De-Zayas Alfred

Back to list

Shofar archives:

De- Zaya comments booklist

Dear Jamie,

You wrote:

>Anyone know anything about Alfred DeZayas, author of NEMESIS AT POTSDAM,
>books concern (i.e. are they “revisionist”)?
I have them all, as well as GERMAN EXPELLEES.

Publication details:

_Nemesis at Potsdam: The Expulsion of the Germans from the East_
Alfred M. de Zayas
c.1977, 1979, 1988, University of Nebraska Press
ISBN 0-8032-9907-9

_The German Expellees: Victoms in War and Peace_
Alfred M. de Zayas
Translation c. 1993, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y.
ISBN 0-312-09097-8

_A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East
European Germans, 1944-1950_
Alfred M. de Zayas
English translation c. 1994, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y.

_The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945_
Alfred M. de Zayas
1989, University of Nebraska Press
ISBN 0-8032-9908-7

To which Ulrich respoded at length. I agree in general with Ulrich’s

+He is a relatively renowned expert on international law, I think.
+As far I know, he got first a PhD from Harvard, and a second one
+for a historical study at the Max-Planck Institute for international
+law in Goettingen. That’s this one: THE WEHRMACHT WAR CRIMES BUREAU.

+He was/is now professor for international law, I think,
+at the University of Geneva.

The biographical information gleaned from the books in my posession
state that he obtained his law degreee at Harvard, and his historical
training at the University of Gottingen as well as at Tubingen where
he was a Fulbright Graduate Fellow.

+His outlook is decidedly “Germanophil”, hence the tendency of
+German nationalists and Revisionists to quote his books.

Quite. de Zayas is a strong Germanophile, something that tends to
occlude his vision on the greater crimes that were being committed
at the same time that many crimes (albeit no less reprehensible)
were being committed by the Allies, particularly the Soviets.

+But the books are more or less serious research – and his investigations
+seem to aim mainly at a further development of accepted customs of war,
+and international law in hostile conflicts, even when fighting monsters.

My impression is that de Zayas attempts to equate the war crimes of
the Allies (mainly by the Soviets) to the genocidal crimes of the
Nazis. In _The German Expellees_ he makes the following observation:

“The flight and expulsion of so many millions of Germans from the
territories East of the Oder and Niesse rivers, and from the Sudetenland
and Southeast Europe, cannot be appreciated as a historical event by
means of cold statistics. The fate of each individual person must be
kept in mind. The victims of the expulsions were people no different
from us. They suffered and starved as individual human beings, not
nameless subtotals in some statistical column. They were victims just
like the Polish officers in the Katyn Forest, or the gypsies liquidated
by the Nazi hit squads, , or the Jews murdered at Auschwitz. For those
affected — no matter whether Pole, gypsy, Jew or German — being a
victim meant that their personal experience was extinguished, often
under conditions of unbearable torment. All fell victims to injustices
that can never be redressed.”

+He is surely no Revisionazi, i.e. Holocaust-denier.

Not in the least. He does not take into consideration, however,
that the enormous majority of the Germans that moved westwards
were doing so voluntarily, mainly to stay ahead of the Soviet

+> author of NEMESIS AT POTSDAM,

+ This one is a monograph about the expulsion of
+the ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe in 1945-about 1947 and
+later. The basic facts are more or less uncontroversial, as far
+I can see. However, DeZayas implicitely accuses the US government,
+(and the Western Allies) of complacency and complicity with Stalin
+regarding that policy. That’s what attracts the relish of Revisionists.

de Zayas attempts to demonize Morgenthau:

“The Morgenthau Plan and JCS/1067

It has been said that the Morgenthau Plan was the blunder of the
American Civil War Reconstruction applied to Germany. The
analogy is not altogether without validity. In the latter President
Lincoln’s ‘malice-toward-none-charity-for-all’ plan was supplanted
by the old *vae victis* idea of Northern radicals whose plan for
dealing with the Beaten South was to crush it thoroughly so that
it would never rise again. Similarly, after the Second World War,
the humanitarian ideal for the Atlantic Charter was sacrifieced to
an ill-concieved plan which envisaged the elimination of the
industrial potential of Germany by making it strictly pastoral land.
The plan was worked out on the basis of a memorandum prepared
by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. for the Quebec
Conference of 11-16 September, 1944, which was attended by
President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill, and by
the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King.

Although the Morgenthau Plan was not officially adopted by the
Western Allies, much of it reappeared in JCS/1067 and in this
form played an important role in shaping American and British
occupation policy in the first months and years following the
German surrender, during which a thoroughgoing de-industriali-
zation was carried out.

JCS/1067 was a directive from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the
Commander-in-Chief of the United States Forces of Occupation,
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, issued in April 1945. It
instructed General Eisenhower in part:

‘You will take no action that would tend to support
basic living standards in Germany ON A HIGHER
LEVEL [emphasis mine: HWM] than that existing
in any other of the neighboring United Nations and
you will take appropriate measures to ensure that basic
living standards of the German people ARE NOT
HIGHER [emphasis mine – HWM] than those existing
in any one of the neighboring United Nations when
such measures will contribute to raising the standards
of any such nation.

For numerous reasons this directive was disproportionately
harsh [!!! – HWM]. For one, Germany had traditionally enjoyed
a higher standard of living than most of her neighbors, being
the most highly indistrialized country in Europe. […]”

Dr. de Zayas felt that a defeated German nation deserved
to have a _higher_ standard of living than that of the
Poles, Czechs, French, Jugoslavs, etc. whose economies
had been devastated by the Nazi invadors.

Strange logic…


(see above)


+I know only the German version of this book.
+As it is a thesis, basically DeZayas studied a certain group
+of sources. I.e. the files and history of the German Military
+jurisdiction which investigated Allied war crimes during WWII.
+Basically, he finds the sources reliable, i.e. based on real
+criminalist investigations, despite all political pressure.

de Zayas tells us in his Itroduction to _The Wermacht War Crimes

“The task assigned to the *Wermacht-Untersuchungstelle* was
to investigate reports of alleged violations of the laws and
customs of war, whether committed by members of the Allied or
Axis forces; however the extant files of the Bureau — estimated to
be half of its total records — include NO INVESTIGATIONS OF
AXIS WAR CRIMES [my emphasis – HWM] apart from a thin
volume concerning the killing of British prisoners of war in
North Africa in 1942. The remaining 225 volumes deal with
alleged Allied violations, primarily by the Soviet Union. The
bulk of these available records is made up of WITNESS
TESTIMONY [emphasis mine – HWM. I though witnesses didn’t
count! – HWM] sworn to before German military judges;
military intelligence reports, and captured Allied documents add
valuable information.”

+This again attracts Revisionist interest, as they can present
+German victims, quoting his book.

Revisionists will find little in de Zaya’s books to comfort them.
While de Zaya makes little mention of the Holocaust (he never
actually uses the word), there is no question that he believes
Jews and gypsies were murdered in huge numbers. Some of
the so-called Revisionists will attempt to excuse the Nazi
excesses by claiming that the Allies did the same after WWII.
JCS/1067 hardly matches up to the Nuremberg Laws. The
most telling attitude about the extermination of the Jews
appears in Chapter Eleven:

“Other Germans at the Nuremberg trials have tried to excuse
themselves by claiming ignorance and explaining this
ignorance on the grounds of Hitler’s fundamental ‘Order
No. 1’ with respect to the keeping of official secrets —
including, of course, *Sonderbehandlung* (special treat-
ment) of the Jews and Endl=F6 sung (Final Solution) of the
Jewish question which was classified *geheime Reichssache*
(literally, Reich secret matter, the highest level of state
secret). The so-called *F=FChhrerbefehl Nummer 1*, dated
11 January 1940, specified that (1) no one shall know about
secret matters that do not belong to his own range of
assignments; (2) no one shall learn more than he needs
to fulfill the tasks asigned to him; (3) no one shall receive
information earlier than is necessary for the performance
of the duties assigned to him; (4) no one shall transmit
to subordinate officers, to any greater extent or any earlier
than is unaviodable for the acievement of the purpose,
orders that are to be kept secret.

One of the most amazing single documents in support of
the thesis that knowledge of the exterminations was limited
to a relatively small percentage of Germans is Heinrich
Himmler’s Posen speech of 4 October 1943 to top SS
leaders: ‘Most of you know what it means when 100
corpses lie there, or when 500 corpses lie there, or when
1,000 corpses lie there. To have gone through this and —
apart from a few exceptions caused by human weakness —
to have remained decent, that has made us hard. This is a
page of glory in our history *which has never been written
and which never is to be written.* (emphasis by de Zayas)

There were, of course, visible signs of abuses against Jews,
but deportation to the east was not perceived even by the
victims as a step towards extermination. Even persons high
in the Nazi hierarchy appeared to have been ignorant of the
truth. […]”

de Zayas has an interesting comment to make about the Malmedy

“The German units involved were easily identified after the
war, and a trial against seventy-three former SS soldiers
began on 16 May 1946 at Dachau, the former Nazi
concentration camp near munich. The accused, presenting
their version of the events claimed that the American
soldiers — caught by surpriseby the Germant armored
attack–did surrender and were in the process of being
sent to the rear of the German lines, but that in the confusion
of the second day of the Battele of the Bulge, a new wave of
German tanks apparently mistook the Americans in uniform
for regular combatants. Counsel for the defense also noted
that according to the testimony of some American witnesses —
that no shots fell until the American soldiers started to flee–
thge killings were so closely related to the fighting that
the case for deliberate murder was rendered somewhat tenuous.
Nevertheless, on 16 July 1946, forty-three of the accused
received the death sentence; thirty were condemned to
long prison terms.

Five years after the Nuremberg and Dachau trials, the
American Military Government in Germany implemented a
policy of reconciliation and amnesty in the course of which
the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed forces in Germany,
General Thomas T. Handy, reduced the sentences of many
of the Malmedy convicts and changed all death sentences
to life imprisonment. Without expressing a doubt about their
actual guilt, General Handy explained his decision of 31
January 1951 by conceding mitigating circumstances since
the killings had ‘ocurred in connection with confused,
volatile and desperate fighting.’ ”

WHAT? No torturing? No crushed testicles? If de Zaya, who
is a serious historian albeit with a penchant for overlooking
Nazi crimes and enlarging Allied crimes, makes no mention
of torture in this case, one can feel fairly secure that torture
did not take place.

Thank’s, Ulrich, for your fine research and comments. Thanks
also for the copies of the Zyklon patent!

Do you want more, Jamie?

Kindest regards,


Nizkor (USA) – An Electronic Holocaust Educational Resource
Anonymous ftp:
European mirror:
Nizkor Web: (Under construction
permanently!)(Page doesn`t exist)

To: Jamie McCarthy
From: “Harry W. Mazal OBE”
Subject: Re: DeZayas