The farce that was the Nuremberg Trials

Nuremberg

Today marks the 74th anniversary of the sentencing at the main Nuremberg trials.The sentencing took  two days, with the individual sentences read out on the afternoon of 1 October.

The Nuremberg trials were never really meant to serve justice. In one way I can understand it but on the other hand looking at the sentences handed out ,one can not escape the fact that it was really a window dressing exercise.

Of the 24 defendants the international tribunal found all but three of the defendants guilty. Twelve were sentenced to death, one in absentia,Martin Borman, and the rest were given prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life behind bars.

The fact that 3 of them got acquitted speaks volumes, Each one of those 24 men were involved in horrendous war crimes and genocide in one way or another, be it in actively participating or by facilitating No one should have walked out of that court a free man.

Those who did not get the death sentence were given very lenient sentences.

Albert Speer was pivotal in the Nazi crimes but he was very manipulative. His lies were believed and he was sentenced to 20 years. After his release he lived a wealthy life mainly from proceeds of stolen art.

Because the accused men and judges spoke four different languages, the trial saw the introduction of a technological innovation taken for granted today: instantaneous translation. IBM provided the technology and recruited men and women from international telephone exchanges to provide on-the-spot translations through headphones in English, French, German and Russian.

Strangely enough not one staff member of IBM were in the docks with the defendants. IBM played a crucial  role in the Holocaust  at all six phases: identification, expulsion from society, confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and even extermination. Moreover, recently discovered  documents portray with crystal clarity the personal involvement and micro-management of IBM president Thomas J. Watson in the company’s co-planning and co-organizing of Hitler’s campaign to destroy the Jews.

There were subsequent trials but if you look at the amount of sentences it is absolutely shocking how so many got away with murder. Many of them got high positions in government bodies in Germany and the USSR,USA and the UK.

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Sources

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nuremberg-trials

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ibm-holocaust_b_1301691

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ibm-holocaust_b_1301691

WikiPedia

 

 

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The conditions at Bergen Belsen.

Bergen Belsen

I was in two minds on how to do this blog. Initially I was considering adding graphic pictures to accompany the text , but then I thought that the pictures may just be too horrific and it would turn people away from reading the text. Additionally there would be a chance that this blog would be deleted on social media outlet, and there would be a chance that I’d get banned again.

Therefore on this occasion I believe the text will be more then sufficient to give an understanding how the conditions were in Bergen Belsen.

It was originally established as a prisoner of war camp, in 1940. However in 1943, parts of it became a concentration camp. The camp was liberated on April 15,1945.

liberated sign

Below are 2 testimonies of witnesses, describing the horrors of the camp. The first account is a part of a description of conditions at the camp on 16 April, 1945, taken from file WO 235/19/76008 at the National Archives UK. The author’s name is not mentioned.

The second account is from  survivor Dora Almaleh, prepared for British War Crimes Tribunal, 13 June 1945 .

compound

Men’s Compounds.

No.1.

Typhus was on the wane and reached its peak in March. It is understood that it commenced early in February.

No. 2

This was the largest men’s compound and contained approx 8,000. Typhus had commenced here at a later date than in Compound 1 and had now reached its peak. There were 266 cases and new cases were still occurring, but the medical members considered the worst was over. It was in this Compound that the story of cannibalism was reported to me by one of the doctors. There had been none for the last 2 days but before that there had been many cases.

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Transcript

IN THE MATTER OF WAR CRIMES

AND

ATTROCITIES AT BELSEN

DEPOSITION OF DORA ALMALEH (Female) late of 19B Othos Peve Ganna, Salonika, Greece, sworn before Major SAVILE GEOFFREY CHAMPION, Royal Artillery, Legal Staff, No. 1 War Crimes Investigation Team.

1. I am 21 years of age and because I am a Jewess I was arrested on 1st April 1942 and taken to Auschwitz Concentration Camp where I remained until I was transferred to Belsen in November 1944.

2. I recognize No. 2 on photograph 22 as an S.S. woman at Belsen. I knew here by the name of HILDE and I have now been told that her full name is HILDE LISIEWITZ. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was one of a working party detailed to carry vegetables from the store to the kitchen by means of a hand card. In charge of this working party was LISIEWITZ. Whilst I was on this job I allowed two male prisoners, whose names I do not know, to take two turnips off the cart. LISIEWITZ saw me do this and she pushed the men, who were very weak to the ground and then beat them on their heads with a thick stick which she always carried. She then stamped on their chests in the region of the heart with her jack-boots. The men lay still clutching the turnips. LISIEWITZ then got hold of me and shook me until I started to cry. She the said ‘Don’t cry or I’ll kill you too’.

(In the picture below)Hilde Lisiewitz is second from the left)

guards

She then went away and after 15 minutes I went up to the men and touched them to see if they were still alive. I formed the opinion that they were dead. I felt their hearts and could feel nothing. They were cold to the touch like dead men. I then went away leaving the bodies lying there and I do not know what happened to them.

3. I recognize No. 1 on photograph No. 5 as an S.S. man at Belsen who was in charge of the bread store. I have now been told that his name is KARL EGERSDORF. One day in April 1945 whilst at Belsen I was working in the vegetable store when I saw a Hungarian girl, whose name I do not know, come out of the bread store nearby carrying a loaf of bread. At this moment EGERSDORF appeared in the street and at a distance of about 6 meters from the girl shouted ‘What are you doing here?’. The girl replied ‘I am hungry’ and then started to run away. EGERSDORF immediately pulled out his pistol and shot the girl. She fell down and lay still bleeding from the back of the head where the bullet had penetrated. EGERSDORF then went away and a few minutes later I went and looked at the girl. I am sure she was dead and men who were passing by looked at her and were of the same opinion. The bullet had entered in the centre of the back of the head.

(In the picture below,Karl Egersdorf is first on the left. )

male gurads

I do not know what happened to her body.

SWORN BY THE SAID DEPONENT DORA ALMALEH AT BELSEN THIS 13TH DAY OF JUNE 1945, BEFORE ME

S.G. Champion [Signed]

Major R.A.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that, the said Deponent not understanding English, this Affidavit was translated in my presence to the said Deponent before swearing and I am satisfied that its contents were fully understood by the said Deponent.

Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. S.G.Champion[signed] Major R.A. I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have accurately translated this Affidavit to the said Deponent. Dated this 13th day of JUNE 1945. [signed] It appears to be a matter for medical evidence as to whether it is possible for a human body to have lost its warmth by death within 15 minutes, even where the man was in a weak state and had been savagely assaulted.

S.G.Champion

Major R.A.

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Sources

The National Archives UK Government.

 

“Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy”

Gilbert

The title of this blog is a quote from Captain G. M. Gilbert. which he quoted after the Nuremberg trials. He was  appointed the prison psychologist of the German prisoners. During the process of the Nuremberg trials , During this time he became a confidant to several of the defendants ,including Hermann Göring.

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own. In short to ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

To a great extend I agree with his opinion. However a psychopath can also imagine him or herself in the situation or circumstances of another person. But where someone with empathy use their use their ability for good and to facilitate a helping hand where possible, a psychopath uses this ability to better their own position at any cost regardless the price anyone else has to pay.

Gilbert had a famous exchange with Göring, which he recorded in his book”The Psychology of Dictatorship “.

Below is the text of that exchange.

“Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Göring indicates here that he understands that no one wants war, but he also knows how easy it is to get people to do things they usually would not even contemplate, once you set the conditions for it.

I think a good lesson can be learned from that. The Holocaust happened, but it is not unthinkable something like this could happen again, and what scares me most it could  perhaps happen on an even  bigger scale.The times may have changed but deep down mankind hasn’t.

nuremberg

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The testimony of Otto Ohlendorf- A tale of Nazi corruption.

IRR File

Born in Berlin in 1907, Ohlendorf joined the SA in 1925 and the SS in 1926. In 1936 he joined the SD as an economic adviser and from 1939 to 1945 he served as the chief of the Reich Security Main Office’s Amt III, which studied the results of government measures on the German population. Ohlendorf is best known however, for his role as the Chief of Einsatzgruppe D, one of four mobile killing units that followed the German Army during the invasion of the USSR. Ohlendorf’s unit was responsible for the southern Ukraine including the Crimea, and was responsible for the killing of 90,000 individuals from June 1941 to March 1942.2

Ohlendorf surrendered to British authorities on 23 May 1945 and testified at the Trial of the Major War Criminals later that year. In 1947, he was the chief defendant in one of the twelve subsequent Nuremberg trials held by the U.S. Army (Case No. 9, The Einsatzgruppen Case). He was sentenced to death, and in 1951, despite the American revision of many sentences, Ohlendorf was executed by hanging.

One of the newly released documents is a seventeen-page British interrogation of Ohlendorf from August 1945 on corruption in the Nazi State. Ohlendorf, though a fanatic anti-Semite, considered himself an honest civil servant. Moreover, his educational background was in economics and from 1936 to 1945 he held economic and financial posts in the government alongside his other duties. Ohlendorf, the report begins, “is considered personally honest and he has always nursed a great dislike for corruption. The information… is therefore considered reliable.” Ohlendorf’s interrogators feared that if anything, he had held information back so that he could blackmail his fellow Nazis in the future.

Ohlendorf’s extensive comments concern details of known practices, including Hitler’s gifts of landed estates to his favorites,the corrupt practices of Reich Labor leader Robert Ley,and the obscene dishonesty of Hermann Göring.

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The interrogation adds episodes on less well-known figures too. Ohlendorf claimed that Josef Spacil, SPACILthe head of the RSHA Office in charge of administration, spent considerable efforts placing forged British banknotes into circulation for the purchase of black market items in southern Europe. Ohlendorf further explained that Germany’s main auditing firm, the Deutsche Revisons – und Treuhandgesellschaft, which audited the largest German industrial concerns, was awash with corrupt practices. Instead of providing state authorities insight into the financial health of major firms, senior auditors, who were associated with other commercial firms, used inside information for personal profit. Ohlendorf mentioned that several Nazi party district leaders, particularly in annexed Poland, also helped themselves financially. Erich Koch, the Gauleiter of East Prussia, created a foundation in his own name of which he was sole member, manager, and director, and cemented his political position by showering senior officials such as Göring with lavish gifts. In May 1945, Koch fled to Flensburg aboard a ship “loaded with riches.”

WWII Ukraine Erich Koch

Arthur Greiser, the Gauleiter of Posen, was associated “with shady dealings in gold articles which originated from the LODZ ghetto” and procured luxurious houses and a big country estate, according to Ohlendorf.

Another significant document is a lengthy interrogation of Ohlendorf by a British intelligence officer of 7 July 1945, which concerns the final days of the war, particularly regarding Heinrich HimmlerOhlendorf was in a unique position to comment. Following Hitler’s suicide, Ohlendorf was a senior economic official with the 23-day government of Karl Doenitz in Plön and then Flensburg. He spoke on the following during his interrogation:

  • Discussions held in Berlin in April 1945 between senior SS officials including Ohlendorf, SS-General Felix Steiner, and SS-General Richard Hildebrandt. These discussions aimed at the creation of a new government that could procure a separate peace with the Allies. Himmler, these men hoped, would lead this government and Hitler would be pushed aside if necessary. “Our aim,” said Ohlendorf, “was not to put up any resistance, but to let the Allies advance as far as the ELBE, having first concluded a tacit agreement that they’d halt there and thus to cover our rear for the continuation of the struggle against the East. These men, who were sober enough in all other respects, still believed that we had a sporting chance against the East.”
  • Reference to telephone orders by Himmler days before Hitler’s suicide. Ohlendorf said that Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller was “ordered to stay in Berlin as long as the FÜHRER remained there, as he shared responsibility for the FÜHRER’s safety.” Mueller vanished after the war, and for years it was surmised that Mueller offered himself to the U.S. or USSR for intelligence purposes. Ohlendorf’s comment that Mueller was ordered to remain adds weight to the probability that Mueller died in Berlin.
  • There is some new detail concerning Himmler’s state of mind on May 6, 1945 after Hitler’s Last Testament appointed Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz as the successor while expelling Himmler from the Nazi Party. Ohlendorf described the broad extent of Himmler’s “degrading” and “unworthy” efforts to gain a post in the Doenitz government and Himmler’s real anger on hearing that he was an “encumbrance” who would do the new government more harm than good. Also new is mention of Himmler’s belief on May 6 that Field Marshall Ferdinand Schoerner, the new Commander-in-Chief of the Army, might protect him, and his consideration of joining Schoerner’s army so that he could be killed in battle.

Ferdinand Schörner

  • Ohlendorf mentions a personal letter, dated 9 May 1945, which Himmler wrote and sent to British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. Montgomery had accepted the surrender of German forces in the Northwest on the 4th. Ohlendorf obliquely mentioned this letter’s existence at his trial in 1947 but this British interrogation provides more detail. Ohlendorf said that Himmler showed the letter to him and that he altered Himmler’s text because “it had been unfortunately worded.” Himmler then had an adjutant take the letter to Montgomery. Himmler, Ohlendorf said, was anxious about the answer. After leaving Flensburg on the 9th, he regularly sent a man to Ohlendorf to see if Montgomery had replied. Accounts of Himmler’s final days do not mention the letter, so one can only surmise what it said. It was likely a final attempt to split the Anglo-Soviet alliance. Ohlendorf said that Himmler until the very end believed that an agreement could be struck and that he hoped to be the Allies’ “confidence man in Europe.”

Otto_Ohlendorf_at_the_Nuremberg_Trials

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Nazi crimes trials

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Before you read on let me explain the title of Nazi crimes trials. This is not about the Nuremberg trials or any other subsequent war crimes trials. This is about Nazis bringing Nazis to trial as ordered by Heinrich Himmler.

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I will give you a minute to leave it sink in.

The chief investigator and prosecutor  was Georg Konrad Morgen(picture at the top of the blog),  an SS judge and lawyer.

He was demobilized and employed as a judge in the SS Judiciary, which assigned him to its court in Cracow. In Cracow he investigated several highly placed SS officers for corruption, including Hermann Fegelein, a favorite of Heinrich Himmler’s and the future brother-in-law of Eva Braun. He also exposed one of Fegelein’s co-conspirators, Jaroslawa Mirowska, as the head of the Polish underground.

After requesting a transfer, Morgen was instead dismissed by Himmler, ostensibly for acquitting an SS officer of the racial crime of sexual relations with an alien race, but also perhaps for meddling in Himmler’s affairs.He was punished by being sent to the Wiking Division on the Eastern Front. However, in mid-1943, Himmler recalled Morgen to investigate and prosecute corruption in the concentration camp system, which had become rampant, as reflected in Himmler’s notorious Posen speeches.

 

Page_of_Himmler_Posen_Speech,_Oct_4,_1943

Although Morgen could not accuse the men of murder or unjust killings, as Hitler’s regime allowed it to make mass murders like those in concentration camps legal, Morgen was able to charge these men with theft, military insubordination, and murder of individuals.

This is the list of those that were indicted

Name Rank Location
Karl Otto Koch SS-Standartenfuhrer Buchenwald
Hermann Florstedt SS-Standartenfuhrer Majdanek
Hermann Hackmann SS- Hauptsturmfuhrer Majdanek
Hans Loritz SS- Oberfuhrer Sachsenhausen
Adam Gruenewald SS- Sturmbannfuhrer Vught
Karl Kuenstler SS- Obersturmbannfuhrer Flossenburg
Alex Piorkowski SS- Obersturmbannfuhrer Dachau
Maximillian Grabner SS- Untersturmfuhrer Auschwitz
Gerhard Palitzsch SS- Hauptscharfuhrer Auschwitz
Amon Goth SS- Hauptsturmfuhrer Plaszow
Hans Aumeier SS- Sturmbannfuhrer Auschwitz

Rather then going in to each of the accused I will pick out just a few of them.

Karl-Otto Koch

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Koch was first caught for his crimes by SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Josias, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont in 1941, while he was glancing over the death lists of Buchenwald, he had noticed the head hospital workers name, Dr Walter Kramer. He had recongised him because Kramer had successfully treated him in the past, Josias had started to investigate the death and found out that Koch, being the commandant had ordered Kramer and Karl Peixof, a hospital assistant, killed as political prisoners, because they had treated him for syphilis and in fear of being discovered had killed them.

Josias had also gained reports of a prisoner being shot while attempting to escape, by this time Koch had been transferred to Majdanek in Poland. However his wife was still working at Buchenwald. Josias ordered to have a full scale investigation of the camp by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen. Throughout this investigation, more of the orders to kill prisoners were being revealed, as well as the stolen property of the prisoners. The prisoner who had been shot in his attempted escape was actually told to get water from a well which was some distance from the camp, he was then shot from behind, he was also another one of the hospital attendants who had treated Koch.  

A charge of incitement to murder was lodged by Prince Waldeck and Dr. Morgen against Koch, to which more charges were later added. Other camp officers were also charged, which included Ilse Koch. Koch was arrested in August 1943. Although the camps were known for vast amount of crimes against humanity, the Nazis did not officially sanction cruelty to the prisoners. As strange as it may sound. The trial resulted in Koch being sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS. Koch was executed by firing squad on 5 April 1945, one week before American allied troops arrived to liberate the camp.

Amon Göth

Amon_Göth-prisoner_1945

On 3 September 1943, in addition to his duties at Płaszów, Göth was the officer in charge of the liquidation of the ghetto at Tarnów, which had been home to 25,000 Jews (about 45 per cent of the city’s population) at the start of World War II. By the time the ghetto was liquidated, 8,000 Jews remained. They were loaded on a train to Auschwitz concentration camp, but less than half survived the journey. Most of the survivors were deemed unsuitable for forced labour and were murdered immediately on their arrival at Auschwitz. According to testimony of several witnesses as recorded in his 1946 indictment for war crimes, Göth personally shot between 30 and 90 women and children during the liquidation of the ghetto.

On his birthday in 1943, Göth ordered Natalia Karp, who had just arrived in Płaszów, to play the piano. Karp performed Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor so well that Göth allowed her and her sister to live.

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Göth was also the officer in charge of the liquidation of Szebnie concentration camp, which interned 4,000 Jewish and 1,500 Polish slave labourers. Evidence presented at Göth’s trial indicates he delegated this task to a subordinate, SS-Hauptscharführer Josef Grzimek, who was sent to assist camp commandant SS-Hauptsturmführer Hans Kellermann with mass killings.Between 21 September 1943 and 3 February 1944 the camp was gradually liquidated. Around a thousand of the victims were taken to the nearby forest and shot, and the remainder were sent to Auschwitz, where most were gassed immediately on arrival.

On 13 September 1944, Göth was relieved of his position and charged by the SS with theft of Jewish property (which belonged to the state, according to Nazi legislation), failure to provide adequate food to the prisoners under his charge, violation of concentration camp regulations regarding the treatment and punishment of prisoners, and allowing unauthorised access to camp personnel records by prisoners and non-commissioned officers.Administration of the camp at Płaszów was turned over to SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Büscher. Göth was scheduled for an appearance before SS judge Georg Konrad Morgen, but due to the progress of World War II and Germany’s looming defeat, the charges against him were dropped in early 1945. SS doctors diagnosed Göth as suffering from mental illness, and he was committed to a mental institution in Bad Tölz, where he was arrested by the United States military in May 1945.

Auschwitz-Birkenau

KZ Auschwitz, Einfahrt

Morgen subsequently discovered the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Two packages of dental gold, sent by an Auschwitz dental technician to his wife, had been confiscated by postal inspectors and passed on to Morgen for investigation.Realizing that the gold must have been collected from Holocaust victims, Morgen sent an investigative team to Auschwitz and later visited himself, receiving a thorough tour of the killing center at Birkenau. His investigation was not welcomed though; his assistant SS-Stabsscharführer Gerhard Putsch disappeared and the building where evidence files were stored was burned down.Although he could not prosecute the mass extermination of Jews — which, as he explained after the war, was legalized by order of Hitler — he still went on to prosecute the camp commandant Rudolf Höss and the Chief of the camp Gestapo, Maximilian Grabner, for crimes including murder.

Maximilian Grabner

RetrieveAsset

In 1943, he was arrested for theft,murder, graft and corruption and was put on trial in Weimar a year later. After the trial, he returned to Katowice. Grabner was arrested by the Allies in 1945 and turned over to Poland in 1947. In the Auschwitz Trial he was found guilty of charges of murder and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced to death. Grabner was hanged on 28 January 1948.

In addition to prosecuting concentration-camp officers, Morgen sought an arrest warrant for Adolf Eichmann,as Eichmann himself confirmed at his trial in Jerusalem, but Morgen’s request was rejected.

eichmann

 

After the war, Morgen was a witness at the trial of Nazi war criminals at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg; also the trial of SS WVHA members, and the 1965 Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt–am–Main. Thereafter, he continued his legal career in Frankfurt. He died on 4 February 1982.

Konrad_Morgen

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Walther Funk-Hitler’s Banker

funk

Walther Funk, (born August 18, 1890, Trakehnen, East Prussia, Germany [now Yasnaya Polyana, Russia]—died May 31, 1960, Düsseldorf, West Germany), German Nazi and economist who was economics minister of the Third Reich from 1938 to 1945 and president of the Reichsbank from 1939.

He was tried and convicted as a major war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Sentenced to life in prison, he remained incarcerated until he was released on health grounds in 1957. He died three years later.

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What disturbs me about the above quote is that although he says he is ashamed there is no admission of guilt, he also forgets to mention he willingly participated, and made a good life out of it.

At Nuremberg, Funk was accused by Allied prosecutors of having been closely involved in the State confiscation and disposal of the property of German Jews from this time. He boasted that by 1938, the German state had confiscated Jewish property worth two million marks, using decrees from Hitler and other top Nazis to force German Jews to leave their property and assets to the State if they emigrated, such as the Reich Flight Tax. They were forced by Göring to pay for the damage caused by the Nazis to their own property on Kristallnacht, and increasingly deprived of their personal wealth and assets as the Second World War approached.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1970-083-42,_Magdeburg,_zerstörtes_jüdisches_Geschäft

Below are the findings of the Nuremberg Trials of Funk.

Funk is indicted under all four counts. Funk, who had previously been a financial journalist, joined the Nazi Party in 1931, and shortly thereafter became one of Hitler’s personal economic advisers. On 30th January, 1933, Funk was made Press Chief in the Reich Government, and on 11th March, 1933, became Under Secretary in the Ministry of Propaganda and shortly thereafter a leading figure in the various Nazi organisations which were used to control the press, films, music and publishing houses. Funk took office as Minister of Economics and Plenipotentiary General for War Economy in early 1938 and as President of the Reichsbank in January 1939. He succeeded Schacht in all three of these positions. He was made a member of the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich on August, 1939, and a member of the Central Planning Board in September, 1943.

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Funk became active in the economic field after the Nazi plans to wage aggressive war had been clearly defined. One of his representatives attended a conference on 14th October, 1938, at which Goering announced a gigantic increase in armaments and instructed the Ministry of Economics to increase exports to obtain the necessary exchange.

On 28th January, 1939, one of Funk’s subordinates sent a memorandum to the OKW on the use of prisoners of war to make up labour deficiencies which would arise in case of mobilisation. On 30th May, 1939, the Under Secretary or the Ministry of Economics attending a meeting at which detailed plans were made for the financing of the war.

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On 25th August, 1939, Funk wrote a letter to Hitler expressing his gratitude that he had been able to participate in such world shaking events; that his plans for the ” financing of the war,” for the control of wage and price conditions and for the strengthening of the Reichsbank had been completed; and that he had inconspicuously transferred into gold all foreign exchange resources available to Germany. On 14th October, 1939, after the war had begun, Funk made a speech in which he stated that the economic and financial departments of Germany working under the Four Year Plan had been engaged in the secret economic preparation for war for over a year.

Funk participated in the economic planning which preceded the attack on the U.S.S.R. His deputy held daily conferences with Rosenberg on the economic problems which would arise in the occupation of Soviet territory. Funk himself participated in planning for the printing of rouble notes in Germany prior to the attack to serve as, occupation currency in the U.S.S.R. After the attack he made a speech in which he described plans he had made for the economic exploitation of the ” vast territories of the Soviet Union ” which were to be used as a source of raw material for Europe.

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Funk was not one of the leading figures in organising the Nazi plans for aggressive war. His activity in the economic sphere was under the supervision of Goering as Plenipotentiary General of the Four Year Plan. He did, however, participate in the economic preparation for certain of the aggressive wars, notably those against Poland and the Soviet Union, but his guilt can be adequately dealt with under Count Two of the Indictment.

In his capacity as Under Secretary in the Ministry of Propaganda and Vicechairman of the Reichs Chamber of Culture, Funk had participated in the early Nazi programme of economic discrimination against the Jews. On 12th November, 1938, after the pogroms of November, he attended a meeting held under the chairmanship of Goering to discuss the solution of the Jewish problem and proposed a decree providing for the banning of Jews from all business activities, which Goering issued the same day under the authority of the Four Year Plan.

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Funk has testified that he was shocked at the outbreaks of 10th November, but on 15th November, he made a speech describing these outbreaks as a “violent explosion of the disgust of the German people, because of a criminal Jewish attack against the German people,” and saying that the elimination of the Jews from economic life followed logically their elimination from political life.

In 1942 Funk entered into an agreement with Himmler under which the Reichsbank was to receive certain gold and jewels and currency from the SS and instructed his subordinates, who were to work out the details, not to ask too many questions.

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As a result of this agreement the SS sent to the Reichsbank the personal belongings taken from the victims who had been exterminated in the concentration camps. The Reichsbank kept the coins and bank notes and sent the jewels, watches and personal belongings to Berlin Municipal Pawn Shops. The gold from the eyeglasses, and gold teeth and fillings was stored in the Reichsbank vaults. Funk has protested that he did not know that the Reichsbank was receiving articles of this kind. The Tribunal is of the opinion that Funk either knew what was being received or was deliberately closing his eyes to what was being done.

As Minister of Economics and President of the Reichsbank, Funk participated in the economic exploitation of occupied territories. He was President of the Continental Oil Company which was charged with the exploitation of the oil resources of occupied territories in the East. He was responsible for the seizure of the gold reserves of the Czechoslovakian National Bank and for the liquidation of the Yugoslavian National Bank. On 6th June, 1942, Funk’s deputy sent a letter to the OKW requesting that funds from the French Occupation Cost Fund be made available for black market purchases. Funk’s knowledge of German occupation policies is shown by his presence at the meeting of 8th August, 1942, at which Goering addressed the various German occupation chiefs, told them of the products required from their territories, and added, ” It makes no difference to me in this connection if you say that your people will starve.”

In the fall of 1943, Funk was a member of the Central Planning Board which determined the total number of labourers needed for German industry, and required Sauckel to produce them, usually by deportation from occupied territories. Funk did not appear to be particularly interested in this aspect of the forced labour programme, and usually sent a deputy to attend the meetings, often SS General Ohlendorf, the former Chief of the SD inside of Germany and the former Commander of Einsatzgruppe D. But Funk was aware that the board of which he was a member was demanding the importation of slave labourers, and allocating them to the various industries under its control.

As President of the Reichsbank, Funk was also indirectly involved in the utilisation of concentration camp labour. Under his direction the Reichsbank set up a revolving fund of 12,000,000 Reichsmarks to the credit of the SS for the construction of factories to use concentration camp labourers.

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In spite of the fact that he occupied important official positions, Funk was never a dominant figure in the various pro

grammes in which he participated. This is a mitigating fact, of which the Tribunal takes notice.

The Tribunal finds that Funk is not guilty on Count One but is guilty under Counts Two, Three and Four.

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The Ritchie Boys

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In the 1930s, as Germany grew increasingly hostile to Jews, many Jewish families tried to leave the Nazi state. And many of their efforts were stymied — by lack of money, by vindictive German authorities and by the nearly closed borders of countries like the United States. Often, a Jewish family could afford to send only one of its children — usually the oldest male — at a time.

Those Jewish children, mostly teens, settled as best they could in America, cut off from their families and what was once their home. When the United States entered the war against Germany, many of these German-born Jews jumped at the chance to help their new country — and to help their families still in Europe.

The Ritchie Boys consisted of approximately 15,200 servicemen who were trained for U.S. Army Intelligence during WWII at the secret Camp Ritchie training facility. Approximately 14%, or 2,200, of them were Jewish refugees born in Germany and Austria. Most of the men sent to Camp Ritchie for training were assigned there because of fluency in German, French, Italian, Polish, or other languages needed by the US Army during WWII. They had been drafted into or volunteered to join the United States Army and when their ability to speak the languages of the enemy were discovered, they were sent to Camp Ritchie on secret orders.

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Some of the Jewish refugees who were part of this program had originally arrived in the US as children, many without their parents, and were also among the One Thousand Children. (One such OTC and Ritchie boy was Ambassador Richard Schifter)

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Nearly 2,000 German-born Jews were trained at Camp Ritchie to interrogate captured German soldiers. Because they grew up with the language and the culture of the enemy, the group was uniquely suited to plumb the minds of their Nazi captives. After completing the eight-week training course at Camp Ritchie, these Ritchie Boys were formed into Interrogation of Prisoner of War (IPW) teams. They would face the very men who persecuted them and their families.

No small amount of courage was needed for their work.

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Typically, small IPW(interrogations of Prisoners of war) teams were attached to forward units of American forces, to have access to fresh information from newly captured German soldiers. Recently captured soldiers, disoriented, scared and hungry, were more likely to talk.

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The Ritchie Boys knew what they were doing. Interrogations were in every sense a mind game, and at Camp Ritchie, the young soldiers were taught how to best their interrogatees without using force.

At Camp Ritchie, they even demonstrated what Nazi hysteria was like so the interrogators weren’t taken by surprise by the Third Reich POWs with their frightening mannerisms.

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There were four basic interrogation techniques: “superior knowledge,” “form of bribery,” “find common interests” and “use of fear.”

The Ritchie Boys practiced their German-language prisoner interrogation skills on mock prisoners at Camp Ritchie. They addressed him in German, offered a chair, water, a cigarette – before getting tough.

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The interrogator would first overwhelm the prisoner with their vast, detailed knowledge of the German military. This would often get a new prisoner talking, since the interrogator seemed to know everything already. (As part of their training, Ritchie Boys exhaustively studied the ins and outs of the enemy forces. They had to commit much of it to memory.)

The bribery tactic would have the interrogator consume a coveted item — usually chocolate or cigarettes — in front of the prisoner, and share only in exchange for information. In finding common interests, the interrogator would chat amiably with the prisoner, developing a rapport, and thus lower their guard.

A common interrogation tactic was to use the Germans’ fear of transfer into Soviet custody. By means of targeted disinformation via newspaper announcements, flyers, radio broadcasts, and sound trucks, the German population and military were encouraged to cease their resistance to the Allied invasion.

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One IPW duo invented a fake Soviet official named Commissar Krukov (one of them dressed up in a borrowed Soviet uniform) who threatened to send uncooperative prisoners to Siberia. The German POWs seemed to fear that more than anything.

After the war, many of the Ritchie Boys served as translators and interrogators, some during the Nuremberg Trials.

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Many of them went on to successful political, scientific, or business careers

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The Nazi Plan-Film and evidence

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The lead U.S. prosecutor, and the driving force behind the organization of the Trial, was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.  During preparation for the trial, Jackson made the bold and historic decision to use film and photo evidence to convict the Nazis. But these films had to be found..

Jackson knew that it was important to use Nazi shot footage as no one could claim that the footage had been prejudiced against the Nazis by what was shown since it was shot by the Nazis themselves.

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A special OSS film team — OSS Field Photographic Branch/War Crimes — was formed for this purpose. Brothers Budd and Stuart Schulberg, sons of the former Paramount studio chief B.P. Schulberg, were assigned to this special OSS search team that was dispatched to Europe. Budd was a Navy Lieutenant, and his younger brother Stuart, a Marine Corps Sergeant.

Stuart Schulberg and another office from the film unit, Daniel Fuchs (later a well-known author), were sent first, in June 1945.  Budd Schulberg, along with OSS film editors Robert Parrish and Joseph Zigman, followed in September 1945.

The search for incriminating film was conducted under enormous time pressure, and they encountered sabotage along the way.  They found two caches of film still burning, as though their guardians had been tipped off, and began to suspect leaks from their German informants, two SS film editors.

Just in time for the start of the trial, they found significant evidence, which, in close collaboration with Jackson’s staff of lawyers, they edited into a 4-hour film for the courtroom called The Nazi Plan.

In the course of this work, Budd Schulberg apprehended Leni Riefenstahl at her country home in Kitzbühl, Austria, as a material witness, and took her to the Nuremberg editing room, so she could help Budd identify Nazi figures in her films and in other German film material his unit had captured.

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Stuart Schulberg took possession of the photo archive of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s personal photographer, and became the film unit’s expert on still photo evidence. Most of the stills presented at the trial carry his affidavit of authenticity.

George Stevens was brought in to put it all together, with the help of Schulberg and principal editor Robert Parrish. The footage was extensive and the version finally edited together for Nuremberg was almost two hours longer than the version released to the public later. The complete documentary, with narration written by Schulberg, was presented as evidence on December 13, 1945, and helped in the effort to convict Nazi war criminals.

The Nazi Plan isn’t an easy watch, as it deals with the unblinking truth about the Nazis, but it’s an important one nonetheless. Few directors and writers in Hollywood, much less any film industry, can claim they played a vital role in the conviction of Nazi war criminals from World War II. Writer Budd Schulberg and director George Stevens could but, to their credit, never made much of a big deal about it. They did their part and weren’t looking for any reward or any long lasting fame as war heroes. But they were, and their work helped bring some of the worst figures in world history to justice.

Declaration of war

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Alfried Krupp- Paying for his crimes, but very little.

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This is something that always amazed me, the leniency given to the German captains of industry. Even when the initial sentences were high(but not high enough) they were often pardoned by representatives of the allied Governments.

After the war, the Allied Military Government investigated Krupp’s employment of slave laborers. John_J._McCloy_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_20587He was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and the forfeiture of all property. However, after three years, John J. McCloy, the American High Commissioner for Germany arranged for Krupp to be pardoned and the forfeiture of his property was reversed.

The Krupp Trial (or officially, The United States of America vs. Alfried Krupp, et al.) was the tenth of twelve trials for war crimes that U.S. authorities held in their occupation zone at Nuremberg, Germany after the end of World War II.

These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunal, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justice.

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Alfried Krupp, the son of Gustav Krupp, was born in Essen, Germany, on 13th August, 1907. After studying engineering in Munich and Berlin he joined his father’s company, Friedrich Krupp AG, that by the First World War was Germany’s largest armaments company.

Krupp and his father were initially hostile to the Nazi Party. However, in 1930 they were persuaded by Hjalmar Schacht that Adolf Hitler would destroy the trade unions and the political left in Germany. Schacht also pointed out that a Hitler government would considerably increase expenditure on armaments. In 1933 Krupp joined the Schutzstaffel (SS).

As a result of the terms of the Versailles Treaty the Krupp family had been forced to become producers of agricultural machinery after the First World War. However, in 1933, Krupp factories began producing tanks in what was officially part of the ‘Agricultural Tractor Scheme’.

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They also built submarines in the Netherlands and new weapons were developed and tested in Sweden.

During World War II, the company’s profits increased and it gained control of factories in German-occupied Europe. Alfried became more active in controlling the company as his father’s health declined. He became de facto head of the firm in 1941 when Gustav Krupp suffered a stroke. Under Alfried, the company used slave labor supplied by the Nazi regime and thereby also became involved in the Holocaust, assigning Jewish prisoners from concentration camps to work in many of its factories. Even when the military suggested that security reasons dictated that work should be performed by free German workers, Alfried insisted on using slaves.

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He officially replaced his father as head of the family firm under the Lex Krupp (“Krupp Law” ), proclaimed by Adolf Hitler on 12 November 1943, which set aside the usual laws of inheritance and preserved the Krupp firm as a family business. Under this law, Alfried formally added the Krupp name to his own. He was also appointed Reichsminister für Rüstung und Kriegsproduktion (“Minister for Armament and War Production”). The transfer of ownership was a gesture of gratitude by Hitler and was to be one of only a few major Nazi laws that survived the fall of the regime. During the war, he was responsible for the transfer of factories in the occupied territories to the German Reich. Alfried Krupp was awarded the War Merit Cross, Second and First Class.

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Krupp worked closely with the SS, which controlled the concentration camps from which slave labor was obtained. In a letter dated 7 September 1943, he wrote: “As regards the cooperation of our technical office in Breslau, I can only say that between that office and Auschwitz the closest understanding exists and is guaranteed for the future.” According to one of his own employees, even when it was clear that the war was lost: “Krupp considered it a duty to make 520 Jewish girls, some of them little more than children, work under the most brutal conditions in the heart of the concern, in Essen”

By 1950 the United States was involved in fighting the Cold War. In June of that year, North Korean troops invaded South Korea. It was believed that German steel was needed for armaments for the Korean War and in October, John J. McCloy, the high commissioner in American occupied Germany, lifted the 11 million ton limitation on German steel production. McCloy also began pardoning German industrialists who had been convicted at Nuremberg. This included Fritz Ter Meer, the senior executive of I. G. Farben, the company that produced Zyklon B poison for the gas chambers.

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He was also Hitler’s Commissioner of for Armament and War Production for the chemical industry during the war.

In January, 1951, John J. McCloy announced that Alfried Krupp and eight members of his board of directors who had been convicted with him, were to be released. His property, valued at around 45 million, and his numerous companies were also restored to him.

McCloy’s decision was very controversial. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to McCloy to ask: “Why are we freeing so many Nazis?”

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Telford Taylor, who took part in the prosecution of the Nazi war criminals wrote: “Wittingly or not, Mr. McCloy has dealt a blow to the principles of international law and concepts of humanity for which we fought the war.”

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Rumours began circulating that McCloy had been bribed by the Krupp’s American lawyer, Earl J. Carroll. According to one magazine: “The terms of Carroll’s employment were simple. He was to get Krupp out of prison and get his property restored. The fee was to be 5 per cent of everything he could recover. Carroll got Krupp out and his fortune returned, receiving for his five-year job a fee of, roughly, $25 million.”

McCloy rejected these claims and told the journalist, William Manchester: “There’s not a goddamn word of truth in the charge that Krupp’s release was inspired by the outbreak of the Korean War. No lawyer told me what to do, and it wasn’t political. It was a matter of my conscience.”

Within a few years of his release Krupp’s company was the 12th largest corporation in the world. Alfried Krupp died in Essen, West Germany, on 30th July, 1967.

After all the lives he destroyed, he died a wealthy man.

Villa Hügel Essen, Präsident von Togo

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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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