Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Graf's Idiocy Regarding West German Trials (Part 2)

In addition to the general problems I identified in Part 1, which confront MGK concerning West German war crimes trials, Graf and his colleagues are burdened with the patterns that clearly emerge from testimonies and sentencing of defendants who stood trial in West Germany between 1963 and 1966 for crimes at the three Operation Reinhard camps.

Graf repeatedly claims that people who co-operated with the so-called gassing narrative were "given slap-on-the-wrist sentences" (Riposte, p.169). This causes problems for Mattogno when the latter discusses Willi Mentz and Kurt Franz, who both received life sentences for crimes committed at Treblinka. Mattogno quotes Mentz thus:
There were always some ill and frail people on the transports. Sometimes there were also wounded people amongst the arrivals because the transport escorts, SS members, police, Latvians, sometimes shot people during the journey. These ill, frail and wounded people were brought to the hospital by a special Arbeitskommando. […] I did this by shooting them in the neck with a 9-mm pistol. […] The number of people I shot after the transport arrived varied. Sometimes it was two or three but sometimes it was as many as twenty or perhaps even more. 

This is taken from page 247 of Klee, et al (eds.), “The Good Old Days.” The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders, 1988, p. 247. However, the full version of this passage in Klee et al reads: 
There were always some ill and frail persons on the transports. Sometimes there were also wounded people amongst the arrivals because the transport escorts, SS members, police, Latvians, sometimes shot people during the journey. These ill, frail and wounded people were brought to the Lazarett by a special Arbeitskommando. These people would be taken to the hospital area and stood or laid down at the edge of the grave. When no more ill or wounded were expected it was my job to shoot these people. I did this by shooting them in the neck with a 9-mm pistol. They then collapsed or fell to one side and were carried down into the grave by the two hospital work-Jews. The bodies were sprinkled with chlorinated lime. Later, on Wirth’s instructions, they were burnt in the grave itself.
The number of people I shot after the transport arrived varied. Sometimes it was two or three but sometimes it was as many as twenty or perhaps even more. There were men and women of all ages and there were also children.

When I am asked today how many people I killed this way, I can no longer say precisely.

Mattogno has therefore omitted the fact Mentz shot children. He has also left out the procedure by which the Jews were shot. Most importantly, Mattogno has excluded the fact that Mentz was given a life sentence, despite the fact that he gave details of gas chambers to his interrogators, which are quoted on the very same page of the Klee et al book that Mattogno cites.

Graf's comments on sentencing at the Sobibor trial contain inaccuracies that are, at best, very sloppy blunders. For example, he claims that "Jules Schelvis explains Lachmann’s acquittal on the grounds that the court had considered him to be “mentally impaired,” but a more probable explanation is just that he had actively cooperated with the prosecution." Had Graf actually read the judgment, he would know that it actually states:
Bei dem Angeklagten Lac. ergibt sich dies aus folgendem: Er hatte von vornherein gebeten, ihn nicht in Sobibor einzusetzen. Als ihm Strafkompanie oder KZ angedroht wurden, ging er doch dorthin und zwar aus Angst, verhielt sich dort aber nicht exzessiv und änderte seine innerlich ablehnende Einstellung im Zweifel auch nicht. Er tat seinen befohlenen Dienst so schlecht, dass er schliesslich als unbrauchbar weggeschickt wurde, remonstrierte bei Höfle anschliessend gegen eine weitere Dienstleistung in Treblinka und desertierte sogar noch, als er in dieses weitere Vernichtungslager abkommandiert wurde.

Es ist nicht feststellbar, dass Lac. als ein unterster Polizeidienstgrad mit seinen sehr primitiven geistigen Gaben irgendwelche anderen Möglichkeiten gehabt hätte oder gar hätte erkennen können und deshalb zumutbar versäumt hätte, sich seinem Einsatz in dem Vernichtungslager Sobibor anders zu entziehen. Personalmässig unterstand er vorher nicht Wirth, sondern der Gendarmerie, deren oberer Führer Globocnik war. Bei seinem Dienstvorgesetzten Drechsel hat er remonstriert. Weitere Bemühungen wären erfolglos gewesen, wie sein späterer Besuch bei Höfle zeigt. Der Lagerkommandant in Sobibor war für ihn hinsichtlich der Diensteinteilung zuständig, im übrigen unterstand er dort ebenfalls Wirth. Bei einem so ungemein primitiven Menschen, wie Lac., kann nicht gefordert werden, dass er die Hierarchie der personellen Zuständigkeiten und Möglichkeiten in Sobibor noch anderweit ausschöpfte, um dort wegzukommen. Dass er - ausser mangelndem Diensteifer und Trunksucht - in Sobibor nichts weiter unternommen hat, um abgelöst zu werden, indiziert daher nicht notwendig einen einverständlichen Eifer oder eine innere Gleichgültigkeit. Lac.s beschränkter Verstand sah nur die von ihm wahrgenommenen Möglichkeiten ausser der Desertion, die er später beging.

In the defendant Lac.’s case this results from the following: he had from the beginning asked that he not be posted at Sobibor. When he was threatened with penal company or concentration camp he went there out of fear, but did not behave in an excessive manner, and there are also no indications that he changed his inwardly rejecting attitude. He did his ordered service so badly that he was eventually sent away as useless, thereafter protested to Höfle against further service at Treblinka, and even deserted when he was ordered to this other extermination camp.
It cannot be ascertained that Lac., as a low-ranking policeman with his primitive intellectual talents, would have had or even realized any other possibilities and therefore failed to reasonably elude service at Sobibór in another way. In personnel matters he had priorly been subordinated not to Wirth, but to the gendarmerie, whose highest-ranking commander was Globocnik. He protested to his superior Drechsel. Further efforts would have failed, as his later visit to Höfle shows. The camp commandant of Sobibór was competent as concerns his service; otherwise he was also subordinated to Wirth there. It cannot be demanded of a person as immensely primitive as Lac. that he should have further tapped the hierarchy of personal competences and possibilities at Sobibor to get away from there. Therefore, the fact that he – besides lack of zeal and drunkenness – did nothing at Sobibór to be relieved from there, does not necessarily indicate a compliant zeal or an inner indifference. Lac.’s limited intellect saw only the possibilities he used besides the desertion he later undertook. [De Mildt & Rueter, JUSTIZ UND NS-VERBRECHEN SAMMLUNG DEUTSCHER STRAFURTEILE WEGEN NATIONALSOZIALISTISCHER TÖTUNGSVERBRECHEN. Einzelausfertigung der Urteile des LG Hagen vom 20.12.1966, 11 Ks 1/64 und des BGH vom 25.03.1971, 4 StR 7-48/69, Ex-Post Facto Productions, 2001, p.228; translation kindly provided by Roberto Muehlenkamp]. 
Lachmann's acquittal was therefore due to his mental limitations at the time he served in Operation Reinhard, not his fitness to stand trial and give witness testimony. Yet Graf claims erroneously that: 
In other words: Lachmann told the prosecutors exactly what they wanted to hear – and they had sufficient confidence in his mental capacity to use him as a witness. No doubt we may safely assume that the same situation applied a few years earlier, when Lachmann’s own freedom was at stake [Riposte, p.171].
Graf has foolishly made an incorrect inference by relying on Schelvis instead of the primary source. He has confused apples with oranges by assuming that competence to give witness testimony was the court's rationale when infact it was the much higher competence needed to make moral judgments to avoid service in the camps.

Graf also errs in his claim that "Unverhau had in effect enlisted voluntarily as a witness for the prosecution in the post-war NS trials – and hence received his reward." This is bizarre given that Unverhau was held in detention for three different investigations (Grafeneck, Belzec, Sobibor) and stood trial in two of them (only being stood down for Belzec). His acquittals still came after long periods of pre-trial custody. This is an entirely different form of treatment than that which Graf implies, which is more akin to "turning state's evidence" in US cases.

Furthermore, Graf fails to account for the long gaps between the witnesses making pre-trial confessions and the dates when they obtained their freedom. In Unverhau's case this would have involved long stretches between his first Belzec confessions and his final acquittal.

This is just one of many ways in which Graf's grasp of law lacks any historical or comparative qualities, essentially because Graf is starting from a dishonest position. Most pivotally of all, Graf's legalism rests on antisemitism, whereby he accuses Jewish witnesses of orchestrating vengeance: "there were always plenty of witnesses on hand during these trials, all eager to ascribe the most horrifying deeds to any one of the defendants (Sobibor, p.184)." This is simply a lie, because unco-operative defendants did indeed sometimes get charges dropped because there was not sufficient witness testimony against them. For example, Klier was acquitted in 1950 because witnesses described him as a "good man", unlike sadist Gomerski. Similarly, Wolf and Dubois received reductions in sentences in the Hagen 1966 trial because the witness evidence was adjudged to be too weak (Bryant, p.37 and p.174).

Thus Graf is condemned by his sloppiness, his racism, his dishonesty and ultimately by not being judicious in his handling of evidence.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

LemmyCaution/Kentford/Statmech mentioned this before. The denier couldn't answer.

This pretty much invalidates the deniers' premise. Roberto made a great article about this in 06. Yours complements it very well