Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Help for the Einsatzgruppen Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA Keywords: Sluzk,einsatzgruppen Archive/File: orgs/german/einsatzgruppen/esg.nuremberg Last-Modified: 1994/03/20 "Hitler thought Reichenau's order so exemplary that he directed its distribution to troops throughout the East, where the terror of the Einsatzgruppen was now in full sway and leading to friction with the Wehrmacht. (NCA, D 411, op. cit., Oct. 28, 1941.) Since the Jews ranged from fifty percent of the skilled and profes- sional workers in central Poland to ninety percent in Russia and the Ukraine, the Wehrmacht depended heavily upon them in the support areas. 'The attitude of the Jewish population was anxious -- obliging from the beginning,' a Wehrmacht armaments officer reported to Berlin in one of the documents introduced at the trial. 'They tried to avoid everything that might displease the German administration. That they hated the German administration and army inwardly goes without saying and cannot be surprising. But it cannot be said that the Jews as such representeda danger to the German armed forces. The output produced by the Jews, who, of course, were prompted by nothing but the feeling of fear, was satisfactory to the troops and the German administration.' (NCA, 3257 PS, Report of Armaments in the Ukraine, Dec. 2, 1941.) Himmler complained so much about the 'close relations between the Wehrmacht and the Jews' that Keitel issued an order: 'Any cooperation of the Wehrmacht with the Jewish population who are openly or secretly anti-German, as well as the use of a single Jew in any preferred auxiliary position, will have to cease.' (NCA, 878 PS, Jews in the Newly Occupied Eastern Territories, Sept. 12, 1941.) Employment of Jews was to be limited to back-breaking jobs in the building of roads, repair of railroads, and the like. 'Care is to be taken that Jewish labor is used only in those productions which will later suffer no noticeable interruption in case of a rapid withdrawal of these labor forces. It is to be avoided in every case that Jewish workers become indispensable in essential production.' (NCA, 212 PS, Directive for the Handling of the Jewish Question.) This was an impossible stipulation, since the Jews were essential from the very beginning. The officials of Rosenberg's civilian administration joined the Wehrmacht in attempting to tone down the SS executions, which tore up the whole fabric of the occupation. Since the number of men in the Einsatzgruppen was inadequate for the task, the SS recruited from among the native populations, who more often than not had fewer scruples than the Germans, and frequently constituted the preponderance of the extermination squads. In the Baltic port of Libau, the rampaging SS and their Latvian auxiliaries swept thousands of Jews off the streets and machine-gunned them at the naval base, where the day previous they had been the principal workers. As blood coursed down the gutters of the streets and desperate people scurried to find hiding places, the economy was paralyzed. Hinrich Lohse, a prominent Gauleiter whom Rosenberg had named commissioner for the Baltic and White Russia, threatened to throw the Einsatzkommando leader out of the territory if the shootings did not cease. Himmler brought the dispute to Hitler's attention. An immediate explanation was demanded from Rosenberg, who petulantly wrote Lohse: 'The RSHA has complained that the Reich Commissioner for the East has forbidden execution of Jews in Libau. I request a report on this matter by return mail.' 'I have forbidden the wild executions of Jews in Libau because they were not justifiable in the manner in which they were carried out,' Lohse wrote back. 'I should like to be informed whether your inquiry of 31 October is to be regarded as a directive to liquidate all Jews in the East? Shall this take place without regard to age and sex and economic interests of the Wehrmacht; for instance, specialists in the armaments industry?' 'Yes,' Rosenberg responded. 'Economic considerations should fundamentally remain unconsidered in the settlement of the problem.' (NCA, 3663 PS and 3666 PS, Correspondence between Rosenberg and Lohse, Oct. 31-Dec. 18, 1941; D 841, Deposition of Walter Kurt Dietmann.) Although Lohse's objections resulted in some key workers being exempted, the SS had no mercy on Jewish doctors and dentists, and so eliminated more than half the medical personnel in Lithuania. At this point, the Germans, discovering that they were facing epidemics of catastrophic proportions, were forced to import doctors from the physician-short Reich.
(The medical musical chairs later continued with the conscription of Ukrainian doctors and nurses to work in German hospitals.) In neighboring White Russia, the Einsatzkommando with their indigenous footsoldiers swept over the land like ravenous locusts feeding on Jews. At Borisov, a town fifty miles east of Minsk, an army intelligence officer learned on Friday, October 17, 1941, that the extermination was to take place on Sunday and Monday. The chief of the Russian security police, Ehof, an ethnic German appointed by the SD, had served the czarist government in a similar capacity, and then adapted himself to the Communist regime. In fact, the intelligence officer reported, 'these security men are said to consist largely of old Communists, but nobody dares to report them because they are feared. To my astounded question whether it would be possible to dispatch eight thousand persons into Eternity in the course of a single night in a fairly orderly manner, he [Ehof] replied that this was not the first time he had done this and he was no longer an amateur.' About fifteen hundred Jews were to be spared temporarily, since they were specialists such as cobblers, tailors, blacksmiths, lock-smiths -- in other words, artisans who were urgently needed. 'Although the shootings of Jews were to be kept secret, they were already known in the ghetto on Saturday,' the officer continued. 'I gave my own boots for repair to a Jewish cobbler. There I learned that a delegation was on its way to the mayor to obtain a temporary reprieve from these executions so that they might present a petition to the general. The mayor promised them to speak to the general and he himself could only say that the conduct of the Jews had been exemplary in every respect -- the performing of the work imposed on the Jews, the raising of 300,000 rubles, the turning in of all gold and silver, etc.' On Saturday night, in preparation for the event, a great party entitled 'Celebration of the German Police' was held. All of the town's prominent personalities participated in the enormous consumption of liquor. A great ditch, one hundred yards long and nine feet deep, had already been dug by Russian prisoners of war. 'At three o'clock in the morning the shootings began. First the men were brought out. They were driven to the place of execution in Russian trucks, escorted by men of the Russian security police. The women and children of all ages whimpered and screamed for help as soon as they saw a German soldier. In this manner one vehicle followed another during the whole day in the direction of the place of execution, located in the woods near the former staff headquarters of Army Group Center. Besides, since there were not sufficient vehicles, groups of women and children were constantly being herded down the aforementioned road, and other groups, even mothers with babies in their arms, were standing waiting to be picked up. In the distance the noise of rifles could be heard all day. The women and children cried and screamed, cars raced through the streets bringing new victims -- all before the eyes of the civilian population and German military personnel who happened to come along. 'The scenes which took place in the streets were ghastly. The non-Jews may have believed on the preceding evening that the Jews deserved their fate, but the following morning their sentiment was: 'Who ordered such a thing? Now it is the Jews' turn, when will it be ours? What did these poor Jews do? All they did was work!' The executions continued all day Monday. Late in the evening the shooting could be heard not only from the woods, but also spread to the ghetto and the streets of the city, since many Jews broke out of the ghetto and tried somehow to save themselves.' In the bitter cold, those Jews who managed to flee into the countryside had little prospect other than to succumb to exposure and starvation. The police, most of whom were never sober during the exterminations, looted the emptied residences. Fires broke out and cast a reddish glow visible even from the execution site, where people were made to jump naked into the pit, and were then shot from above. Those who followed were forced to arrange the bodies in neat rows, place a thin layer of dirt over them, then tamp down both the dirt and the bodies with their feet before being shot in turn. The heaps of clothing and other articles carried back to the city on the trucks presented a graphic spectacle to the civilians and German troops, some of whom participated in the action as volunteers. (NCA, 3047 PS, Report of Master Sergeant Soennecken, Oct. 24, 1941.) Exactly a week later a battalion of Einsatzkommando, composed half of Germans and half of Lithuanians, appeared in Sluzk, sixty miles south of Minsk. Rosenberg's local commissioner, named Carl, reported: 'I protested violently, pointing out that a liquidation of Jews must not be allowed to take place in an arbitrary manner. These Jewish tradesmen were simply not expendable because they were indispensable for maintaining the economy. White Russian tradesmen are, so to say, nonexistent, therefore all vital plants would have to be shut down at once if all Jews were to be liquidated.' Carl thought he had the battalion commander's acquiescence to spare essential workers and their families who had proper papers and identification. However, he continued, when the shootings began, 'all Jews without exception were taken out of the factories and shops. The town itself offered a picture of horror during the action, which bordered on sadism. With indescribable brutality by the German police officers and particularly the Lithuanians, Jews were taken out of their dwellings and herded together. Everywhere in the town shots were to be heard, and in different streets the corpses of Jews accumulated. The White Russians themselves were worked over with rubber truncheons and rifle butts. There was no question of an action against the Jews anymore. It rather looked like a revolution.' (NCS, 1104 PS, Carl to Kube, Oct. 31, 1941.) At the grave site, the Einsatzkommando had orders to shoot low, so as not to miss the children. Consequently, many Jews collapsed into the trench with excruciating abdominal wounds. The executioners did not bother to finish them off. Rosenberg's commissioner for White Russia, Gauleiter Wilhelm Kube, protested that 'peace and order cannot be maintained in White Russia with methods of that sort. To bury seriously wounded people alive who worked their way out of their graves again is such a base and filthy act that this incident should be reported to the Fuhrer and the Reichsmarshal.' (Ibid.) Kube, however, had no reluctance about proceeding with the killings in an orderly fashion. During the dead of winter when the ground froze, so that it was impossible to bury the bodies, the killings were interrupted. In the spring they resumed. On July 31, 1942, Kube reported that, in cooperation with 'the exceedingly capable leader of the SD, Obersturmbannfuhrer Dr. Strauch, we have liquidated in the last ten weeks about 55,000 Jews in White Russia. In the city of Minsk approximately 10,000 Jews were liquidated on July 28 and 29, 6,500 of them Russian Jews, predominantly aged persons, women and children, the remainder Jews unfit for commitment to labor who had been deported to Minsk in November of last year from Vienna, Brunn, Bremen, and Berlin on order of the Fuhrer. 'After completion of the action against the Jews in Minsk,' Kube continued, 'SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Dr. Strauch reported to me tonight with just indignation that suddenly a transport of one thousand Jews had arrived from Warsaw for the Luftwaffe Administrative Command. I beg the Reich Commissioner to prevent transports of such a kind. The Polish Jew is, exactly like the Russian Jew, an enemy of Germanism. He presents a politically dangerous element, far exceeding his value as a skilled worker. I fully agree with the commander of the SD that we shall liquidate every shipment of Jews which is not ordered or announced by our superior offices.' (NCA, 3428 PS, Kube to Lohse, July 31, 1942.) This, of course, was the ultimate insanity: The SD exterminated the indigenous skilled workers the Wehrmacht desperately needed; the Wehrmacht imported more; and as soon as they arrived, the SD murdered the newcomers as well. The prosecution had been in the midst of the account of Einsatzgruppe operations in central Russia when the trial had recessed for Christmas; and Colonel Storey resumed on January 2 by presenting the affidavit of Hermann Grabe, a German construction manager who had worked in the Ukraine for more than two years. On July 13,1942, Grabe had witnessed a violent roundup of Jews in the town of Rovno on the Polish-Russian border: 'All through the night these beaten, hounded, and wounded people moved along the lighted streets. Women carried their dead children in their arms, children pulled and dragged their dead parents by their arms and legs down the road toward the train. Again and again the cries, 'Open the door! Open the door!' echoed through the ghetto. 'I saw dozens of corpses of all ages and both sexes in the streets I had to walk along. The doors of the houses stood open, windows were smashed. Pieces of clothing, shoes, stockings, jackets, caps, hats, coats, etc. were Iying in the street. At the corner of a house lay a baby, less than a year old, with his skull crushed. Blood and brains were spattered over the house wall and covered the area immediately around the child.' (IMT, vol. 4, 254-256) A few months later, in October 1942, Grabe had come across a mass execution: 'Moennikes and I went directly to the pit. Nobody bothered us. Now I heard rifle shots in quick succession, from behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had got off the truck -- men, women, and children of all ages -- had to undress upon the order of an SS man, who carried a riding or dog whip. They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, top clothing, and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about eight hundred to one thousand pairs, great piles of underlinen and clothing. Without screaming or weeping these people undressed, stood around in family groups, kissed each other, said farewell, and waited for a sign from another SS man, who stood near the pit. An old woman with snow-white hair was holding a one-year-old child in her arms and singing to it, and tickling it. The child was cooing with delight. The couple were looking on with tears in their eyes. The father was holding the hand of a boy about ten years old speaking to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed toward the sky, stroked his head, and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the SS man at the pit shouted something to his comrade. The latter counted off about twenty persons and instructed them to go behind the earth mound. I walked around the mound, and found myself confronted by a tremendous grave. People were closely wedged together and Iying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Nearly all had blood running over their shoulders from their heads. I looked for the man who did the shooting. He was an SS man, who sat at the edge of the narrow end of the pit his feet dangling into the pit. He had a tommy gun on his knees and was smoking a cigarette. The people, completely naked, went down some steps which were cut in the clay wall of the pit and clambered over the heads of the people Iying there, to the place to which the SS man directed them. They lay down in front of the dead or injured people; some caressed those who were still alive and spoke to them in a low voice. Then I heard a series of shots. I looked into the pit and saw that the bodies were twitching or the heads Iying already motionless on top of the bodies that lay before them.' (NCA, 2992 PS, Affidavit of Hermann Friedrich Gra'be, Nov. 10, 1945.) This was the type of account that, no matter how often it was repeated, never failed to stir the tribunal. Still, it would have had an even greater impact had Grabe, who was easily available, been called to testify for himself. And Jackson, under pressure from his staff, finally agreed to permit the use of a few key German witnesses in person. No one, however, quite anticipated the sensation generated by Otto Ohlendorf when he appeared the next day. Thirty-eight years old, short and blond, he would have been overlooked in any gathering. Yet he was, in some ways, the Savonarola of the Nazi era. A militant anti-Semite, he had joined the party, of which he had the most idealistic conception, at the age of eighteen. After graduating with a degree in economics, he had gone to work at the Institute for World Economics in Kiel. He had an eighteenth-century belief in laissez-faire, and his vision of the party was of an organization that would simultaneously smite the Communists and big business, and nurture the development of small businesses and independent enterprise. With his intellectualism and insistence on speaking the truth, he would, had he been Catholic, have found a natural home among the Jesuits. Disillusioned by Hitler's alliance with Schacht, Krupp, and the other Rhineland bankers and industrialists, outraged by what he considered Ley's bolshevization of the German workers, and shocked by the corruption that flowered in the Party Organization, he had generated consternation among local party leaders by his outspokenness. At one point he had been arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. Friends had obtained a job for him in Berlin, where within a year his intellect and analytical ability had come to the attention of Heydrich. In 1936 he had joined the SD for the purpose of establishing a network of economic intelligence. Heydrich found him invaluable; but when the party functionaries awoke to the fact that the SD, purportedly the party's intelligence organization, was turning its eye inward, they raised such a howl that Himmler severely curtailed Ohlendorf's operation. Upon the outbreak of the war, nevertheless, Ohlendorf's talents were too valuable to be left lying fallow; and he was made chief of Amt III, the Internal Intelligence Service. When Barbarossa was launched, Heydrich pressed his principal subordinates to take charge of the Einsatzkommando, so as to tie them to him irrevocably through bonds of blood. Ohlendorf was placed in command of Einsatzgruppe D, which had responsibility for the southern Ukraine and the Crimea. He had spent a year in Russia, then returned to Berlin in June of 1942 to resume his post. His 'Reports from the Reich,' which presented the only unvarnished, factual account of conditions in the nation, had circulated among the top echelon of the government and the party. The pretrial interrogation of Ohlendorf had been conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Smith W. Brookhart, Jr., the rock-jawed son of a famous midwestern senator, Wildman Smith Brookhart. Ohlendorf, after first offering to establish a German intelligence organization for the Allies, formed an attachment to Brookhart, and wanted the American to help him write a book. He could not understand why any of the high-ranking Nazis incarcerated at Nuremberg should take offense at his recounting of the truth. 'Every individual will have to stand for what he has done and be held responsible for what he has done, and also make a complete statement of what he has done,' he assured Brookhart. (Int. of Ohlendorf by Brookhart, Mar. 8, 1946, in Ohlendorf Interrogation File.) Nothing upset him or dejected him more than the accusation by Major Leon Goldensohn, who had replaced Dr. Kelley as the prison psychiatrist, that he must be a sadist, a pervert, or a lunatic. (Jaari Memo to Brookhart, Mar. 8, 1946, in Ohlendorf Interrogation File.) Goldensohn could not understand how else a man of such integrity and incorruptibility could have commanded an Einsatzgruppe. The fact of the matter was that Ohlendorf, as Himmler had indicated when he called him Nazism's 'Knight of the Holy Grail,' (Ho'hne, 236) was gripped by the fanaticism of a crusader. He would slay the heretics not because he liked to kill them, but because he believed their slaughter necessary in pursuit of his faith. It almost beggared belief that such a gem of veracity should have been discovered among the prevaricators; and a thorough interrogation of Ohlendorf on the witness stand might have done much to bring the true state of affairs in the Reich into focus and appreciably increase the comprehension of the judges. Logic dictated that the adept Brookhart, who had worked with him for months, should be the one to question him; but Colonel Amen, of course, was not about to let such a prize get away from him; and Amen was interested only in Ohlendorf's leadership of the Einsatzgruppe and had little knowledge of the mass of additional material Brookhart had developed. After taking his oath, Ohlendorf, since he had not specifically been told or granted permission to sit down, remained standing during much of his testimony. As he spoke, precisely, clerically, the normal hum of activity in the courtroom died away and everyone's eyes became riveted on his jockey-sized figure. 'What was the ultimate objective of Group D?' Amen asked. 'The instructions were that in the Russian operational areas of the Einsatzgruppen the Jews, as well as the Soviet political commissars, were to be liquidated.' 'And when you say 'liquidated' do you mean 'killed'?' 'Yes.' Ohlendorf nodded imperceptibly. 'I mean killed.' 'Did you, personally, have any conversations with Himmler respecting any communication from Himmler to the chiefs of army groups and armies concerning this mission?' 'Yes. Himmler told me that before the beginning of the Russian campaign Hitler had spoken of this mission to a conference of the army groups and the army chiefs -- no, not the army chiefs but the commanding generals -- and had instructed the commanding generals to provide the necessary support.' 'Did you have any other conversation with Himmler concerning this order?' 'Yes, in the late summer of 1941 Himmler was in Nikolaev,' Ohlendorf continued. Nikolaev was a city on the shores of the Black Sea halfway between Odessa and the Crimea. In this pleasant setting Ohlendorf had, in fact, been procrastinating, and had hoped to avoid a mass execution by registering all Jews and selecting only the 'Bolshevists' from among them. When Himmler found out what Ohlendorf had (or had not) done, he was furious, and demanded that the exterminations be initiated immediately. 'He assembled the leaders and the men of the Einsatzkommando, ' Ohlendorf declared, 'repeated to them the liquidation order, and pointed out that the leaders and men who were taking part in the liquidation bore no personal responsibility for the execution of this order. The responsibility was his, alone, and the Fuhrer's.' 'Do you know how many persons were liquidated by Einsatz Group D under your direction?' 'In the year between June 1941 and June 1942 the Einsatzkommando reported ninety thousand people liquidated.' 'Did that include men, women, and children?' 'Yes,' Ohlendorf acknowledged. 'On what pretext, if any, were they rounded up?' 'On the pretext that they were to be resettled.' Ohlendorf paused. 'Will you continue?' 'After the registration, the Jews were collected at one place; and from there they were later transported to the place of execution, which was, as a rule, an antitank ditch or a natural excavation. The executions were carried out in a military manner by firing squads under command.' 'What was done with the personal property and the clothing of the persons executed?' 'All valuables were sent to Berlin, to the RSHA or to the Reich Ministry of Finance. At first the clothing was given to the population, but in the winter of 1941-1942 it was collected and disposed of by the NSV [the Nazi relief organization].' 'How about watches, for example, taken from the victims?' 'At the request of the army, watches were made available to the forces at the front.' (IMT, vol. 4, 316-322) Though occasionally Ohlendorf's voice seemed on the verge of breaking, he might have been detailing the latest economics statistics. He was the antithesis of the image of Nazi brutality; and Biddle began to wonder if the Allies were confronted with a nation of Jekylls and Hydes, as Frank seemed to indicate when he mused: 'Barbarism must be a strong German racial characteristic -- how else could Himmler have gotten men to carry out his murderous orders?' (Gilbert, 61) Ohlendorf's bureaucratic, dispassionate manner only heightened the shock with which his recitation was received. Contrapuntally, during the next few weeks, the judges were to be treated to flesh and blood accounts from eyewitnesses and people who had been on the lethal end of the weapons. A man named Kamenev stated in his affidavit: 'We reached the trench. We were lined up facing it, and the Germans began their preparations to shoot us in the nape of the neck. The shots rang out and my son instantly jumped into the trench. I threw myself in after him. Dead bodies began to fall upon me in the trench. About three PM an eleven-year-old boy stood up from among the pile of corpses and began to call, 'Little fathers, those of you who are still alive, get up. The Germans are gone.' I was afraid to do so, since I thought that the boy was shouting by order of the policemen. The boy called out a second time, and then my son answered him. He stood up and asked, 'Dad, are you still alive?' I could not say anything and merely nodded. My son and the other boy dragged me out from under the bodies. We saw some others who were still alive and who were shouting, 'Help us!' Some were wounded. All the time, while I had been Iying in the trench, under the bodies of the dead, I could hear the shrieks and wails of the women and children. The Germans had started shooting old men, women, and children after shooting us.' A youth, Anatol Bombarenko, related: 'I got up and the two of us began to drag out the living from beneath the corpses. I was covered with blood. A light mist hung over the trench -- steam arising from the rapidly congealing mass of dead bodies, from the pools of blood, and from the last breath of the dying.' (IMT, vol. 7, 494-496) Himmler, the one time he witnessed an execution, would have fainted had he not been propped up by his adjutant, Karl Wolff. Consequently, Ohlendorf testified, in the spring of 1942 he had received 'a special order from Himmler to the effect that women and children were not to be exposed to the mental strain of the executions; and thus the men of the Kommando, mostly married men, should not be compelled to aim at women and children.' In order to accomplish this goal, a young SS university graduate, Untersturmfuhrer Becker, had devised a truck with a sealed body into which carbon monoxide was pumped from the engine. The vans, which came to be called 'soul destroyers' by the populace, had had their own drawbacks, however. Ohlendorf and his subordinates preferred the strain of shooting people to that of unloading the corpses from the vans. In Ohlendorf's opinion, 'The unloading of the corpses [was] an unnecessary mental strain [because of] the terrible impression created by the position of the corpses themselves and by the state of the vans -- certain functions of the body had taken place leaving the corpses lying in filth.' (Becker protested that the unfortunate consequences were not his fault: 'The application of gas usually is not undertaken correctly. In order to come to an end as fast as possible the driver presses the accelerator to the fullest extent. By doing that the persons to be executed suffer death from suffocation and not death from dozing off as was planned. My directions now have proved that by correct adjustment of the levers death comes faster and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted faces and excretions such as could be seen before are no longer noticed.') The Einsatzgruppen, Ohlendorf related, had obtained their personnel from all the various organizations in Himmler's domain, and Ohlendorf himself had augmented his unit of five hundred Germans with five hundred Tatars. Attempting to explain to the court the structure of the Reicb Sicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office), he narrated: 'The RSHA as such never actually had official validity. Party and state offices with different authority were amalgamated. Under this designation RSHA, no directives or laws or orders could be issued on a legal basis, because the state police, in its ministerial capacity, was still subordinate to the ministry of the interior, whereas the SD, despite this setup, was an organ of the party. The RSHA was therefore nothing more than a camouflage designation which did not correctly represent the actual state of affairs but gave the chief of the Sipo and the SD [Heydrich] the opportunity of using one or the other letterhead at any time.' After Ohlendorf continued further in this vein, Lawrence, overstating his degree of comprehension, commented: 'I'm not sure that I follow altogether what you have been saying.' (IMT, vol. 4, 354.) Ludwig Babel, the attorney for the SS, attempted to elicit some explanation for the Ohlendorf phenomenon: 'Did you have no scruples in regard to the execution of these orders?' 'Yes, of course,' Ohlendorf replied. 'And how is it they were carried out regardless of these scruples?' 'Because to me it is inconceivable that a subordinate leader should not carry out orders given by the leaders of the state,' Ohlendorf answered, astonished. 'Was the legality of the orders explained to these people under false pretenses?' Babel desperately sought to discover some exculpatory factor. 'I do not understand your question,' Ohlendorf retorted icily. 'Since he order was issued by the superior authorities, the question of legality would not arise in the minds of these individuals, for they had sworn obedience to the people who had issued the orders.' 'Could any individual expect to succeed in evading the execution of these orders?' 'No, the result would have been a court martial with a corresponding sentence.' (IMT, vol. 4, 354.) This was not entirely true, since one of the aspects of the Nazi system was that it operated on two tiers. While introducing its own pragmatic immorality, it never dismantled the old legal structure. Anyone who evaded a clearly immoral or illegal order with enough determined diplomacy or deviousness had not been called to account." (Conot, 226-238) Work Cited Conot, Robert E. Justice at Nuremberg. New York: Harper & Row, 1983 Abbreviations IMT. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals; the published transcipts of the trial. NCA. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggession, the 10-volume compendium of the prosecution's agruments.
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