Fritz Sauckel’s Letter-Hiding evil in words.

Ernst Friedrich Christoph “Fritz” Sauckel was a Nazi politician, Gauleiter of Gau Thuringia from 1927 and the General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (Arbeitseinsatz) from March 1942 until the end of World War 2. He was one the 24 persons accused in the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, sentenced to death, and executed by hanging on October 16,1946, 11 days before his 52nd birthday.

At the Nuremberg trials, Sauckel was accused of conspiracy to commit crimes against peace; planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression; war crimes and crimes against humanity. He defended the Arbeitseinsatz as “nothing to do with exploitation.

It is an economic process for supplying labour”. He denied that it was slave labour or that it was common to deliberately work people to death or to mistreat them. However this is not what he said in a letter he had sent to Alfred Rosenberg, 20 April 1942, Report on Labor Mobilization Program.

When you read the letter it looks like an ordinary business operation letter, even a supply chain demand report. But if you read it carefully you will see it is all but that, Below is an English translation of the letter, and I appreciate it that you may not have the time tp read it in one go. This is one key line from the letter.

“All the men [prisoners of war and foreign civilian workers] must be fed, sheltered, and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure.”

It also explains that all German women should be spared hard labour, but as the picture above shows that was not the case for Non German women.

The letter:

Very esteemed and dear Party-member Rosenberg!
Enclosed please find my program for the mobilization of labor. Please excuse the fact that this copy still contains a few corrections.
Heil Hitler!
Yours
[signed] Fritz Sauckel

To The “Reichminister”
for the Occupied Territories of the East
Party-Member Rosenberg
Berlin

[From] The Deputy for the Four-Year Plan
The Plenipotentiary for Labor Mobilization

20 April 1942

The Labor Mobilization Program.

The aim of this new, gigantic labor mobilization is to use all the rich and tremendous sources, conquered and secured for us by our fighting Armed Forces under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, for the armament of the Armed Forces and also for the nutrition of the Homeland. The raw materials as well as the fertility of the conquered territories and their manpower are to be used completely and conscientiously to the profit of Germany and her allies.

In spite of the fact that most of the German people capable of doing so have already made a most commendable effort for the war economy, more considerable reserves must be found and made available under any circumstances.

The decisive measure to realize this is the uniformly regulated and directed labor mobilization of the nation at the war.

To reach the goal determined by the Fuehrer the simultaneous and quickest use of numerous different measures of unified purpose are absolutely necessary. As any one of those must not interfere with the others, but rather complement them, it is also absolutely necessary that all the offices [Dienststellen] in the Reich, its territories and communities, in party, state, and economy, participating in this decisive task act according to coordinated, synchronized directives.

Thus, the labor-mobilization of the nation contributes extraordinarily to the quickest and victorious termination of the war. It requires every effort of the German people on the Home front. It is for that German people, for their preservation, their freedom, happiness and amelioration of their nutrition and standards of living that this war is being fought.

The Task and its Solution

(No figures are mentioned because of security reasons. I can assure you, nevertheless, that we are concerned with the greatest labor-problem of all times, especially with regard to figures.)

A. The Task:

  1. The conscription of new soldiers to the gigantic extent for all branches and services of the Armed Forces has been rendered necessary by the present war situation.

This means:

a. The removal of workers from all professional enterprises, especially of a great number of trained personnel from armament producing war industries.

b. Also the removal of especially non-essential personnel from the war nutrition industry.

  1. The war situation necessitates the continuation of the tremendously increased and improved armament programs as ordered by the Fuehrer.
  2. The most essential commodities for the German people must continue to be produced for minimum requirements.
  3. The German housewife’s health, particularly the health of those on farms, must not be endangered in their quality as mothers by the war. On the contrary, they must be relieved in every possible way.

B. The Solution

All prisoners of war, from the territories of the West as well as of the East, who are already situated in Germany, must be completely incorporated into the German armament and nutrition industries. Their production must be brought to the highest possible level.

It must be emphasized, however, that an additional tremendous quantity of foreign labor has to be found for the Reich. The greatest pool for that purpose are the occupied territories of the East.

Jewish children making boxes in the Glubokoye ghetto. ——US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Karl Katz

Consequently, it is an immediate necessity to use the human resources of the conquered Soviet territory to the fullest extent. Should we not succeed in obtaining the necessary amount of labor on a voluntary basis, we must immediately institute conscription or forced labor.

Apart from the prisoners of war still in the occupied territories, we must, therefore, requisition skilled or unskilled male and female labor from the Soviet territory from the age of 15 up for the labor mobilization.

On the other hand, one quarter of the total need of foreign labor can be procured in Europe’s occupied territories West of Germany, according to existing possibilities.

The procurement of labor from friendly and also neutral countries can only cover a small part of the total need. It can be applied mostly to skilled workers and specialists.

  1. order to provide considerable relief to the German housewife, especially the mother with many children and the extremely busy farm-woman and in order to avoid any further danger to their health, the Fuehrer also charged me with the procurement of 400,000 – 500,000 selected, healthy and strong girls from the territories of the East for Germany.

6. labor mobilization of the German women is of very great importance.

Examining their very difficult problem and after getting thoroughly acquainted with the fundamental opinion of the Fuehrer as well as of the Reichsmarshal of the Greater German Reich and my own most careful inquiries and their results, I must absolutely reject the possibility of having an obligatory service decreed by the State for all German women and girls for the German War and Nutrition industry.

Although, at the beginning, I myself, and probably the majority of the leading personalities of the party and of the womanhood with me, believed that for certain reasons an obligatory service for women should be decreed, I am of the opinion that all responsible men and women in party, state and economy should accept with the greatest veneration and gratitude the judgment of our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, whose greatest concern has always been the health of the German women and girls; in other words, the present and future mothers of our nation.

I cannot enumerate all the reasons which made me come to that decision. I only ask for confidence in me as an old fanatical district chief of the National Socialist party and to believe that this could be the only possible decision.

We all agree that this decision might appear unjust towards millions of women who are engaged in defense and nutrition industries under the most strenuous conditions but we also realize that an evil cannot be remedied by spreading it to the utmost.

The only possible way to eliminate the existing injustices and hardships consists in winning the war in order to enable us to remove all women and girls engaged from jobs unsuitable for women, namely endangering their health, the birth-rate of our nation, and family and national life.

We must also consider the difference, whether a woman or girl has been used to work in the field or in a factory because of her young age, and whether already she has proved to be able to stand this kind of work.

Aside from physical harm, the German women and girls under any circumstances must be protected from moral and mental harm according to the wish of the Fuehrer.

Foreign workers from Stadelheim Prison work in a factory owned by the AGFA camera company

It is doubtful that these conditions could be fulfilled in the case of mass-conscription and employment. It is impossible to compare the German Woman with the German soldier in this case, because of the existing fundamental natural and racial differences between man and woman.

We cannot accept the responsibility for the dangers threatening the life of the nation resulting from such a measure in the field of women labor mobilization, in view of the countless men on the fighting front—our dead soldiers.

The many millions of women, however, faithfully and industriously engaged in the German economy, and especially now, in war time, rendering valuable services, deserve the best possible care and consideration. They, as well as the soldiers and work-men, deserve the greatest gratitude of our nation. [ . . . ]

The severest measures must be used against loafers, as we can not allow those parasites to shunt their duties in this decisive struggle of our people at the cost of the others.

Prisoners of War and Foreign Workers.

The complete employment of all prisoners of war as well as the use of a gigantic number of new foreign civilian workers, men and women, has become an indisputable necessity for the solution of the mobilization of labor program in this war.

All the men must be fed, sheltered and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure.

It has always been natural for us Germans to refrain from cruelty and mean chicaneries towards the beaten enemy, even if he had proven himself the most bestial and most implacable adversary, and to treat him correctly and humanly, even when we expect useful work of him.

As long as the German defense industry did not make it absolutely necessary, we refrained under any circumstances from the use of Soviet prisoners of war as well as of civilian workers, men or women, from the Soviet territories. This has now become impossible and the labor power of these people must now be exploited to the greatest possible extent.

Consequently, I arranged my first measures concerning the food, shelter and treatment of these foreign laborers with the highest competent Reich authorities and with the consent of the Fuehrer and the Reichsmarshal of the Greater German Reich in such a way that a top performance will be demanded and will be obtained.

It must be remembered, though, that even the effort of a machine is conditioned by the amount of fuel, skill and care given to it. How many more conditions must be considered in the case of men, even of low kind and race, than in the case of a machine!

I could not accept the responsibility towards the German people, if after having brought such a tremendous number of men to Germany these men would one day become a burden for the German people or even endanger their health, instead of doing very necessary and useful work, because of mistakes made in their nutrition, shelter and treatment.

The principles of German cleanliness, order and hygiene must therefore also be carefully applied to Russian camps.

Only in such a way will it be possible to exploit that labor to the highest benefit of arms production for the fighting front and for the war nutrition program, without any trace of false sentimentalism.

[ . . . ]

All action making the stay and work in Germany more difficult and unnecessarily unbearable for the foreign workers and exceeding the restrictions and hardships imposed by the war must be avoided. We depend to a large extent upon their good will and their production.

It is therefore only logical to make their stay and work in Germany as bearable as possible—without denying anything to ourselves.

[ . . . ] Therefore, I want to cordially yet insistently commit all German men and women whose labor during war time will be decisive to comply with all those necessities, decisions and measures, according to the old National Socialist principle:

Nothing for us, everything for the Fuehrer and his work, that is, for the future of our Nation!

[signed]: Fritz Sauckel”

Source of English translation: United States Chief Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III: Documents 001-PS through 1406-PS. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1946, Document 016-PS, pp. 46-59.

What strikes me in this letter is the repeated references to “Foreign Workers” most of them were Jewish, and many of them were German citizens and possibly more German than some of the Nazi leadership.

sources

https://ghdi.ghi-dc.org/docpage.cfm?docpage_id=2415

http://www.camps.bbk.ac.uk/themes/slave-labour.html

https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/forced-labor

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The execution of 5 physicians.

Trial

June 2,1948 was one of those rare days where justice was actually carried out. So many who were instrumental in the murder of millions during the Holocaust, did either serve no time or very little, leave alone receiving death sentences. Even many of those who did receive a death sentence had their sentence reduced.

But on this day 72 years ago 5 Nazi physicians were hanged. I will not waste too much time on these 5 so called Doctors I will only go into the crimes they were charged with during the ‘United States of America v. Karl Brandt, et al. aka Doctor’s Trial’  and some of their final words.

Karl Brandt

kb

1.Conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity as described in counts 2 and 3;
2.War crimes: performing medical experiments, without the subjects’ consent, on prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, in the course of which experiments the defendants committed murders, brutalities, cruelties, tortures, atrocities, and other inhuman acts. Also planning and performing the mass murder of prisoners of war and civilians of occupied countries, stigmatized as aged, insane, incurably ill, deformed, and so on, by gas, lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums during the Euthanasia Program and participating in the mass murder of concentration camp inmates;
3.Crimes against humanity: committing crimes described under count 2 also on German nationals;
4.Membership in a criminal organization, the SS. The charges against him included special responsibility for, and participation in, Freezing, Malaria, LOST Gas, Sulfanilamide, Bone, Muscle and Nerve Regeneration and Bone Transplantation, Sea-Water, Epidemic Jaundice, Sterilization, and Typhus Experiments.

His final words

“It is no shame to stand upon the scaffold. This is nothing but political revenge. I have served my Fatherland as others before me.” he went on with his speech but at that stage a hood was placed over his head.While he still was talking he was hanged.

Wolfram Sievers

WS

Wolfran Sievers was charged with being a member of an organization declared criminal by the International Military Tribunal (the SS), and was implicated in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In his defense, he alleged that as early as 1933, he had been a member of an anti-Nazi resistance movement which planned to assassinate Hitler and Himmler.

 

Waldemar Hoven

wh

Guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and membership in a criminal organization. Special responsibility of typhus and other vaccine experiments in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Viktor Brack

vb

During the Doctors’ trial, Brack was convicted of murder of victims in the T4 Euthanasia Program. The program was later applied under secret order “Action 14f13”; the extermination of those concentration camp inmates deemed unable to work.  Additionally to his crimes in the T4 program he also devised the plan of sterilizing young and strong Jews they were being  sterilized without being aware of the process. It was done by using X Ray radiation . These young man were used in forced labour.

Karl Gebhardt

kARL G

He was personal physician to Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler and President of the German Red Cross. He was responsible for medical and surgical experiments on prisoners in the concentration camps at Ravensbrück  and Auschwitz. In Ravensbrück he carried out a series of experiments on Ravensbrück concentration camp prisoners, breaking their legs and infecting them with various organisms in order to prove the worthlessness of the drugs in treating gas gangrene. basically to proof Himmler wrong.He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity

In total there were 23 defendants at the Doctor’s Trial but only these 5 men received the death sentence and were all hanged on June 2, 1948. They had an easier death then their vicctims.

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sources

https://web.archive.org/web/20071013160628/http://ushmm.org/research/doctors/persons.htm

http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/documents/11-brief-prosecution-closing-brief?q=*#p.7

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/nazi-doctor-victor-brack-on-trial

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/photo/defendant-karl-brandt-testifies-during-the-doctors-trial

Wikipedia

http://nuremberg.law.harvard.edu/documents/4134-extract-from-testimony-of-karl?q=karl+brandt#p.3

 

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.

color

Donation

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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

 

 

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.

account

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 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.

Robert_Ley_Press_1_1024x1024

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.”

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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.

 

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Walther Funk-Hitler’s Banker

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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.

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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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