justiz und ns-verbrechen / nazi crimes on trial

german trial judgments concerning national socialist homicidal crimes

synopsis of the new volumes
(publications since 2003)

 

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol.49

 

This volume completes the printed series of  'Justiz und NS-Verbrechen'. No index volume will appear in print. Instead, an index on the volumes I-XLIX will become available online at www.junsv.nl, along with a set of historical and legal documents intended to be helpful for the study of the trial judgments in the series.

In the unlikely event that German court proceedings regarding Nazi crimes will result in finalized trial judgments after 2012, these judgments will be published online only (www.junsv.nl)

 

This final volume of 'Justiz und NS-Verbrechen' contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 1 January 2002 and 1 January 2012.

This decade marks a notable change in the prosecution of Nazi crimes. In 2004, the 5th. Penal Senate of the Bundesgerichtshof  terminated proceedings in the case of the Gestapo chief of Genova, indicted for 'reprisal killings' of Italian civilians, because it feared that the advanced age of the defendant would, in the near future, severely diminish his capacity to stand trial. Between 2009 and 1011, however, three similarly aged defendants were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in 'reprisal killings' as well as for killings in Sobibor. Next to this change in the approach of  the West German prosecution authorities, these cases illustrate still another notable alteration in these policies.

 

For the first time since 1945, the 'reprisal killing' of innocent Italian civilians for an assault by Italian resistance fighters, leads to conviction and punishment in case no.922. Similarly, the stealthy shooting of Dutch civilians within the context of so-called Silent Killing results in a life sentence in case no.923. In 1984 this same proceeding had been suspended because the judicial authorities considered these killings no violation of the rules of international law. In case no.924, the Ukrainian guard Demjanjuk was convicted for complicity in the killing of Jews in Sobibor. This conviction is remarkable considering the fact that the German superiors who had trained Demjanjuk and who sent him to Sobibor, had alle been acquitted by the LG Hamburg in 1976 (case no.833. These proceedings remain unmentioned in the Demjanjuk judgment). It is also remarkable since the court could not establish any particulars concerning Demjanjuks contribution to the killings. The court argues instead, that Demjanjuks presence and the role played by the Ukrainian guards in Sobibor in general suffice to conclude his concrete contribution to the extermination of the deported Jews. Until then, no court in the Federal Republic of Germany had ever convicted a defendant on such grounds. This also applies to cases which seemed especially suited for such an argumentation (such as those related to ghetto clearings and mass shootings and killings in the extermination camps and 'euthanasia' centers).

 

In the supplementary section of this volume several judgments are included which only became available after the volumes in which, according to chronology,  they should have been published (case no.s.950-959)

 

The Erratum concerns the judgments of case no.880 since the version of case no.880a published in vol. XLV misses several pages due to a printing failure.

 

Selection and editing criteria as well as the rules relating to the publication of the trial judgments can be found in vol. I of the series (p. XIII ff.) as well as in vol. XXIII (p. V).

BRD Vol.48

Volume 48 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between  27 May 1989 and 1 January 2002.

Two of the cases published in this volume stand out as unique within the context of the prosecution of NS-crimes in West Germany. This applies to case no.909, which deals almost exclusively with the murder of Gypsies in KL Auschwitz, and to case no. 919, concerning killings committed by a camp staff member of the Gestapo prison 'Kleine Festung' in Theresienstadt. Notable is also a case dealing with the killing of Italian civilians by the German Wehrmacht. As in the only earlier case involving Wehrmacht killings [case no. 280 - 1951], here too the defendant remained unpunished. The only conviction for such crimes occurred in 2009 [case no.922, published in vol. XLIX.]

 

In three major cases in this volume, crimes are dealt with committed in KL Majdanek and two forced labor camps as well as during an evacuation march near the end of the war. Four cases concern smaller, more isolated criminal offenses. Among these cases is the only one taken over from the GDR-judiciary after 1989. It ends with a suspension. Also, there is one case involving the killing of Jews by the Waffen-SS which offers some telling insights into the still prevailing mentality of the former Waffen-SS members even today.

 

With regard to the proceedings between the years 1989-2002, it is remarkable that German defendants consisted of a minority; most - nearly 70% - were (or were originally) foreigners.

BRD Vol.47

Volume 47 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between  5 October 1985 and 27 May 1989.

In this volume two cases of mass extermination crimes stand out: one concerns the procurement of Zyklon B for KL Majdanek, the other involves the sealing off of a camp in which a mass execution of Jews was carried out. Also in this volume are cases concerning the murder of KPD-president Ernst Thälmann in Buchenwald in 1944, the deportation of Jews from France and Poland, and killings of prisoners  from the KL Auschwitz and Lagischa. Finally, this volume contains what is probably the most long-lasting West-German trial case involving nazi crimes. Since 1972 a number of court decisions were passed in the case of killings performed by the Selbstschutz (ethnic German militia) in Poland. The BGH annulled all of them,  in part or in full, and finally the case ended in 1987 by termination due to the incapacity of the defendant to stand trial.

BRD Vol.46

Volume 46 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 25 October 1984 and 5 October 1985.

A prominent theme in this volume concerns the problematical issue of the value of  witness testimonies as legal evidence in cases involving Nazi crimes, an issue that had come to play an increasingly important role in these proceedings since the early 1970s. In all cases published in this volume the prosecution fails to convince the courts of the single-handed killings of the defendants, by means of such evidence.

According to the opinion of the courts, this was partly due to deficient and unprofessional interrogation and foto-identification proceedings during the criminal investigations both in Germany itself as well as abroad (e.g. by German consular officials or by the Israeli police). Also, an initiative by the World Jewish Congress in one of these cases was found to be less than helpful with regard to the criminal investigations. More importantly, the judgments illustrate that convictions foundered on the contradictions between the testimonies prosecution witnesses had given previously on the same event or incident, during compensation proceedings, or within the context of other criminal investigations or trials. In a number of instances this led to the dismissal of testimonies as evidence in the case under observation.

In one instance these doubts with regard to the validity of witness statements resulted in revision proceedings concerning a defendant whose conviction dated back to 1966 (Case Nr.642), and in his acquittal on six accounts of the indictment.

BRD Vol.45

Volume 45 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 24 July 1981 and 25 October 1984.

Two cases in this volume are unique as far as the West-German prosecution of Nazi crimes is concerned: one concerns crimes committed against Yugoslavian partisans in Slovenia, the other involves the deportation of the Rumanian Jews. Three other cases are also notable: one involves so-called Schreibtischverbrechen ('administrative crimes') committed by three senior police officials in the course of the persecution of the Jews of Warsaw; the second concerns members of an SS technical supply unit, who engaged in a number of un-authorized killings of Jews; the third relates to a revision trial of a defendant convicted 25 years earlier for his participation in the killings in the extermination camp of Sobibor.

Also in this volume are cases involving mass killings of Jews in the Ukraine and Latvia, single killings in a number of concentration camps and during the evacuation marches during the final months of the war, and, finally, cases involving members of the German civil administration and their role in the persecution of the Jews in the Ukraine.

BRD Vol. 44

Volume 44 covers the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 24 October 1980 and 24 July 1981.

The two most important cases in this volume concern the so-called Majdanek case before the Düsseldorf court against nine defendants, and the only case involving the deportation of  the Belgian Jews. This volume also includes two cases concerning the killing of imprisoned partisans and 'Soviet activists' and civilians in the Ukraine and in Russia and two cases involving the deportation and killing of the Przemysl Jews. Case nr. 863, in which the testimonies of all prosecution witnesses were dismissed as inadequate evidence, illustrate the problematical aspects of trial witness testimony assessments in general, as well as more in particular in regard to some aspects of the preliminary investigations as performed by the Israeli police.

BRD Vol. 43

Volume 43 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 20 April 1979 and 24 October 1980.

Three of the cases published in this volume are of special importance: the first one concerns the organization of the persecution and deportation of the Jews living in France, by the BdS France; the second one is the only West-German case concerning the killings committed during the suppression of the Warsaw uprising of 1944; the third case deals with a Latvian collaborator who, with his own Kommando, participated in the killing of Jews in Latvia.

Case Nr. 853 illustrates the complex problems involving the assessment of trial witness testimonies, as two courts arrive at different conclusions regarding the reliability of such statements by the main prosecution witnesses on the basis of approximately the same facts.

BRD Vol. 42

Volume 42 contains the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 4 June 1976 and 20 April 1979.

Two of the cases in this volume relate to the activities of a Gestapo agency in Poland during the years 1940 to 1944, especially with regard to the killing of Jews, Polish civilians and members of the resistance by means of requests for 'Special Treatment'. Four cases involve the liquidation of the Tarnogrod and Bilgoraj ghettos. And finally, the volume contains the only case sofar dealing with the staff of the forced labor camp for Jews in Lemberg, the ZAL Lemberg-Janowskastrasse.

Of particular importance is the judgment of the district court of Saarbrücken. Different from the Darmstadt court in 1972, which ruled that a conviction in a case involving nazi crimes required a minimum of two witnesses coherently describing the same alleged criminal offense, the Saarbrücken court elaborately argued that in such cases the testimony of a single witness could suffice.

Case Nr.842, which concerns the destruction of villages, including the killing of its population, within the context of anti-partisan warfare, allows for comparison with the prosecution of nazi crimes in the GDR. Whereas the defendant in the West-German case was acquitted, his former subordinates, tried in East-Germany, received long prison sentences (DJuNSV Nr.1006, 1007 and 1036).

BRD Vol. 41

Volume 41 covers the trial judgments rendered by the courts of the first instance between 10 March and 4 June 1976. All cases in this volume deal with the extermination of the Jews in Poland and the former Soviet Union. By far the most voluminous of these judgments - over 700 pages - is the one concerning the activities of the so-called Trawniki-units in the extermination camps Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, in the ghetto clearings in Lublin, Warsaw and in other, smaller towns in the Lublin district, their involvement in the crushing of the Warsaw ghetto uprising and the history and organization of their original instruction and training facility, the so-called Trawniki forced labour camp. The German commander of the camp as well as five other leading German camp officials indicted for the crimes connected to the Trawniki complex, were all acquitted, partly for factual reasons, partly on legal grounds.

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. XIV

Volume 14 is the last in the series with East-German trial judgments. It contains a supplement with a number of cases which were discovered only at a later stage, or of which the trial judgments were not yet available at the time of the publication of the volumes in which, from a chronological perspective, they should have been included. Also, volume 14 contains 91 so-called Waldheim cases dealing with Nazi crimes with fatalities.

The Waldheim cases form a chapter in themselves and are in many ways different from the other cases published in this East-German series. Although they have phenomenological value in their own right, their importance as serious documents of legal interpretation is negligible. Also, the extraordinarily brief case descriptions contained in them offer little insight into the crimes of which they speak. In addition, the Waldheim trial judgments are generally formulated after a prearranged 'model' which also diminishes their value. That is why the editorial board has contemplated leaving them out altogether or to pubish only a selection of them for purely illustrative purposes. Nevertheless, in the end they unanimously decided to publish all Waldheim court decisions dealing with crimes resulting in fatalities. Decisive was the idea that without the inclusion of the Waldheim cases the overall image of the prosecution of these crimes in East Germany would be incomplete and 'whitewashed'. Also, the editors concluded that the complete publication of the material would allow for an analytical insight into the Waldheim-trial phenomena which would not be possible without it.

Thus, the judgments published here clearly document the lack of evidence with which the East German judiciary operated with regard these 'non-amnestied' Soviet prisoners handed over to them to be tried and judged. This situation in which scanty and in many ways questionable evidence was used in these trials resulted from the fact that only summarized reports of interrogations conducted by Soviet investigative committees during the immediate post-war years were handed over to the East Germans. The only exceptions here were the (few) instances in which the East German judiciary had already conducted its own investigations because it had itself either tried related criminal cases or was preparing them.

Another aspect of significance for a proper understanding of the Waldheim complex relates to the punishments imposed and their execution. Even when assuming the sufficiency of evidence in these cases, the punishments imposed where considerably higher as those resulting from ordinary trials conducted during the same time. But the execution of these punishments also differed substantially from ordinary practice. Thus, Waldheim convicts were granted premature release much sooner than convicts from regular East German trials. To illustrate this we have included the release term with every Waldheim judgment. It shows, for example, that, with the exception of five convicts, all those sentenced to a life sentence or to 25 or 20 years, were released - at the latest - after spending six years in prison.

DDR Vol. XIII

Volume 13 contains the judgments finalized during the first 23 months after the end of the war - from May 1945 until April 1947.

The first case involving fatalities took place before a court established by a decree of the provincial government of Sachsen: the Volksgericht Sachsen, in September 1945 (Nr.1839). After that there was an extended pause which lasted until April 1946.

There were several reasons for this delay. First of all, there was the closure of all existing German courts after the allied occupation of Germany. When the German judiciary was allowed to resume its activities new courts were set up in various parts of East-Germany which did not conform to the traditional German judicial system. This, despite the fact that, in September 1945,  the SMAD had ordered the establishment of a uniform courts' structure modelled after the example of that which existed in the Weimer Republic, with the exception of the Reichsgericht which remained closed. The redress of this situation took until April 1946.

Secondly, there were the organizational difficulties and personnel shortages arising from the dismissal of a substantial numbers of judicial staff members, which were in part interned by the SMAD or taken into investigative custody by the German authorities. Insofar as they had been members of the NSDAP or had played an active role within the Nazi 'special justice' system, they were - a marked contrast with the situation in West-Germany - not allowed to return to judicial service. This led to considerable personnel shortages in the courts, a problem which the East Germans sought to solve by setting up crash courses to train new state attorneys and judges.

 

Due to all this it lasted until May 1946 before the second post-war NS-trial involving fatalities was staged (Nr.1838). It concerned a denunciation case against the financial employee Puttfarcken, made famous by Gustav Radbruch's essay 'Gesetzliches Unrecht und übergesetzliches Recht'. After that and until April 1947 trials were held, on average, every six days.

 

With only one exception, the 60 cases tried during the first 23 post-war months all deal with crimes committed in East Germany. The victims consisted primarily of German civilians; about 10% of the cases concerned the killings if Jews and prisoners and the execution of war weary German soldiers during the final phase of the war. The majority of the cases deal with denunciations, whereas in about 11% crimes in detainment centers or so-called phinal phase crimes are conncerned.

 

The criminal prosecution of Nazi crimes during these 23 months shows a tendency similar to that in West-Germany: prosecuted were crimes committed within the jurisdictional territory of  the courts which came to their attention through charges brought against certain individuals, by coincidence (Nr.1793), or because certain crimes were still very much present in the 'public mind' due to their seriousness or because they had been committed relatively recent or in local communities. Examples are the so-called Euthanasia-trial (Nr.1832), or the trials concerning crimes committed in the Dresden detainment centers and the forced labor camp of Radeberg.

Almost exclusively prosecuted during this early phase were representatives from the executorial level. Illustrative is the case against two executioners (Nr.1837). The judges, whose death sentences these executioners implemented, were tried only later - if at all.

 

There are no NS-cases from the Berlin court in this volume. This is because until late 1948 such cases were not tried in the Soviet sector but before the Landgericht Berlin-Moabit in the Western sector. They can consequently be found in the West-German series.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 40

Volume 40 contains the trial judgments covering the period from 26 July 1974 to 21 April 1976.

Among the court decisions in this volume are those concerning the deportation and mass shooting of Jews from Glebokie, Lublin, Maidan-Tatarski, Tarnow, Czestochowa (Tschenstochau), and from the forced labor camps of Krasnik, Lublin and Bobruisk. Also represented here are judgments involving mass shootings by Einsatzkommandos and police batallions in Latvia, Moldavia, Russia, the Ukraine, the Crimea and in the Caucasus. Next, there are judgments dealing with the liquidation of the so-called Gypsy camp and with selections and killing (burning alive) of Hungarian children in Auschwitz. Finally, this volume includes two cases involving so-called evacuation marches during the final months of the war.

This volume also contains the only trial judgment dealing with medical experiments conducted on prisoners at Dachau concentration camp. Also in this volume are two (of a total of three) West German court decisions concerning the deportation of the Warsaw Jews to the extermination camp Treblinka and the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. Among the defendants, is the former Commander of the Security police and the Security Services in Warsaw.

The issue of guilt and perpetrator classification in trial cases involving national-socialist crimes is elaborately treated in a remarkable opinion of the Dictrict Court of Hamburg, concerning the recognition of a so-called supra-legal ground for the mitigation of guilt due to ensnarement (übergesetzliche Schuldmilderungsgrund der Verstrickung) and the possibility of imposing a temporary prison sentence (instead of the legally obligated life sentence) for Täter in case of a murder conviction. The opinion of the Hamburg Court suffered defeat before the Federal High Court (BGH) and the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) - see Case No.830.

Comparison with the prosecution of Nazi crimes in the GDR is possible with regard to Case No.822, which deals with crimes that, in part, also form the subject of a judgment of the Dictrict Court of Erfurt (see: DJuNSV Case No.1049)

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. XII

Volume 12 contains the judgments finalized between mid April 1947 and the end of January 1948. In ten instances the trial judgments could not be found in the archives or were only discovered in part. If these documents should turn up before the completion of the series, they will be included in its final volume.

The remaining 77 cases primarily concern crimes committed against civilians in East-Germany. In the majority of the cases these crimes involve denunciations.

Of particular interest in this volume is case nr.1760: it is the only 'Euthanasia'-case in either East or West Germany in which a so-called 'Obergutachter' was tried (Prof.Dr. Nitsche).

During the period covered by this volume the trials of homicidal Nazi crimes by Assize Courts (Schwurgerichte) - practised since May 1945 - came to an end. Instead, Special Chambers of the District Courts (Landgerichte) were established on the basis of Directive Nr.38 of the Allied Control Council and the associated procedural regulations of SMAD Order Nr.201 of August 1947. In addition to Control Council Law Nr.10, these Penal Chambers ("Strafkammer nach Befehl 201") now also applied Control Council Directive Nr.38 as substantive law.

Due to the fact that, until the end of 1948, all Nazi crimes committed in Berlin were tried in the Western sector of the city, by the Landgericht Berlin-Moabit, no such cases appear in this volume. Instead, they are included in the West German series, 'Justiz und NS-Verbrechen'.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 39

Volume 39 contains the trial judgments covering the period from 5 June 1973 to 26 July 1974. Among the crimes dealt with in this volume are the deportation and shooting of the Jews from Krosno, Wolbrom, Sanok, Biala Podlaska and Slonim, the killing of Jews in the forced labor camps of Boryslaw, Drohobycz, Trepce, Majowka and Debica and the activities of Einsatzkommando 11b on the Krim and in the Caucasus.

Also in this volume is the first of a total of three West-German cases in which defendants were sentenced for their participation in the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto, as well as the only judgment dealing with killings and lethal mishandlings in the Pawiak prison in Warsaw.

Three of the cases in this volume are unique within the context of West-German prosecution of Nazi criminals:
the first of these rare examples concerns a conviction in a case of anti-partisan warfare in which a village was destroyed and its inhabitants killed; the second case involves a murder verdict related to so-called intensified interrogation; the third unique judgment concerns a case in which the court concluded that the killing of Russian resistance fighters by means of a 'gas van' was neither gruesome nor malicious - both legal requirements for the murder qualification in German criminal law - and thus constituted the (already statute barred) criminal offence of manslaughter, a remarkable point of view totally foreign to the findings in any of the other 28 'gas van' judgments.

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. XI

Volume 11 contains the judgments finalized between the end of January and the end of May 1948. In eight instances the trial judgments could not be found in the archives or were only discovered in part. If these documents should nevertheless turn up before the completion of the series, they will be included in its final volume. The remaining 75 cases deal primarily with crimes committed by Germans against German civilians in "East Germany". Most of these cases concern denunciations, among them one involving General Lindemann, a conspirator of the July 1944 attempt on Hitler, along with five of the persons who helped to hide him from the Gestapo (case nr.1662).

During these early months of 1948 the very first judgments of East German courts concerning the 'Euthanasia' crimes committed in the institutions Bernburg, Grafeneck, Hadamar and Uchtspringe appear (case nrs. 1616, 1629, 1664 and 1684).

Three cases in this volume are particularly noteworthy: one deals with the systematic deprivation of civil rights of Jews and the constant pestering, chicaneries and denunciations (often leading to deportation) they had to endure from the "Jewish section" of a town's administration (case nr. 1624). The other two cases concern the coercive measures imposed upon the civil population within the context of defence measures during the final phase of the war: the forced employment of women and children on behalf of the defence of the "Festung Breslau" (nr. 1626) and the forced evacuation under catastrophic circumstances of the civiliation population of Görlitz by the mayor and the local Nazi ring leader, both of whom were sentenced to death.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 38

Volume 38 contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 1 January and 5 June 1973. Among other crimes, they address the so-called ghetto-liquidations of Pinsk, Radom and Zamosc, the mass shootings of Russian prisoners of war, and the activities of Einsatzkomando 10a in Southern Ukraine, during the early months of the German attack on the Soviet Union. After a twenty-year break, case nr. 789 forms the introduction to a series of trial proceedings before the Hamburg court concerning the extermination of the Jews from Riga (case nrs.789, 820, 843, 856 and 883).

Also contained in this volume is one of the two cases involving members of an SS-unit, whose commander was sentenced by the Supreme SS and Police Court in 1943 for indulging in excessive cruelties during the arbitrary shooting of Jews ("Täubner case"). Case Nr.792 sheds some interesting light on the contacts which defendants entertained both among themselves as well as with the Zentrale Stelle in Ludwigsburg, during the investigative, "pre-trial" phase.

As was noted in connection to the previous volume, cases relating to "resettlement actions" or other crimes committed in the ghettos led to a number of (partial) acquittals as a result of the inadequacy of evidence produced by witness testimony.
Finally, case nr.784 allows for comparison with the prosecution of NS-crimes in the GDR, as its criminal subject was - to a large extent at least - also treated in the trial judgment of the district court of Neubrandenburg from 1961 (case nr.1082).

BRD Vol. 37

Volume 37 contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 1 February 1972 and 1 January 1973. It includes several noteworthy cases. Among them is case nr.778 dealing with the Jewish Gestapo agent Stella. Another is case nr.771, which is the only German court judgment involving the deportation and annihilation of Italian Jews. Also, there are several cases in this volume which illustrate extensively the difficulties the courts encountered when dealing with survivor testimonies. In a number of cases involving deportations and ghetto killings, doubts by the court about the reliability or accuracy of these testimonies led to (partial) acquittals (case nrs.768, 775, 781 and 783). Finally, there are two cases (nrs. 776 and 777) which allow for comparison with trials conducted in the GDR (csae nrs. 1016 and 1024), since they relate to the same criminal complex.

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. X

Volume 10 contains the trial cases finalized between the end of May and the end of November 1949. In seven instances the trial judgments could not be found in the archives or were only discovered in part. If these documents should nevertheless turn up before the completion of the series, they will be included in its final volume. In a case which should have been published in this volume - nr.1535 - the judgments were finally discovered after a search of many years. Since the book was already with the publisher, it was impossible to include the documentation. It will be published in the final volume of the series.

The other 79 cases mainly relate to crimes committed in East-Germany by Germans against Germans. Most of them consist of denunciations (particularly of German deserters), which represent over 60% of the cases in this volume.

Some categories of NS-crimes turn up for the first time during this period: killings in KL Ravensbrück (nrs. 1561 and 1587), perversion of justice (nr.1591) and 'Euthanasia'-crimes, committed by a defendant who later participated in the gassing of Jews in the Polish extermination camps (nr.1555). This 'career-linkage' between one extermination complex and another was not unusual in the case of the 'Euthanasia'-accomplices, but it was not yet noticed by the judicial authorities - in West and in East - in the late 1940s. In West-Germany the same criminal complex was tried before the district court of Munich I 18 years later (Justiz und NS-Verbrechen case nr. 585).

In three cases the typical problems of the early post-war prosecution phase are addressed. This concerns a phenomenon already noted in the preceding volumes, namely the questionable motives behind the charges filed in conncetion to Nazi crimes immediately after 1945 (nr.1539). Considerable attention is also devoted to the importance of the lessons to be learned from the NS-past for the formation of the East-German society (cf. pages 514, 515 and 676 of this volume).

With regard to an unusually large number of defendants (17%) cases were dropped by the courts in this period. This was the result of amnesty order nr.43 of the SMAD from 18 March 1948, which ordained a suspension of cases punishabel up to one year.

DDR Vol. IX

Volume 9 contains the trial cases finalized between November 1948 and mid-March 1949. In 11 instances the court decisions could not be traced or were discovered only in part. In case these documents will turn up during the course of our ongoing search, they will be published in the final volume of the series.

The remaining 56 cases deal mainly with denunciations, NS-crimes in detainment centers, final-phase crimes and with so-called early NS-crimes (committed shortly before or after January 31, 1933). Among the latter is a case against 19 defendants charged with the arrest and torture of  political opponents by the SA in the Oelsnitz area (Case No.1516). Two cases dealing with final-phase crimes involve a number of defendants charged with chasing after escaped prisoners from an evacuation transport by local villagers (Case No.'s 1500 and 1504). The killing and mishandling of Jewish forced laborers from the Hugo Schneider works ('HASAG') in the Tschenstochau (Czestochowa) area, formed the subject of a major trial before the Leipzig court against 25 defendants (Case No.1511 - 'Kamienna-Trial')

Particularly noteworthy are two cases in this volume: one deals with the mishandling and killing of German soldiers in detainment centers and disciplinary field units of the Wehrmacht (Case No.1482); in the other the OLG Halle collides head-on with the newly established Supreme Court of the GDR over a case involving the perversion of justice (Rechtsbeugung) of a former judge with the OLG Breslau (Case No.1465). Unique, both with regard to the West and East German prosecution of NS-crimes, is the case against the former Bautzen Landrat, which deals with the persecution of the Sorbs (a Slavic minority indigenous to a region known as Lusatia, in the current German states of Saxony and Brandenburg) and with the escape assistance on behalf of leading Nazis shortly before the end of the war (Case No.1519).

As in the four preceding volumes, the majority of the cases concern crimes committed in East Germany; only 18% deal with NS-crimes committed on foreign soil.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 36

This volume contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 1 August 1971 and 1 February 1972.

Half of them deal with mass extermination crimes in Poland and the former Soviet Union. A revision proceedings concerning the Buchenwald concentration camp illuminates the extraordinary difficulties involved in the assessment of witness testimonies in these NS-trials (case nr.766). Notable too in this volume is case number 767 dealing with the Warsaw ghetto uprising. As with the other cases related to this particular criminal complex (cf. cases 396 and 833) remained unpunished.

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. VIII

Volume 8 contains the trial cases finalized between mid-May and the end of August 1949.

Most of the cases in this volume involve denunciations, NS-crimes in detainment centers and final phase crimes. Also, there are some dealing with judicial crimes, mass extermination and war crimes, as well as with so-called early phase crimes, committed shortly before or after 31 Januari 1933. Belonging to this latter category are the cases dealing with the extremely brutal mistreatment of political prisoners and opponents conducted by the SA and SS in Eisleben (Case Nr.1403) and the so-called first and second Hohnstein trials against a total of 53 defendants (Case Nrs.1411 and 1430).

Two major trials of the district court of Leipzig, involving 46 defendants, concern the mistreatment and killing of Jewish forced laborers of the Hugo Schneider ('HASAG') company in Poland. One of these cases – the so-called Tschenstochau (Czestochowa) Trial – is published in thus volume (Case Nr.1432), the other – the Kamienna Trial – will appear in volume 9. Among the final phase crimes are several that deal with village inhabitants hunting for concentration camp prisoners, who escaped from evacuation transports (Case Nrs.1404, 1421 and 1433).

Two cases in this volume are particularly noteworthy: one deals with the death of a number of concentration camp prisoners due to the delivery of tainted meat by the Thuringian meat works (Case Nr.1445), the other discusses the question of whether or not the execution of Polish members of the resistance sentenced to death by German court martials constituted a violation of international law (Case Nr.1454).

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 35

Volume 35 contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 1 January and 1 August 1971.

It contains, a.o. the only West German case dealing with the deportation of the Berlin Jews – both defendants, higher officials of the Berlin Gestapo, were acquitted (Case Nr.754). Two cases in this volume deal with the research institute "Das Ahnenerbe", belonging to Heinrich Himmler's personal staff. Subject of the proceedings in these cases was the so-called collection of skeletons of murdered Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz of the University of Strassbourg (Case Nrs.748 and 752). More than half of this volume is taken up by Case Nr.757, in which the problematical evidence assessment of witness' testimonies in cases dealing with Nazi crimes is discussed in great detail.

BRD Vol. 34

Volume 34 contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 9 May 1970 and 1 January 1971.

It contains, a.o., the judgments against the commandant of  the extermination camp Treblinka, Franz Stangl (Case Nr.746), against two higher officials of the so-called 'Euthanasia'-organization 'T 4' (Case Nr.733), and against a member of the Eichmann-Referat within the Reichs Security Main Office (RSHA) (Case Nr.745). It also contains three cases (Nrs.736, 737 and 741) dealing with the Ghettoliquidations in Bochnia, Lukow and Luniniec. One case (Nr.738) deals with the killing of hundreds of Jews, POW's and other prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Finally, this volume contains the only German trial judgment dealing with the deportation of the Norwegian Jews as well as with the so-called Silent Killing of persons suspected of involvement in the Norwegian resistance.

BRD Vol. 33

Volume 33 contains the trial judgments by district courts finalized between 22 August 1969 and 9 May 1970.

Among the criminal complexes dealt with in this volume there again several unique ones: the deportation of the Hungarian Jews at the hands of the Sonderkommando Eichmann (Nr.716), the activities of Einsatzkommando 11a in Southern Russia (Nr.724) and the killings committed in concentration camp Dora Mittelbau, the construction site for the V1 and V2 missiles (Nr.731)

Nearly half of the cases in this volume ended in acquittals or in the termination of the proceedings. Among them is a case against a Wehrmacht officer dealing with the killing of a woman during the final days of the war (Nr.726), a crime, which had already resulted in a verdict of the district court of Deggendorf in 1947 (published under Nr.034 in vol. 1 of the series).

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. VII

Volume 7 contains the trial cases finalized between September 1949 and mid-February 1950.
These cases are mainly concerned with Denunciations, NS-Crimes in Detainment Centers and Final Phase Crimes. Others deal with 'Euthanasia', Mass Extermination and War Crimes and some concern so-called Early NS-Crimes, committed shortly before or after January 31 1933.
An example of the last category is the case involving 32 defendants tried for the gruesome mistreatment and killing of inmates of KL Hohnstein in 1933 (Case Nr.1358).

Rather unique - since no West German examples of the sort exist - are the two cases involving the bullying, mistreatment and killing of German soldiers in the Wehrmacht prison of Torgau and in the so-called field disciplinary camp (Case Nrs.1336 and 1352).

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. IV

Volume 4 of the East German trial judgments contains 77 cases dealing with a wide variety of homicidal criminal offenses. Among them are cases concerning
- war crimes committed by various Wehrmacht units (particularly involving anti-partisan warfare),
-  killings by police units,
- crimes committed in concentration and annihilation camps,
- crimes committed during the early years of the Third Reich (SA assaults, betrayal of resistance groups),
- crimes involving the deportation and forced labor transports of Poles to Germany as well as their killing by  ethnic German militia (Selbstschutz),
- killing of foreign workers and forced laborers,
- so-called final phase crimes (particularly killings of prioners during the evacuation transports of the final months of the war),
- many so-called denunciation crimes (involving betrayal of individuals to the police)

A number of cases concern trials, which are of particular interest within the context of  the East and West German post-war prosecution history of Nazi crimes. This, for example, applies to cases involving crimes committed during anti-partisan warfare in Italy, so-called 'euthanasia-killings' by the deputy head of the Berlin based main office (Reichsausschuss zur wissenschaftlichen Erforschung erb- und anlagebedingten Leiden), gassing of Jews in the Semlin concentration camp by the Gestapo chief of Serbia, and the killing of Jews in the annihilation camp of Chelmno. This volume also contains the judgment of  the only German trial case dealing with the reprisal actions in Lidice, following the attempt on Heydrich's life.

DDR Vol. V

This volume contains part of the trial cases finalized in the year 1951; the others are published in vol. IV.
Again, a number of different criminal complexes are dealt with:
- mass extermination crimes,
- judicial crimes,
- war crimes,
- crimes committed in concentration camps and other detainment centres,
-'euthanasia-killings',
- crimes committed immediately after the Machtübernahme in 1933,
- administrative crimes ('Schreibtischverbrechen'),
- final phase crimes, particularly directed against foreign workers and escaped concentration camp prisoners,
- many cases involving private informers and so-called V-Männer (police informers) working within resistance groups.

Noticeable in the judgments of this volume is an increasing preoccupation of the courts with the appropriate legal interpretation and punishment. This leads to the occasional and, in some cases, even repeated suspension of judgments of courts of the first instance in appeal procedures.

When compared to the later judgments - published in the volumes I-IV - the geographical focus of  the prosecuted crimes increasingly shifts to East Germany and Poland; judgments regarding crimes committed in other states are rare, those involving crimes committed in the Soviet Union are completely absent.

DDR Vol. VI

The sixth volume contains proceedings finalized between mid February and the end of December 1950. Above all they concern denunciations and final phase crimes, but they also include war crimes and NS-crimes in detainment centers and a few cases involving "Euthanasia" and judicial and administrative crimes (Schreibtischverbrechen).

The single most important and comprehensive trial judgment in this volume (Nr. 1293) deals with a criminal complex from the early Nazi years: the so-called Bloodweek of Köpenick ("Köpenicker Blutwoche"). In March 1933, SA-troops arrested political opponents in the Berlin quarter of Köpenick and murdered a number of them while subjecting others to severe mistreatments, which resulted in more fatalities. The bodies of the victims were sown in bags and dumped in the Dahme river. 57 former SA-men stood trial in this case, which is by far the largest trial concerning Nazi crimes held in East Germany.

The geographical shift noted in vol. V develops even further in this volume: most trials concern crimes committed in East Germany.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 30

This volume contains the West German cases numbered 685 to 693. Among them is a bulky judgment against four defendants involving their cooperation in so-called drowning actions (Totbadeaktionen) in the Gusen concentration camp. Also included are two cases of special interest: one, involving the participation of the Foreign Office in the deportation of Jews - in this case, from Bulgaria and Greece -, the other, concerning the execution of Jews by members of the SS in Italy.

 BRD Vol. 31

Volume 31 contains the West German cases numbered 694 to 701. More than two-thirds of this volume covers three extensive trials dealing with the activities of an Einsatzgruppe in the Ukraine, the extermination of the Jews in Przemysl and the killings connected to the exhumation of  mass graves by the so-called Sonderkommando 1005. A fourth judgment involves two leading members of the 'euthanasia' Central Office T4 in Berlin. It constitutes one of  the very rare examples of the prosecution of so-called administrative criminals (Schreibtischverbrecher). Particularly noteworthy in this volume is the case involving judicial crimes committed by the Volksgerichtshof  (People's Court).

BRD Vol. 32

Volume 32 covers the trial judgments, which were finalized by a district court between April 1 and August 22 1969.

Case number 707 illustrates the disastrous effect of  the alteration of  (at the time) §50 StGB for the prosecution of Nazi crimes: it is the virtual tombstone of the investigative complex Reichssicherheitshauptamt. The new version of §50 resulted, however, in a number of other cases in which defendants remained unpunished - cf. Case Nr. 715. Also of great importance for the prosecution of Nazi crimes - in this case concerning NS-crimes, which had already been investigated earlier by the USA, Great Britain and France - is the interpretation of the so-called Transitional Agreement (Überleitungsvertrag) by the Principal Senate for Criminal Proceedings of the Bundesgerichtshof as laid down in Case Nr. 705.

Substantial doubts by the courts over questions relating to the quality of (survivor-) witness testimonies lead to acquittals of defendants in a number of  cases - cf. Case Nr. 706, 708 and 711. Noteworthy, finally, is also Case Nr. 713, which is unique for its highly detailed documentary coverage of an extended evacuation transport (lasting 22 days) of concentration camp prisoners during the final phase of the war.

East German Trial Judgments

DDR Vol. III

This volume contains the judgments from the years 1955 to 1965. In three cases judgment is passed by the Supreme Court of the GDR as court of first instance. Among them are the cases against former West German minister Oberländer and his erstwhile under-secretary of state in the West German Chanceller's Office, Globke. The Globke-case concerns one of the rare trials against leading administrative criminals (Schreibtischtäter) and is - another rarity - almost exclusively based on documentary evidence.

The remaining 49 cases deal with a wide variety of  Nazi homicidal crimes: crimes committed by various Wehrmacht units within the context of the extermination of the Jews, of anti-partisan warfare, killings by the police (Security police, Security service, municipal police, railway police), crimes committed in concentration camps, during the Warsaw uprising, during the early years of the Third Reich (early concentration camps, SA assaults, betrayal of resistance groups), during the final phase of the war and so-called judicial crimes.

Geographically the crimes prosecuted were committed in Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union and Czechia; judgments with regard to crimes committed in other states are rare.

West German Trial Judgments

BRD Vol. 27

This volume contains the West German trial judgments finalized by a district's court decision between December 1967 and April 1968.

Among them is one of the very rare cases involving judges of a Nazi Special Court (No.669 - the Katzenberger Case; cf. also Case 3, United States v. Josef Altstötter, et.al., 'Justice Case', Nuremberg January 4, 1947 - December 4, 1947)

BRD Vol. 28

This volume contains the West German trial judgments finalized by a district's court decision between April 1968 and May 1968.

Among them is the extensive so-called Stanislau-case in which 15 defendants of the Sipo and SD Stanislau were tried for their role in the extermination of the Jews in the area - No.675. Also included is one of the rare trial cases dealing with the role of the Foreign Office in the persecution of the Jews - No.673.

BRD Vol. 29

This volume contains the West German trial judgments finalized by a district's court decision between May and June 1968.

Among them is a very bulky judgment against 10 members of  police batallion 316, involving their participation in the mass shootings of Jews and partisans. Also included are two cases dealing with the shooting of prisoners of war:  one, concerning the execution of  British officers after their escape from the Sagan POW camp; the other dealing with the shooting of  Jewish POW's in the Soviet Union by a Wehrmacht unit.

 

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