta) and after a time in legal practice became a judge in Hesse. He married Wilhelmine Weber and had two sons. In 1934, Sack joined the newly established Reichskriegsgericht (Reich Military Court) where he quickly rose to a senior position. He was able to delay proceedings against Army Commander-in-Chief Werner von Fritsch who had been falsely accused of homosexuality by the Gestapo in an attempt to discredit him for his opposition to Hitler’s attempts to subjugate the German armed forces. In the fall of 1942, Karl Sack became Judge Advocate General of the Army.

During World War II, Sack maintained contacts within the resistance circles in the military, including Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Major General Hans Oster and Hans von Dohnanyi, as well as with others within the Abwehr (German military intelligence). He was part of the attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944 and after that failed attempt he was arrested on August 9, 1944. In the very last days of the war, he was brought before an SS drumhead court-martial presided over by Otto Thorbeck. He was sentenced to death and hanged 2 days later. Sack had been slated for the role of Justice Minister within a planned post-coup civilian government.

In 1984, Sack’s role as a member of the resistance was remembered with a bronze plaque placed in the former Reichskriegsgericht in Berlin-Charlottenburg. There was some opposition to this honour as Sack favoured a far-reaching interpretation of what constituted desertion, which must have led to more than a few death sentences.

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Theodor Strünck (7 April 1895, Pries – 9 April 1945, Flossenbürg concentration camp) was a German lawyer and resistance worker, involved in the July 20 plot.

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Theodor Strünck studied legal science, graduating at the University of Rostock in 1924, and became a lawyer (later a director) at an insurance company. Initially sympathising with National Socialism, he then turned to opposing the regime on their seizure of power and the subsequent decline in the rule of law. In 1937 he became a Hauptmann in Germany’s reserve forces, working in the Wehrmacht section of the Amt Ausland/Abwehr under Hans Oster. He came into contact with Carl Goerdeler and organised meetings of German Resistance members in his own home.

For his participation in the 20 July 1944 plot, Theodor Strünck was arrested on 1 August, dishonourably discharged from the army on 24 August as part of the “Ehrenhof” (so that the Reichskriegsgericht or Reich Courts Martial would no longer have control of his sentencing), and on 10 October condemned to death by the People’s Court under its president Roland Freisler. He was then imprisoned in Flossenbürg concentration camp, where he was executed together by hanging on 9 April 1945.

The Germans were busy on the 9th of April because additionally to the 6 men mentioned above they also executed Georg Elser by hanging in the Dachau concentration camp.

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Johann Georg Elser (4 January 1903 – 9 April 1945) was a German worker who planned and carried out an elaborate assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders on 8 November 1939 at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich.A time bomb that Elser constructed and placed near the speaking platform failed to kill Hitler, who left earlier than expected, but killed eight people and injured over sixty-two others. Elser was held as a prisoner for over five years until executed at the Dachau concentration camp.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/10/19/what-if-the-assassination-attempts-on-hitler/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/27/forgotten-history-german-resistance/

Operation Silbertanne-The execution of Dutch citizens.

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Operation Silbertanne (silver fir) was the codename of a series of murders taking place between September 1943 and September 1944 during the German occupation of the Netherlands. The assassinations were carried out by a death squad composed of Dutch members of the SS and Dutch veterans of the Eastern Front.

The objective of the operation was revenge and disruption of the Dutch resistance. The murders were usually carried out by members of the Dutch SS. Former SS officer Heinrich Boere was recently sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Aachen, after escaping justice for decades in Germany.

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One of the best known victims is Dutch author A.M. de Jong.

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After Adolf Hitler had approved Anton Mussert as “Leider van het Nederlandse Volk” (Leader of the Dutch People) in December 1942, he was allowed to form a national government institute, a Dutch shadow cabinet called “Gemachtigden van den Leider”, which would advise Reichskommissar Arthur Seyss-Inquart from 1 February 1943. The institute would consist of a number of deputies in charge of defined functions or departments within the administration.

 

On 4 February Retired General and Rijkscommissaris Hendrik Seyffardt, already head of the Dutch SS volunteer group Vrijwilligerslegioen Nederland (Legion of volunteers Nerherlands), was announced through the press as “Deputy for Special Services”. As a result, the Communist resistance group CS-6 under Dr. Gerrit Kastein

gerritkastein

(named after its address,  Corelli Straat 6, in Amsterdam), concluded that the new institute would eventually lead to a National-Socialist government, which would then introduce general conscription to enable the call-up of Dutch nationals to the Eastern Front.However, in reality the Nazis only saw Mussert and the NSB as a useful Dutch tool to enable general co-operation, and furthermore, Seyss-Inquart had assured Mussert after his December 1942 meeting with Hitler that general conscription was not on the agenda. However, CS-6 assessed that Seyffardt was the most important person within the new institute who was eligible for an attack, after the heavily-protected Mussert.

 

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After approval from the Dutch government in exile in London, on the evening of Friday 5 February 1943, after answering a knock at his front door in Scheveningen, Den Haag Seyffardt was shot twice by student Jan Verleun who had accompanied Dr. Kastein on the mission. A day later Seyffardt succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

 

A private military ceremony was arranged at the Binnenhof, attended by family and friends and with Mussert in attendance, after which Seyffardt was cremated. On 7 February, CS-6 shot fellow institute member “Gemachtigde voor de Volksvoorlichting” (Attorney for the national relations) H.Reydon and his wife. His wife died on the spot, while Reydon died on 24 August of his injuries. The gun used in this attack had been given to Dr. Kastein by Sicherheitsdienst (SD) agent Anton van der Waals, who after tracking him back through information, arrested him on 19 February.

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Two days later Dr. Kastein committed suicide so as not to give away Dutch Resistance information under torture.

Seyffardt and Reydon’s deaths led to massive Nazi Germany reprisals in the occupied Netherlands, under Operation Silbertanne, supported by various German officers. Silbertanne was intended as reprisal for the attacks made on predominantly Dutch collaborators and German occupational forces by the Dutch resistance.

SS General for the Netherlands Hanns Albin Rauter gave order to retaliate by assassinating civilians presumed to be in some way connected to the resistance or to be orange-minded, meaning Dutch patriots, or anti-German.

Hanns Rauter

Rauter  had claimed that Heinrich Himmler had given direct orders. However in a letter dating from November 1943, he writes that he “agrees with the operation”.

The murders were top secret, hardly anyone within Nazi circles knew about them. The relatives of the victims were left with a lot of unanswered questions as the perpetrators imitated the resistance, wearing civilian clothing and using British weapons.

The task of perpetrating the killings was first assigned to especially formed death squads, though killings were later carried out exclusively by Sonderkommando Feldmeijer, a special unit consisting of 15 SS-members.

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Rauter immediately ordered the murder of 50 Dutch hostages and a series of raids on Dutch universities.

The first killings took place in autumn 1943 in Meppel and Staphorst, and within a year more than 54 Dutchmen had been murdered or severely wounded. On 1–2 October 1944, in the village of Putten, over 600 men were deported to camps to be killed in retaliation for resistance activity in the Putten raid. Some of the most notorious Dutch war criminals participated in Operation Silbertanne: Heinrich Boere, Maarten Kuiper , Sander Borgers , Klaas Carel Faber, his brother Pieter Johan Faber , Daniel Bernard and Lambertus van Gog

Mussert was fundamentally opposed to Operation Silbertanne, and when in autumn 1944 SS Brigadeführer Karl Eberhard Schöngarth, head of SiPo and SD, was informed of these retaliatory killings he had them terminated in September 1944.

After World War II, some of the members of the death squad and those responsible for giving the orders were put on trial. Henk Feldmeijer, however, had been killed in the war. Maarten Kuiper and Pieter Johan Faber were executed in 1948. Hanns Albin Rauter was sentenced to death and executed in 1949. Others, however, managed to flee the country and went into hiding outside the Netherlands. Sander Borgers died in 1985 at the age of 67 in Haren, Germany. Klaas Carel Faber lived until his death on May 24, 2012 in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt.

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In July 2009 it was reported that the German government wanted to prosecute Faber after all.Daniel Bernhard died in 1962. Lambertus van Gog fled to Spain but was extradited to the Netherlands in 1978. Heinrich Boere, who had been living for decades in Germany, was found fit to stand trial for the murders committed between 1943 and 1944, by the Provincial Court of Appeal in Cologne on 7 July 2009, and subsequently was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in March 2010. Boere died in a prison hospital on December 1, 2013.

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