The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/c/clay.lucius/clay-on-malmedy-case


"A number of the death sentences in the Dachau trials were handed down 
before I assumed command but execution was stayed pending the hearing of 
a petition in the Supreme Court. When the petition for review was denied 
the decision rested in my hands. It was then that I asked for an independent 
review which led to the appointment of the Simpson Commission by the 
Department of the Army. 

This commission and my own Administration of 
Justice Review Board found that improper methods had been used to obtain 
evidence in the Malmedy case. Members of the prosecution staff testified 
to the use of stage settings, stool pigeons, and similar measures to 
extract evidence. Extreme brutalities claimed by the prisoners, in 
manifest self-interest, were denied by the prosecution staff and not 
borne out by other evidence. While any use of improper was to be 
deplored, the Army had been shocked beyond measure at the cold-blooded 
murder of our soldiers a Malmedy. 

When after months of search among 
German prisoners the members of the Storm Troop units responsible were 
picked up, it was found that they had been sworn to silence and this 
silence was difficult to break. They were the tough, hard-bitten fanatics 
of Nazism, and I could understand, if not condone, the treatment they 
received. Although certain of their guilt, I felt I must disapprove the 
death penalty unless there was evidence other than that of witnesses 
claiming that their confessions were extorted under force and duress." 
(Clay, _Decision in Germany_, p.253.)


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