Deception and death.

Franz

I was struggling with the title of this blog and even about the contents. I was going to do a picture blog with pictures of some of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, and even though I have done blogs containing horrific images I realized that although a picture tells a thousand words it doesn’t necessarily tell the full story.

Therefore I decided to use testimonies from a Nazi and a witness statement of a  survivor to illustrate the evil of one particular evil man ,Franz Hössler, an often forgotten perpetrator who used deception and death to fulfill his own sadistic needs.

Franz 2

Franz Hössler  was a Nazi German SS-Obersturmführer and Schutzhaftlagerführer at the Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora-Mittelbau and Bergen-Belsen.

Johann Kremer, SS camp doctor in Auschwitz from 30 August to 17 November 1942, recorded a transport of 1,703 Dutch Jews to the main camp managed by Hössler. He had described the event in his diary and used it in his testimony during the Auschwitz  trial.

Kremer

“In connection with the gassings I described in my diary dated 12.10.1942, I declare that on that day about 1,600 Dutch were gassed. This is an approximate figure, which I stated as a result of what I had heard from others. The action was led by SS officer Hssler. I remember that he tried to drive the whole group into a single bunker. This he achieved up to a last man who could not be crammed further into the bunker. Hossler shot this man with a revolver. This is the reason why I wrote in the diary: “Gruesome scene before the last bunker! (Hössler!)”.

Filip Müller one of the very few Sonderkommando members who survived Auschwitz. gave the following testimony. It was a speech of deception Hössler had given to  a group of Greek Jews in the undressing room at the portals of the gas chambers.

filip

“On behalf of the camp administration I bid you welcome. This is not a holiday resort but a labor camp. Just as our soldiers risk their lives at the front to gain victory for the Third Reich, you will have to work here for the welfare of a new Europe. How you tackle this task is entirely up to you. The chance is there for every one of you. We shall look after your health, and we shall also offer you well-paid work. After the war we shall assess everyone according to his merits and treat him accordingly.
Now, would you please all get undressed. Hang your clothes on the hooks we have provided and please remember your number of the hook. When you’ve had your bath there will be a bowl of soup and coffee or tea for all. Oh yes, before I forget, after your bath, please have ready your certificates, diplomas, school reports and any other documents so that we can employ everybody according to his or her training and ability.

Would diabetics who are not allowed sugar report to staff on duty after their baths”

Hössler was not tried at the Auschwitz trial but was   tried in the Belsen Trial.

trial

On 17 November 1945 Hössler was sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out by British hangman Albert Pierrepoint on 13 December 1945 at Hameln prison.

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The few times when justice was served.

trial

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

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

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

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

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

General Anton Dostler

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

Dr. Klaus Karl Schilling

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

Max Blokzijl

Max Blokzijl

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

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

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

Rudolf Mynzak, Wilhelm Mueller and Kurt Kleiwitz.

Rudolf Mynzak, Wilhelm Mueller and Kurt Kleiwitz.

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

Ans van Dijk

Ans van Dijk

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

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

Rudolf Hoess

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

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

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I plead “oink oink”: when pigs and other animals were put on trial.

cat-on-trial

In the Middle Ages, animals who committed crimes were subject to the same legal proceedings as humans.

Famously, in 1457, seven pigs in Savigny, France were tried for the murder of a five-year-old boy. The proceedings were complete with a defense attorney for the pigs and a judge, who ultimately ruled that because people witnessed one of the seven pigs attack the boy, only that one would sentenced to death by hanging, and the rest would go free.

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Animals, including insects, faced the possibility of criminal charges for several centuries across many parts of Europe. The earliest extant record of an animal trial is the execution of a pig in 1266 at Fontenay-aux-Roses.

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Such trials remained part of several legal systems until the 18th century. Animal defendants appeared before both church and secular courts, and the offences alleged against them ranged from murder to criminal damage. Human witnesses were often heard and in Ecclesiastical courts they were routinely provided with lawyers (this was not the case in secular courts, but for most of the period concerned, neither were human defendants). If convicted, it was usual for an animal to be executed, or exiled. However, in 1750, a female donkey was acquitted of charges of bestiality due to witnesses to the animal’s virtue and good behaviour while her human co-accused were sentenced to death.

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Animals put on trial were almost invariably either domesticated ones (most often pigs, but also bulls, horses, and cows) or pests such as rats and weevils. Creatures that were suspected of being familiar spirits or complicit in acts of bestiality were also subjected to judicial punishment, such as burning at the stake, though few, if any, ever faced trial

According to Johannis Gross in Kurze Basler Chronik (1624), in 1474 a rooster was put on trial  in Basel ,Switzerland for “the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg,” which the townspeople were concerned was spawned by Satan and contained a cockatrice.

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Scholars and historians who study the middle ages have cited numerous possible explanations for why such proceedings took place. The greater mentality of medieval societies was characterized by strong superstitions and a rigid hierarchy of humanity rooted in faith a divine God. Some academics hypothesized that, because of the importance of this belief system, any event that represented a departure in the hierarchy of nature, where a God had placed humans at the top, needed to be formally addressed in order to restore proper order. Another possible explanation for the trials was that because they were so public and conspicuous, they were able to serve as warnings directed at owners whose animals were causing mischief in communities.

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