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Nazis prosecute Cruelty

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Panzerknacker, May 21, 2003.

  1. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    Can someone explain to me why the Nazis tried commandants and guards for cruelty towards inmates when it seemed to be perfectly ok for them to execute them by the millions???
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Did they?? Actually I thought according to Theodore Eicke´s ( Totenkopf )teachings that the German men needed to learn how to treat the "untermensch" and that they should spend some time in the camps and as well the beatings of the inmates were required! I think this was how Himmler thought as well.

    :confused:
     
  3. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    I've never heard of this one either- Nazi guards being punished for treatment of inmates?

    Info?

    :confused:
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Theodor Eicke actually professionalized the guards who previously were nothing but thugs and acted as such. I have read about trials against those who took advantage of the system for their self gains such as black marketeering or gross sexual deviations and misconduct. Himmler's interest was in making the SS an elite organization and anyone who was projecting a negative image was put to the coals. If they kept it discreet, then nothing would have happened.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Oh, that one! Of course! You took what belonged to Himmler ( or Hitler ) you´ll pay for it...

    :rolleyes:
     
  6. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    PzJgr... that makes sense, and I've read similar stuff in a couple books.
    I wonder though- in my readings, I've never encountered any specific instances of guards being disciplined in such manners. Have you come across any specifics? Anything about specific charges, trials, outcomes-? I'd be rather interested to know how something like this would play out...
     
  7. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I have not encountered any details on guards but do know of instances where enlisted personnel were assigned to penal battalions late in the war after being disgraced but no details on their crimes. Karl Koch was hanged for embezzlement and the 'illegal' killing of two prisoners. How they defined 'illegal' I don't know but I am sure it was just sauce for the gander added to the main charge of embezzlement. He was the husband of Ilse Koch, the bitch of buchenwald.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Oh, that one! Of course! You took what belonged to Himmler ( or Hitler ) you´ll pay for it... :rolleyes: [/QB][/QUOTE]

    HAHA. You got it! Just ask Karl Koch. :(
     
  9. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Gotcha.
    Somehow, the whole penal battalion thing slipped my mind.

    One does have to wonder though how the german MPs (or whoever) explained an "unjustified" killing of a camp inmate?!?
    Like you say, probably just an added charge, but still...
     
  10. Panzerknacker

    Panzerknacker New Member

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    Ilse and Karl Koch of Buchenwald fame were both prosecuted for overly treating prisoners, as was the commandant of Krakow-Plaszow camp, Amon Goeth, for excess cruelty...
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/EasternGermany/Buchenwald/KarlKoch.html

    All punishments and executions had to be cleared with the main office in Oranienburg. An SS officer named Dr. Konrad Morgen was put in charge of investigating cruelty and black market activities in the camps. Col. Koch had been engaging in both, and he was eventually arrested in August 1943 for inciting the murder of two prisoners and for embezzlement. According to The Buchenwald Report, the murder charge against Col. Koch was that he had ordered the execution of hospital orderly Walter Krämer and his assistant, who had treated him for syphilis, so that they would not reveal his secret, but had falsely claimed that they were executed for political reasons.

    Ilse Koch and Dr. Hoven were also arrested in August 1943 for mistreatment of the prisoners.
    Dr. Hoven was tried by the SS in Dr. Morgen's court, convicted and sentenced to death for murder. He spent 18 months in jail but was then reprieved because of the critical wartime shortage of doctors.

    Commander Koch had an indoor arena built in 1940, where he and his wife could ride their horses. Located outside the camp, the riding hall was a 1600 square meters wooden structure covered with a steeply pitched slate roof. It was exclusively reserved for the use of the commandant and his wife. This caused great resentment in the camp and Ilse was severely criticized for the imperious way that she rode her horse around the arena. According to the camp guidebook, "Horses and a private riding hall were part of the status symbols the Camp Commandant Karl Koch surrounded himself with. His stately and lordly way of life was well-known in SS circles. He paid for it with money extorted from the prisoners and with large-scale embezzlement."

    According to Dr. Eugen Kogon, one of the famous prisoners of Buchenwald, "Construction work had to be stepped up in such a way that about thirty prisoners suffered fatal injuries or were driven to death in the process. Building costs amounted to roughly a quarter of million Marks. Mrs. Koch made her morning rides in this place after its completion. This took a quarter or half an hour several times a week and had to be accompanied with music played by the SS band standing on a special platform."

    :confused: :eek:
     
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  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    SS-Hauptscharfuhrer Konrad Morgen - the Bloodhound Judge

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A592931

    Morgen was born in 1910 in Frankfurt-am-Main and was the son of a German railroad conductor. He decided to pursue a career in law and, as one who was absolutely committed to and inspired by his chosen career, he imbued the ethics of law in its abstract during his student days. His disapproval of illegality, regardless of the status of the perpetrator, and his tenacity in prosecuting the course of justice earned him the sobriquet 'The Bloodhound Judge' later in his career.

    Adolf Hitler was referred to as Adolf Legalite ('Adolf the Legal One') by Nazi propaganda. However, his dictatorial regime was certainly not known for its belief in the law and it was in this atmosphere that Morgen embarked on his profession. Predictably, he soon ran into trouble with a provincial magistrate whose judgement he refused to accept. However, his career was saved as he had by this time accepted the post of Assistant Judge with the SS.

    He was posted to the Hauptamt SS-Gericht, the Legal Department of the SS, in Cracow and was assigned to deal with cases of corruption. He soon acquired a reputation for passing impartial judgements based strictly on available evidence. The methods that won him this reputation exasperated his superior, HSSPF Krüger, so much so that he was transferred as a punishment to the SS 'Wiking' Division that was at the frontline at that time.

    His good reputation travelled with him and in 1943, it was decided by the high command to assign him to the ReichsKriminalPolizeiAmt (RKPA), which was the SS Criminal Police Division to deal with financial crimes. The self-same reputation also caused him to be forbidden from dealing with political cases. He was soon assigned to the 'Karl Koch Case', which was to set him on his long and arduous mission for justice. He was now an SS Obersturmführer (1st Lieutenant).

    It all started with a call that was placed to Morgen's office by the SS Police County XX11, Kassel, who was responsible for the Buchenwald concentration camp, asking for help in investigating a provisions merchant, who was also a Nazi Ortsgruppenleiter, called Bornschein. Emil Holtschmidt, a KP officer who was investigating allegations of profiteering by Bornschein in collusion with Karl Koch, the Camp Commander of Buchenwald, ran into a dead end when Bornschein joined the Waffen SS and had himself posted to the HQ staff over which the SS Police had no jurisdiction. As Bornschein could now only be investigated by an officer in the RKPA, Morgen was brought in to continue the investigations.

    In July 1943, the Bloodhound travelled to the Weimar, established himself in a local hostelry called the Elephant Hotel, which, ironically, was also Hitler's favourite local hostelry, and began a surreptitious inquiry into Bornschein's activities.

    By the time Morgen had accrued enough proof of Bornschein's transgressions to convict him, Koch found that he was quite firmly in the Bloodhound's sights. Morgen suspected Koch of hiring out camp labourers to civilians, racketeering in food supplies, murdering inmates who opposed him and generally running the camp for his own profit.

    Morgen tied up the Bornschein case quickly and started on Koch's trail. He had a special agent interview the prisoners about the irregularities, but the prisoners were not very forthcoming and those who showed signs of being so seemed to die of various causes with an alarming rapidity. His special agent grew frustrated with the total lack of headway he was making and refused to persevere with the investigation, so Morgen turned detective himself. He intercepted letters between Karl and his wife Ilse, dug into their accounts in the local banks and conducted stealthy inquiries within the camp itself.

    Within a short period of time, he found out that Koch had embezzled at least 100,000 marks and also found proof of the murder of Krämer and Peix, two inmates of the camp, and indications that witnesses to the murder were slain as well. He also found out that others, like Dr Waldemar Houst, the camp doctor, were involved in the murders and in acts of sadism at the expense of the inmates.

    The material he amassed was enough to fill a briefcase. He submitted the lot to Nebe, the Chief of the Criminal Police, who blanched on realising the impact of the evidence and hastily passed it on to the Gestapo chief Müller who promptly shifted responsibility to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the chief of the RSHA. Even he was not willing to handle the now red hot evidence and got the Chief of the SS Legal Department involved, who, now predictably, kicked it up to Himmler himself.

    Not one to be put off by red tape, Morgen dutifully took the evidence to the Reichsführer's office and sneaked it to Himmler's desk by using a cautiously worded telegram to Himmler outlining the case and with the help of a sympathetic member of Himmler's staff.

    Surprisingly, Himmler immediately gave Morgen full authority to proceed against the Koch coterie. In December 1943, Morgen trapped an accomplice of Koch's by the name of Köhler and got him to testify against Koch. Koch wilted against Morgen's relentless interrogation and was packed off to be shot as punishment by the SS Legal Department.

    The Kassel office now authorised Morgen, fresh from his victory in the Koch case, to investigate all the concentration and extermination camps in Nazi Germany. Pursuing the leads he dredged up while investigating the Koch case, Morgen landed in Lublin, Poland.

    In Poland, Morgen was received by Camp Commandant Kriminalkommissar Wirth, who guided him through the four major extermination camps of Maidenek, Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec. Morgen pounced on what he then believed to be a localised crime wave involving - and evidenced by - gas chambers, incineration ovens and mass graves. To his horror, he found out that the orders for the perpetration of the same came directly from Hitler's Chancellery and could not be stopped by the SS Legal Department. However, he took the course of getting as many of the villains punished as was possible and succeeded in prosecuting a few top officials in Maidenek for what were termed 'arbitrary killings'. His policy, in his own words, was to take a 'practical route to justice' by 'removing from this system of destruction the leaders and important elements through the means offered by the system itself'.

    By early 1944, he started investigating Höss, the Commandant of the Auschwitz extermination camp. He and his team were subjected to the tactics of terror that the Nazis had refined to a fine art. One of Morgen's deputies, Hauptscharführer Gerhard Putsch, vanished without a trace and the hut in which Morgen's files were housed was burnt to the ground. However, he managed to prosecute several high ranking Nazis like Maximllian Grabner, Alex Piorkowski, Hans Horite and Herman Florstedt.

    Morgen did not give up, and following his 'practical route to justice' policy, brought 800 cases of corruption and murder to trial and managed to obtain at least 200 convictions. His actions were certainly instrumental in the destruction of the camps of Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec by the Nazis themselves...

    The enormity of the results of his activities caused reverberations in the Nazi hierarchy that reached Hitler himself, and in the early spring of 1944 Morgen was given direct orders from Hitler's office commanding him to cease and desist, at the very point he was preparing to launch a major investigation into Auschwitz.

    Morgen practised law in West Germany and died in 1976.


    :eek: :confused:
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    From Affidavit SS-65 by SS Judge Konrad Morgen, IMT Vol. 42, p. 556:

    Individual criminal acts - in these cases having broad implications - included: the assumption of a license to kill by commandants and subordinates concealed through falsification of medical death certificates.

    Arbitrary conduct, chicanery, unlawful corporal punishments, acts of brutality and sadism, liquidation of no-longer-convenient accomplices, theft and black-market profiteering.

    ALL OF THESE OFFENSES WERE COMMITTED both alone by prisoners AS WELL AS BY PERSONNEL OF THE SS, most however in conspiracy between SS personnel with kapos (Jewish concentration camp guards).

    The intervention of SS jurisdiction in the concentration camps commenced with the initiation of my investigations in July 1943 and lasted until the conclusion of the war. It could not have started sooner, because there were no suspicions in this regard.

    Arrested were the commandants of Buchenwald, Lublin, Warschau, Herzogenbosch, KRAKAU-PLASZOW.

    The commandants of Buchenwald and Lublin were shot.

    More than a hundred cases were brought to a verdict. Maximum punishments were imposed on members of all ranks.

    http://www.hoffman-info.com/revisionist6.html

    --------

    I wonder myself if someone can confirm about Konrad Morgen, the data on him certainly seems to be the same in the net on previous sources.

    I do think that either these men were robbing or Himmler wanted to get rid of them, simply the fact of murdering or mistreating these inmates as a reason to arrest them- I don´t believe in it-at least yet.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hmmm...This sounds more like it...

    http://www.geocities.com/onemansmind/hr/men/Men.html

    One of the greatest ironies to come out of Auschwitz: at one point the SS sent an administrative judge, Dr. Konrad Morgen, to investigate corruption there. Obviously, the problem was not that people were being murdered at the camp; it was that the work of the camp--murder-- was not being carried out according to SS standards.

    All goods seized from the inmates and victims of the gas chambers were supposed to be shipped back to Berlin, to the government. Instead, the barracks known as "Canada" had been stacked high with booty, and the camp Commander Rudolf Hoss and SS men in charge were benefiting by it.

    In addition, at least two men at the camp--Hoss and Lieutenant Maximilian Grabner--were having affairs with inmates. It must be noted that Morgen had earlier obtained the execution of the commandant of Buchenwald on similar charges. However, Hoss payed off Morgen to overlook certain findings.

    Morgen had Grabner arrested and brought back to Berlin for questioning. He was ultimately sentenced by Nazi justice to twelve years in prison for crimes including some of the killings which had taken place at the "Black Wall" between Block 10 and Block 11.

    (In the complicated web of SS regulations as applied by Morgen, the shooting of prisoners at the Black Wall was illegal, while their murder inside Block 11 by phenol injection was perfectly legal, as were the gas chambers .)

    Morgen testified at Nuremberg and practiced law again in Germany after the war.

    Friedrich, pp. 25-27, 51; Lifton, 138-139, 387; Conot, 297.

    ---------

    Hoss, after tiring of his mistress, Eleanor Hodys, had ordered her murdered, but Morgen rescued her and sent her to Berlin (where the SS killed her anyway, toward the end of the war).

    http://www.spectacle.org/695/judge.html

    [ 22. May 2003, 05:44 AM: Message edited by: Kai-Petri ]
     
  15. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    nice finds, Kai. Sounds like that last post is probably the most accurate. I'd have to agree with your theory that only murdering and mistreating inmantes (geez, "only" seems sad to say... you gents know what I mean... context...) would probably not have been enough to cause investigations and charges.

    Very interesting info...
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Nebe being a very interesting person as well....

    Arthur Nebe http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

    In September 1939 Nebe was put in charge of Amt V of the RSHA, which was responsible for the criminal police. Promoted to the rank of SS-Gruppenfuhrer, Nebe was later given command of Einsatzgruppen B between June and November 1941, an extermination unit whose headquarters were in Minsk, and which also covered the area of the Moscow front.

    During this period of five months, Nebe was credited with the “modest” number of 46,000 executions. During Himmler’s visit to Minsk in July 1941, Nebe was instructed to find new methods of mass killing. After the war an amateur film showing a gas chamber worked by the exhaust gas of a lorry was found in his former Berlin flat.

    It should be noted that Nebe took it upon himself to save thousands of Russian civilians from execution by falsifying figures and claiming credit for slaughters that have never been carried out, however Nebe is soon suspected by fellow SS-Einsatzgruppen colleagues of being "too soft."

    Arthur Nebe was killed in Plötzensee prison on March 2, 1945. He was not really part of the resistance but he maintained contacts with Oster and Gisevius and funneled important information to them ( Joachim Fest "Plotting Hitler´s death" ).
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Bringing this thread back to daylight...

    Sounds a bit weird, doesn´t it:

    "Morgen did not give up, and following his 'practical route to justice' policy, brought 800 cases of corruption and murder to trial and managed to obtain at least 200 convictions. His actions were certainly instrumental in the destruction of the camps of Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec by the Nazis themselves."

    Ehhhh...???
     
  18. Hilts

    Hilts Member

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    You Know, I looked at this.................and.................actually I thought, nah, I'm going somewhere else..........
     
  19. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I wonder if it was an attempt, by Himmler et al, to distance themselves from what went on in the camps by placing blame on the individual camp comanders.
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Probably closest to the truth, i think. Himmler told in autumn 1944 to Eichmann NOT to bring the Jews from the Balkans to the camps, but Eichmann would not listen. Himmler was already getting ready for the "New World" where the SS was not in command.
     

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