Sunday, September 17, 2006

More Fun With Ugly Voice Productions (Part 1)

Author: Roberto Muehlenkamp
The next addition to our Debunking Ugly Voice videos collection deals with the Ugly Voice’s treatment of the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals.

In Episode 5 of One Third of the Holocaust [YouTube version], the Ugly Voice's claim is essentially that the Nuremberg record on the Aktion Reinhard(t)(AR) camps amounts to only 20 minutes of testimony, and most of that testimony is wholly unreliable.

In the first part of our assessment of this clip, I will examine to what extent UV’s claim is even relevant, i.e., if, assuming the judicial examination of the AR camps at Nuremberg produced no reliable results, this would mean that there was never a solid judicial investigation/documentation of the crimes committed at these camps. In the second part of the assessment, Andrew will then have a look at UV’s contentions regarding Nuremberg.

Read more!

"Educated Americans," we are told, believe that the Nuremberg Trials provide the best judicial documentation of the Nazi crimes. With all due respect for educated Americans, what matters is not what "educated Americans" believe, let alone what the UV thinks is believed by "educated Americans". What matters to the issue of how thoroughly the mass killings at the AR camps have been subject to criminal investigation is what can actually be considered the most detailed judicial documentation of these crimes. And that documentation is not to be found in the records of the Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) or of any of the subsequent trials before Nuremberg Military Tribunal, for reasons that will be explained by Andrew in Part 2 of this assessment. It is to be found in the records of murder trials of some of the SS perpetrators at those camps that took place in the German Federal Republic, mainly in the 1960s and 1970s. These trials were preceded by years of investigations conducted by German public prosecutors with the assistance of the Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklärung nationalsozialistischer Verbrechen, a special body created by the judicial administrations of the German federal states for the sole purpose of investigating Nazi crimes, during which the investigators managed to interrogate and/or bring to trial a number of suspects and numerous witnesses to whom the authorities conducting the Nuremberg trials had had no access in the immediate postwar period, as well as hitherto unknown documentary evidence, such as transport documents, instructions and correspondence between individuals involved in the AR killing program. The work of German criminal justice authorities in documenting the crimes committed at the AR and other extermination camps was expressly praised by the late German historian Martin Broszat, in the following terms:
[...] Often reprimanded for its careful judgments, pleading for the accused or for facts not being provable in case of doubt, the judiciary of the German Federal Republic, with its voluminous investigation apparatus working over many years, has especially in the area of the extermination camps often contributed more to the clarification of this National Socialist crime complex than would have been possible to historians. [...]
The above is my translation from: Ino Arndt/Wolfgang Scheffler, "Organisierter Massenmord in Nationalsozialistischen Vernichtungslagern". Vorbemerkung von Martin Broszat. In: Peter Maerthesheimer / Ivo Frenzel, Im Kreuzfeuer: Der Fernsehfilm Holocaust. Eine Nation ist betroffen, 1979 Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag Frankfurt am Main, page 174.

Non-German historians also use the evidence found in the course of these West German criminal investigations and trials in their research on the AR camps. One example is none other than UV’s target Yitzhak Arad, whose book Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps draws heavily on eyewitness testimony and/or the depositions of perpetrators before West German courts, examining judges or prosecutors, as UV might have realized if he had read this book more carefully and looked up its source notes and its Appendix B about The Fate of the Perpetrators of Operation Reinhard. In fact, the Preface already makes one wonder how much of Arad's book the UV actually read. For it contains no reference to the Trial of the Major War Criminals or any other of the Nuremberg trials, but the following statements:
Nazi criminals who served on these camps stood trial in West Germany. The trial of the SS men who had served in Belzec was held in Munich in January 1965. The primary defendant was Josef Oberhauser; there were six others. The trial of the SS men who had served in Sobibor was held in Hagen and lasted fifteen months, from September 1965 until December 1966. The leading defendant was Kurt Bolender; there were eleven others. The first Treblinka trial, at which ten of the SS men who served in the camp were brought to trial, among them Kurt Franz, the deputy commander, was held in Düsseldorf between October 1964 and August 1965. The second Treblinka trial, at which Franz Stangl, the commander of the camp, was tried, was also held in Düsseldorf, from September 1969 to December 1970. These verdicts appear as appendices to this book.
This book is the fruition of extensive research by the author on the camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. The primary sources were testimonies of survivors, German documents, Underground sources, testimonies by Poles and Germans, and German trial protocols.
The text of some of the judgments emerging from West German trials – LG München I of 21.1.1965 , LG Berlin of 8.5.1950, LG Frankfurt am Main of 25.8.1950, LG Düsseldorf of 3.9.1965 ("LG" stands for Landgericht, i.e. District/County Court or Court of Assizes) is available online, and the Justiz und NS-Verbrechen website of Amsterdam University features summary data of these trials, which – insofar as already available in English – will be quoted hereafter.

Case Nr.585
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Oberhauser, Josef Kaspar 4½ Years
LG München I 650121
BGH 651214
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Belzec
Crime Date: 42
Victims: Jews
Nationality: Polish
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Belzec
Subject of the proceeding: Cooperation in the mass killing of Jews in Belzec through duty performance at the arrival ramp as well as by procuring the necessary building materials for the construction of the extermination installation

Case Nr.212
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Bauer, Erich Hermann Death sentence
LG Berlin 500508
KG 501111
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Sobibor
Crime Date: 42-4311
Victims: Jews
Nationality: unknown (according to judgment: foreign)
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sobibor
Subject of the proceeding: Mass killing of Jews by the defendant, who was called 'Gasmeister' of Sobibor, as well as mishandling and shooting of individual Jewish prisoners
Case Nr.233
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
G., Hubert life sentence
K., Johann Acquittal
LG Frankfurt/M. 500825
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Sobibor
Crime Date: 4204-4310
Victims: Jews
Nationality: unknown (according to the judgment: foreign)
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sobibor
Subject of the proceeding: Participation in mass killings through selection at the ramp of the victims arriving with the railway transports, as well as mishandling and mass and individual shootings of Jews
Case Nr.641
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Fuc., Erich Fritz 4 Years
LG Hagen 661220
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Sobibor
Crime Date: 4204-4205
Victims: Jews
Nationality: Polish, unknown
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sobibor
Subject of the proceeding: Installing and tuning of a engine, whose exhaust fumes were led into the gas chamber. 'Trial gassing' of about 30 Jewish women as well as subsequent gassing of Jews arriving in 3-4 transports. Instruction of camp supervisor (Lageraufseher) Bauer - cf. Case Nr.212 - how to operate the engine
Case Nr.642
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps, War Crimes
Dub., Karl Werner 3 Years
Frenzel, Karl August Wilhelm Life sentence
Itt., Alfred 4 Years
Jüh., Robert Emil Franz Xaver Acquittal
Lac., Erich Gustav Willi Acquittal
Lambert, Erwin Hermann 3 Years
Sch., Hans-Heinz Friedrich Karl Acquittal
Unv., Heinrich Acquittal
Wol., Franz 8 Years
Zie., Ernst Acquittal
LG Hagen 661220
BGH 710325
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Sobibor
Crime Date: 4203-4311
Victims: Jews, Prisoners of War
Nationality: German, French, Dutch, Austrian, Polish, Slovak, Soviet, Czech
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Sobibor
Subject of the proceeding: Mass gassing and single killings of altogether at least 150, 000 Jewish civilians as well as of Red Army soldiers

Case Nr.270
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Hirtreiter, Joseph life sentence
LG Frankfurt/M. 510303
BGH 520110
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Treblinka
Crime Date: 42-4310
Victims: Jews
Nationality: Polish, Dutch, French, Belgian, German
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Treblinka
Subject of the proceeding: Participation in the mass killing of Jews, in that the defendant supervised their undressing and chased them through the 'Schlauch' ('tube') to the gas chamber. He mishandled and shot several Jewish prisoners - in part at the 'Lazarett' ('hospital') - and killed a number of babies, who were left behind by their relatives at the Treblinka railway station on orders of the guards
Case Nr.596
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Franz, Kurt Hubert life sentence
H., Richard Otto Acquittal
Lambert, Erwin Hermann 4 Years
Matthes, Heinrich Arthur life sentence
Mentz, Willi life sentence
Miete, August Wilhelm life sentence
Münzberger, Gustav 12 Years
Ru., Franz Albert Otto died before the judgement became final
Stadie, Otto 7 Years
Suchomel, Franz 6 Years
LG Düsseldorf 650903
BGH 700630
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Treblinka
Crime Date: 4206-4311
Victims: Jews, Gypsies
Nationality: Bulgarian, German, Greek, Yugoslav, Austrian, Polish, Czech
Office: Haftstättenpersonal KL Treblinka
Subject of the proceeding: Gassing of at least 700,000 Jewish men, women and children, as well as of Gypsies. Fatal mishandling, shooting, slaying and hanging of individual prisoners, as well as mangling of prisoners by 'Barry' the deputy camp commander's dog
Case Nr.746
Crime Category: Mass Extermination Crimes in Camps
Stangl, Franz Died before sentence became final
LG Düsseldorf 701222
Country where the crime was committed: Poland
Crime Location: HS KL Treblinka, HS KL Sobibor
Crime Date: 4204-4308
Victims: Jews, Gypsies
Nationality: Bulgarian, Greek, Yugoslavian, Dutch, Austrian, Polish, unknown
Office: Detainment Center Staff KL Treblinka and KL Sobibor
Subject of the proceeding: Supervision - as camp commander of Treblinka - of the mass extermination of at least 400.000 Jews and Gypsies. Shooting and hanging of Jews as well as supervision over the selections at the arrival ramp in Sobibor

The thoroughness of the assessment of evidence at one of these trials, the first Treblinka trial before the LG Düsseldorf, will be shown hereafter on hand of the judgment, which can be read here.

The trial consisted of sessions on the following days: 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27 and 29 October 1964, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26 and 30 November 1964, 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22 and 28 December 1964, 4, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 25, 26 and 28 January 1965, 1, 2, 4, 15, 16, 18, 22 and 25 February 1965, 8, 19, 22, 23, 25, 29 and 30 March 1965, 1, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 22 and 29 April 1965, 4, 6, 10, 21, 25 and 31 May 1965, 10, 14, 21 and 28 June 1965, 5, 12 and 23 July 1965, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 23 and 24 August 1965 and 3 September 1965. Ninety-four trial sessions dealing with crimes committed at Treblinka alone. UV’s quip in the advertisement of his Nuremberg clip ("If you consider 20 minutes of courtroom time a thorough documentation of 1.5 million deaths.") certainly did not apply to this trial.

The evidence underlying the court’s findings of fact about the Nazi policy of exterminating the Jews and the execution of that policy at Treblinka extermination camp – established before examining, on hand of further evidence, each defendant’s individual participation in the mass killings as well as additional killings committed on the respective defendant’s own initiative – was the following (my translation from the judgment):
The findings of fact in Part One are based
1. on the depositions of the defendants, insofar as they can be relied upon,
2. on the depositions, insofar as they can be relied upon, of the unsworn witnesses attorney- at-law A., salaried employee O., merchant Hä., accountant M., merchant L., company officer R., salaried employee v. He., sales representative W., emeritus university professor Dr. Pf., fitter N., tally clerk F., nurse U., locksmith D., waiter Josef Oberhauser, truck driver Erich Bauer, nurse G., Vice President of the Federal Railways Direction Kassel Z., Federal Railways leading counsel Ri., counsel St., Federal Railways director Za., train driver S., Federal Railways leading inspector ret. Pi., Federal Railways leading secretary We., train driver Sc., leading train driver K., former police counsel Hei., salaried employee Sch., master automobile mechanic Fu., janitor J., night porter Bo., mason La., counsel of the Polish State Railways Zab., salaried employee Str., salaried employee Bi., salaried employee Ra., locksmith Josef Hirtreiter, pensioner Gi., merchant Le., salaried employee Ge., locksmith Pa., textiles technician Rei., stenographer Irmgard Franz, decorator Wa., actor Th. and engineer Pos.,
3. on the sworn and credible depositions of the witnesses burner Ki., merchant Gie., merchant Ko., lecturer Wes., engineer Ley., district court counsel Schw., merchant Ja., sawmill director Raj., salaried employee Au., plumber Oscar Stra., hairdresser Bom., presser Rap., engineer Gl., hairdresser Pla., civil servant Sz., state employee Li., port warehouse clerk Ros., locksmith Tai., painter Hell., repository administrator Lak., mechanic Tu., construction technician Koh., locksmith Ku., office clerk Lew., merchant Jan., hotel direction assistant Sed., butcher Roj., deputy manager Sp., housewife Ka., butcher Wei., textiles merchant Ka., librarian Pfo., cushion maker and decorator Zi., merchant Kols., tailor Lach., fruit salesman Br., housewife Su., merchant Do., master brewer Un., manager Zygmund Stra., textiles merchant Bu., butcher Schnei. and butcher Go.,
4. on the expert opinions, all of them rendered under oath, about "SS and Police in the NS State" by the scientific consultant at the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, Dr. Buch., about "The Persecution of the Jews by the NS Regime" by library counsel and assistant professor at Göttingen University Dr. Ser., about "The National Socialist Persecution of the Jews in the General Government" by the college lecturer at the Pedagogic Academy in Lüneburg von Krann., about "The Number of Victims in Treblinka Extermination Camp" by the Director of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich Dr. Kraus. and about "Euthanasia and Destruction of Life Not Worth Living in the Third Reich" by Marburg University professor Dr.Dr. E., as well as
5. on the documents read out and named in the session protocols, which were available to the jury court in photocopy or transcription and the concordance of which with the originals is subject to no doubt.
The counting of the witnesses interrogated at this trial may be done by UV himself.

Not only the witnesses, testifying without knowledge of each other’s testimony or the defendant's depositions as provided for in German criminal procedure law, gave essentially coincident and detailed descriptions of the mass murder at Treblinka, but the defendants also did, as pointed out by Yitzhak Arad at the end of the chapter about the AR camps he wrote for the study Nationalsozialistische Massentötungen durch Giftgas, edited by Kogon, Langbein, Rückerl et al., an English translation of which can be read here:
Nevertheless, in the postwar interrogations initiated by the German Federal Republic in order to investigate and criminally prosecute former members of the German personnel of these extermination camps, all the people questioned in these proceedings, without exception, irrespective of whether they had at the time spent a prolonged or only a short period in or near one of the camps, testified to the existence and the operation of the gas chambers installed there for the purpose of killing people. In isolated cases, those accused of direct involvement in the mass murders denied their participation in especially extreme acts. However, they did not deny the extermination of Jews and Gypsies in the gas chambers. Moreover, quite independently of one another, they invariably gave detailed descriptions of the purpose of the camps and of the murderous procedures which had been practiced there.
Thus, for instance, Kurt Hubert Franz, deputy commander of Treblinka sentenced to life imprisonment in Düsseldorf, denied ever having set his dog "Barry" onto camp inmates to tear them apart, but not that he had taken part in the killing of hundreds of thousands in the Treblinka gas chambers (though he tried to play down the extent of his involvement, claiming that he had "only" been the commander of the Ukrainian guards detachment in charge of the training and supervision of the guards). Willi Mentz, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment and whose job had been to bump off the old and/or infirm at the "Lazarett" (hospital) so that they would not hold up the "processing" of the majority of arrivals in the gas chambers, tried to reduce the number of people he had killed, but he did not deny or embellish the existence and purpose of the "Lazarett" or the nature of his activity there. The camp commandant Franz Stangl, whose judgment is partially transcribed here, tried to make believe that «while it was true that he had been the commander at Treblinka; he had had nothing to do with the killing of Jews. His task, he said, had been solely to supervise the collection and shipment of valuables brought into the camp by the victims». And so on.

The fact that these perpetrators, even if they tried to play down their involvement in the mass killings and/or in what Arad calls "especially extreme acts", never questioned the fact that the places where they had served had been extermination camps, and even described details of the extermination process, is a bitter pill for "Revisionist" charlatans, who react by lamely postulating or insinuating that West German criminal justice authorities coerced the defendants or otherwise illegally influenced them, which is supposed to have led to the defendants confessing to crimes they had not committed in order to end their duress and/or in the hope of thereby obtaining a lower sentence from "inquisitors" hell-bent on convicting NS criminals. Lack of evidence to any such manipulations aside (the burden of proof for their claims rests with the "Revisionists", who so far have shown nothing that would substantiate these claims), it is an utterly absurd notion that prosecutors or judges of a constitutional state like the German Federal Republic – especially the latter, often severely criticized for excessive leniency in their convictions of NS criminals and/or their over-cautious application of the in dubio pro reo principle at trials related to NS crimes – should have not only violated their legal obligation to find the truth, but also incurred in criminal offenses, punishable under the German Criminal Code, by forcing or encouraging false confessions leading to the conviction of innocents. Besides, the fact that some of the defendants received harsh sentences (like those mentioned above, who were sentenced to the most severe penalty provided for in the German Criminal Code) makes one wonder what favors Franz, Mentz, Stangl and others could possibly have curried by admitting to the mass killings and their participation therein, had German criminal justice authorities eager to convict Nazi criminals offered any such plea-bargaining.

Outside the dream world of "Revisionist" wishful thinking and hollow fantasies, the fact is that rather detailed investigations of the mass killings at the AR camps were conducted by the criminal justice authorities of a constitutional state at fair trials conducted according to defendant-friendly procedural rules, and that a constitutional state’s independent judges, after a thorough assessment of the evidence before them, considered these crimes proven beyond a reasonable doubt on more than one occasion.

This, in turn, means that one can conclude on the irrelevance of UV’s rambling about the Nuremberg trials. Average (or "educated") Americans may believe that the Nuremberg Trials are the best judicial documentation about the AR camps (assuming they have even heard about these camps), but historians actually know better, and that’s what counts.

Incidentally, the Prof. Dollinger of San Francisco State University that the UV seeks to make a fool of is an historian, but not a scholar of European or Holocaust history. His area of specialty is American Jewish history as it says at the very Web site the UV cites.

The information in the last paragraph was pointed out by Andrew, who now gets the word.

Click here to read refutations of other Ugly Voice Productions videoclips.


Paul said...

Holocaust denial is not serious history; it is a game being played upon all of us by cranks.

The German government should re-try any living Nazis they foolishly 'acquitted' or who served flimsy terms of three to four years. It is a grotesque farce.


P. Silverman

Briony Coote said...

You forgot to comment on the bit where Denierbud tries to discredit the testimony that Jews suffocated in cattle cars by showing us a modern cattle car with slats.

Photographs of cattle cars of the period show they did not have slats. Besides, isn't it degrading and unsanitary for for people to be transported in cattle cars, whether they have slats or not?