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Otto Ohlendorf and Heinz Jost
The Einsatzgruppen Trial' (or, officially, The United States of America vs. Otto Ohlendorf, et al.) was the ninth of the twelve trials for war crimes the U.S.marker authorities held in their occupation zone in Germanymarker in Nurembergmarker after the end of World War II. These twelve trials were all held before U.S. military courts, not before the International Military Tribunalmarker, but took place in the same rooms at the Palace of Justicemarker. The twelve U.S. trials are collectively known as the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials" or, more formally, as the "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals" (NMT).

The case

The Einsatzgruppenmarker were SSmarker mobile death squads, operating behind the front line in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. From 1941 to 1943 alone, they murdered more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of "partisans", Roma, disabled persons, political commissars, and others. The 24 defendants in this trial were all officers of these Einsatzgruppen and faced mass murder charges. The tribunal stated in its judgment:

The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal II-A, were Michael A. Musmanno (presiding judge) from Pennsylvaniamarker, John J. Speight from Alabamamarker, and Richard D. Dixon from North Carolinamarker. The Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution was Telford Taylor; the Chief Prosecutor for this case was Benjamin B. Ferencz. The indictment was filed initially on July 3 and then amended on July 29, 1947 to also include the defendants Steimle, Braune, Hänsch. Strauch, Klingelhöfer, and von Radetzky. The trial lasted from September 29, 1947 until April 10, 1948.

Indictment

  1. Crimes against humanity through persecutions on political, racial, and religious grounds, murder, extermination, imprisonment, and other inhumane acts committed against civilian populations, including German nationals and nationals of other countries, as part of an organized scheme of genocide.
  2. War crimes for the same reasons, and for wanton destruction and devastation not justified by military necessity.
  3. Membership in criminal organizations, the SSmarker, the SDmarker, or the Gestapomarker, which had been declared criminal organizations previously in the international Nuremberg Military Tribunals.


All defendants were charged on all counts. All defendants pleaded "not guilty". The tribunal found all of them guilty on all counts, except Rühl and Graf, who were found guilty only on count 3.

Defendants

Name Photo Function Sentence 1951 Amnesty
Otto Ohlendorf SSmarker Gruppenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe Dmarker Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Heinz Jost SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A Lifetime imprisonment commuted to 10 years; died 1964
Erich Naumann SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Otto Rasch SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD and the Gestapo; commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe C Removed from the trial on February 5 , 1948 due to medical reasons Died 1 November 1948
Erwin Schulz (DE) SS Brigadeführer; member of the Gestapo; commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 5 of Einsatzgruppe C 20 years commuted to 15 years; released 9 January 1954-died 1981
Franz Six SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Vorkommando Moscow of Einsatzgruppe B 20 years commuted to 15 years; released 30 September 1952-Died 1975
Paul Blobel SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Walter Blume SS Standartenführer; member of the SD and the Gestapo; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7a of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to 25 years; released 1955 died 1974
Martin Sandberger SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 1a of Einsatzgruppe A Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment, released in 1958
Willy Seibert (DE) SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; Deputy Chief of Einsatzgruppe D Death by hanging commuted to 15 years
Eugen Steimle (DE) SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7a of Einsatzgruppe B and of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C Death by hanging commuted to 20 years; released June 1954; died 1987
Ernst Biberstein SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment, released in 1958 {died 1986}
Werner Braune (DE) SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD and the Gestapo;commanding officer of Sonderkommando 11b of Einsatzgruppe D Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Walter Haensch (DE) SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C Death by hanging commuted to 15 years
Gustave Nosske (DE) SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the Gestapo; commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D Lifetime imprisonment commuted to 10 years; died 1990
Adolf Ott (DE) SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released 9 May 1958
Eduard Strauch SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 2 of Einsatzgruppe A Death by hanging ; handed over to Belgianmarker authorities; died in hospital 11 September 1955.  
Emil Haussmann SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; officer of Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D Committed suicide before the arraignment on July 31, 1947  
Waldemar Klingelhöfer SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released 1956-died 1980
Lothar Fendler SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C 10 years ; reduced to 8 years commuted to 8 years
Waldemar von Radetzky (DE) SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C 20 years released
Felix Rühl SS Hauptsturmführer; member of the Gestapo; officer of Sonderkommando 10b of Einsatzgruppe D 10 years released
Heinz Schubert (DE) SS Obersturmführer; member of the SD; officer in Einsatzgruppe D Death by hanging commuted to 10 years
Mathias Graf SS Untersturmführer; member of the SD; officer in Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe D Time already served  


 Rasch had to be removed from the courtroom during the arraignment due to his poor health; he was arraigned separately on September 22, 1947.


 Strauch suffered an epileptic attack during the arraignment on September 15, 1947. His defense later tried to get him removed from the trial on medical grounds, but the tribunal dismissed this, stating that Strauch's testimonies (which he did give subsequently) were coherent and showed no reason why he shouldn't be mentally capable to stand trial.


 While Fendler was found guilty on all counts, the tribunal considered the evidence presented insufficient to prove that he ordered or helped plan the killings. He seems to have held primarily an office post.


 Rühl was found guilty only on count 3; regarding counts 1 and 2, the tribunal found him not guilty, stating that as a subaltern officer, he was not responsible for the atrocities committed by Einsatzgruppe D and in no position to prevent them, and although he knew of the killings, it could not be proved that he directly participated in them.


 Graf was found guilty only of membership in the SD. He had actually been expelled from the SS for "general indifference to the organization"  Nuremberg Military Tribunal, United States of America vs. Otto Ohlendorf, et. al. ("Einsatzgruppen trial"), Judgment, at pages 585-586.] and later had tried to be relieved from the SD. On counts 1 and 2, he was also found not guilty, because as a noncommissioned officer, he had never held any command post, and in fact even refused one once.


Of the 14 death sentences, only four were carried out; the others were commuted to prison terms of varying lengths in 1951. In 1958, all convicts were released from prison.

Quotes

From the tribunal's judgment:

Notes

See also



References



Further reading

Rome", 52 Journal of International Affairs, No. 2, Columbia University, Spring, 1999,

External links




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