Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Partisans, Reprisals and Other Denier Excuses: the Career of Harald Turner

I have already noted here how the career of Eduard Strauch disproves the denier claim that the Einsatzgruppen killed Jews purely as partisans. I have also debunked the false claim by Germar Rudolf that Nazi reprisal policy was legal. To reinforce these points, I will now take a look at the career of Harald Turner, which Christopher R. Browning described in detail in Chapter Six of his The Path to Genocide. Browning recapitulated his argument in shorter form in this on-line essay here.

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Turner was made chief of military administration in Serbia in April 1941. In mid-August 1941 he requested (via Benzler) that all Jews be deported down the Danube to Rumania or the General Government. This was declined so a month later he persuaded Benzler to make an appeal to Rademacher, requesting deportation of the Jews to Poland or the USSR. Rademacher recorded the reply that he received in a handwritten note that was subsequently presented in evidence at the Eichmann trial:
In the opinion of Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, RSHA IVD4, there is no possibility to take them to Russia or to the Generalgouvernement. Even Jews from Germany cannot be accommodated there. Eichmann proposes to kill them by shooting.
In the meantime, the Wehrmacht, under the command of Boehme, began to shoot Jews under the pretext of the need to fill 1:100 reprisal quotas. Such reprisals were not, however, for crimes committed by Jews but were instead inflicted on Jews in lieu of Serb partisans who had not been captured in sufficient numbers to meet the quotas. Turner admitted that this was morally wrong in a private letter dated 17 October 1941 sent to Hildebrandt and reproduced in German here. The extract was translated into English by Walter Manoschek in his 'The Extermination of the Jews in Serbia', published in Ulrich Herbert (ed), National Socialist Extermination Policies, p.177 [thanks to KentFord9 for reminding me of this source]:
In the last 8 days, I have had 2,000 Jews and 200 Gypsies shot dead, following the quota of 1:100 for brutally murdered German soldiers, and a further 2,200, also nearly all Jews, will be shot in the next 8 days. That is not pleasant work! But it must be done, in order to make it clear to people what it means to attack a German soldier, while at the same time, the Jewish question solves itself most quickly in this way. Actually, it is wrong, if taken literally, that for murdered Germans, for whom the ratio of 1:100 should come at the expense of the Serbs, 100 Jews will now be shot, but they are the ones we happened to have in the camp . . .
However, any moral impediments on Turner's behalf seem to have dissipated by 26th October, because Turner was able to issue the following order, which is also cited by Manoschek and which Nick Terry reproduces in this RODOH thread:
Verwaltungschef Turner wies daraufhin die Kreis- und Feldkommandanturen an, die Geiselopfer gezielter auszuwaehlen, wobei er sich des selbstgeschaffenen Problems bewusst war, dass bei der Quote von 1:100 die Opfer 'nicht mehr gestellt werden koennen, wenn einigermassen ein gewisser Schuldbegriff, auch nur auf Grund der allgemeinen Haltung der Festzunehmenden, in Betracht werden soll.' Bei Juden und Zigeuner mussten so diffuse Auswahlskritirien allerdings nicht beruecksichtigt werden: Turner betonte, dass weiterhin 'in jeden Fall alle juedischen Maenner und alle maennlichen Zigeuner als Geiseln der Truppe zur Verfuegung zu stellen' sind.

source quoted: Befehl Turner an saemtliche Kreis- und Feldkommandanturen, 26. 10. 1941, NOKW-Dokument 802
The background to Turner's order, according to Browning, was a meeting on Oct 20th in Belgrade between Turner, Rademacher, Suhr and Fuchs, in which it was decided that male Jews would be held as hostages and gradually killed to meet reprisal quotas against Serb (non-Jew) partisans, whilst evacuation of women & children 'to the East' was agreed for a future unspecified date. However, this evacuation did not take the form of expulsion, but instead took the form of gas vans the following Spring, which Turner falsely claimed credit for in his famous letter to Wolff:
Already some months ago, I shot dead all the Jews I could get my hands on in this area, concentrated all the Jewish women and children in a camp and with the help of the SD got my hands on a "delousing van," that in about 14 days to 4 weeks will have brought about the definitive clearing out of the camp, which in any event since the arrival of Meyssner and the turning over of this camp to him, was continued by him. Then the time is come in which the Jewish officers to be found in prisoner of war camps under the Geneva Convention find out against our will about their no longer existing kinfolk and that could easily lead to complications.
Whilst this was a candid admission of killing by gassing [as was noted at the Irving-Lipstadt trail, Turner stupidly gives the game away by putting "entlausungswagen" in inverted commas], Turner omitted the fact that the gas van was ordered direct from Berlin by Emanuel Schaefer, who admitted this in his West German postwar trial testimony at both his trial in Cologne and Pradel's trial in Hannover (Browning, p.137, n.33).

How do deniers respond to this overwhelming evidence of genocide? They either cry 'forgery', as Ingrid Weckert does with other gas van documentation here, or they lie outrageously. Weckert's supposedly comprehensive study of gas vans only mentions the Turner-Wolff document once, in an oblique reference that is designed to deceive:
It is also not impossible that the RSHA's special vehicles were used for disinfection purposes. In any case, an SS-Obergruppenführer confirmed in April 1942 that the RSHA had supplied him with a 'delousing van'.
So much for 'revisionism'.


  1. Sorry about leaving an off topic posts, but I have an important question. I'm looking for resources debunking David Cole's claims that he performed a chemical analysis proving that Zyklon B(hydrogen Cyanide) was not used in great amounts at the death camps. I'd appreciate any information you can supply.

    please contact me at
    Thanks you for your time

  2. Although I certainly am no Denier, I DO find it interesting that we focus so much on Hitler and the Holocaust, and no one seems to ever mention the MILLIONS of Christians killed by STALIN (our ally during the war) or by the Bolshevics (many of these were Jewish) like Trotsky (Bronstein) during the Red Terror, or the murder of millions of Ukrainian Kulaks during the "collectivization" period of Soviet history. Of course, the most feared man in the Cheka was the butcher Lazar Kaganovich (Jewish), and I believe it was Ilya Ehrenberg (Jewish) who encouraged the mass rape and murder of German women after the war, during the Soviet occupation.

    Is $pielberg ever going to make an Oscar winner based on any of this?

    And should we forget Luxembourg, Liebknicht, Emma Goldman, Marx, and the rest of the Jewish folks that brought us the Communist monster, signed, sealed, and delivered, a philosophy that has led to the murder of 100 MILLION people in the last century?

    Of course, we could also talk about Deir Yatsin, Sabra and Shatila, the bombing of Beirut, the Gaza Ghetto, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the dispossession of an entire people from the lands on which they had lived for generations and generations (sound familiar?), the Israeli soldiers that shoot Arab children and then stand around and laugh about it, the Caterpillar bulldozer that rolled over Rachel Corrie...

    Wow. I guess Jews DON'T have any kind of corner on the suffering or genocide market. Maybe there is just a wee little hint of hypocrisy here.

    Maybe that is what really bothers people, after all, since they are force-fed Holocaust materials 24/7 in school, on television, in the media, ad infinitum, and in some countries they are force-fed it BY LAW.

    (Does the Truth need a LAW to protect it?)

  3. >>> Although I certainly am no Denier...

    Reminds me of the tabloid letter writers who begin, "I'm not a racist, but..."


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