Twenty-two S.S. men are facing a Frankfurt court, charged with the mass murder of Jews. Read, in this first-hand report from our German correspondent, why they all deny their guilt. And what the Germans today think about these trials.
TO GERMANS in World War II the name Auschwitz meant a concentration camp — a place of confinement for Jews, Gypsies and other "inferior" races. It was wrong, Adolf Hitler screamed, for these minority groups to pollute German society. It was right, Hitler decreed, to confine them — to expel them from whatever country Germany conquered.
What If You Were a Jew?
To the Jews, however, expulsion did not mean mere eviction and confinement. To the outcasts it meant indescribable torture, violent death. To the condemned, Auschwitz was more than a concentration camp. It became a mass extermination centre.
Auschwitz is a small town 40 miles west of Krakow, Poland. Even though there were several hundred concentration camps throughout Germany, Austria and Poland, Auschwitz was the most dreaded of all. SS-man Rudolf Hess called it the "largest extermination camp of all times."
It was here where a Polish general was mercilessly trampled to death. Here Russian soldiers were forced to endure wintry cold out in the open — until they dropped one by one from exposure. It was in this extermination camp where half-dead Jews crawled out of their graves. Here in Auschwitz three million Jews, Gypsies and others were ruthlessly tortured and methodically exterminated.
Who Was Responsible?
The twenty-two Hitler men on trial in Frankfurt unequivocally deny their guilt of any crimes committed against humanity. They claim not to have tortured anyone. They shot only in self-defense. Carried out orders from those above them. They were loyal soldiers, who did just what they were told. This denial of guilt of mass murder is typical. These twenty-two men — all of whom held very high positions in Auschwitz — are no different from other Germans who have been brought before courts of justice since the war. They all have something in common — all deny their guilt. They merely obeyed orders of their senior officers, as obedient and loyal soldiers. Altogether 6,000 S.S. men did duty in Auschwitz during its four years of operation and not one is known to have refused to do what he was told. A good example of this attitude — always placing the blame on those above them — was revealed in the Nurnberg trials held just after World War II. On trial were many of the top leaders of the Nazi Regime. Men like Goring, Hess, Jodl, von Papen, Doenitz and von Ribbentrop. Except for Hitler, there was no one over them in authority. Yet they also claimed they were simply obeying orders and consequently pleaded not guilty. Had Hitler been publicly accused of mass murder, he too would have believed himself innocent. He no doubt would have blamed the Jews for forcing him to take severe measures in dealing with them. Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, the man Hitler named to succeed him, has recently portrayed Adolf Hitler as a Jekyll-and-Hyde type who master-minded a small criminal gang. About the crimes committed against the Jews, Doenitz says: "I did not know the crimes, the exterminations of the Jews, which were committed behind the back of the German people and without their knowledge by a small clique of criminals. Today, I regard Hitler as a 'demonic character,' as one of the people who have good features as well as evil ones." How it was possible for the successor to Hitler to know nothing about the extermination of the Jews is incomprehensible. According to Doenitz, it was Hitler and "a small criminal gang" who were to blame. Was it only a handful of Germans who knew and backed Hitler in carrying out his policy of exterminating the Jews? Blaming others and pleading not guilty is, of course, no unique trait in the accused. No one wants to take the blame for exterminating six million Jews and Gypsies. H. R. Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, and author of The Last Days of Hitler, says about Doenitz' small gang of criminals: "These men were not unique: they were legion. They were the thousands of dull, unquestioning Germans who accepted the social fact of anti-Semitism even in its most hideous form." The Professor continues: "And if they accepted it once, why should they not accept it again?" There is a clever saying in Germany, originated by a German, which goes something like this: "I'd sure like to shake the hand of any former Nazi who admits that he did wrong." But there just doesn't seem to be any — no, not a single one.
What Kind of People Are These Germans?
Let's take a closer look at some of the men standing trial in Frankfurt. Exactly what type of people are they? How do they really feel deep inside about the atrocities committed during the Third Reich, of which they constituted an integral part? Take the case of Wilhelm Boger, one of the chief administrators in Auschwitz. According to several eyewitnesses and a variety of documents, his method of dealing with prisoners was to invent indescribable means of torture, by which the victim invariably met agonizing death. At the end of the war Boger escaped and lived on a secluded farm for three years. Thereafter he was reunited with his family. He became a salesman, establishing himself as a respectable man in the community. Those around him knew nothing of his former life. People knew him as a kind and friendly man, who would lead his family in prayer at the dinner table. But his past caught up with him. He was arrested a few years ago and is now facing a charge of mass murder. While in prison his daughter — having fallen in love with an Italian — asked his permission to marry. In replying to his daughter's request, he wrote: "It is a national shame for a German girl to marry an Italian." Note well that Wilhelm Boger did not make this statement during the terror reign of the Nazis. He wrote that letter to his daughter seventeen years after the war. You would think a man in his situation — not only having been a prime witness to all the atrocities committed in Auschwitz, but also being personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews — would show at least a small amount of remorse. Not so! As far as he is concerned whatever served the German cause was permissible. Oswald Kaduk, another defendant, was well known at Auschwitz. With a gun in one hand and a bottle of whisky in the other, he would fire at random into massed prisoners. At one time he shot down 225 inmates. He soon became recognized as the most dreaded man in the camp. After the war he was arrested by the Poles. Soon thereafter they handed him over to East Germany where he was imprisoned until 1956. After his release Kaduk got a job as a male nurse in a West Berlin hospital. There the patients befriended him. Everybody liked "good father Kaduk," as they called him. He treated the patients well, seemingly taking great pride in such humanitarian work. Has Oswald Kaduk finally seen the light? Has he shown any signs of remorse? Is he regretting his former way of life, which meant death for thousands of captives? "I was a good dog!" Kaduk told the examination board inquiring about his past record. "My job was to see that everything went orderly." His job, then, was to see that the extermination of "inferior" races proceeded in an orderly manner! Thus far not one of the accused has suggested he may have done something wrong. Rather than being remorseful, they all defiantly maintain a certain unity among themselves in the trials. Some have been in jail for two, three, and four years awaiting trial and have undoubtedly read what the Press has had to say about their deeds. But there is no sign indicating any change of attitude toward the past. These men have, since World War II, found it extremely easy to again become an integral part of society. They don't appear eccentric. They don't act peculiar. There is nothing odd about them. They are just ordinary citizens, going about their everyday business. No one would think them to be anything but good, loyal citizens. It should therefore not be surprising to learn that four of the twenty-two standing trial in Frankfurt carry the title "Doctor."
How Today's Germans Feel About Trials
The men now facing a charge of mass murder represent only a small fraction of thousands of dull, unquestioning Germans who accepted the social fact of anti-Semitism. To these unthinking Germans it seemed right — and to many it still does — to have a particular race annihilated. It might be understandable why those facing the courts of justice deny their guilt. But the shocker is the attitude of mind of the average German about these trials. From the nation's leaders right down to the common man on the street! Helmut Thielicke, noted Hamburg theologian, when asked about the Jews killed in the Third Reich, gives this warning: "We, the survivors of the catastrophe, act as if nothing had happened." Konrad Adenauer, to Party friends, declared: "The men of the SS-Elite Corps were soldiers like others. Make it clear to foreigners that the S.S. had nothing to do with secret service and Gestapo. Make it clear to them that the SS-Elite Corps didn't kill any Jews, but rather behaved like distinguished soldiers, which the Russians feared above all others." And what happens to the few Germans who did secretly aid the Jews under Hitler's reign? Take the classic example of a German businessman who helped hundreds of Jews escape certain death during Hitler's reign of terror. "Hundreds of Jews saved by a German businessman from the Nazis have formed a world fund to help him start a new life. For 56-year-old Oskar Schindler of Frankfurt is penniless. His cement factory has gone bankrupt mainly, he claims, because German customers boycotted it when they learned how he helped Jews in wartime Poland. Schindler has been officially commended by the Israeli Government for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews who worked in his wartime factory, and for rescuing another 17,000 by indirect assistance at great danger to himself. Now Schindler lives in a little rented room, almost destitute, ill from a heart complaint" (Sunday Express, London, March 22, 1964). When the Frankfurt trial opened last December, many of the arrested men had to be escorted to Frankfurt by lawyers. Why? Because no police officer would be seen escorting these men to the trial. Lawyers feel that probably 90 per cent of the German people are opposed to these trials. These are not isolated incidents of right-wing nationalists preaching a message of hate. Widespread sympathy of the average German toward former SS-men now on trial comes out constantly in many different aspects of the average German's way of life. A London paper summed up this feeling quite well. In an article captioned "Germans grow weary of the Mark of Cain," the editor reported: "People grow weary of rubbing at the mark of Cain. Few West Germans say so publicly, but privately many speak resentfully and sometimes bitterly of the seemingly endless trials to punish Hitler's henchmen..." (Evening News, February 24, 1964). Take the experiences of Dr. Elmer Herterich, nerve specialist from Wurzburg as an example. This man showed that a large number of high officials in the local Wurzburg government had been former high-ranking Nazis, guilty of crimes against humanity. His accusations were backed up by photo-static copies of original documents. But what happened? Were the city officials forced to resign? Did the German populace support Dr. Herterich? Not at all! In fact, the people of Wurzburg turned against him. Dr. Herterich no longer lives in Wurzburg nor any other part of Germany. After having received no backing at all from the government nor from his fellow-citizens, and after threats to take his life were directed against him, this staunch anti-Nazi left Germany for Sweden. With no backing whatsoever, Dr. Herterich realized he was fighting a losing battle. During the last half year, a flush of German magazines and newspapers carried articles about Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Without exception, "der Fuhrer" is portrayed as having been a kind and understanding man, whose knowledge about different aspects of social life was admirable. At the same time, the evils of Hitler, and what really went on, are rarely mentioned in school textbooks. One hears comments like this quite often: "It's all right to let people know you belonged to the Nazi Party. It's all forgotten now — it wasn't all that bad, anyway." In Germany, the old Nazis live as comfortably and respectably as ever. They are not ostracized from Germany's new democratic society. They are exonerated; whereas those who fight them are held in contempt!
The Hidden Danger
There is one thing peculiar about Germans: the lack of self-analysis. Not noted for an excessive quality of individuality, the average German sanctions the decisions of the few ruling over him. Not especially politically alert, the German falls prey to the elite class, which guides the thinking of the German masses in whatever direction they wish to lead them. The trait of unquestioning obedience to those in the seats of government — whatever form it is — makes it comparatively easy for Germans to yield themselves in total obedience without qualms of conscience. One German law official feels that it is his duty to work for the day, far off though it may be, when Germans would question authority. Another law-enforcing official confessed that his fears for Germany stemmed from precisely this profound tendency to be unconcerned about freedom of choice and to fall into line on orders from above. A German statesman said recently: "Germans don't have the aptitude to decide their own future. It is necessary to force them into their fortune." History attests this to be an irrefutable fact. The German has for centuries never exercised individual liberty — not even now. "Let's begin to write the word freedom for the individual person in capital letters" cry a few German newspapers. They realize how little freedom the average German really exercises.
Why Hitler Rose
Germans as a whole identified themselves with Hitler's Third Reich from its infancy to its fall. After all, they were an integral part of the German Reich — they were the followers! And follow they did. Their zealous support for Hitler went all the way. At public conventions, the Germans massed themselves before their Fuhrer, treating him as their savior. They were all too eager to hail him as a god not unlike the divine salute Romans gave to their Caesars. On Hitler's birthday, almost every German flew a flag; if for nothing else, it served as a reminder to their Fuhrer that the people were behind him — ready to support him and his policies. They allowed their children to be trained in special Nazi youth organizations, so that tomorrow's leaders would carry on the policy of "Deutschland uber alles," which included the policy of suppressing all other races. No German was ignorant of what Hitler was planning, though it is not uncommon to hear the excuse of being forced to join the Nazi Party. This, in almost every case, is exactly that — an excuse! My parents never flew a flag on Hitler's birthday. My father refused to join the Wehrmacht, even though they threatened to shoot him. My mother did not let us join any Nazi organization, where our minds would be open to indoctrination. We, as a family, never attended any of Hitler's mass rallies. Yet we all survived — and that without ever joining the Nazi Party or even carrying a swastika armband. Is it any wonder then that Hitler believed his people — das deutsche Volk — to be firmly behind him? When the "superior" race shouted: Sieg Heil! and Heil Hitler! could we have expected the Fuhrer to resign? or to hand over the leadership of this eager people to someone else? It was the German people who made Adolf Hitler. Without their support he could not have gone far. Germans know how fervently they expressed their support for Hitler and the other leaders. They are aware of their former allegiance to the Fuhrer and everything the German Reich stood for. The Germans followed Adolf Hitler because they believed him to be their savior, and themselves to be a people who were destined to restore German "Kultur" in the world. In this they must also share part of the blame. And what of the future? There is a flicker of nationalism constantly burning in the German people. All it needs is for someone to set it aflame. The time is almost ripe, but there is still one thing lacking — the "right man" to lead the Germans and all Europe to their prophesied destiny! Little does the average German know, or any other peoples, for that matter, how frighteningly CLOSE we are to a MODERN revival of that same German fervor! Little do you realize the stark reality of the times in which you're living — and the shocking events destined to leap into tomorrow's headlines!
Prophecy Marches On
Your BIBLE identifies the German people! It predicts their future! It foretells with exact, specific detail what WILL happen in the near future! Today — even the average German citizen is unaware of what their leaders are planning, and yet, the BIBLE reveals, "it is in HIS HEART (a part of the very NATURE of the German people) to cut off nations not a few'" (Isa. 10:7.) You are going to see Germany heading a modern union of TEN nations, and in the NEAR future! You will live to see a frightening FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER rise in Europe, created by American dollars, which will once again drench this earth in blood! You MAY WISH TO DENY IT — you may nor believe it — you may choose to think it simply couldn't happen — but it WILL happen. Your BIBLE says so! If you haven't yet read the astounding booklet that lays bare all these major prophetic events for the next few years, 1975 In Prophecy, then read, immediately. And In the meantime — WATCH WORLD NEWS! Jesus said, "WATCH ye therefore..." (Luke 21:36). And He meant to keep an eye on world conditions — to be aware of world happenings, to KNOW when His return is near by the exact conditions of the nations of this world. Nothing is more important to you, and to YOUR future, than to KNOW the meaning of these frightening times! Keep listening to The WORLD TOMORROW program, and keep reading The PLAIN TRUTH — continue to WATCH!