Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BUCHENWALD KZ 1937-1945 Part 11


The Dachau Buchenwald process 1947
Immediately after the liberation of the camp, the U.S. Army began to investigate past crimes. After a number of investigations in the liberated camps  Egon W. Fleck (Civ. and 1st Lt..) and Edward A. Tenenbaum (Dept. of Psychological Warfare of the 12th U.S. Army Group) presented their first report on April 24th 1945. When the American troops in July 1945 left Thuringia after the Potsdam Agreement, they took almost all the evidence (it should have been three tons of files) with them. Even the leadership of the SS command staff had fallen into American captivity. By the end of 1946, over 6,000 suspects were interrogated and recorded hundreds of testimonies of former prisoners. 793 suspects had been arrested during these preliminary investigations and were kept in the internment camp at Dachau.
On the 11th April 1947, two years after the liberation of the camp, began in Dachau the Buchenwald trial of former SS and Police Leaders of the Upper Section of Fulda-Werra,  SS-Obergruppenführer Josias Erbprinz of Waldeck und Pyrmont and thirty other defendants. Of the leaders of the SS command staff, the only missing were the head of the Political Department and the SS garrison physician Dr. Schiedlausky, who had to stand trial before a British military court and was sentenced to death. The others sitting on the accused bench with Dr. Werner Greunuß was the SS medical orderly Friedrich Wilhelm and others for the medical emergency and the hospital murder charges. The only woman among the accused was Ilse Koch. In addition to the SS men stood before the court four prisoners who were indicted for crimes against other prisoners. All the accused pleaded "not guilty".(Under German Law you do not plead, which was confusing to the accused.sic)
The trial ended on 14 August 1947 with the announcement of the sentence: death by hanging 22 times, five to life sentences and four imprisonment between ten and twenty years. After this main trial took place by the U.S. military tribunal at Dachau 25 additional processes for crimes at Buchenwald commenced, it was for the mistreatment of prisoners, the mass murder of Soviet prisoners of war, crimes committed  in satellite camps and during the evacuation marches which were subject of the indictment.
All rulings by the Buchwald process were then checked again on the basis of extensive documentary material presented . On June 8th, 1948  the Commander of the Armed Forces, General Lucius D. Clay, confirmed fifteen death sentences, and changed seven to life imprisonment . Until 1951, nine former members of the SS-Administration were executed. Camp Commandant Pister died in prison, the rest of the judgments after  a second amnesty their sentences came down to minor punishments(Bagatellstrafen). The defendants, with the exception of Ilse Koch, who was tried again by the district court in 1951 Augsburg had been sentenced to life imprisonment (she committed suicide later on sic) by  the mid-fifties almost of the defendants were all at liberty.

Buchenwald-Process of the Military Tribunal in Dachau 16.4.1947. The eight Military Judges were: From left,Morris,Robertson,Ackermann,Keil,Dwinell,Pierce,Dunning and Walker

The petition initiated for the SS perpetrators from all strata of the German people was unprecedented and found unlimited support for clemency-in one case an entire village signed up.  Outside the village they knew the perpetrators of the crimes only as good neighbors and fathers. No one could imagine them as initiators or commit mass murder, nor of any other misdemeanor. Their appearance seemed much more credible than the testimony of survivors.
From 1949 to 1965 the Federal Republic of Germany undertook further13 prosecutions for crimes concerning Buchenwald, two of them against former Häftlingskapos. Particularly in the public consciousness came the trial of Ilse Koch and Martin Sommer (1958 before the District Court of Bayreuth). In the GDR,(East Germany) especially the one in 1961 against the former SS Master Sergeant Wilhelm Schäfer raised large public interest. Schäfer was tried by the Supreme Court for his involvement in the shooting of Soviet prisoners, sentenced to death and executed.

After liberation, between 1945 and 10 February 1950, the camp was administered by the Soviet Union and served as a Special Camp No. 2 of the NKVD. It was part of a "special camps" network operating since 1945, formally integrated into the Gulag in 1948. Another infamous "special camp" in Soviet occupied Germany was the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen (special camp No. 7).
Between August 1945 and the dissolution on 1 March 1950, 28,455 prisoners, including 1,000 women, were held by the Soviet Union at Buchenwald. A total of 7,113 people died in Special Camp Number 2, according to the Soviet records.They were buried in mass graves in the woods surrounding the camp. Their relatives did not receive any notification of their deaths. Prisoners comprised alleged opponents of Stalinism, and alleged members of the Nazi party or Nazi organization, others were imprisoned due to identity confusion and arbitrary arrests. The NKVD would not allow any contacts of prisoners to the outside world and did not attempt to determine the guilt of any individual prisoner.
On 6 January 1950, Soviet Minister of Internal Affairs Kruglov ordered all special camps, including Buchenwald, to be handed over to the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Remains of Buchenwald. This image taken in winter, displays the area where prisoner huts were. To the right is the crematorium and in the background centre the "Hospital Block", where the main museum exhibits are housed today. 

Most of the camp was demolished in 1950.
In October 1950, it was decreed that the camp would be demolished. The main gate, the crematorium, the hospital block, and two guard towers escaped demolition. All prisoner barracks and other buildings were razed. Foundations of some still exist and many others have been rebuilt. According to the Buchenwald Memorial website, "the combination of obliteration and preservation was dictated by a specific concept for interpreting the history of Buchenwald Concentration Camp."

The first monument to victims was erected days after the initial liberation. Intended to be completely temporary, it was built by prisoners and was made of wood. A second monument to commemorate the dead was erected in 1958 by the GDR near the mass graves. Inside the camp, there is a living monument in the place of the first monument that is kept at skin temperature year round.sic]

Finally, I have endeavoured to be as objectively as possible in my narrative,without promoting one side or the other, events that took place and are now part of history, that some individuals will not or can not accept reality nor facts and I am willing to read their insults more with amazement of their latent Aryan Dogma than annoyance in  their criticism of me, which in the main misses the whole point that a "Völkermord" took place! See website post :http://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/ and look at the reply comments, any readers can judge for themselves.

to read the full blog posts please click the links bellow


Herbert Stolpmann January 2012

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