Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

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Continued from Part 2


The story of six million Jews exterminated during the war was given final authority at the Nuremberg Trials by the statement of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl. He had been an assistant of Eichmann's, but was in fact a rather strange person in the service of American Intelligence who had written several books under the pseudonym of Walter Hagen. Hoettl also worked for Soviet espionage, collaborating with two Jewish emigrants from Vienna, Perger and Verber, who acted as U.S. officers during the preliminary inquiries of the Nuremberg Trials. It is remarkable that the testimony of this highly dubious person Hoettl is said to constitute the only "proof' regarding the murder of six million Jews. In his affidavit of November 26th, 1945 he stated, not that he knew but that Eichmann had "told him" in August 1944 in Budapest that a total of 6 million Jews had been exterminated. Needless to say, Eichmann never corroborated this claim at his trial. Hoettl was working as an American spy during the whole of the latter period of the war, and it is therefore very odd indeed that he never gave the slightest hint to the Americans of a policy to murder Jews, even though he worked directly under Heydrich and Eichmann.

ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE

It should be emphasised straight away that there is not a single document in existence which proves that the Germans intended to, or carried out, the deliberate murder of Jews. In Poliakov and Wulf's Das Dritte Reich und die Juden: Dokumente und Aufsätze (Berlin, 1955), the most that they can assemble are statements extracted after the war from people like Hoettl, Ohlendorf and Wisliceny, the latter under torture in a Soviet prison. In the absence of any evidence, therefore, Poliakov is forced to write: "The three or four people chiefly involved in drawing up the plan for total extermination are dead, and no documents survive." This seems very convenient. Quite obviously, both the plan and the "three or four" people are nothing but nebulous assumptions on the part of the writer, and are entirely unprovable. The documents which do survive, of course, make no mention at all of extermination, so that writers like Poliakov and Reitlinger again make the convenient assumption that such orders were generally "verbal". Though lacking any documentary proof, they assume that a plan to murder Jews must have originated in 1941, coinciding with the attack on Russia. Phase one of the plan is alleged to have involved the massacre of Soviet Jews, a claim we shall disprove later. The rest of the programme is supposed to have begun in March 1942, with the deportation and concentration of European Jews in the eastern camps of the Polish Government-General, such as the giant industrial complex at Auschwitz near Cracow. The fantastic and quite groundless assumption throughout is that transportation to the East, supervised by Eichmann's department, actually meant immediate extermination in ovens on arrival. According to Manvell and Frankl (Heinrich Himmler. London, 1965), the policy of genocide "seems to have been arrived at" after "secret discussions" between Hitler and Himmler (p. 118), though they fail to prove it. Reitlinger and Poliakov guess along similar "verbal" lines, adding that no one else was allowed to be present at these discussions, and no records were ever kept of them. This is the purest invention, for there is not a shred of evidence that even suggests such outlandish meetings took place. William Shirer, in his generally wild and irresponsible book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is similarly muted on the subject of documentary proof. He states weakly that Hitler's supposed order for the murder of Jews "apparently was never committed to paper -- at least no copy of it has yet been unearthed. It was probably given verbally to Göring, Himmler and Heydrich, who passed it down . . ,"(p. 1148). A typical example of the kind of "proof' quoted in support of the extermination legend is given by Manvell and Frankl. They cite a memorandum of 31st July, 1941 sent by Göring to Heydrich, who headed the Reich Security Head Office and was Himmler's deputy. Significantly, the memorandum begins: "Supplementing the task that was assigned to you on 24th January 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions ..." The supplementary task assigned in the memorandum is a "total solution (Gesamtlösung) of the Jewish question within the area of German influence in Europe," which the authors admit means concentration in the East, and it requests preparations for the "organisational, financial and material matters" involved. The memorandum then requests a future plan for the "desired final solution" (Endlösung), which clearly refers to the ideal and ultimate scheme of emigration and evacuation mentioned at the beginning of the directive. No mention whatever is made of murdering people, but Manvell and Frankl assure us that this is what the memorandum is really about. Again, of course, the "true nature" of the final as distinct from the total solution "was made known to Heydrich by Göring verbafly" (ibid, p. 118). The convenience of these "verbal" directives issuing back and forth is obvious.

THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE

The final details of the plan to exterminate Jews were supposed to have been made at a conference at Gross Wannsee in Berlin on 20th January, 1942, presided over by Heydrich (Poliakov, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden, p. 120 ff; Reitlinger, The Final Solution, p. 95 ff). Officials of all German Ministries were present, and Müller and Eichmann represented Gestapo Head Office. Reitlinger and Manvell and Frankl consider tile minutes of this conference to be their trump card in proving the existence of a genocide plan, but the truth is that no such plan was even mentioned, and what is more, they freely admit this. Manvell and Frankl explain it away rather lamely by saying that "The minutes are shrouded in the form of officialdom that cloaks the real significance of the words and terminolgoy that are used" (The Incomparable Crime, London, 1967, p. 46), which really means that they intend to interpret them in their own way. What Heydrich actually said was that, as in the memorandum quoted above, he had been commissioned by Göring to arrange a solution to the Jewish problem. He reviewed the history of Jewish emigration, stated that the war had rendered the Madagascar project impractical, and continued: "The emigration programme has been replaced now by the evacuation of Jews to the east as a further possible solution, in accordance with the previous authorisation of the Führer." Here, he explained, their labour was to be utilised. All this is supposed to be deeply sinister, and pregnant with the hidden meaning that the Jews were to be exterminated, though Prof. Paul Rassinier, a Frenchman interned at Buchenwald who has done sterling work in refuting the myth of the Six Million, explains that it means precisely what it says, i.e. the concentration of the Jews for labour in the immense eastern ghetto of the Polish Government-General. "There they were to wait until the end of the war, for the re-opening of international discussions which would decide their future. This decision was finally reached at the interministerial Berlin-Wannsee conference ..." (Rassinier, Le Véritable Proces Eichmann, p. 20). Manvell and Frankl, however, remain undaunted by the complete lack of reference to extermination. At the Wannsee conference, they write, "Direct references to killing were avoided, Heydrich favouring the term "Arbeitseinsatz im Osten" (labour assignment in the East)" (Heinrich Himmler, p. 209). Why we should not accept labour assignment in the East to mean labour assignment in the East is not explained. According to Reitlinger and others, innumerable directives actually specifying extermination then passed between Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and commandant Höss in the subsequent months of 1942, but of course, "none have survived".

TWISTED WORDS AND GROUNDLESS ASSUMPTIONS

The complete lack of documentary evidence to support the existence of an extermination plan has led to the habit of re-interpreting the documents that do survive. For example, it is held that a document concerning deportation is not about deportation at all, but a cunning way of talking about extermination. Manvell and Frankl state that "various terms were used to camouflage genocide. These included "Aussiedlung"(desettlement) and "Abbeförderung" (removal)" (ibid, p. 265). Thus, as we have seen already, words are no longer assumed to mean what they say if they prove too inconvenient. This kind of thing is taken to the most incredible extremes, such as their interpretation of Heydrich's directive for labour assignment in the East. Another example is a reference to Himmler's order for sending deportees to the East, "that is, having them killed" (ibid, p. 251). Reitlinger, equally at a loss for evidence, does exactly the same, declaring that from the "circumlocutionary" words of the Wannsee conference it is obvious that "the slow murder of an entire race was intended" (ibid, p. 98). A review of the documentary situation is important, because it reveals the edifice of guesswork and baseless assumptions upon which the extermination legend is built. The Germans had an extraordinary propensity for recording everything on paper in the most careful detail, yet among the thousands of captured documents of the S.D. and Gestapo, the records of the Reich Security Head Office, the files of Himmler's headquarters and Hitler's own war directives there is not a single order for the extermination of Jews or anyone else. It will be seen later that this has, in fact, been admitted by the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation at Tel-Aviv. Attempts to find "veiled allusions" to genocide in speeches like that of Himmler's to his S.S. Obergruppenführers at Posen in 1943 are likewise quite hopeless. Nuremberg statements extracted after the war, invariably under duress, are examined in the following chapter.

5. THE NUREMBERG TRIALS

The story of the Six Million was given judicial authority at the Nuremberg Trials of German leaders between 1945 and 1949, proceedings which proved to be the most disgraceful legal farce in history. For a far more detailed study of the iniquities of these trials, which as Field Marshal Montgomery said, made it a crime to lose a war, the reader is referred to the works cited below, and particulary to the outstanding book Advance to Barbarism (Nelson, 1953), by the distinguished English jurist, F. J. P. Veale. From the very outset, the Nuremberg Trials proceeded on the basis of gross statistical errors. In his speech of indictment on November 20th, 1945, Mr. Sidney Alderman declared that there had been 9,600,000 Jews living in German occupied Europe. Our earlier study has shown this figure to be wildly inaccurate. It is arrived at (a) by completely ignoring all Jewish emigration between 1933 and 1945, and (b) by adding all the Jews of Russia, including the two million or more who were never in German-occupied territory. The same inflated figure, slightly enlarged to 9,800,000, was produced again at the Eichmann Trial in Israel by Prof. Shalom Baron. The alleged Six Million victims first appeared as the foundation for the prosecution at Nuremberg, and after some dalliance with ten million or more by the Press at the time, it eventually gained international popularity and acceptance. It is very significant, however, that, although this outlandish figure was able to win credence in the reckless atmosphere of recrimination in 1945, it had become no longer tenable by 1961, at the Eichmann Trial. The Jerusalem court studiously avoided mentioning the figure of Six Million, and the charge drawn up by Mr. Gideon Haussner simply said "some" millions.

LEGAL PRINCIPLES IGNORED

Should anyone be misled into believing that the extermination of the Jews was "proved" at Nuremberg by "evidence", he should consider the nature of the Trials themselves, based as they were on a total disregard of sound legal principles of any kind. The accusers acted as prosecutors, judges and executioners; "guilt" was assumed from the outset. (Among the judges, of course, were the Russians, whose numberless crimes included the massacre of 15,000 Polish officers, a proportion of whose bodies were discovered by the Germans at Katyn Forest, near Smolensk. The Soviet Prosecutor attempted to blame this slaughter on the German defendants). At Nuremberg, ex post facto legislation was created, whereby men were tried for "crimes" which were only declared crimes after they had been allegedly committed. Hitherto it had been the most basic legal principle that a person could only be convicted for infringing a law that was in force at the time of the infringement. "Nulla Poena Sine Lege." The Rules of Evidence, developed by British jurisprudence over the centuries in order to arrive at the truth of a charge with as much certainty as possible, were entirely disregarded at Nuremberg. It was decreed that "the Tribunal should not be bound by technical rules of evidence" but could admit "any evidence which it deemed to have probative value," that is, would support a conviction. In practise, this meant the admittance of hearsay evidence and documents, which in a normal judicial trial are always rejected as untrustworthy. That such evidence was allowed is of profound significance, because it was one of the principal methods by which the extermination legend was fabricated through fraudulent "written affidavits". Although only 240 witnesses were called in the course of the Trials, no less than 300,000 of these "written affidavits" were accepted by the Court as supporting the charges, without this evidence being heard under oath. Under these circumstances, any Jewish deportee or camp inmate could make any revengeful allegation that he pleased. Most incredible of all, perhaps, was the fact that defence lawyers at Nuremberg were not permitted to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. A somewhat similar situation prevailed at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, when it was announced that Eichmann's defence lawyer could be cancelled at any time "if an intolerable situation should arise," which presumably meant if his lawyer started to prove his innocence. The real background of the Nuremberg Trials was exposed by the American judge, Justice Wenersturm, President of one of Tribunals. He was so disgusted by the proceedings that he resigned his appointment and flew home to America, leaving behind a statement to the Chicago Tribune which ennumerated point by point his objections to the Trials (cf Mark Lautern, Das Letzte Wort über Nürnberg, p. 56). Points 3 -8 are as follows: 3. The members of the department of the Public Prosecutor, instead of trying to formulate and reach a new guiding legal principle, were moved only by personal ambition and revenge. 4. The prosecution did its utmost in every way possible to prevent the defence preparing its case and to make it impossible for it to furnish evidence. 5. The prosecution, led by General Taylor, did everything in its power to prevent the unanimous decision of the Military Court being carried out i.e. to ask Washington to furnish and make available to the court further documentary evidence in the possession of the American Government. 6. Ninety per cent of the Nuremberg Court consisted of biased persons who, either on political or racial grounds, furthered the prosecution's case. 7. The prosecution obviously knew how to fill all the administrative posts of the Military Court with "Americans" whose naturalisation certificates were very new indeed, and who, whether in the administrative service or by their translations etc., created an atmposhere hostile to the accused persons. 8. The real aim of the Nuremberg Trials was to show the Germans the crimes of their Führer, and this aim was at the same time the pretext on which the trials were ordered ... Had I known seven months earlier what was happening at Nuremberg, I would never have gone there. Concerning Point 6, that ninety per cent of the Nuremberg Court consisted of people biased on racial or political grounds, this was a fact confirmed by others present. According to Earl Carrol, an American lawyer, sixty per cent of the staff of the Public Prosecutor's Office were German Jews who had left Germany after the promulgation of Hitler's Race Laws. He observed that not even ten per cent of the Americans employed at the Nuremberg courts were actually Americans by birth. The chief of the Public Prosecutor's Office, who worked behind General Taylor, was Robert M. Kempner, a German-Jewish emigrant. He was assisted by Morris Amchan. Mark Lautern, who observed the Trials, writes in his book: "They have all arrived: the Solomons, the Schlossbergers and the Rabinovitches, members of the Public Prosecutor's staff ..." (ibid. p. 68). It is obvious from these facts that the fundamental legal principle: that no man can sit in judgment on his own case, was abandoned altogether. Moreover, the majority of witnesses were also Jews. According to Prof. Maurice Bardeche, who was also an observer at the Trials, the only concern of these witnesses was not to show their hatred too openly, and to try and give an impression of objectivity (Nuremberg ou la Terre Promise, Paris, 1948, p. 149).

'CONFESSIONS' UNDER TORTURE

Altogether more disturbing, however, were the methods employed to extract statements and "confessions" at Nuremberg, particularly those from S.S. officers which were used to support the extermination charge. The American Senator, Joseph McCarthy, in a statement given to the American Press on May 20th, 1949, drew attention to the following cases of torture to secure such confessions. In the prison of the Swabisch Hall, he stated, officers of the S.S. Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler were flogged until they were soaked in blood, after which their sexual organs were trampled on as they lay prostrate on the ground. As in the notorious Malmedy Trials of private soldiers, the prisoners were hoisted in the air and beaten until they signed the confessions demanded of them. On the basis of such "confessions" extorted from S.S. Generals Sepp Dietrich and Joachim Paiper, the Leibstandarte was convicted as a "guilty organisation". S.S. General Oswald Pohl, the economic administrator of the concentration camp system, had his face smeared with faeces and was subsequently beaten until he supplied his confession. In dealing with these cases, Senator McCarthy told the Press: "I have heard evidence and read documentary proofs to the effect that the accused persons were beaten up, maltreated and physically tortured by methods which could only be conceived in sick brains. They were subjected to mock trials and pretended executions, they were told their families would be deprived of their ration cards. All these things were carried out with the approval of the Public Prosecutor in order to secure the psychological atmosphere necessary for the extortion of the required confessions. If the United States lets such acts committed by a few people go unpunished, then the whole world can rightly criticise us severely and forever doubt the correctness of our motives and our moral integrity." The methods of intimidation described were repeated during trials at Frankfurt-am-Mein and at Dachau, and large numbers of Germans were convicted for atrocities on the basis of their admissions. The American Judge Edward L. van Roden, one of the three members of the Simpson Army Commission which was subsequently appointed to investigate the methods of justice at the Dachau trials, revealed the methods by which these admissions were secured in the Washington Daily News, January 9th, 1949. His account also appeared in the British newspaper, the Sunday Pictorial, January 23rd, 1949. The methods he described were: "Posturing as priests to hear confessions and give absolution; torture with burning matches driven under the prisoners finger-nails; knocking out of teeth and breaking jaws; solitary confinement and near starvation rations." Van Roden explained: "The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four and five months ... The investigators would put a black hood over the accused's head and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him and beat him with rubber hoses ... All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was standard operating procedure with our American investigators." The "American" investigators responsible (and who later functioned as the prosecution in the trials) were: Lt.-Col. Burton F. Ellis (chief of the War Crimes Committee) and his assistants, Capt. Raphael Shumacker, Lt. Robert E. Byrne, Lt. William R. Perl, Mr. Morris Ellowitz, Mr. Harry Thon, and Mr. Kirschbaum. The legal adviser of the court was Col. A. H. Rosenfeld. The reader will immediately appreciate from their names that the majority of these people were "biased on racial grounds" in the words of Justice Wenersturm -- that is, were Jewish, and therefore should never have been involved in any such investigation. Despite the fact that "confessions" pertaining to the extemination of the Jews were extracted under these conditions, Nuremberg statements are still regarded as conclusive evidence for the Six Million by writers like Reitlinger and others, and the illusion is maintained that the Trials were both impartial and impeccably fair. When General Taylor, the Chief Public Prosecutor, was asked where he had obtained the figure of the Six Million, he replied that it was based on the confession of S.S. General Otto Ohlendorf. He, too, was tortured and his case is examined below. But as far as such "confessions" in general are concerned, we can do no better than quote the British Sunday Pictorial when reviewing the report of Judge van Roden: "Strong men were reduced to broken wrecks ready to mumble any admission demanded by their prosecutors."

THE WISLICENY STATEMENT

At this point, let us turn to some of the Nuremberg documents themselves. The document quoted most frequently in support of the legend of the Six Million, and which figures largely in Poliakov and Wulf's Das Dritte Reich und die Juden: Dokumente und Aufsätze, is the statement of S.S. Captain Dieter Wisliceny, an assistant in Adolf Eichmann's office and later the Gestapo chief in Slovakia. It was obtained under conditions even more extreme than those described above, for Wisliceny fell into the hands of Czech Communists and was "interrogated" at the Soviet-controlled Bratislava Prison in November, 1946. Subjected to torture, Wisliceny was reduced to a nervous wreck and became addicted to uncontrollable fits of sobbing for hours on end prior to his execution. Although the conditions under which his statement was obtained empty it entirely of all pIausibility, Poliakov prefers to ignore this and merely writes: "In prison he wrote several memoirs that contain information of great interest" (Harvest of Hate, p. 3). These memoirs include some genuine statements of fact to provide authenticity, such as that Himmler was an enthusiastic advocate of Jewish emigration and that the emigration of Jews from Europe continued throughout the war, but in general they are typical of the Communist-style "confession" produced at Soviet show-trials. Frequent reference is made to exterminating Jews and a flagrant attempt is made to implicate as many S.S. leaders as possible. Factual errors are also common, notably the statement that the war with Poland added more than 3 million Jews to the German-occupied territory, which we have disproved above.

THE CASE OF THE EINSATZGRUPPEN

The Wisliceny statement deals at some length with the activities of the Einsatzgruppen or Action Groups used in the Russian campaign. These must merit a detailed consideration in a survey of Nuremberg because the picture presented of them at the Trials represents a kind of "Six Million" in miniature, i.e. has been proved since to be the most enormous exaggeration and falsification. The Einsatzgruppen were four special units drawn from the Gestapo and the S.D. (S.S. Security Service) whose task was to wipe out partisans and Communist commissars in the wake of the advancing German armies in Russia. As early as 1939, there had been 34,000 of these political commissars attached to the Red Army. The activities of the Einsatzgruppen were the particular concern of the Soviet Prosecutor Rudenko at the Nuremberg Trials. The 1947 indictment of the four groups alleged that in the course of their operations they had killed not less than one million Jews in Russia merely because they were Jews. These allegations have since been elaborated; it is now claimed that the murder of Soviet Jews by the Einsatzgruppen constituted Phase One in the plan to exterminate the Jews, Phase Two being the transportation of European Jews to Poland. Reitlinger admits that the original term "final solution" referred to emigration and had nothing to do with the liquidation of Jews, but he then claims that an extermination policy began at the time of the invasion of Russia in 1941. He considers Hitler's order of July 1941 for the liquidation of the Communist commissars, and he concludes that this was accompanied by a verbal order from Hitler for the Einsatzgruppen to liquidate all Soviet Jews (Die Endlösung, p. 91). If this assumption is based on anything at all, it is probably the worthless Wisliceny statement, which alleges that the Einsatzgruppen were soon receiving orders to extend their task of crushing Communists and partisans to a "general massacre" of Russian Jews. It is very significant that, once again, it is a "verbal order" for exterminating Jews that is supposed to have accompanied Hitler's genuine, written order -- yet another nebulous and unprovable assumption on the part of Reitlinger. An earlier order from Hitler, dated March 1941 and signed by Field Marshal Keitel, makes it quite clear what the real tasks of the future Einsatzgruppen would be. It states that in the Russian campaign, the Reichsfüher S.S. (Himmler) is to be entrusted with "tasks for the political administration, tasks which result from the struggle which has to be carried out between two opposing political systems" (Manvell and Frankl, ibid., p. 115). This plainly refers to eliminating Communism, especially the political commissars whose specific task was Communist indoctrination.

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