Arthur Nebe-Responsible for at least 45,000 deaths.

There are some in Germany and in other countries who portray all of those involved in the 20 July plot as heroes. I believe this is a misinterpretation. Firstly they are not heroes because they did not succeed, Secondly there were quite a few of them who had no issues with the Nazi policies, but had more of an issue with Adolf Hitler.

Arthur Nebe was one of the plotters. He was to lead a team of 12 policemen to kill Himmler, but the signal to act never reached him. After the failed assassination attempt, Nebe fled and went into hiding.

Prior to this part in the plot, Nebe rose through the ranks of the Prussian police force to become head of Nazi Germany’s Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizei; Kripo) in 1936, which was amalgamated into the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) in 1939.

In an August 1939 speech, he defined crime as “a recurring disease on the body of the people.” This disease was supposedly passed hereditarily from criminals and “asocial individuals” to their children. In the Nazi state, asocials were people who behaved in a way considered outside of social norms. The category included people identified as vagabonds, beggars, prostitutes, pimps, and alcoholics; the work shy (arbeitsscheu); and the homeless. This category also included Roma. The Nazi regime viewed Roma as behaviorally abnormal and racially inferior. Defining crime as a disease connected to certain groups radicalized Kripo practice.

Kripo officials from the KTI developed early techniques to gas people en masse. In October 1939, Nebe instructed the KTI to experiment with methods of killing people with mental and physical disabilities. This effort was conducted in cooperation with the Euthanasia Program. A KTI chemical engineer and toxicology expert, Albert Widmann, tested possible killing methods. He ultimately suggested carbon monoxide gas. In fall 1941, Widmann helped create gas vans. The vans used carbon monoxide gas generated from exhaust fumes.

Planners of the Operation Reinhard killing centers adopted this development. At Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, large motor engines were used to generate carbon monoxide gas for the gas chambers.

In 1941 during operation Barbarossa, Nebe volunteered to serve as the commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B, one of the four mobile death squads of the SS. During Nebe’s tenure, this deadly unit was responsible for the mass murders of 45,000 people in the areas around Bialystok, Minsk, and Mogilev. Many of these victims were Jews. Nebe was not forced to take control of this Unit, he volunteered.

In July, 1941 ,Arthur Nebe reported that a “solution to the Jewish problem” was “impractical” in his region of operation due to “the overwhelming number of the Jews”, as in there were too many Jews to be killed by too few men.By August 1941, Nebe came to realize that his Einsatzgruppe’s resources were insufficient to meet the expanded mandate of the killing operations, due to the inclusion of Jewish women and children since that month. This mean seem to some as a person with a conscience, but the only reason he said these things , is not because he didn’t want to kill more Jews, he said it because he did feel he he had enough men to do the job. Just let that train of though sink in for a minute.

In late 1941, Nebe was posted back to Berlin and resumed his career with the RSHA. Nebe commanded the Kripo until he was denounced and executed after the failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler in July 1944.

Nebe was arrested in January 1945 after a former mistress betrayed him. He was sentenced to death by the People’s Court on 2 March and, according to official records, was executed in Berlin at Plötzensee Prison on 21 March 1945 by being hanged with piano wire from a meat hook, in accordance with Hitler’s order that the bomb plotters were to be “hanged like cattle”.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-july-20-1944-plot-to-assassinate-adolf-hitler

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-nazi-kripo-criminal-police-1

Berthold von Stauffenberg- The Brother of Claus.

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Most people will have heard of Claus von Stauffenberg, one of the main conspirators of the 20th of July assassination plot. Many books have been written about him and several movies were made about him, one the most recent ones ‘Valkyrie’ with Tom Cruise in the title role.

valkyrie

But there was another von Stauffenberg involved in the 20th July plot,Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg.

I am not going to go to deep into his early life but will focus more on his last days and will also go in to the question of how heroic the von Stauffenberg brothers really were.

Cousine des Hitler-Attentaeters erinnert sich an einen warmherzigen Menschen

Berthold was the oldest of four brothers (the second being Berthold’s twin Alexander Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg) born into an old and distinguished aristocratic South German Catholic family. His parents were the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of Württemberg.

In 1939, he joined the German Navy, working in the High Command as a staff judge and advisor for international law.

Berthold’s apartment at Tristanstraße in Berlin, where his brother Claus also lived for some time, was a meeting place for the 20 July conspirators, including their cousin Peter Yorck von Wartenburg. As Claus had access to the inner circle around Hitler, he was assigned to plant a bomb at the Führers briefing hut at the military high command in Rastenburg, East Prussia, on 20 July 1944. Claus then flew to Rangsdorf airfield south of Berlin where he met with Berthold. They went together to Bendlerstraße, which the coup leaders intended to utilize as the centre of their operations in Berlin.

Hitler survived the bomb blast and the coup failed.

Hitler-Attentat, 20. Juli 1944

Berthold and his brother were arrested at Bendlerstraße the same night. Claus was executed by firing squad shortly afterwards.

After his arrest, Stauffenberg was questioned by the Gestapo about his views about the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”. Stauffenberg told the Gestapo that “he and his brother had basically approved of the racial principle of National Socialism, but considered it to be ‘exaggerated’ and ‘excessive’” Stauffenberg went on to state.

“The racial idea has been grossly betrayed in this war in that the best German blood is being irrevocably sacrificed, while simultaneously Germany is populated by millions of foreign workers, who certainly cannot be described as of high racial quality”

Berthold was tried in the Volksgerichtshof (“People’s Court”) by Roland Freisler on 10 August and was one of eight conspirators executed by strangulation, hanged in Plötzensee Prison, Berlin, later that day. Before he was killed Berthold was strangled and then revived multiple times.The entire execution and multiple resuscitations were filmed for Hitler to view at his leisure.

Berlin, Berthold Schenk Graf v. Stauffenberg

Although their acts could be seen as heroic but both of the brothers had signed to the idea of the Nazi regime, and it was clear from the outset what that regime’s policies were.

Claus von Stauffenberg and his regiment took part in the attack on Poland. He supported the occupation of Poland and its handling by the Nazi regime and the use of Poles as slave workers to achieve German prosperity as well as German colonization and exploitation of Poland. The deeply rooted belief common in the German aristocracy was that the Eastern territories, populated predominantly by Poles and partly absorbed by Prussia in partitions of Poland, but taken from the German Empire after World War I, should be colonized as the Teutonic Knights had done in the Middle Ages. Stauffenberg said, “It is essential that we begin a systemic colonization in Poland. But I have no fear that this will not occur”.

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By July 1944 it was pretty clear that the Germans were going to lose the war. And I wonder if it had been different, would the von Stauffenbergs (or any of the other conspirators)have been such willing participants in an assassination plot?

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