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Punishment of Germans, by Third Reich authorities, for mistreatment of Jews (1939-1945)

(Notes for the talk given at the 14th conference of
the Institute for Historical Review)




This talk will not make mention of excesses committed against nationalities other than the Jews, nor will it deal with excesses committed against groups that merely included some Jews. Instead, my talk will contain information concerning only excesses committed by Germans solely against Jews.  In addition, I shall also limit my subject to those excesses committed during the Second World War. I do this because when Germany is accused of having had a programme of physical extermination directed towards the Jews, her accusers state that this program reached its climax during the war.

Therefore, I shall bring up example after example of Germans being punished – and some even put to death – for harming Jews during the war. In principle, were I to put forth proof that the German authorities issued death sentences against Germans who killed Jews, this should amount to proof that there could not have been an official order to kill the Jews.

In fact, however, this does not necessarily constitute proof by itself.  Why?  I shall give the answer in my conclusion.  At that point I shall also address the critical question of why this area of study has not been approached seriously by any revisionists to date.  Indeed, the silence with which the subject has been met up to now, by official Holocaust historians and revisionists alike, is astonishing.

Finally, as the topic I am addressing is rather new, my speech today is not intended to offer conclusive answers to the questions I have just raised, but rather to encourage the launch of research on something that has been ignored for far too long.


Paget, Zayas, Faurisson


Reginald T. Paget: Manstein, His Campaigns, and His Trial (Collins, Londres 1951, XVI-239 p.):

p. 129: … stringent orders for the court martial and punishment of German soldiers and SS men who had committed offences against the civilian population or against prisoners.

p. 130: … even Reichenau, the only leading soldier in Poland who can be described as a Nazi, was proved to have taken strong disciplinary action against men who had committed offences against Jews.

p. 140: Manstein exercised his discretion by taking the severest action against any soldier who committed an offence against a civilian, and… several soldiers were executed for rape and looting.


1980 / 1989

Alfred M. de Zayas:

Wehrmacht-Untersuchungsstelle für Verletzungen des Völkerrechts: Dokumentation alliierter Kriegsverbrechen im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Langen Müller, Munich 1980, 477 p.), published in English under the title The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945 (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln [Nebraska] 1989, XIX-364 p.)

p. 19: … when [in 1944] two German soldiers, together with French criminals, intimidated French Jews in Nice and forced them to hand over money and jewels, the German court martial sentenced one of them to death and the other to twelve years imprisonment. The judgment, dated 11 April 1944, declared: “the fact that the violence in question was directed against Jews in no way excuses the perpetrators… the German reputation has thereby suffered.” [A footnote states that “the author has photocopies of some 150 such judgments.”] 

p. 24: … In Russia, a military judge refused to prosecute a German civilian administrator, Inspector Weisheit, who [for reasons I do not know – R. F.] had murdered 75 Jews. “His attitude was highly disapproved of by his superiors, and he was removed from the case. In the criminal proceedings that followed, however, the indictment was changed from murder to manslaughter and the new judge sentenced Inspector Weisheit only to a demotion and two years imprisonment. Shortly thereafter Weisheit was sent to the front as a private and fell in combat.”


Robert Faurisson: “Interview with Storia Illustrata” (Italy), August 1979 no. 261

Note 45: Texts and facts abound to prove that the German authorities forbade and punished these excesses, even when the victims might be Jewish. I shall cite but one text and two facts. The text is of General von Roques dated 29 July 1944, on the Russian front (document NOKW-1620). As for the facts, they are reported in document NOKW-501. The first fact: in the spring of 1944, in Budapest, a lieutenant killed a Jewess who wanted to report him for having, together with some of his men, robbed her of belongings. A German military tribunal sentenced him to death and he was shot, whilst a few of his men and non-commissioned officers were sentenced to long prison terms. The second fact: near Rostov, USSR, two soldiers were sentenced to death by a German military tribunal (and executed?) for having killed the lone Jewish inhabitant of a village. These examples and several other facts of the same kind are found in the 42nd and final volume of the IMT (International Military Tribunal) transcripts.


In 1995, on page 32 of the January-February issue of the Journal of Historical Review, I reminded readers of the fact that German soldiers were punished for excesses against Jews, referring to my statement of 1979 in Storia Illustrata.


List of offences, sentences


Poland: September 14-15, 1939

Two German soldiers, one an SS private and the other a sergeant in the military police, were tried for the murder of about 50 Jews, whom they had driven into a synagogue and shot. Although the prosecution asked for death sentences for both, less severe punishment was meted out to them. The court martial sentenced the sergeant to 9 years in prison for manslaughter, later, upon review, commuted to 3 years. The SS private received a sentence of 3 years.

The tribunal took into consideration the fact that these killings were not premeditated, but were rather crimes of passion stemming from feelings of rage prompted by the discovery of the bodies of murdered ethnic Germans in a Polish town, combined with the hostile attitude of the Jews.

In order to understand this, we must remember September 3rd, the bloody Sunday of Bromberg and other towns in Poland, when Poles killed hundreds, if not thousands of German civilians.

And since to judge is to compare, we should compare this atrocious act with the massacre in 1995 by Dr Baruch Goldstein of 29 Moslems praying in their mosque in Palestine. We should acknowledge that today his grave is regarded as a shrine by many in Israel. The Nazis who committed the 1939 crime, needless to say, are not remembered in such a laudatory manner.

(Nuremberg Document D-421 in IMT Vol. XXXV, p. 91-93; discussion of this document is found in IMT Vol. XX, p. 449-451)


Two German soldiers were sentenced to death for the rape of two Jewesses.

(Source: Interrogation of Field Marshal List, Centre de documentation juive contemporaine de Paris, fiche CCC VII / 41-44, p. 2599)


In Schitomir, a Polish town then under the jurisdiction of a Reichskommissariat, a Jewish couple went to the German authorities, to whom the wife spoke to accuse two German soldiers of having raped her. The battalion commander, Beck, ordered his men into three ranks for the woman to inspect.  She was able to identify one of the rapists, who then informed on the other. Both were sentenced to death and executed.

In the same city, a German soldier who cut off part of a Jew’s beard was arrested and held for three days.

(Reference: K. Rückelein, from the city of Wachenroth, National Zeitung, December 3, 1999)


A Reichskommisar in the Ukraine was accused of committing blackmail in a Jewish community as well as of sending furs and other items back to Germany. He was convicted and sentenced to death. At the Nuremberg trial, Alfred Rosenberg mentioned this incident in his own defence, whereupon the American prosecution attorney, Dodd, said that although this was very interesting it was not pertinent to the case, and the matter was dropped.

(Source: IMT XI, p. 561)


On the 30th of October 1941, CARL, the District commissar of Sluzk wrote to his superior KUBE, the general commissar in Minsk, on the subject of excesses committed in an action carried out against Jews. On the 1st of November, KUBE transmitted this message, along with his commentary (he described the German behaviour as “such an unjustifiable, horrid mess [bodenlose Schweinerei]”), to his superior, LOHSE, the Reichskommissar for the East. LOHSE, in turn, sent this to ROSENBERG, the Reichsminister for the Occupied East. We may see from this that the mistreatment of Jews was a matter of great concern for the German top brass.

(Document PS-1104 in IMT Vol. XXVII, p. 18)


Not only serious crimes, but also minor offences were severely punished. Thus an SS man who struck a Pole in Radom served significant time in jail.

(Nuremberg Document SS (A) – 70, in IMT Vol. XLII, p. 607, 620, together with many other similar examples)


At Nuremberg, German defence barrister Dr Laternser, pleading the cause of the SS prosecuted as an organisation, mentioned the telling story of the mayor of Marinka.

I refer now to Affidavit 712-a by General von Knobelsdorff. This general ordered the arrest of an SD Führer who wanted to have 50 to 60 persons shot because according to statements of confidential agents they were anti-German and intended to carry out acts of sabotage against the German troops.

In this connection one piece of evidence seems of special importance, namely, Affidavit 1637, by General Kittel. According to this affidavit, the mayor of Marinka, a racial German, was condemned to death by a court-martial and shot for crimes committed against a Jewess. How could the sentence on this man be explained if on the other hand the military leaders had ordered or tolerated the murder of many thousands of Jews?

(IMT Vol. XXI, p. 390. Kittel is not to be confused with Keitel. Marinka lies between Kharkov and Rostov.)


The same defence lawyer, Laternser, also mentioned other facts of the same nature.  For instance, the massacre in Lvov, which was attributed to the Germans, was only discovered by German troops when they marched into the area and found rows of corpses. Also, Laternser makes note of German soldiers in the 49th Mountain Corps who on July 2nd attempted to prevent Ukrainian locals from mistreating Jews.

Another accusation alleged that the Wehrmacht possessed homicidal gas vans and used them to kill some 195,000 persons in Kiev. Laternser points to affidavits 1116-a, 1116-b, and 1116-c, to refute the notion that the Wehrmacht ever possessed any such vans.

He also refers to an affidavit, 1629, filed by Field Marshal von Küchler, which describes the Wehrmacht’s refusal to take part in any mistreatment of Jews. Laternser then makes mention of two affidavits, 1630 and 1632, which show that medical help was provided, despite the protests of some officials, to Jews suffering from a typhus epidemic.

Finally, he refers to ten different affidavits showing that no orders for the killing of Jews or others in occupied territories existed, and that no troops took part in such actions.

(IMT Vol. XXI, p. 401-403)

August 18, 1942

On February 23, 1942, in the Ukraine, two members of the Wehrmacht, Erich Nees and Michael Lenne, committed a robbery. In their defence, the soldiers argued that they had robbed by Jews. The military tribunal replied that this was not relevant. One was sentenced to death, the other to eight years in prison.

(Reference: Vincent Reynouard, Une autre image d’Hitler et du National-Socialisme, Diffusion V.H.O., Berchem (Belgium) 2000, p. 18-19)


The following statement can be found in an official German document entitled “Guidelines for the Handling of the Jewish Question”, a document targeted at Germans in the conquered Soviet territories, and which contains multiple instances of the phrase “Endlösung der Judenfrage.”

… the retaliatory [administrative?] measures taken [by the local inhabitants] against the Jews that have occurred over the last two years in the areas that have been taken from the Red Army should be tolerated.  However, the activities of the mob and other low elements who enrich themselves off of the plundering of Jewish shops and the Jewish community must be sternly confronted (scharf).

(Document PS-212 in TMI (= French version of the Nuremberg transcripts) Vol. XXV, p. 302-306)


SS lieutenant Max Täubner is sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment by an SS tribunal in Munich for excesses committed against Jews in the Ukraine.

(Reference: “Urteile im NS-Prozess von Stuttgart,” Neue Zürcher Zeitung, February 16, 1982)


The German army severely punished its own soldiers for crimes committed against the civilian population, including Jews.

Examples are given, such as a case in the spring of 1944 occurring when a German anti-aircraft battery on its way to Budapest was held over and the soldiers stayed in a house belonging to Jews. Permission was granted to the men by the commander of the battery, a young sub-lieutenant, to confiscate various items from the house, including jewellery and radio sets. A Jewish woman who wanted to report this crime was killed. The sub-lieutenant was sentenced to death and executed for this crime, and several NCOs and service personnel received long prison terms.

Another example is offered by a case that occurred in the beginning of 1943 in which two soldiers of the Luftwaffe, in a village to the north of Rostov, killed the only Jewish inhabitant thereof. The two soldiers were convicted for their crime.

(Sources: Affidavit by Major General Otto Dessloch in TMI Vol. XLII, p. 238-240)


1,593 affidavits filed by Germans for the IMT “point out that SS members were forbidden to undertake individual acts against Jews. As evidence, numerous members refer to the fact that many death or other severe sentences were passed because of crimes against Jewish persons or Jewish property.”

(Source: Defence barrister Pelckmann in IMT Vol. XXI, p. 369)

August 21, 1946

Affidavit 706, in addition, shows that Field Marshal Von Kleist, as commander of an army group, on a mere rumour that Jews were being murdered, immediately intervened, summoned the Higher SS and Police Leader and told him that he would not permit excesses against the Jews. This SS Führer assured him that no excesses against the Jews were taking place, and that he had no orders to that effect.

(Defence barrister Laternser in IMT Vol. XXI, p. 390)




p. 110: … It is hard to imagine that those whose daily work entailed investigation of crimes and atrocities did not at least hear rumours about the most unspeakable atrocity of the century, but there are no documents, personal notes, or diaries indicating any such knowledge, official or otherwise. Had they known, the question immediately arises, what would they – or what could they – have done to oppose it?


Surprisingly, the German military historian Franz W. Seidler, in his Die Militärgerichtsbarkeit der deutschen Wehrmacht, 1939-1945: Rechtsprechung und Strafvollzug (“The Military Justice of the German Wehrmacht, 1939-1945: jurisdiction and penal system”) (Herbig, Munich and Berlin 1991, 336 p.), mentions nothing concerning our subject.


I shall now present my answers to the two questions I posed at the beginning of my talk.

1) The official historians have kept silent about this aspect of German policy because it is incompatible with their theoretical view of “the Holocaust”.

I am willing to admit that the idea of Germans punishing their own soldiers for harming Jews is not totally incompatible with the conventional view of “the Holocaust” as an extermination process. After all, the Germans would not want their ranks to suffer the disorder which would result from allowing troops to attack Jews on their own initiative. Nevertheless, the fact that Germans were KILLED for KILLING Jews should remain troubling.

On the other hand, if we do not assume that there was a policy to exterminate the Jews, these German disciplinary measures must be seen as yet more evidence that a policy of extermination did not exist.

Anyway, if today, after this talk of mine, the official historians declare that the phenomenon I have discussed here is compatible with the “Holocaust” extermination story as a whole, my question would be, why have they kept totally silent up until now, not even bothering to put a spin on the evidence that would be more to their own liking?

2) I believe the revisionists have kept silent simply because they are mesmerised by the power of “the Holocaust”. Because we believe that “the Holocaust” is a lie of such momentous proportions, we feel we need evidence of similar proportions to defeat it. Instead, we must attack the lie with the most effective means at our disposal; precisely, we must destroy the big lie brick by brick (pinprick by pinprick), until the massive monument is shown to be nothing but a simple façade.


Memo from the plant head at Günthergrube, Lendzin, to the leader of the Jewish work detail in Fürstengrube (Auschwitz-III), May 25, 1943

This document addresses the rising number of complaints by Jewish personnel who had begun to develop an obstinate attitude towards work, protesting that they had a right not to be beaten, and reminding their German superiors that they had Jewish stewards to whom they could forward their complaints.

The German plant head reminds the chief Jewish steward that the beating of Jews is forbidden, but points out two cases in which the beating of Jews was understandable, as the Jews were expected to increase their output, just as the Germans had been doing.

In the first case, a Jew refused to work as vigorously as the others at unloading a cable from a railway carriage, ignoring repeated orders from his foreman. When the Jew’s attitude became aggressive, the foreman slapped him in the face. In the second case, a Jew refused to operate a pump for compressing chemicals, which prompted his overseer to push him. The Jew lodged a complaint with his steward claiming that he had been thoroughly beaten.

The document concludes with a request that the Jews put forth a better effort, and asks that the chief steward of the Jews take the measures he deems necessary to punish obstinate Jewish workers, so that their performance might continue to be of the same standard as it had been in the past.

(Source: Document NI-10847)

Two Hungarian officials requested asylum in Germany in 1944 after conducting a massacre of Serbs and Jews in Hungary. Their court case regarding the massacre had been pending since 1942.

The Germans were apprehensive about admitting these men, due to the large number of Jewish deaths.

(Reference: Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes, Inland IIg. Berichte und Meldungen zur Lage in Ungarn Bd. 7., as partially published by Peter Longerich, Die Ermörderung der europäischen Juden, Piper, Munich 1989, p. 292-293)

June 23, 2002