Auschwitz SS nazi on trial

This video says about itself:

The Liberation of Auschwitz (includes 1945 original Red Army footage)

23 January 2015

Warning – This historical documentary contains some explicit scenes that are of a violent nature and may be disturbing to some viewers!

This film contains footage taken by Soviet cameramen after the liberation of the Auschwitz camp in January 27, 1945.

Among other things, it depicts the camp area immediately after entry by the First Ukrainian Front of the Red Army.

Documentary pictures are interspersed with an interview with Alexander Vorontzov, the cameraman who accompanied the Red Army soldiers and did most of the filming. The whole is accompanied by commentary describing, among others, the selection and extermination process, medical experiments and everyday life in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The film was previously released in 1985, for the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. The commentary accompanying the current edition of the film reflects the latest findings by researchers studying the KL Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz Camp is a world symbol of the Holocaust, genocide and terror. Never before in the history of mankind were so many people murdered in a planned and industrial manner in such a small area.

In the years 1940-1945, German Nazis brought here over a million Jews, nearly 150 thousand Poles, 23 thousand Roma, 15 thousand Soviet prisoners of war and over ten thousand prisoners from other nations.

A vast majority of them perished in the camp.

This film is dedicated to their memory.

Runtime: 52 minutes, Production year: 1985, Director: Irmgard von zur Muehlen.

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

Trial of former SS soldier begins in Germany

22 April 2015

The trial of 93-year-old former SS sergeant Oskar Gröning began yesterday at the fourth criminal grand chamber of the Luneburg district court. He is charged with assisting murder in 300,000 cases. From September 1942 to October 1944, Gröning was an SS guard and administrator at Auschwitz concentration camp in occupied Poland.

More than 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army on January 27, 1945, it is certain to be one of the last trials of living perpetrators of the indescribably hideous crimes committed by the Nazis at this and other concentration camps.

The name of the Nazis’ Auschwitz concentration camp has come to symbolise the worst crimes and horrors of the twentieth century, and is a byword for the barbarism of capitalism in its most extreme form. More than 1.1 million people were brutally killed there. Hundreds of thousands were exterminated in the gas chambers immediately after their arrival, while others died from hunger, physical exhaustion or hideous experiments by sadistic doctors like Josef Mengele, nicknamed the angel of death by the prisoners.

Some 90 percent of those killed in the camp were Jews. In addition, 150,000 non-Jewish Poles, including political prisoners, 23,000 Sinti and Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, other national minorities, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals were murdered.

In addition to Gröning, two other former SS soldiers currently face thousands of charges of assisted murder. An investigation by the state prosecutor in Schwerin is underway into 94-year-old Hubert Z from Mecklenburg Pomerania, and another against 94-year-old Reinhold Z from North Rhine-Westphalia led by the Dortmund state prosecutor.

The SS soldiers currently being charged allegedly were not directly involved in the murders, but through their service in Auschwitz, they contributed to the functioning of the Nazi murder machine. Gröning himself described his role at Auschwitz as a “cog in the wheel.”

Oskar Gröning volunteered for the Waffen SS at aged 21 as a committed National Socialist, and was ordered by the SS business and administration head office on September 25, 1942, to be sent to administer the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Since he had previously worked in a savings bank, he was placed in the administration of prisoners’ money. His task was to stand guard as the victims were delivered to the camp in cattle wagons, and collect their possessions and valuables. The stolen money obtained during this process was then sent by him to the SS headquarters in Berlin.

The list of charges from the state prosecutor in Hannover, responsible for pursuing Nazi crimes in Lower Saxony, limits itself to the so-called Hungarian action of May 16 to July 11, 1944. In this two-month time frame, the SS deported some 425,000 Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz. Around 300,000 were sent directly to their deaths in gas chambers on their arrival.

Within this period, 137 trainloads arrived at the Nazis’ death factory. Gröning’s task was to collect the belongings left by those sent to the gas chamber from the train platform and camp entrance. “In so doing, the traces of the mass murder would be eliminated for subsequent prisoners,” states the 85-page charge sheet. His activities had supported the Nazis’ systematic mass murder.

The trial has met with great interest abroad and more than 60 survivors from Hungary, the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Israel wish to testify to the court as joint plaintiffs. Accordingly, the trial was moved from the Luneburg court to a larger building.

As with other trials on the subject of crimes during the Nazi period, the question is raised: Why has the trial taken so long?

The answer is largely that within the German political and judiciary systems, many former Nazis were utilised by the state and their careers continued unhindered after the war. A systematic legal investigation into the crimes of the National Socialists was consistently blocked.

Of the many thousands of Nazi criminals, relatively few were brought before the courts. Since the end of the war, the German judiciary has investigated 100,000 cases, but only 6,500 were convicted. They received relatively mild sentences considering the horrendous nature of their crimes. Generally, the perpetrators took the defence that they were just following orders, which the courts recognised as legitimate.

Of the 6,500 SS personnel who carried out their murderous work in Auschwitz and survived the war, only 29 were convicted in the Federal Republic, according to a report in Der Spiegel. In the GDR (East Germany) the figure was 20.

The Frankfurt state prosecutor had already investigated Gröning in 19y7, but broke off proceedings in 1985. Lawyer Thomas Walther, who is now representing around 30 joint plaintiffs, victims of the Nazi regime and their relatives, commented on this to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “They did not abandon the case, but buried it. In the 1970s and 1980s there were still ‘thousands of Grönings,’ so the investigators decided it was preferable to leave it alone.”

In Deutsche Welle, Walther explained, “in the Federal Republic, thousands of men and women would have to have been charged if current criteria had applied in the past.” But this was not desired, so the Nazi collaborators were not to be pursued. Oskar Gröning was never punished for his service in the death factory.

In 2011, the Munich district court sentenced the now-dead SS guard in Sobibor concentration camp John Demjanjuk to five years’ imprisonment for assisting in the murder of 28,000 Jews. Since then, there is no need to prove that a person being charged was directly involved in the murders. This is one of the reasons why trials are being conducted now against those SS soldiers who are still living.

In contrast to many previous defendants in these cases, Oskar Gröning has expressed his readiness to testify before the court on the events in Auschwitz. He had already spoken in interviews openly about his experiences and actions in Auschwitz, and written them down for his friends and family.

When an acquaintance sent him a book about “the Auschwitz lies,” he sent it back with a note saying that everything reported about Auschwitz was true: selections, gassing, burning—1.5 million Jews had been murdered in Auschwitz, and he had experienced it. Nonetheless, he did not feel guilty about the murders because he had not been directly active in the gas chambers.

The course of the current trial will reveal how much it contributes to the uncovering of one of the greatest crimes of the twentieth century. The survivors and relatives of the victims taking part in the trial as joint plaintiffs are hoping for something, even if only very, very delayed justice.

World’s largest ship, named after SS criminal

This 8 January 2015 video is about the world’s largest ship, the Pieter Schelte, on its way to Rotterdam harbour.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Jewish outrage as ship named after SS war criminal arrives in Europe

As Holocaust day nears, anger erupts at arrival in Rotterdam of the Pieter Schelte, the world’s largest vessel

Ed Vulliamy

Saturday 24 January 2015 16.21 GMT

Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.

The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”

Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, shortly before Jews were targeted and killed in Paris and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”

Survivors of the Holocaust in Britain also spoke out. Ruth Barnett, a tireless campaigner who arrived from Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport, said: “I am outraged by the intensity and extent of denial and indifference that fails to challenge things like this ship, and allows the impunity for perpetrators to think they can get away with it.”

The London-based Lloyd’s Register dug in to defend its role in the ship’s building and development, while the shipbuilder said it had been named in honour of the owner’s father for his “great achievements in the offshore oil and gas industry”.

The definition of “world’s largest ship” is disputed but the vessel is certainly the largest crane ship. It was built by the Swiss-based group Allseas, a pipelayer for the oil and gas industry, and is currently being fitted up for deployment in the North Sea and service to British companies. The ship weighs 403,342 gross tonnes, is more than 120 metres wide (the length of a football pitch) and 382 metres long.

Allseas is owned by a Dutchman, Edward Heerema, who is the son of Pieter Schelte Heerema. The ship bearing his father’s name arrived in Rotterdam from the Korean Daewoo shipyards two days before the killing of four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris and three weeks before the Auschwitz anniversary.

Voet says: “We’ve fought this for 10 years, tried to persuade everyone involved that this was offensive. But no, we’re left with this fact: the largest ship in the world is named after an officer in the SS, and not enough people are offended to get this changed.”

She continued: “The only thing we can try to do now is persuade the authorities in Rotterdam not to accept it. But then it becomes an issue of jobs, and difficult. I only hope we keep the moral high ground.”

On the coincidence of the ship’s arrival with the killing in Paris and the Auschwitz anniversary, she added: “If they are insensitive enough to name a ship after a Nazi, they’re not going to be sensitive enough to care about the anniversary of Auschwitz!”

Cidi cited a petition organised by a British-based website monitoring the affairs of Royal Dutch Shell, the energy group, which trumpeted the ship’s arrival in Rotterdam and which Allseas confirms in a press release to be among its early clients. The site,, is run by John Donovan, a former Shell contractor who is completing a book on the history of the company’s relations with the Third Reich. His petition reads: “Please change the ship’s name so that it no longer sails under the name of a former Waffen-SS officer jailed for war crimes.”Pieter Schelte Heerema in SS uniformDonovan told the Observer: “This public homage by Edward Heerema as the wealthy son of a Nazi war criminal is an affront to the relatives of tens of millions of souls who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The name is unacceptable.”

Lloyd’s Register, which has been closely involved in bringing the Pieter Schelte to launch and featured the ship in glowing terms on the cover of its magazine, stuck by its position. “It’s not our role to take a view on the name of a single ship,” said a spokesman, Mark Stokes.

Allseas refrained from comment, but its communications office sent “general information”, including an interview with Edward Heerema in the Telegraaf newspaper, and a summary of his father’s career. This stated that he “became a member of a national socialist organisation in the early stages of the second world war. From November 1942 to June 1943 he was a director of a company under the SS.”

After living in Venezuela, according to his official biography, Pieter Schelte Heerema returned to Holland in 1963, becoming “a civil engineer with great technical creativity, and an entrepreneur … The choice of the [ship’s] name Pieter Schelte is [his son] Edward’s acknowledgement of his father’s great achievements in the oil and gas industry.”

The Telegraaf article – reported from the ship’s “majestic bridge” and headlined “Unparalleled Dutch glory” – said the vessel was “set to revolutionise the offshore world”. Heerema tells the paper that his father “hardly ever talked about that time with his family … He turned his back on the Netherlands in 1947. Which also was a way to break away from the past.”

But Donovan has unearthed an extraordinary case in the high court in London last summer, brought after Allseas fell victim to a fraud scam.

The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, asked a witness about Pieter Schelte Heerema: “He was in the Dutch SS, was he?” “No, he was in the German SS,” came the reply. Counsel then asked: “And then he left the SS, you say, in the middle of the war?” Whereupon the judge remarked: “I didn’t know you could leave the SS. I thought it was a job for life.”


■ Before the Pieter Schelte was built, the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies was compiling information on its namesake. Its main researcher, David Barnouw, said Schelte was “a member of a small fascist party before the war, but was in Venezuela when the Germans invaded. Schelte saw it as a reason to return”.

■ Having joined the SS, “Schelte fought on the Russian front for the Wehrmacht, but was recalled to be part of the ‘East Company’, working for the SS in the occupied East. The job was to provide labour, and Schelte promised 2,000 Dutch volunteers. But they were not forthcoming, so he commandeered 4,000 for forced labour”.

■ As the war began to “go badly for Germany, he joined a resistance party, then went to Switzerland. He was interned after the war, tried and I think the judges found him one of their own – a good businessman, well educated”.

■ Schelte returned to Venezuela where, says Barnouw, “any suggestions that he helped Nazis to escape to South America are untrue”. But, he asks: “Why does his son, who is … not a Nazi, give this ship a name that people will inevitably discuss?”

■ Among Schelte’s remarks was his verdict that “the German race is model. The Jewish race, by comparison, is parasitic … Therefore the Jewish question must be resolved in every Aryan country”.

In the 1970s, Pieter Schelte Heerema is said to have financed the Dutch neo-nazi party, the Nederlandse Volks-Unie (which still exists now).

Heerema in Dutch SS uniform in December 1942 at his wedding

Nazi SS officer worked for ‘democratic’ German secret service

This video about the Nuremberg trial of nazi criminals says about itself:

Nuremberg Day 139: Lauterbacher

On May 27, 1946, Dr. Sauter called Hartman Lauterbacher, Stabsfuehrer of the Reich Youth Leadership, responsible to Von Schirach. In German, he explains his role.

A July 1944 propaganda video from nazi Germany shows nazi Gauleiter Hartmann Lauterbacher of South Hanover at a parade of the army, SA, Hitler Youth and Volkssturm.

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

Leading Nazi worked for Germany’s post-war intelligence service for 13 years

8 January 2015

On December 14, 2014, Spiegel Online reported that the German intelligence agency (BND) had employed a former top-ranking SS officer, Hartmann Lauterbacher, on a permanent basis from 1950 to 1963. During the Nazi dictatorship, Lauterbacher rose to become the deputy of Baldur von Schirach and head of the Reich Youth department. He was subsequently accused of numerous war crimes.

It is clear from recent findings that Lauterbacher, a fanatical Hitler supporter who died in 1988 at the age of 78, was the highest-ranking Nazi official recruited by the BND to its full-time staff. At Spiegel’ s request, the BND released Lauterbacher’s personnel file. This revealed that Lauterbacher, who escaped from a British prisoner of war camp in Lower Saxony in 1948 and went into hiding in Italy, was employed by the BND precursor, the Gehlen Organisation, in 1950 and given the registration number V-6300 and code name “Leonard.”

He then lived in Munich and West Berlin, rising to head a unit within the BND. In 1951, the intelligence service leaked false information to the press in order to spread the deception that Lauterbacher had fled to Argentina. Three years later, he was provided with new identity papers in Schleswig-Holstein. According to Spiegel, the personnel file suggests that the former district administrator of Eckernförde and the personal assistant to the then-governor of Kiel, both former Hitler Youth (HJ) leaders, had helped in the subterfuge.

One of Lauterbacher’s tasks was infiltrating the East German FDJ youth organisation with the aid of former Hitler Youth officials. It is alleged that while posing as a businessman, he also coordinated espionage activities in various countries in North Africa. His collaboration with the BND came to an end in 1963, when the agency allegedly began to regard him with suspicion. His last monthly payment was 1,280 marks plus a 960-mark bonus. This later enabled him to receive a comfortable pension.

Hartmann Lauterbacher is by no means the only leading Nazi member to have worked for the BND. Reinhard Gehlen, head of the Gehlen Organisation, was Hitler’s military intelligence chief on the Eastern Front. From 1942 to 1945, Gehlen led the “Foreign Armies East” espionage department in the army’s general staff. Immediately after the war, the Gehlen Organisation was absorbed into the service of the OSS, the American intelligence agency that became the CIA in 1947. After 1945, Gehlen’s task was to establish a German foreign intelligence agency, mainly directed against the Soviet Union. In April, 1956, the Gehlen Organisation was transferred to the authority of the German government under the new name of BND (German Intelligence Agency). Entire sections of the Nazi SS (Security Service) were incorporated into the agency.

In the 1960s, the BND also occasionally employed leading Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the infamous “butcher of Lyon”, and Alois Brunner, a close associate of Adolf Eichmann.

Hartmann Lauterbacher was born in Reute (Tyrol) in Austria in 1909. In 1923, at the age of 14, he founded the first branch of the German Youth in Austria organisation. Two years later, he took over the leadership of German Youth and transformed it into the Hitler Youth in 1927. That year, he also began training as a chemist at the druggist academy in Brunswick and joined the Nazi party (NSDAP) with membership number 86837.

From 1930, he was mainly involved in building the Hitler Youth in the South Hanover-Brunswick district. He became a HJ regional leader in Westphalia Niederrhein in 1932 and chief regional leader in 1933. In 1934, he took over as HJ staff leader and became Reich Youth leader Baldur von Schirach’s deputy. Lauterbacher was intimately connected with leading members of the Nazi regime. Joseph Goebbels was best man at his wedding in 1935.

In August 1940, Lauterbacher left the leadership of the HJ and initially became deputy Gauleiter (regional leader) of the South Hanover-Brunswick district. A few months later, in December 1940, he was promoted to Gauleiter and labour deployment commissioner. At 31, Lauterbacher was the youngest of all the Nazi Gauleiters. In 1942, he was further appointed to the position of regional defence commissar.

Lauterbacher was simultaneously building a career in the SS. In November 1940, he was admitted into the SS as a brigade leader and rose to the rank of SS group leader by the end of January 1944.

The infamous “Lauterbacher operation” of September 1941 resulted in the ghettoisation of the Jewish population in Hanover. Lauterbacher ordered the expulsion of approximately 1,200 Jews from their homes and assigned them to horrific conditions in 15 so-called “Jewish houses”. This was the precursor to the deportation of the Hanoverian Jews to the death camps in December 1941.

Lauterbacher, the fanatical Nazi, was still rallying the population to resistance on April 4, 1945, just a few days before the Allied troops reached Hanover. He arranged for the radio and newspapers to spread slogans like “Better dead than a slave”, and threatened, “Whoever hoists a white flag or gives up without a fight is a dead man.”

However, he himself took flight and disappeared from Hanover on April 8, 1945. After the war, eight judicial proceedings were launched against Lauterbacher, due to alleged offences including crimes against humanity. But like so many others, he was never held accountable. In early July 1946, the higher British military court in Hanover acquitted him of the charge of ordering the murder of German and Allied inmates of Hamelin prison at the beginning of April 1945.

In August 1947, further proceedings were initiated against Lauterbacher in the Dachau internment camp, where he was accused of having ordered the shooting of 12 downed American pilots. This trial also ended with his acquittal in October 1947.

The Hanover public prosecutor, who in 1947 had opened a case against Lauterbacher that was followed by further investigations in Munich and Hanover, terminated the investigation because of a statute of limitations. Hartmann Lauterbacher, the former deputy Reich Youth leader, appeared at the Nuremberg trials as a witness for his former boss, Baldur von Schirach.

He was arrested by a British detachment in Carinthia a few weeks after his flight from Hanover in June 1945, and interned at the Sandbostel camp near Bremervörde. Lauterbacher managed to escape under still unexplained circumstances, on 25 February 1948.

In early 2009, the Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper published a report based on American intelligence documents, according to which the Anti-Communist Front—an organisation of high-ranking Wehrmacht and SS officers—was presumed to be behind the escape. Already by this time, Lauterbacher is alleged to have had connections with the CIC (Counterintelligence Corps of the US Army), collaborating with it to establish an “international anti-Bolshevik organisation” in Hungary.

A little later, Lauterbacher went into hiding in Rome, where he was apparently commissioned by Allied intelligence agencies to participate in the organisation of the so-called “ratlines” under the code name “Bauer.” Along these ratline escape routes, including the so-called “Vatican route,” Nazi war criminals like Adolf Eichmann, Joseph Mengele, Klaus Barbie and many other fascists were brought to South America or Middle Eastern states with the help of people smugglers.

In April 1950, Lauterbacher was arrested in Italy and brought to the La Frachette camp in Rome. He purportedly fled from there to Argentina in December 1950—a hoax perpetrated by the Gehlen organisation in 1951 to conceal the fact that they had already recruited him to their permanent staff in 1950.

Following his official retirement from the BND in 1963, Lauterbacher worked for dictatorial regimes in Africa and the Middle East. From 1977 to 1979, he was official youth affairs advisor to the Sultan of Oman, Qabus ibn Said. In 1988, he died in Seebruck am Chiemsee in southern Germany, without ever having been held accountable for his atrocious crimes during the Nazi dictatorship.

The Hartmann Lauterbacher file is another piece in the mosaic of the BND’s Nazi history, which while remaining yet largely concealed, continues to shape Germany’s intelligence agencies to this day.

Fifty years ago, the Brown Book: War criminals and Nazis in the Federal Republic—in government, business, administration, the army, the judiciary and science was published on July 2, 1965: here.

Protest against nazi SS commemoration in London

This video from the USA says about itself:

Ben Ferencz on Waffen SS

Ben Ferencz, chief prosecutor at the Subsequent trial at Nuremberg against the Einsatzgruppen, reflects on the SS and their crimes in this clip from a History Channel presentation on the subject of the SS. For further information see

From daily The Morning Star in London:

Anti-fascists raise alarm over Ukrainian Cenotaph march

Saturday 15th November 2014

CAMPAIGNERS raised the alarm yesterday over tomorrow’s planned march by Ukrainian veterans on the Cenotaph, warning that organisers plan to commemorate fascist Waffen SS volunteers.

The march, organised by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, London Euromaidan and the Congress of Ukrainian Youth, pledges to pay tribute to soldiers who served in “all wars.”

But anti-fascist activists said this phrasing includes those responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews and Poles in Ukraine during the second world war as well as the neonazis who helped topple a democratically elected government in Kiev earlier this year.

Similar marches in Ukraine have seen participants openly parade swastikas and pictures of enthusiastic nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.

A demonstration organiser told the Star the main organiser of the commemoration was the “London branch” of the Euromaidan protest group that forced February’s coup.

Alex Gordon, an activist with rail union RMT, which is affiliated to the Solidarity with the Antifascist Resistance in Ukraine campaign, said: “The overwhelming majority of people in London and Britain as a whole will be appalled to hear that SS veterans and their admirers are allowed to march at the Cenotaph.

The Ukrainian division SS Galicia murdered Jews, Poles, Russians and anyone who got in the way of their sick plans for a racially pure Ukraine.

“It is a sign of how far we have travelled that these people are pushing their way back into the mainstream today. It is an insult to millions who died fighting Hitler and Nazism.”

Supporters of the Solidarity campaign will hold a silent protest as the Ukrainian veterans march on the Cenotaph.

See also here.

Dutch nazis praise foreign mercenaries in Kiev’s army

This 1942 video shows Dutch Waffen SS March Before [SS leader] Heinrich Himmler [and Dutch nazi leader Anton Mussert].

The Dutch openly nazi Nederlandse Volksunie (NVU; Dutch Peoples-Union) party was founded originally in the 1970s to rehabilitate Dutch members of Hitler’s Waffen SS, who had committed horrible mass murder crimes against Jews and others in Ukraine. The NVU has a Facebook page (I won’t link to their page).

On that page, the NVU praises foreign mercenaries, fighting the war in eastern Ukraine in the armed forces of the Kiev government. Mercenaries like Swedish nazi Mikael Skillt, now an officer in the Azov battalion.

Azov battalion symbol

This picture (also reproduced on the NVU Facebook page) shows the Azov battalion symbol; source: here. It is the wolfsangel, or wolf’s hook. Also the symbol of the Dutch nazi party NSB in the 1930s and 1940s.

SS division Das Reich wolfsangel symbol

And this picture shows the same wolfsangel, only different direction, used by Hitler’s SS division Das Reich.

Wolfsangel on Dutch NSB nazi flag

On the Dutch NSB nazi flag for their paramilitary organisation, the WA, the wolfsangel’s direction was different again.

Dutch daily De Telegraaf on 29 July 2014 wrote about Mikael Skillt. Without mentioning Skillt is a nazi (just calling him “nationalist”, which sounds more innocently); which the BBC does not forget to mention, however. De Telegraaf is a rightist daily, abusing the grief in the Netherlands about the MH17 disaster for beating anti-Russian war drums. In 1941-1945, De Telegraaf supported Hitler’s war against the Soviet Union, and had SS members as editors.

From the Telegraaf article (translated):

In Kiev he [Skillt] joined the paramilitary organization C14, an outfit which in its own words fights against Russians, Jews and every Ukrainian who gets in the way. Skillt showed himself very impressed with C14 …

According to Wikipedia, C14 is another name for the Right Sector neo-fascist paramilitary organisation. According to this interview on a Swedish site, it is a similar but separate organisation, with close links to the anti-Semitic Svoboda party, represented in the Kiev government.

The site writes about C14:

Svoboda, according to activists in Kiev, still disposes of an illegal armed wing known as “C14.” …

The name “C14” (“Combat 14”) is probably a semantic flirt with the name “C18” (“Combat 18”) one of the international networks of neo-Nazi terrorist organizations …

The “18” in Combat 18 stands for the first and eighth letters of the alphabet=AH=Adolf Hitler.

At the same time, the name points to the number “14.” In fascist circles this refers to the “fourteen words” slogan of commitment to the “white race.” As the leader of Svoboda’s ally “C14” explained, his organization is in a “struggle” with “ethnic groups” that are wielding, among other things, “economic and political power.” The “ethnic groups” he is referring to are “Russians and Jews.”

The Telegraaf article continues:

Besides fighting [the war in East Ukraine] Skillt supports the government in Kiev by recruiting foreign volunteers. Thus, Americans, Poles, Germans, French, and even Africans are deployed as mercenaries by the Ukrainian army.

The NVU comments on this (translated):

Germans, Italians, English, Austrians fight as one for a Europe of Nations and Fatherlands, for Ukraine, against the Red Peril!

The NVU does not mention African mercenaries, mentioned in De Telegraaf (if we are to believe De Telegraaf). They would not fit in the NVU image of the war in Ukraine as a racist crusade. In the NVU’s fantasy world, non-communist, non-socialist Putin and all Russians and east Ukrainians become perilous Bolsheviks, to be fought like the 1970s founders of the NVU fought for Hitler in the 1940s.

Ukrainian alleged war criminal wanted by German court

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #071 (6/23/13): Michael Karkoc

18 June 2013

Rabbi Sol Solomon offers his thoughts on Michael Karkoc, a 94-year-old Nazi war criminal now living in Minnesota.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

GERMANY: The country’s highest criminal court ruled yesterday that it has jurisdiction over the case of a retired carpenter accused of being a former commander in a nazi SS-led unit.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled that 95-year-old Michael Karkoc’s service in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion made him the “holder of a German office” even though he is not German himself.

The court says someone in that role “served the purposes of the nazi state’s world view.”

Federal prosecutors sent the case to the court after deciding there was enough evidence to pursue murder charges against Mr Karkoc, who now lives in the US.

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Hitler’s Ukrainian SS division

This video from Britain says about itself:

SS in the Ukraine

In June 1941, German mobile killing squads, known as Einsatzgruppen, were dispatched throughout Eastern Europe. By the spring of 1943, the 3000 members of the Einsatzgruppen, led by highly-educated officers and aided by local collaborators in each country, had systematically murdered over a million Jews and tens thousands of Roma, handicapped, Poles, Russians, partisans and non-combatants.

The video also documents the post-1945 transfer of Ukrainian SS men to Britain.

By Kenny Coyle in Britain:

The little-known history of the Galizia Division

Thursday 15th May 2015

How did the military idols of today’s Ukrainian neofascist right come to be buried in a cemetery in Staffordshire? KENNY COYLE tells the story

IN Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, the German military cemetery holds the remains of many thousands of German and Austrian POWs from both the first and second world wars who died in captivity, as well as downed airmen who died on British soil.

It includes senior officers from the Waffen SS, including General Maximilian von Herff, a key figure in the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Apart from the simply historically inquisitive, it occasionally attracts the unwanted modern pilgrims of Hitlerism, who come to lay wreaths and shout “Sieg heil” over the silent graveyard.

In one part of the cemetery a small plaque reads: “In everlasting memory of Ukrainian soldiers who rest here in peace.” Sure enough, several tombstones are engraved with unmistakably Ukrainian names.

This memorial commemorates the deaths in Britain of former members of the 14th Galizia SS Volunteer Division, a force idolised by the neofascist right in Ukraine today. The story of how they ended up on British soil is one that is worth retelling.

In late April 1943, in the aftermath of the Soviet victory at Stalingrad and the heavy losses inflicted upon the nazi war machine, Waffen SS chief Heinrich Himmler approved the creation of the Galizia Division.

It was to be recruited from anti-Soviet Ukrainians from around the Lvov district of western Ukraine.

With strong Polish roots and with a substantial Jewish population, Lvov was part of the region of Galicia that fell under Austrian rule in 1772, when the city was known by its Germanic name of Lemberg.

The choice of the name Galizia for the SS division was to emphasise Germanic rather than Slavic claims to the territory.

Nazi collaborators justified their adherence to the Third Reich in terms of anti-communism and by a reactionary racial conception of Europe, which embraced the Ukrainians but excluded the “Asiatic” Russians and, of course, Jews.

For example, following the announcement of the Galizia Division’s formation, Volodymyr Kubiyovych, head of the Ukrainian Central Committee in nazi-occupied Krakow, wrote: “Today, for Ukrainians in Galicia, is a very historic day, because in today’s Act of State one of the most coveted wishes of the Ukrainian people is realised — to fight against Bolshevism with weapons in our hands… This wish was the result of the deeper conviction, that it is our duty not to stay neutral in the great fight for building the new European order, and what we can do for the victory of the new Europe… This historic day was made possible by the conditions to create a worthy opportunity for the Ukrainians of Galicia, to fight arm in arm with the heroic German soldiers of the army and the Waffen-SS against Bolshevism, your and our deadly enemy. We thank you from our heart. Of course we ought to thank the Great Fuehrer of the united Europe for recognising our participation in the war, that he approved your initiative and agreed to the creation of the Galicia division.”

Further evidence that the Galizia division was not fighting for Ukrainian interests is that during the formal ceremony on August 29 1943 to establish the SS division, the Ukrainian volunteers made the following oath: “I swear before God this holy oath, that in the battle against Bolshevism, I will give absolute obedience to the commander in chief of the German armed forces Adolf Hitler, and as a brave soldier I will always be prepared to lay down my life for this oath.”

By May 1944, after several months of training and nazi political indoctrination, the Galizia Division reached its full strength of 15,229 personnel and was soon thrown into battle against the Red Army’s 1st Ukrainian Front.

The result was hardly heroic. In the decisive battle of Brody in July 1944, the Galizia Division was decimated.

Only 3,500 Ukrainian SS stormtroopers escaped encirclement out of the 11,000 committed to battle.

With the tide turning against them, the increasingly desperate nazis rebuilt the Galizia Division.

A reconstituted force, bolstered by Ukrainian military police units and other militias, was deployed in the Slovak national uprising in September 1944, where numerous atrocities against civilians and Slovakian partisans were committed.

As the Red Army rumbled through central Europe, the Galizia Division retreated into Yugoslavia and then Austria.

With the Third Reich in its final death throes, in March 1945 the division was hastily renamed the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army, but as the Swedish historian Per Anders Rudling has pointed out: “On 28 April 1945, nine days before the surrender of the division to the British and Americans in Austria, the division’s journal Do Boiu!/Zum Kampf! still carried the SS symbol, the Siegrunen, and the subtitle Ukrainian military journal of the Grenadier Division of the Waffen-SS in its letterhead. It carried a large tribute to SS-Brigadenfuehrer Fritz Freitag on his 51st birthday and an article about the struggle of the German capital and enthusiastic accounts about how ‘the forces of Bandera’ and the UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] fought the Judeocommunist intruders.”

The captured Ukrainians were kept first in Austria and then transferred to the Italian resort town of Rimini.

Britain and the US turned down requests by the Soviet Union to have the prisoners repatriated on the grounds that they had been born in pre-war Poland so the Yalta agreements on prisoner exchanges did not apply.

The truth was that with the cold war well under way Britain was unwilling to hand over a potential military ally to face Soviet justice.

In April 1947, the Attlee Cabinet took the decision to transfer the Galizia Division to Britain.

Whereas in Italy its members were designated as surrendered enemy personnel, Britain reclassified them as prisoners of war.

During May and June of 1947, 8,570 Ukrainians were transported by sea from Venice to Britain.

Instead of a thorough investigation for probable links to war crimes, the Galizia Division veterans were admitted with only peremptory screening.

After a few months in detention camps, where the Cannock Chase Ukrainians died, the majority were freed into civilian life.

Many emigrated to other parts of the empire and in particular Canada, where a large number of post-war Ukrainian emigres settled, but others settled permanently and played a major role in the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).

Today the AUGB still proudly proclaims that among its incorporated organisations is the Association of Former Combatants, effectively the British wing of the Brotherhood of Former Soldiers of the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army, formed in 1949 in West Germany.

Following a 2001 TV documentary and a press exposé in the Daily Mail, of all places, the AUGB wrote letters of complaint to the Press Complaints Commission on what it viewed as hostile coverage of these Ukrainian “former combatants.”

The AUGB claimed implausibly that the Galizia Division “volunteers were neither pro-nazi, nor sympathetic to the nazi cause.

Members of the division believed that the impending defeat of Germany would be followed by a war between Stalin and the West in which they, having received formal combat training and equipment from the nazis, would be able to defend their homeland, Ukraine, against Stalin’s Red Army and Soviet partisans.” The PCC rejected the AUGB’s claims.

Today, the AUGB continues to promote the causes of the Ukrainian collaborationist right. Its website and those of its associated uniformed Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) promote such events as volleyball, folk dancing, five-a-side football matches alongside a “Requiem for General Roman Shukhevych,” the infamous nazi collaborator and a commander of the genocidal Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

Many of the events are held at the private CYM camp in Weston-on-Trent in Derbyshire.

Each year it organises what it calls in English “Ukraine Remembrance Day.” However, a more direct translation from Ukrainian is “Heroes Day.” No prizes for guessing what kind of “heroes” are celebrated here.

Indeed in 2012, the CYM adopted a resolution at its summer camp: “The participants of the Youth Association’s summer camp, named in honour of the heroes of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, found out this week that the president of Ukraine had signed the disgraceful language Bill. In 13 administrative regions and in Kyiv itself, Russian-speaking citizens can demand that Russian should be an official regional language. This is the first step to adopting Russian as the second official language of Ukraine.”

The diplomatic, financial, organisational and ideological role of right-wing emigre organisations in Ukrainian since the collapse of the Soviet Union has largely been underplayed, but the continuity between them and the defeated and exiled collaborationist forces of WWII is undeniable.

WANTED Ukrainian nazi war criminal Vladimir Katriuk has died in Canada, the country which sheltered him for 16 years, his lawyer said on Thursday. Mr Katriuk was number two on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of most-wanted Nazi war criminals: here.

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Hitler’s SS’ post-World War II secret army

This video says about itself:

Ukraine: Odessa Holocaust memorial vandalised with Nazi symbols

9 April 2014

A memorial dedicated to victims of the Holocaust was vandalised in Odessa overnight on Tuesday. Situated on the square named after Soviet commander Fyodor Tolbukhin, unidentified people painted the memorial with Nazi symbols including the swastika. Police have launched an investigation into the incident, while workers were seen Wednesday cleaning the memorial.

The memorial was unveiled in October 2013 in commemoration of the estimated 25,000 Odessa residents killed by Nazi occupiers in 1941. Approximately 22,000 of those killed were Jews.

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

May 11, 2014 19:55

‘Ex-SS men founded a secret army in West Germany’

Former SS men and former soldiers of Hitler’s Wehrmacht already in 1949 started building a secret army in the Federal Republic of Germany. This happened at first without the government knowing about it.

When Chancellor Konrad Adenauer got to know about it in 1951, he did not object.

The secret army, which about two thousand men joined, wanted to be ready to fight the Soviet Union, if ‘the Russians’ would come.

For the weapons necessary for that purpose there were connections to the police and border guards. There were also plans to have war games in Spain, then still a fascist country.

The secret army also registered leftist West Germans. In the case of a civil war in West Germany they wanted to fight “communists”. This is reported by weekly Der Spiegel based on research in the archives of the secret service BND.


West Germany only ten years after the Second World War, in 1955, got another “official” army. Many former members of the former secret army got jobs there.

One of them, Hans Speidel (general at the time of the Second World War), in 1957 even became supreme commander of the land forces of NATO in Central Europe.

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Nazis in post-1945 German secret police

This video is called Neo-Nazis Take Over German Village.

By Sven Heymann in Germany:

What the German Greens do not say about the Bavarian intelligence service

9 August 2013

Early last week, the Green faction in the Bavarian state parliament announced the results of an investigation into the Bavarian intelligence agency’s historical connections to the Nazi Party. The report shows that, by the end of World War II, several high-ranking Gestapo and SS officials had assumed leading positions in the Bavarian secret service and police force.

Under conditions where the report has potentially explosive consequences for contemporary politics, the Greens are seeking to conceal issues relating to the involvement of today’s Bavarian state apparatus in murders perpetrated by the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) terrorist group.

The two Green Party parliamentary members, Sepp Dürr and Susanna Tausendfreund, emphasised in their initial statements that the current mindset of the Bavarian intelligence agency—the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV)—had been brought into question because “for years investigations have been launched in the wrong direction”. In the investigation of murders of immigrants committed by the NSU, there had been repeated references to the “attitude of the authorities”.

Therefore, the Greens—supported by the other Bavarian parliamentary parties—had commissioned a study of the early days of the LfV. The aim of the study was to determine “the extent to which former Nazis were involved in the founding of the state’s intelligence service and what effect this had—possibly up to the recent past—on the focus and character of the authorities”.

Although the authors of the study closely examined the development of the LfV up to 1965, everything occurring since then was kept in the dark. Moreover, the Greens are silent about the political consequences arising from the content of the study.

This is no coincidence. The inquiry shows that the Bavarian security agency was set up by the Nazis and directed primarily against the labour movement. This result undermines the Greens’ claim that the secret service is now a pro-democracy organisation.

First, the historical content of the study contradicts such an assertion. The two historians, Susanne Meinl and Joachim Schröder, present strong evidence showing how widely the LfV and various police agencies in Bavaria were infiltrated by leading members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo immediately after the war. The period of their research extends from the founding of the Federal Republic in 1949 to 1965.

One example is the career of Leonhard Halmanseger. From 1933 to 1945, he was a member of the Gestapo and played a leading role in persecuting followers of the banned Communist Party in Bavaria. As a result, he was delegated to the SS Reich Security Main Office in Berlin in 1938. He was a member of the SS from 1937 and was promoted to Hauptsturmführer (SS captain). He was a member of the Nazi Party from 1941.

This background initially prevented Halmanseger from official employment with the LfV. Instead, he was registered with the Bavarian border police but allowed, in practice, to work as an intelligence agent. As the study notes, this practice was quite common in the cases of former Nazis.

After a few years, Halmanseger was officially transferred to the LfV. A letter from 1953 describes what qualified him for his new position. It says he was “for decades an experienced official in the field of political intelligence gathering, who has proved to be an outstanding contributor to the establishment of the intelligence department. He may rightly be called one of the pillars of the office”.

The study also clarifies the class character of the secret service and police forces. Their aim was not to combat “enemies of the Constitution”. Rather, their targets were people who had been enemies of the Gestapo, particularly communists, in the pursuit of which they worked together with “the US intelligence agencies and many West German security authorities and courts”.

As the study reveals, it was “a matter of course” for the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC)—which had to approve all staffing decisions—“to exhaustively study the know-how of experienced Gestapo officials concerning their reports on communism”.

Applicants attempted to mitigate their worst excesses during the Nazi period by claiming they had always assumed posts in the Nazi apparatus reluctantly. But that did not negate the fact that a continuity of intelligence service personnel from the Third Reich into the Federal Republic was deliberately maintained. According to an internal communication, “experienced top officials” were urgently sought for the Bavarian security department in the two years before the ban on the Communist Party in 1956.

Joseph Schreieder became head of the state security office in April 1954 before moving to the LfV the following year. Having been a member of the SS from 1934 and of the Nazi Party from 1937, Schreieder had made a name for himself during the war in the Netherlands. From August 1940, he had been at the head of counterintelligence in the Netherlands under the command of the security police and the SS Security Service (SD).

His task was to sabotage the Dutch resistance organised from England. Schreieder’s work led to the arrest of more than 50 people, of whom 47 were shot in the Mauthausen concentration camp. After the war, he was acquitted in several trials in the Netherlands and deported to Germany.

When the judiciary threatened to move against Schreieder in the 1960s, the Bavarian state ministry arranged a psychiatric assessment for their LfV-tenured colleague, attesting to his mental incapacity. Obviously aware of his activities during the Third Reich, the authorities were nevertheless able to have him awarded a full pension.

As shown by these examples alone, a virtually seamless staffing and thus ideological transition from the Third Reich took place in the Bavarian LfV and in many other state institutions and public authorities of the Federal Republic. The study reveals in detail that the base of the Bavarian LfV’s personnel was former Nazis.

But neither the study’s authors nor the Green Party commissioners draw any conclusions about the LfV of today. The study offers neither a closing statement nor an afterword by the Green deputies. No attempt is made to begin to answer the initial question as to whether a fascist “attitude of the authorities” might still exist.

The Greens provide no explanation for how a reputed bastion of democracy could emerge within a few decades from an intelligence organisation so tainted by Nazism. And it would be impossible for them to do so.

There was never a genuine attempt to rid the post-war German intelligence forces of the numerous Nazis occupying leading positions—certainly not in Bavaria, where the Christian Social Union (CSU), which also has a Nazi past, has been continuously in power since 1946 except for a brief period in the 1950s. Although the old Nazis in the LfV have long been out of office due to old age, a large section of today’s staff was employed and trained by them.

There are numerous cases after 1965 suggesting a direct link between the extreme right and the Bavarian authorities. In their preamble, Deputies Dürr and Tausendfreund mention the years of tolerating the paramilitary Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann terrorist gang and the attack on the Munich Oktoberfest in 1980. The latter resulted in the death of 13 people and injuries to more than 200 others.

More recent evidence points to the direct involvement of West German intelligence agents in the case. This has come to light in the so-called “bombers” trial in Luxembourg, which has been largely ignored by the German media.

State involvement in the National Socialist Underground terror network, especially in Bavaria, is producing politically explosive headlines. Five of the ten murders allegedly committed by the NSU were carried out in Bavaria.

The Bavarian LfV played a central role in bolstering extreme right-wing elements. In the 1990s, the LfV sent information technology expert Kai D into right-extremist circles in order to build a computer network within that milieu. Neo-Nazis communicated nationwide by means of the so-called “Thule Network” before the Internet existed.

It is noteworthy that the role of Kai D came to light only in the course of his engagement with right-wing extremists. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that he received about 150,000 Deutschmarks for his services over the years, which poses the question of whether the state deliberately groomed him to become a leading neo-Nazi.

The Greens are silent about such developments in their preface to the study. Instead, they pay tribute to the willingness of the intelligence office and other state authorities to allow them access to decades-old files. They write that “these self-critical reflections” testify to the state’s “sovereignty and democratic consciousness”.

This is both cynical and shameless. The so-called “sovereignty” demonstrated by the state in relation to the NSU murders and its involvement in them took the form of shredding documents, destroying vast numbers of files, and withholding evidence from the parliamentary investigation committees.

Few people today will be inconvenienced by revelations of Nazi involvement in the intelligence service prior to 1965. And some cases—perhaps the most controversial—are subject to a ban on the release of relevant files for designated periods, as the authors themselves note in their preface.

The Federal Intelligence Service, which has established its own historical commission to investigate the Nazi past, reserves a right of veto on the publication of the results. Moreover, numerous personnel records relating to Nazism were destroyed a few years before the commission was established.

According to the Green Party, the report “and the self-critical examination of the people’s own behaviour and history… are defining features of a confident, vibrant and sustainable democracy”. In fact, the report and its silence about the period after 1965 demonstrate the very opposite.

German nazi massacre in Italy unpunished

This is called Sant’Anna di Stazzema, 12-8-1944. Video 1/2 (English subtitles).

This is called Sant’Anna di Stazzema, 12-8-1944. Video 2/2 (English subtitles).

By Elizabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

SS massacre in Sant’Anna di Stazzema goes unpunished

11 October 2012

On October 1, 2012, the Stuttgart attorney’s office announced it would not pursue charges against the surviving participants of the massacre carried out by German SS troops in Sant’Anna di Stazzema in northern Italy and was ending its decade-long investigation. The public prosecutor declared it was not possible to prove that the accused were involved in crimes that were not time-barred.

The judgement means that one of the most brutal war crimes committed by German troops in Italy at the end of World War II remains unpunished. Five hundred sixty women, children and men were killed by German troops in a bestial manner within a few hours.

On August 12, 1944, the armoured reconnaissance battalion 16 of the SS Panzer Division “Reichsführer SS” led by officer Walter Reder invaded the municipality of Stazzema in the province of Lucca as part of a so-called cleansing offensive. The squad left behind a trail of destruction and death.

On the way to Sant’Anna, the German army (Wehrmacht), assisted by both German and Italian SS troops, carried out a series of massacres of civilians. They moved into the town from four different directions in order to ensure that no one could escape.

In his book German War Crimes in Italy—Culprits, Victims, Prosecution, military historian Gerhard Schreiber indicates the cruelty and brutality of the Wehrmacht and SS troops:

“In Sant’Anna itself, Himmler’s armoured infantry rounded up the inhabitants and those that had fled there in the square before the church, which was enclosed by a wall.” Schreiber then describes what followed: “Since there was only one entrance to the square, the people were in a perfect trap. The murderers now began their work; afterwards, the mortal remains of 132 men, women, children and infants formed a mountain of corpses. Then the flamethrowers were deployed, which is why so many of the dead could never be identified. As the troops finally left, moving down the valley to Valdicastello, the SS men, who then killed 14 in Mulino Rosso and 6 in Capezzano di Pietrasanta, left some 560 bodies behind. The authorities were only able to establish the identities of 390 of the dead, including 75 children aged 10 years or less. The youngest victim was aged three months, the oldest 86 years.”

The massacre took place just days after British troops liberated the city of Florence from the German occupation. It takes its place among a series of German war crimes in Italy that became increasingly cruel and ruthless as German troops encountered mounting opposition from allied troops and the partisan resistance. The stated aim of the Nazi leadership was a scorched earth policy, and this order was subsequently passed on to the Wehrmacht and the SS.

At the end of the war, the crimes committed by the Wehrmacht and the SS in Italy were largely hushed up. Hardly any of the people responsible were brought to justice, including those involved in the massacre at Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

One reason was the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The allied powers decided that the investigation of German war crimes should not stand in the way of the rearmament and integration of the Federal Republic into the NATO alliance. The Italian judiciary quickly dropped its own investigations while German courts failed to express any interest.

It was only several decades later that the events at the end of the war found a wider public. In 1994 and 1996, two historians, Friedrich Andrae and Gerhard Schreiber, published independent studies based on the analysis of military archives, war diaries and accounts of witnesses, documenting German war crimes in detail. Since then, a number of journalists and survivors of the atrocities have carried out research in order to bring to justice those responsible.

Sixty years after the massacre at Sant’Anna di Stazzema, on April 20, 2004, a military tribunal in La Spezia opened proceedings against three former members of the Waffen-SS—Gerhard Sommer, Ludwig Sonntag and Alfred Schönberg. The elderly defendants did not appear in court, however. They lived and continue to live unmolested in Germany.

In June 2005, the military tribunal in La Spezia convicted 10 former Nazi officers and sentenced them to life imprisonment due to their involvement in the massacre. The court judged that the brutal crime had been committed intentionally.

In Germany, the Stuttgart public prosecutor initiated its own investigation in 2000 against 17 persons. The prosecutor refused to name any of the accused, of whom 9 are now deceased. Amongst the 8 survivors is the now 91-year-old Gerhard Sommer, who has resided since 2005 in a housing facility for seniors in Hamburg.

In a press release, the prosecutor justified closing its case with the argument that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the massacre was a “deliberately planned and commanded extermination campaign against the civilian population”. There remained the possibility “that the original aim of the intervention was to fight partisans and capture able-bodied men for the purpose of deportation to Germany, and the shooting of civilians was only ordered when it was clear that this goal could not be achieved.”

According to the argumentation of the prosecutors’ office, under the above premise, “the shooting of civilians” in Stazzema by a unit of the Waffen SS could not be designated murder, and therefore charges against the former Nazi officers were to be dropped.

The judgement by the Stuttgart court is a major affront to the families and survivors of this horrendous war crime, but is entirely consistent with the practice of the west German judiciary, which in the entire period since the Second World War has refrained from the systematic prosecution and condemnation of Nazi war crimes.

See also here.

On Sunday June 29, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier took part in commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by the Nazi army at Civitella, Italy. On June 29, 1944, a public holiday, a unit of the tank-paratrooper division “Hermann Goering” stormed the Tuscan village and committed one of the worst ever war crimes in Italy. The German soldiers drove residents to the central church square and shot all 244 male residents with a bullet to the head, in front of the women and children. The killing lasted for hours. The soldiers subsequently dragged the bodies back to the houses to set them alight: here.