Did the Germans get a fair trial at Nuremberg?

Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, soon to be Chief Justice, Harlan Fiske Stone, criticized the IMT at Nuremberg as follows (in a private letter to Sterling Carr, dated 4 December 1945):

Harlan Fiske Stone as Chief Justice

 

“Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg. I don’t mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas.” [A.T. Mason, Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law, 1956, p. 716]

It is not necessary to appeal to personal authority in this matter, however. The specific points in support of the contention that the Germans did not get a fair trial before the IMT at Nuremberg, have become, over time, relatively uncontroversial: it is only when you derive from the uncontroversial facts the obvious conclusion that the IMT was indeed a “high-grade lynching party,” that controversy occurs. Here is a detailed presentation of those now uncontroversial facts.

click photo below for link to article by Hadding Scott.

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Published in: on December 29, 2016 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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Published in: on December 29, 2016 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Werner Wolff

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Werner Wolff was an Obersturmführer (First Lieutenant), in the 1. SS Panzer Division ‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’ (LSSAH) of the Waffen SS, who was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.

Wolff was awarded the Knight’s Cross on 7 August 1943 while serving as Joachim Peiper‘s Adjutant in the III.(gep.) Battalion of 2nd SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Peiper recommended Wolff for the his actions after he took command of the leaderless 13th Company, following the wounding of its commander, during the Battle of Kursk in early July, and stopped a Russian tank attack. Wolff destroyed one tank single handed and refused to give ground to the Russian attack.

In November 1943 Wolff was shot through the thigh and was due to have the leg amputated. However when the medical orderly arrived to take Wolff to be operated on, he drew his pistol and warned the orderly he was not losing his leg, even firing a warning shot into the ground. Wolff made a complete recovery.

In the Normandy Campaign (Operation Overlord) he particularly distinguished himself during the defense of Tilly, and was awarded the Wehrmacht‘s Honour Roll Clasp of the Army as a result.

Wolff was killed during Operation Spring Awakening, in Hungary on 19 March 1945.

Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

‘Land of Mine’

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Martin Zandvliet’s Danish drama ‘Land of Mine’ tells the story behind the land mine clearance of around two million land mines that were buried along the west coast of Denmark during World War II.

Once the war had ended, the Danish authorities used German prisoners of war to begin the massive clearing of the mines.

Zandvliet, the director and screenwriter of the film, has focused on a small group of those German prisoners of war, who were told that if they cleared the mines they would be sent home. At the time most of them were just teenagers.

The group are taught how to defuse the land mines, but they have to operate under the constant threat of being killed in an explosion.

The situation became dire for the prisoners as they were provided with little food or were blown up by the land mines.

The film charts the changing attitude of a Danish guard towards his prisoners. He begins to see them as simply young boys who want to return home, rather than prisoners of war.

The film sympathizes with the young prisoners’ plight and movie goers will see the bond between prisoners and guard develop over the course of the film.

Around half of those prisoners who participated in the land mine clearance died doing so.

Land of Mine is to be submitted as Denmark’s submission for the Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 9:34 am  Comments (2)  

Austrian Contravenes Anti-Nazi Law, Given Suspended Sentence

  • The Associated Press VIENNA — Dec 21, 2016
  • An Austrian court has found a man guilty of contravening anti-Nazi laws for walking back and forth in front of the house where Adolf Hitler was born while wearing a T-shirt with a pro-Nazi slogan.

    State broadcaster ORF says the 27-year old also appeared in court wearing stickers with code words and numbers that translate into “Heil Hitler.”

    ORF said Wednesday that he was given a 15-month suspended sentence. The man was not identified in keeping with Austrian privacy laws.

    He was charged after appearing in front of the house in the western town of Braunau last year wearing a T-shirt saying “Nazified, with a raised hand” to greet a visiting Hungarian neo-Nazi group.

    The man was quoted as saying the slogan was a “political statement.”

 

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Doctor Karl Brandts last letter to his son Karl Adolf Brandt for his 13th birthday.

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I can not miss to congratulate you on your birthday. I come to you with all my heart and my wishes are more, much more than what you might otherwise understand. Deep from my soul they are coming to you. I knew only kindness and love during my lifetime, for you.

My whole existence found a new sense, when your mother gave birth to you! Oh, how little you were. We held you in our arms and our happiness did not have an end.

You grew up, began to run, only hesitantly. Both of us, Anne and I, took care of you when you were sick for the first time. We breathed again when you smiled again. We wanted to make your childhood full of joy and we only gave you love again and again.

The Berghof, Summer and Winter, everything should help to keep you healthy and strong.

From the very beginning, you made it easy for us to guide you. It was almost unnecessary to pay attention to you. Your whole manner, dear Karl Adolf, urged your whole being, to search for the things that we thought, are the best for you. You should become a good boy who only plays and plays and tries to find with his own senses, the right path.

Then war came and brought difficulty and compulsion. So many things changed, than we, your caring parents, had thought and wished for us. But we still were striving to keep your youth free of terrible things.

Your mother always wanted the best for you and she did everything, everything for you.

What has she sacrificed for you – oh dear Karl Adolf, I know it. And once you are older, you will understand what I mean.

If I think back, I do no think about the work, which was very demanding. I think of us three –  yes, and Asso (Asso was the family dog), our faithful black friend…

Then I see you play, in your small room. I see you playing in front of the big window, in the forest. I go to school with you. Peserve yourself, Karl Adolf, as something very beautiful.

You two will often talk about these things and the memories will remain.

I have no serious words. You have felt the seriousness of life yourself. And in your childhood, life has already hit you hard. I know how painful it all is to you, and you know how bitterly sorry I am.

You know, Karl Adolf, there are the words of the priests that stand above all, who apply to every human. Think of loyalty, courage, kindness, love – like I do.

Later, there maybe are people who think that what I have done, was right. Do not worry, dear Karl Adolf, when I’m dead. The earth loses nothing. And when you were very small, you said to me, “All humans must die, so dying can not be so bad.”

The only thing that is bad is, that sometimes you think to have lost each other, because you do not see each other anymore. My son, it is not. I will be around you as a good spirit, and if you keep your heart true and open, you will know that I am there for you. I am writing this letter not to make you sad, I am writing it because I want the best for you. And my wishes are from my heart, for you and your mother, my Annele.

Be happy that you two have each other. And you two should be like one heart and one soul! Help your mother and be her comrade always! No matter how hard life can be.

The future will not be easy. The time is hard, and people are caught up in their own narrow delusions. Wars and cravings for revenge will exist, who will not have any benefits and only miseries. Stay away from these things, Karl Adolf. They pull a human down and make him take away his own freedom.

Remain your own master!

I notice that I talk about topics, which you do not understand now. But understand that I can only still exist in them.  Since today everything is certain. I know my fate.

But you live!

My dear, good Karl Adolf! Be aware of the names you are carrying. But I should apologize again! How could I make this allusion. I know that you are my son. And you know it too!

Let me repeat my request again: Take the hands of your mother, hold them and be good to her, be good to the elderly people and be a real man!

Health and happiness!

And when you have found once a good wife – then don’t let her go. And tell your kids that your father always wanted the best for you. Then I will be around you all! But now grow.

Be confident, true and honest with yourself.

The world is yours, if you take it.

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 2:45 am  Comments (1)  

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Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 2:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Frau Hoffmann

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Frau Hoffmann met Hitler in WWI and became a member of the Nazi party in 1919 as its 10th member. She remained close to Hitler throughout the years and he esteemed her Streußelkuchen (coffee cake), devouring many pieces whenever he came to call.

Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 2:39 am  Leave a Comment  

The Laconia Incident

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The Atlantic Ocean can be an unforgiving place at the best of times.  During the Second World War, combatants on both sides were at peril both from the ocean and the enemy.  On 12 September 1942, the British ship RMS Laconia, which was armed with deck guns, depth charges, and asdic equipment , making her a legitimate military target, was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat 156. U-156 was on patrol in the South Atlantic, off the bulge of West Africa, midway between Liberia and the Ascension Island. Commanded by KL Werner Hartenstein, she was one of the many Type IXCs stationed along the west coast of Africa.

Yet that was not the end of the story.  What unfolded was a remarkable tale of heroism and events both remarkable and ultimately truly unfortunate for many of those involved.  The U-boat surfaced, its commander hoping to capture the senior crew of the ship.  The horrified crew instead saw over 2000 people in the water.

The Germans had not known that they had just destroyed a PoW ship. The survivors of the sinking were six hundred miles from the coast of Africa.  There were over sixty British civilians and over 400 British and Polish troops.  Their cargo had been a strange one – 1800 Italian prisoners of war.  The first irony of the situation then, was that the German U-boat had imperilled many of its own allies.

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The survivors faced a certain and protracted watery death.

Then, the U-Boat commander Werner Hartenstein (left), made an extraordinary decision that went beyond all protocol.werner-hartenstein-u-boat-ace-laconia-incident

He ordered the U-boat to surface he ordered his submariners to save as many of the marooned survivors as possible.

This act of humanity would save the lives of many hundreds of people.  Yet the tragedy of the Laconia was not over yet.

Hartenstein requested instructions from his headquarters and Admiral Karl Dönitz assigned three other submarines to assist. Donitz would explain many years later, “to give them an order contrary to the laws of humanity would have destroyed it (the crews morale) utterly”. The Vichy-French Government also dispatched three ships toward the area. Hartenstein then broadcast a general, uncoded call for assistance in plain English and the British redirected two merchant ships to the area. His message was plain and simple.  Broadcast on the 25 meter band in clear English it said “If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked Laconia crew, I will not attack providing I am not being attacked by ship or air forces. I picked up 193 men. 4, 53 South, 11, 26 West. ― German submarine.”  He continued to rescue more survivors after the message was sent, including 5 women. U-156 remained on the surface for two days with her decks packed with survivors until joined by the other submarines. Together, they began heading for the African coast.

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Over the course of forty eight hours the crew of the U-156 saved over 400 people. Yet the sheer numbers created a new problem.  200 could be crammed aboard and atop of the submarine – yet the remainder had to be towed behind in a series of lifeboats strung together.

The French Vichy government dispatched two warships from Senegal. The U-boat was then joined by two others German submarines (U-506 and U-507) and an Italian one, the Cappellini.  With the four submarines, their gun decks draped in Red Cross flags headed towards the rendezvous point.  The survivors on the top decks of the submarines were bewildered but no doubt happy to be alive.

This story on its own would be remarkable enough.  Yet fate had a cruel twist in store.

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The U-Boat and its strange cargo were spotted by an American B-24 bomber on the morning of 16 September.  The aircraft was transiting eastward from a very secret base on Ascension Island on toward Africa. U-156’s deck was still crowded with survivors, she was towing as many as four lifeboats loaded with people, and she had a large Red Cross flag draped over the gun deck. The B-24 circled low over the U-Boat for 30 minutes assessing the situation and then flew off to the west. The B-24 pilot radioed a report of what he had seen and asked for instructions. The reply of base Commander, Captain Robert C Richardson,was clear and direct: “Sink the sub.”

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The following day, the Vichy-French ships arrived in the area and began collecting survivors. In all, 1,113 of Laconia’s original compliment of 2,732 survived the sinking. Nearly all of the dead (88%) were Italian prisoners of war.

The attack on a submarine that was engaged in a mission of mercy while flying the flag of the Red Cross angered the Germans generally and Karl Dönitz in particular. In response to this attack, he issued a sweeping order to the entire U-Boat fleet that became known as the Laconia Order. The central portion of this order said: “All attempts to save survivors of sunken ships, also the picking up of floating men and putting them on board lifeboats, the setting upright of overturned lifeboats, and the handing over of food and water are to be discontinued. These rescues contradict the primitive demands of warfare to destroy enemy ships and their crews.” This order changed the very definition of submarine warfare. Up to this point, German U-Boats operated more or less under the prevailing maritime doctrine known as the Cruiser Rules, which called for ships to engage in the kinds of actions Hartenstein had done in this case. The Laconia Order unleashed the new and brutal doctrine of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare that remained in place for the rest of the war with dire consequences for many merchant seamen.

During the post-war Nuremberg Trial of Karl Dönitz for various War Crimes, the Laconia Order was displayed prominently in the case against him, a decision that squarely backfired on the prosecution. The German side of the Laconia Incident came out for the first time and US Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz provided unapologetic written testimony on behalf of Dönitz saying the US Navy in the Pacific had engaged in very similar unrestricted submarine warfare since the very first day the US entered the war.

There were no War Crimes charges brought against the American officer who ordered the B-24 pilot to attack U-156, Captain Robert C. Richardson III; there was no discipline at all or even much of an inquiry from the Americans.

The Sinking of the Laconia has been made in to a BBC film.

Published in: on December 26, 2016 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shoot, Loot, and Scoot

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By Mike Walsh

The Soviet system built its reputation on all for one and one for all. This seems to be a euphemism for what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.

By December 1941 the Soviets realised that the near defeated Bolshevik State was certain to be rescued by the U.S and Britain. If a working alliance with Britain and the U.S could turn defeat into victory the pillaging of Democratic Germany could commence.

The allied plunder of the defeated Reich was breath-taking in its unprecedented enormity. Never in the history of conquest and pillage has there been anything to equal the spoils of defeated Germany’s assets.

The Soviet Trophy Commission of The State Defence Committee was established in 1941 by Decree № 3123cc. The department, specifically created to plunder defeated Germany’s human and other assets was later known as the Trophy Committee.

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The looting of defeated Germany by the USSR was not limited to official Trophy Brigades. The brigandage included ordinary troops and functionaries given free licence to take whatever they could lay their hands on.

At least 2.5 million German artworks and 10 million books and manuscripts disappeared into the Soviet Union. Much of the artwork and treasures were of international importance. Such artworks included the Gutenberg Bibles and many Impressionist paintings; a substantial number of these irreplaceable artworks had been privately owned.

Soviet Union’s Trophy Brigades, supported by the Bolsheviks henchmen in Washington, Wall Street and Westminster, were described by Magazine as ‘hit lists’.

According to Reparations Commissioner, Edwin W. Pauley, by May 1945, the United States had earmarked 144 plants for removal to Bolshevik controlled Russia. Two hundred key German plants were placed under direct Soviet control. The enslaved German work force of 1,300,000 was forced to work on starvation wages, the profits going to the USSR.

By 1952 the Soviet Union’s haul of priceless artworks was established at 900,000 works of art, paintings, statues, figurines, artefacts and national treasures. Pillaged artworks include sculptures by Nicola Pisano, reliefs by Donatello, Gothic Madonna’s, paintings by Botticelli and van Dyck, and diverse Baroque works created from stone and wood.

Poland took possession of collections that the beleaguered Reich had evacuated to remote places. Unknown to the then struggling Germans the ‘safe territory’ had already been surrendered to Stalin’s Red Army. The illegal documents were signed by England’s wartime premier Winston Churchill and U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Poles refer to this loot as Berlinka. The lost hoards had mainly been the property of Berlin museums and galleries.

A notable collection in Polish possession, now housed at the Kraków Aviation Museum, is the private collection of 25 historic aircraft once owned by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring.  Ironically, the collection includes two Polish aircraft surrendered to the Germans following the Reich’s pre-emptive invasion of Poland in September 1939.

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Entire libraries and archives with files from all over Europe were looted and their files taken to Russia by the rampaging Soviet Trophy Brigades. The Russian State Military Archive (Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenni Voennyi Arkhiv-RGVA) still contains a large number of files of ‘foreign origin’.

Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie Gallery lost a great many major paintings. Among the plunder were seven Peter Paul Rubens artworks, three Caravaggio paintings and three paintings by Van Dyck. The whereabouts of the looted art is unknown. These are thought to be secreted away in depositories situated in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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Cypresses in Starry Night (F 1540, JH 1732) by Vincent van Gogh (1889).[1] The only known pen and ink study of Starry Night and one of the most famous pieces in the “Baldin Collection”.

Unlike their Western allies neither the Soviets nor the Russians today are embarrassed by their pillage of the defeated Reich. The oft quoted Napoleonic penchant for art acquisition seems to justify Soviet example and avarice. Russian art experts shrug and point to the plundered treasures held in various Western museums and art galleries. This seems to be a case of blame Hitler’s Germany for the sins of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and the British Empire.

Germany was not the only defeated country to see its national artworks, gold bullion and national assets ‘trans-located’ to Bolshevik Occupied Russia. Victims of Soviet and allied rapacity included Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Finland. The illegal transfer of national treasures from defeated Europe to the USSR, Britain and the United States continued into the 1950s and 1960s.

The Russians concede possession of approximately 1.3 million German books, 250,000 museum objects and more than 266,000 archival files. In particular, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg now has about 800 paintings, 200 sculptures, and papyruses looted from the Austrian Library in Vienna. The Hermitage also has Japanese and Chinese works of art taken from the East Asian Museum in Berlin.

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In 1995 The Hermitage exhibited the French art of the 19th century from the German collections of Friedrich Carl Siemens (1877–1952), Eduard von der Heydt, Alice Meyer (widow of Eduard Lorenz Lorenz-Meyer), Otto Gerstenberg, Otto Krebs, Bernhard Koehler and Monica Sachse (widow of Paul Sachse).

In 1996 the Pushkin Museum exhibited the Red Army stolen treasures of the Priamos. In 2007 were displayed German owned artefacts relating to the Merowinger (Merovingian dynasty). From the Museum für Vor-und Frühgeschichte, Berlin and Museum for Prehistory and Early History, were taken the 7th Century sword scabbard of Schwertscheide von Gutenstein.

Included in the Soviet plunder are extensive collections taken from the Kunsthalle in Bremen. The pillage includes the Baldin Collection). Also taken were the properties of the estates of Ferdinand Lassalle and Walther Rathenau, collections owned by the Bestände der Gothaer library; the renowned library in Wernigerode as well as the armoury at Rüstkammer der Wartburg.

In 2008 it was announced that 87 paintings ransacked from the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museums of Aachen, were exhibited in the museum of city Simferopol in Crimea. Until 2005 these artworks had simply been listed as missing. Interestingly, Aachen had been occupied by the American armed forces.

A brief change of heart occurred when, at a 1998 conference, Russian President Boris Yeltsin promised the return of art ransacked from defeated Germany. His worthy gesture horrified the State Duma of the Russian Federation (parliament). On April 15, 1998, a decree was passed that declared that ‘the cultural valuables trans-located to the USSR after World War II were to be declared national patrimony of the Russian Federation.’ It seemed to be a case of finders keepers, losers weepers.

Published in: on December 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment