Friday, July 03, 2015

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961 movie)

The 1961 movie Judgment at Nuremberg, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark and Maximilian Schell, is a fictionalized dramatization of the Nuremberg "Justice Case", officially called "United States of America vs. Josef Altstoetter, et al".

Before I state my opinion about this film, some cautionary remarks about what I consider its weakest part, the presentation of documentary footage about Nazi crimes commented by prosecuting attorney Colonel Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark) after having been sworn in as a witness (1:30:22 to 1:36.07).  


Though emotionally compelling, Lawson’s narrative is fraught with inaccuracies, and the footage often does not show what it is purported to show. Besides mentioning homicidal gassing at Dachau concentration camp (which, as far as I know, was not considered proven by a court at any of the Nuremberg trials and neither at other Allied war crimes trials or at later trials before West German criminal courts), the inaccuracies include the following:

1. Lawson announces an "exhibit of by-products of Buchenwald, displayed for the local townspeople by an Allied officer". The subsequent footage does show some such exhibits, but it also shows the following images, which have nothing to do with Buchenwald:









These images are obviously from Soviet footage of the liberation of Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, which was included in the parts of the documentary "The Atrocities committed by German Fascists in the USSR" that are addressed here.

2. The same goes for the images of what Lawson called "children who had been tattooed for eventual extermination"



These children were filmed by a Soviet cameraman in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and contrary to Lawson's claim they had been tattooed not "for eventual extermination", but because they had been exempted from extermination or not meant for extermination in the first place. If there were any Jews among these children, the reason why they were still alive would have been that they had been earmarked for medical experiments. However, these children, or at least most of them, are more likely to have been non-Jewish Polish children who had been transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau with their families during or after the Warsaw Uprising. According to this page, about 13,000 Warsaw residents – men, women, and children – were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August and September 1944.

3. Lawson mentions that "death transports" included "90,000 from Slovakia, 65,000 from Greece, 11,000 from France, 90,000 from Holland, 400,000 from Hungary, 250,000 from Poland and Upper Silesia, and 100,000 from Germany". Needless to say, these figures have nothing to do with Buchenwald, which never received any "death transports" because it was a plain concentration camp, which unlike Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek did not also serve an extermination purpose. The figures seem to have been inspired by those that AB commandant Rudolf Höß gave in in his notes headed Die »Endlösung der Judenfrage« im KL Auschwitz, after his pre-trial interrogations in Poland. Höß wrote that he recalled from memory the following numbers of the "larger actions": from Upper Silesia and the Generalgouvernement, 250,000; from Germany and Theresienstadt, 100,000; from Holland, 95,000; from Belgium, 20,000; from France, 110,000; from Greece, 65,000; from Hungary, 400,000; from Slovakia, 90,000.

The sum of these figures, 1,130,000, corresponds to the order of magnitude established by Polish historian Franciszek Piper and rendered in the Van Pelt Report, though some of Höß’s country figures greatly differ from the results of Piper’s research. Piper’s figures, as corrected downwards regarding the Hungarian Jews by the later research finds of German historians Christian Gerlach and Götz Aly, are the current and probably final status of historical research on the death toll of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The footage shown by Lawson to illustrate the "death transports", from which stills are reproduced below, is not from Auschwitz let alone Buchenwald.





The last of the above pictures obviously shows civilians (not necessarily Jews) killed by German forces on the territory of the USSR, and was taken from Soviet footage such as shown here, here and here.

The exhumed remains visible on the second picture from below seem to be murdered Jewish citizens of Kremenets and Vishnevets, two cities in the Tarnopol region, also shown in stills from the documentary "The Atrocities committed by German Fascists in the USSR" featured in this blog. A German report dated 15.08.1942 mentions the killing of 13,802 Jews in the Kremenets (Kremianez) area (Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, p. 715, fn. 1154). These Jews were victims of what the Germans called "local evacuations" (örtliche Aussiedlungen), in the Galicia district of the Generalgouvernement (see the blog Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (5,2)).

The upper two stills, finally, are from Soviet footage, also included in the documentary "The Atrocities committed by German Fascists in the USSR", showing prisoners of the Sonnenburg prison near Küstrin who had been shot down by their captors in the night of 30 to 31 January 1945. See the blog The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (3) for details.

4. Lawson shows footage from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in which corpses of inmates are being shoved into mass graves with bulldozers by British soldiers. He then finishes his address as follows: "Who were the bodies? Members of every occupied country of Europe. Two thirds of the Jews of Europe, exterminated. More than 6 million, according to reports from the Nazis’ own figures. But the real figure … no one knows."

Actually there is only one "report from the Nazis’ own figures" mentioning 6 million dead Jews, an affidavit by RSHA official Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, quoted in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1 Chapter XII - The Persecution of the Jews. Contemporary Nazi documents, like those containing General Governor Frank’s statements cited in the same volume or the Korherr Report, allow for reconstructing a part of but not the whole Jewish death toll from Nazi persecution and mass murder. Thus the main sources for all estimates of that total death toll, including without limitation those mentioned here, have been demographic data from the countries in which Nazi Germany wiped out most or a part of the Jewish population.

Despite these inaccuracies, Judgment at Nuremberg is an excellent historical movie. Its strength lies in its depiction of court procedures, which is in line with actual practice at the trials before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. A telling incident from the Einsatzgruppen Trial, mentioned here, illustrates the effort that was made to give the defendants a fair trial:
The argument that these trials were "kangaroo courts" or "show trials" is simply not tenable. Both were conducted with scrupulous attention to the rights of the accused to a fair trial. They were allowed to cross-examine the witnesses, challenge documents, and present evidence on their own behalf without limitation.

The attention that the courts gave to allowing the defendants to present a full defense is best illustrated by a famous incident at the trial of the leaders of the Einsatzgruppen. At one point in the trial, the prosecution objected to the argument that one of the defendants had been forced into duty with an Einsatzgruppe. Justice Musmanno, the presiding judge, overruled the objection stating:

The defense can introduce any evidence short of describing the lives of the penguins in the Antarctic and, if the defense can convince me the habits of the penguins are relevant evidence to the case, then the lives and times of those white-fronted creatures can also be admitted as evidence.

After the trial before the U.S. Tribunal, as a token of appreciation of the fair and honest manner in which their clients had been treated, the defense attorneys presented Justice Musmanno with a statue of a penguin. In subsequent trials, it was always the request of the defense that the "penguin rule" be applied. The penguin resided on a shelf behind Justice Musmanno's desk until his death in 1968.

In the sequence from minutes 1:50:31 to 1:54:41 of Judgment at Nuremberg, the defense attorney representing one of the defendants submits a prosecution witness to hostile cross-examination, until the witness breaks down crying. The prosecution council objects that the defense is trying to obtain evidence by pressuring the witness. The judge overrules the objection. The defendant himself interrupts the cross-examination, standing up and saying that he wishes to make a statement. The defense attorney, aware or fearing that his client will make a self-incriminating statement, requests that he be allowed to talk to his client before the statement is made. Prosecution counsel demands that the defendant be allowed to make his statement there and then. The judge adjourns the proceedings.

This wholly realistic sequence further illustrates how misplaced claims of unfair proceedings are as concerns these Nuremberg trials.

What is more, the depiction of an even match between the prosecution and the defense can even be called generous in favor of arguments against these trials, insofar as prosecution and defense were not so evenly matched at the actual "Justice Case". As one can see on page 14 of this document, prosecution counsel at this trial consisted of 5 persons, whereas there were 15 defense counsels and 13 assistant defense counsels speaking on behalf of the defendants at any given time during the trial. In the Einsatzgruppen Case the relation was similar: prosecution counsel 7 persons, vs. 23 defense counsels and 21 assistant defense counsels.

11 comments:

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Actually there is only one "report from the Nazis’ own figures" mentioning 6 million dead Jews, an affidavit by RSHA official Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, quoted in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1 Chapter XII - The Persecution of the Jews.

Actually the then-CIA agent Hoettl made two affidavits in which the kabbalistic 6,000,000 figure appears, although only the later one was presented at the IMT. Both are quoted in English in Vol. 5 of NC&A.

He also mentioned that number, twice IIRC, in his Nuremberg interrogations; as early as July 45, again IIRC.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Why, the rabbit is still alive!

Writing "kabbalistic" bullshit (the approximate number of children under five who die throughout the world every year must also be "kabbalistic", and the much higher number in 1990 is suspiciously close to Muehlenkamp's estimate of noncombatants murdered by Nazi Germany and its allies - could it be that he manipulated the UN’s figures?).

And spinning a "CIA" conspiracy, as also becomes his senile old mind.

I didn't know there was a CIA at the time of Hoettl’s statements, by the way.

Jeff said...

"Then-CIA agent" That was priceless. I would honestly expect better from the likes of K0nsol. Hoettl was a crackpot who may or may not have been telling the truth. You will find that most honest historians do not believe in a 6 million death toll. It is just another denier strawman. My own calculations come up at around 4.9 Million but I tend to be extremely conservative.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

It's good to see you're still alive too bobby, I feared the worst after laughing my way thru all of Jansson's posts which thoroughly humiliated you and your colleagues here at HC.

Hoettl was a CIA (formerly OSS) agent; that's common knowledge. Not that I would've expected you or your lapdancer Jeff to know it. Perhaps when I eventually reach your age I might be forced to join you in the mumbling-incoherently-about-conspiracies-when-informed-of-demonstrable-facts club. :D :D :D
http://web.archive.org/web/20010502143456/http://www.nara.gov/iwg/declass/hoettl.html

6,000,000 is a kabbalistic figure because of its significance in the passage Yitro 38d in the Zohar Hadash (New Zohar). Obviously—retards and their favourite private dancer aside—this doesn't mean that every single appearance of that number is "kabbalistic"—you've used a mighty straw man fallacy there, bobby. The number 18 holds special significance for Jews because it's the gematria value of חי (Chai = alive/living)‎, so why not include that in your straw man? And claim that *I think* every appearance of the number 18 is part of the big kabbalists' conspiracy.

You bozo straw man builder.






Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«It's good to see you're still alive too bobby, I feared the worst after laughing my way thru all of Jansson's posts which thoroughly humiliated you and your colleagues here at HC.»

Jansson's crap was laughable indeed, and his non-response to my deconstruction of his imbecilities suggests that he realized how feeble his arguments were and left with his tail between his legs. But don't let that upset your senile wishful thinking, which I reckon you need to get a measure of peace of mind.

«Hoettl was a CIA (formerly OSS) agent; that's common knowledge.»

"Common knowledge" based on what evidence, rabbit? At the time of Hoettl's depositions, the CIA did not even exist.

«6,000,000 is a kabbalistic figure because of its significance in the passage Yitro 38d in the Zohar Hadash (New Zohar). Obviously—retards and their favourite private dancer aside—this doesn't mean that every single appearance of that number is "kabbalistic"—you've used a mighty straw man fallacy there, bobby. The number 18 holds special significance for Jews because it's the gematria value of חי (Chai = alive/living)‎, so why not include that in your straw man? And claim that *I think* every appearance of the number 18 is part of the big kabbalists' conspiracy.»

Maybe rabbit should check the meaning of the word "straw man", which he doesn't seem to understand. My point, in case you didn't notice, is the utter idiocy of disputing an order of magnitude based on country-by-country demographic data and other solid evidence on grounds of the higher end of that order of magnitude happening to have a "kabbalistic" significance. It's the kind of idiocy I would expect from a rabbit-brained conspiracy theorist like the rabbit. Thus I took the liberty of mocking that idiocy a bit, and I'm glad to see that I managed to upset the idiot.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Jansson bested you. Perhaps he's now doing some more archive work, digging up previously unknown documents for his ground-breaking articles. It's a far more worthy task than giving the mule an excuse to post more demonstrable nonsense, which no one asides from Jansson actually reads.
http://inconvenienthistory.com/columnists/friedrich-jansson.php

Common knowledge" based on what evidence, rabbit? At the time of Hoettl's depositions, the CIA did not even exist.

If you don't even have the presence of mind to open the link I provided to an archived NARA page regarding declassified CIA documents about Hoettl's OSS/CIA career, there's little hope for you.

Hoettl as a United States asset

Even before the end of World War II, U.S. Army and OSS documents show Hoettl's name as synonymous with intelligence peddling. An April 1945 report warned that "information just available indicates need for caution in dealing with Hoettl."10 While U.S. officials frequently deemed Hoettl dangerous and untrustworthy, they were nonetheless interested in his information. A document from April 1945 reflects this dichotomy:

H. is, of course, dangerous. He is a Nazi and an admitted associate of such men as Glaise-Horstenau and Meindl… But I see no reason why we should not use him in the furtherance of interests common both to the United Nations and to him and his associates… To avoid any accusation that we are working with a Nazi reactionary and a fanatical anti-Russian, I believe that we should keep our contact with him as indirect as possible…11



Maybe rabbit should check the meaning of the word "straw man", which he doesn't seem to understand. My point, in case you didn't notice, is the utter idiocy of disputing an order of magnitude based on country-by-country demographic data and other solid evidence on grounds of the higher end of that order of magnitude happening to have a "kabbalistic" significance. It's the kind of idiocy I would expect from a rabbit-brained conspiracy theorist like the rabbit. Thus I took the liberty of mocking that idiocy a bit, and I'm glad to see that I managed to upset the idiot.

You cretin. I've seen you're subsequent posts, one about 6m dying annually from smoking or whatever it was—I didn't bother actually reading your guff. But it's a text book example of a straw man fallacy. You're proposing that my argument is that each and every appearance of the number 6m is "kabbalistic". You silly old sod.

The 6m figure supposedly comes from Hoettl, who claimed Eichmann told him it (although Eichmann later denied giving Hoettl this figure). What "order of magnitude based on country-by-country demographic data and other solid evidence" allowed Eichmann to calculate the Nazis and their cohorts had offed six million Jews?

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Jansson bested you.»

Says the rabbit, who would obviously like to believe what he writes. But why should anyone care about what the rabbit writes?

«Perhaps he's now doing some more archive work, digging up previously unknown documents for his ground-breaking articles. It's a far more worthy task than giving the mule an excuse to post more demonstrable nonsense, which no one asides from Jansson actually reads.»

"Ground-breaking articles" like the shit I slapped around the fellow's ears, repeatedly exposing his mendacity in the process? Laughable. The folks the rabbit looks up are no better than the rabbit himself. And as to who reads my Jansson blogs, you'd be surprised at how popular some of them were, especially the discussions about grave space and "Ausrottung". What I’m not so sure about is whether anyone, besides the rabbit and a certain CODOH moron, actually reads Jansson's HHC junk.

«http://inconvenienthistory.com/columnists/friedrich-jansson.php»

And that supposed to mean what exactly, except that Jansson also produces filth on another "Revisionist" filth site?

«Common knowledge" based on what evidence, rabbit? At the time of Hoettl's depositions, the CIA did not even exist.
If you don't even have the presence of mind to open the link I provided to an archived NARA page regarding declassified CIA documents about Hoettl's OSS/CIA career, there's little hope for you.
Hoettl as a United States asset
Even before the end of World War II, U.S. Army and OSS documents show Hoettl's name as synonymous with intelligence peddling. An April 1945 report warned that "information just available indicates need for caution in dealing with Hoettl."10 While U.S. officials frequently deemed Hoettl dangerous and untrustworthy, they were nonetheless interested in his information. A document from April 1945 reflects this dichotomy:
H. is, of course, dangerous. He is a Nazi and an admitted associate of such men as Glaise-Horstenau and Meindl… But I see no reason why we should not use him in the furtherance of interests common both to the United Nations and to him and his associates… To avoid any accusation that we are working with a Nazi reactionary and a fanatical anti-Russian, I believe that we should keep our contact with him as indirect as possible…11»

All fairly interesting, but where’s the evidence that Hoettl was an OSS/CIA agent?

«Maybe rabbit should check the meaning of the word "straw man", which he does't seem to understand. My point, in case you didn't notice, is the utter idiocy of disputing an order of magnitude based on country-by-country demographic data and other solid evidence on grounds of the higher end of that order of magnitude happening to have a "kabbalistic" significance. It's the kind of idiocy I would expect from a rabbit-brained conspiracy theorist like the rabbit. Thus I took the liberty of mocking that idiocy a bit, and I'm glad to see that I managed to upset the idiot.

You cretin.»

Would the fellow who calls me names please tell me his name, or is he too much a coward for that?

«I've seen you're subsequent posts, one about 6m dying annually from smoking or whatever it was—I didn't bother actually reading your guff.»

Actually rabbit must have read that "guff", which explains his rabid rage.

«But it's a text book example of a straw man fallacy.»

How so? A straw man fallacy is one thing, one that involves mischaracterizing the argument attacked. Derision of an obviously idiotic argument is another.

«You're proposing that my argument is that each and every appearance of the number 6m is "kabbalistic".»

Nope, I’m just making fun of the apparent claim that a certain order of magnitude must be manipulated just because it's upper end happens to match a "kabbalistic" number. The claim is idiotic regardless of what 6 million figure it refers to, and hence deserves due derision.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«You silly old sod.»

Coming from a senile old coward who produced little other than rabbit droppings throughout his writing career, I consider that the ultimate compliment.

«The 6m figure supposedly comes from Hoettl, who claimed Eichmann told him it (although Eichmann later denied giving Hoettl this figure). What "order of magnitude based on country-by-country demographic data and other solid evidence" allowed Eichmann to calculate the Nazis and their cohorts had offed six million Jews?»

Who said anything about Eichmann? The point is that the order of magnitude suggested by Hoettl's statements doesn’t become apparent from these statements alone. It also becomes apparent from demographic data mentioned here.

Nathan said...

- Hoettl as a United States asset

Even before the end of World War II, U.S. Army and OSS documents show Hoettl's name as synonymous with intelligence peddling. An April 1945 report warned that "information just available indicates need for caution in dealing with Hoettl."10 While U.S. officials frequently deemed Hoettl dangerous and untrustworthy, they were nonetheless interested in his information. A document from April 1945 reflects this dichotomy:

H. is, of course, dangerous. He is a Nazi and an admitted associate of such men as Glaise-Horstenau and Meindl… But I see no reason why we should not use him in the furtherance of interests common both to the United Nations and to him and his associates… To avoid any accusation that we are working with a Nazi reactionary and a fanatical anti-Russian, I believe that we should keep our contact with him as indirect as possible…11-

The Black Dumbass's quote doesn't prove what he thinks it does. It just shows what most normal people have known for a very long time - that the US recruited former Nazis to work for them to help in the cold war. The quote just shows that the US' priority at the time was to oppose the Soviet Union by getting the people who had the most experience in fighting it. Not the Holocaust.

- Where's the evidence that Hoettl was a CIA agent?-
In addition to that, where's the evidence that the CIA would even want Hoettl to falsify the Holocaust? The very action of hiring or using Hoettl - and countless others like him - illustrates that the Holocaust wasn't the US's top priority.

Poor Black Dumbass, so obsessed and Paranoid about Jews that he doesn't grasp the wider historical context of the Cold War. Pathetic.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Nice one bobby's lapdancer.

You've admitted I was right and you were wrong, Hoettl was indeed an OSS/CIA agent from as early as April 1945, i.e. before he made his 'six million' mentions in his interrogations and the two affidavits which contain the kabbalistically significant figure, which leading Zionists had been claiming since as early as June 1944 as the number of Jews murdered by the Germans.
http://winstonsmithministryoftruth.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/june-1944-sharett-claims-6000000-are.html

:D

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

So what we can conclude is the following:

1. Hoettl was not an OSS agent but a peddler of information to the OSS, which later became the CIA.
2. There is no indication that the OSS had any particular interest in Hoettl's figures about the death toll of the Nazi killing program.
3. A death toll of 6 million was claimed by Jews already before the end of the war, not due to any "kabbalistic" mumbo-jumbo as the rabbit would like to believe, but probably because these Jews (like Dr. Erhard Wetzel) figured that up to 6 million was about the number of Jews living in the areas where most of the killing took place, and assumed (not altogether unreasonably, albeit too pessimistically) that all these Jews had been wiped out.
4. The demographic losses of European Jewry, according to several postwar studies including without limitation those mentioned here, happened to be in the order of magnitude assumed by Mr. Sharett and others during the war, except that they a) did not include all Jews from the areas that Wetzel, and probably also Sharett and others, had in mind, b) also included Jews from outside these areas, especially from Hungary, and c) did not only include Jews murdered by the Nazis, but also Jews who died as combatants or as civilians from war-related causes, namely in the Soviet Union.
5. A frustrated old crank will nevertheless go on claiming that the aforementioned order of magnitude was derived from a "kabbalistic" figure by some sinister conspirators of his fantasies, ignoring all evidence to the contrary as well as the utter absence of evidence to such conspiracy.