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Valkyrie
07-02-2010, 03:05 PM
I recently watched a documentary about Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre who has started Operation Last Chance.This is a concerted effort to bring Nazi war criminals to justice regardless of their age. The recent case of Heinrich Boere and the ongoing case of John Demjanuk are just two instances where alleged Nazis have been put on trial.Should old Nazis be put on trial or indeed extradited to the countries where they allegedly committed war crimes as in the case of Charles Zentai in Australia who is fighting extradition to Hungary.

Rising Sun*
07-03-2010, 05:30 AM
Should old Nazis be put on trial or indeed extradited to the countries where they allegedly committed war crimes as in the case of Charles Zentai in Australia who is fighting extradition to Hungary.

Zentai has just won the latest round in his fight against extradition, but it might be appealed.

For the record, Zentai was not a Nazi but a member of the Hungarian Army at the time of the alleged murder of a Jew.


PERTH man Charles Zentai says he is overwhelmed by a Federal Court ruling overturning his extradition on war crimes charges.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor's had ordered that he be extradited to Hungary over the murder of a Jewish teenager during World War II.

The court found Mr Zentai, 88, was not liable for extradition and it was beyond Mr O'Connor's jurisdiction to make the order.

Judge Neil McKerracher said the minister had failed to consider whether it would be "oppressive and incompatible with humanitarian considerations" to extradite Mr Zentai given his age, ill-health and the potential severity of punishment.

"It was fantastic," Mr Zentai said outside the court. "Something perhaps I haven't felt before, not for a long time anyhow."

He said he and his family had been "through hell" in the seven years since the Simon Wiesenthal Centre alleged he had killed Peter Balazs in Budapest in 1944.

His son, Ernie Steiner, said the federal government failed to look at the detail of the case.

"My father has suffered a huge injustice and I believe there may be grounds for compensation, but I'm not a lawyer," he said.

Mr Zentai had been on $75,000 bail after initially spending two months in a Perth prison from November last year when Mr O'Connor made his ruling.

The great-grandfather had appealed to the court to overturn Mr O'Connor's decision on the grounds he had not been charged with any offence by the Hungarian authorities and was merely wanted for questioning. But the commonwealth argued Mr O'Connor had been fulfilling Australia's obligations under its extradition treaty with Hungary.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Efraim Zuroff was stunned and described the decision as "strange".

"This means Australia has totally failed on the Nazi war crimes issue."

He said it was up to Hungary to continue pursuing the issue.

Mr Zentai has always denied killing Balazs.

Extradition proceedings began in 2005 when Hungary issued a warrant for his arrest. Mr O'Connor has 28 days to appeal. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/court-overrules-zentai-extradition/story-e6frg6nf-1225887317485

Rising Sun*
07-03-2010, 05:48 AM
Should old Nazis be put on trial or indeed extradited to the countries where they allegedly committed war crimes .....

I don't have a problem with it, but I live in a jurisdiction where there is no statute of limitations on major crimes such as murder and rape and I agree with the notion that some things are so bad that nobody should escape the law by the passage of time.

Also, if some bastard had exterminated my family a generation or two ago I'd think it was a very good idea.

The problems are that:

1. The effort devoted to most cases in the West is huge and the result usually small or nothing,
as with Zentai.
2. There is a huge degree of irony when the law in all its majesty defends the rights of bastards who
trampled upon the most basic human rights of their victims.
3. The legal process used now in jurisdictions which are not designed to deal with war crimes and
crimes against humanity lacks the efficiency of the war crimes tribunals.
4. The evidence is unreliable, whether because of witnesses' failing memories or bias in evidence
presented by some governments.
5. Prosecutions are absurdly selective as they target a miniscule number of all those who
committed such crimes.
6. Allied crimes are ignored.

Despite all that, I'm happy to see some old bastard shit him or her self for years under threat of extradition and better still be tried in the jurisdiction where he or she committed the crime. They've had about six or seven decades more life than that of their victims, so **** 'em!

PPSH1944
07-10-2010, 06:38 AM
I would totally agree with every thing Rising Sun said.

At this point in time teh vote is saying "leave the past in the past" but my view is these criminals had no worries about killing old people and children so why should we worry about prosecuting them when they are old?

Rising Sun*
07-10-2010, 06:48 AM
.... my view is these criminals had no worries about killing old people and children so why should we worry about prosecuting them when they are old?

Good point, and well stated.

boyne_water
07-10-2010, 11:00 AM
I think that there are times you have to start afresh,forget what happenrd to your kin,and hope the other side do to.(I used to live in nortern ireland)
However there are some crimes so horrible,it dosn,t matter how much time has passed you should be held accountable.

tankgeezer
07-10-2010, 11:41 AM
For those of the Nazi party who committed criminal acts, there should be no relief due to Statutes of Limitation. Whether the acts were a function of the Reich's policies, or of an individual nature should not bear on their status as criminals. All such people should be brought to trial to answer for their actions, and let justice under the law determine their fate. Perhaps the U.S. at least could use the RICO act to some benefit.

Rising Sun*
07-10-2010, 12:26 PM
I think that there are times you have to start afresh,forget what happenrd to your kin,and hope the other side do to.(I used to live in nortern ireland)

Agreed, but the problem is always that victor's justice applies.

There are many reasons to try some British forces in NI for various excesses and some deaths, but there are also many reasons to try the IRA and UDA etc for their exesses, notably kneecappings, and many deaths.

Rising Sun*
07-10-2010, 12:36 PM
For those of the Nazi party who committed criminal acts.

Why limit it to Nazi Party members?

I have read, and on a few occasions personally heard, many reliable accounts of Allied soldiers, including Australians and Americans in the Pacific, committing war crimes, albeit on a small scale compared with the Japanese.

There are many instances of such Allied war crimes mentioned in various Allied soldiers' memoirs (don't ask me to specify right now - it will take a bit of time if I have to dig out the references but there are many).

My natural sympathy is with the Allied troops, but if we're being fair they would be brought to account now as well as old Nazis.

tankgeezer
07-10-2010, 01:14 PM
I do agree, I was just speaking to the topic. It shouldn't matter which side a defaulter is on, such crimes have to be addressed, and dealt with, or one becomes their enemy.

Rising Sun*
07-10-2010, 01:50 PM
I do agree, I was just speaking to the topic. It shouldn't matter which side a defaulter is on, such crimes have to be addressed, and dealt with, or one becomes their enemy.

True, but for all my moral posturing I'm a lot less willing to prosecute, say, an Australian or American soldier who followed the well-founded practice of shooting an apparently wounded or dead Japanese in the head because of their past conduct in attacking Allied soldiers than prosecuting a Japanese (or Korean) who presided over, say, the Burma Railway where Allied soldiers and Asian labourers were rampantly exploited by the Japanese in the worst of inhumane conditions.

PPSH1944
07-10-2010, 02:10 PM
To boyne-water -

Yes that is a very valid point.

I am not an expert on NI so forgive my naiveity. However I think the solution there seemed pragmatic. As I saw it the criminals still got prosecuted and found guilty but were then let out early which to me at least let the victims feel a partial sense of justice whilst moving the whole political situation on.

Regarding these remaining criminals from WW2 at least if they go through a court process they will be unearthed for what they are in front of their friends, family and country and the victims relatives can feel a sense of justice - as can we all; whilst these people still live comfortable lives I feel a deep sense of injustice.

tankgeezer
07-10-2010, 06:46 PM
Operations against an armed and motivated enemy force can result in all manner of borderline actions, one does what one must, as the enemy certainly will. I was thinking of acts more along the lines of the ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE massacre, or Malmedy. Unarmed civilians, captured/surrendered soldiers incapable of defending themselves.

paynec87
07-26-2010, 07:53 AM
I recently read an article in a paper that stated that a German Man by the name of Klaas Faber, was a Nazi enthusiast who is being protected by the German government. He was an SS soldier who was involved in the Holocaust and was sentenced for war crimes against humanity.
He was sentenced to death for the murder of 22 people. But he did a runner. He now lives in Germany. This is wrong!

flamethrowerguy
07-26-2010, 11:51 AM
I recently read an article in a paper that stated that a German Man by the name of Klaas Faber, was a Nazi enthusiast who is being protected by the German government. He was an SS soldier who was involved in the Holocaust and was sentenced for war crimes against humanity.
He was sentenced to death for the murder of 22 people. But he did a runner. He now lives in Germany. This is wrong!

He was born Dutch but lost his Dutch citizenship due to his membership in the SS. The question is now if he was given the German citizenship, nobody seems to know...
Faber is another member of the Silbertanne command, Heinrich Boerer was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010.

Airartcsbailey
07-30-2010, 01:00 PM
Yes! justice knows no rest.

Deaf Smith
08-06-2010, 07:24 PM
There is no statute of limitations on murder, any murder. So yes, if you find them prosecute them! Even if they are in a wheelchair sucking oxygen!

To do less is to ignore the millions that died by their hands and to encourage later generations to follow that path.

heimwehr danzig
01-09-2011, 05:55 PM
When I was in university I wrote my dissertation on the idea of a statute of limitations for war crimes, so I found this a really interesting thread.
In my view, prosecutions such as the John Demanjuk case are tasteless and do nothing to reduce the likelihood of future genocides. The thing to remember is that those committing war crimes are often absolutely convinced that they are destined to be victorious, so potential future trials are of little imprortance to them at the time. The trials of former Nazis did not stop the genocides in Rwanda, Sudan or the former Yugoslavia.
True enough, they killed the elderly and vulnerable, but to say that we should therefore not show clemency to them on grounds of age or infirmity is to take a step down towards their level, even if there is not an exact moral equivilence.
Also, by this time, evens are often so cloudy in the minds of witnesses, and the paper trails so weak, that any conviction is potentially unsafe. Therefore, one is causing a lot of distress to both the alleged perpetrator and the victims, for no discernable gain.
I also feel that the prosecution of minor 'foot-soldiers' in the grand scheme of things is unjust. One simply cannot ignore the fact of following orders from higher authority, much as one may wish to. Those who issued the orders are long dead by whatever means, but for those sent to carry out such orders I see very little realistic alternative than to have complied.

Wizard
01-09-2011, 08:00 PM
When I was in university I wrote my dissertation on the idea of a statute of limitations for war crimes, so I found this a really interesting thread...

So what do you think an appropriate statute of limitations should be in the case of war crimes?

heimwehr danzig
01-10-2011, 01:15 PM
Hi Wizard,
Although I can see good arguments for having no statute of limitations on war crimes, I would summarise my personal view as below;
I think that you cannot have a limit on prosecuting a Hitler or Milosevic, but for a mid ranking officer (i.e. a KZ Commandant) I would think that after 10 years witness testimony would become so vague as to render a conviction potentially unsafe as events fade, appearances change etc. This is of course barring a very good paper trail, which would be easier in a modern scenario with electronic communications etc. For a junior soldier (i.e. Einsatzgruppen Trooper) I would think that unless there is a pressing reason to prosecute immediately upon cessation of hostilities (and by a neutral power) then I would not pursue charges.
This is only my personal opinion of course, but as I said I find the sight of agend former Nazis and foreign auxilliaries being brought to trial based on 60+ year old evidence distasteful.
I hope I have answered your question.

Wizard
01-10-2011, 01:48 PM
Hi Wizard,
Although I can see good arguments for having no statute of limitations on war crimes, I would summarise my personal view as below;
I think that you cannot have a limit on prosecuting a Hitler or Milosevic, but for a mid ranking officer (i.e. a KZ Commandant) I would think that after 10 years witness testimony would become so vague as to render a conviction potentially unsafe as events fade, appearances change etc. This is of course barring a very good paper trail, which would be easier in a modern scenario with electronic communications etc. For a junior soldier (i.e. Einsatzgruppen Trooper) I would think that unless there is a pressing reason to prosecute immediately upon cessation of hostilities (and by a neutral power) then I would not pursue charges.
This is only my personal opinion of course, but as I said I find the sight of agend former Nazis and foreign auxilliaries being brought to trial based on 60+ year old evidence distasteful.
I hope I have answered your question.

Well, you've expressed your personal opinion, but I find your reasoning unconvincing. It's a given that trials held long after the events in question are difficult to prosecute because of problems with witnesses, evidentiary issues, and even questions of identity, but this often works for, as well as, against the accused. I feel that as long as proper rules of evidence and the burden of proof are scrupulously observed, there should be no bar to prosecution because time has passed.

As for personally finding prosecution of aging war criminals distasteful, I agree, but my personal opinion is that it is far less "distasteful" to prosecute a suspected war criminal than to let the crimes go unpunished simply because the perpetrator has managed to evade justice for a long time.

heimwehr danzig
01-10-2011, 02:18 PM
Hello again,
I doubt that we shall convert one another on this point, but although I agree that matters of dispute may aid the accused, as indeed John Demanjuk was aided in Israel by doubts about his identity, the amount of stress placed upon these aged individuals and their families (who are innocent even if the accused is guilty) is out of proportion to the 'value' of these individuals to the crime as committed. They were not death camp commandants or einsatzgruppen leaders, but minor guards or low ranking foot soldiers. I think that those men still wanted for Nazi ear crimes are those whose part in the events was often so inconsequential that it is no longer just to put a vulnerable individual through such an ordeal. I think it risks becoming more about vengence than justice. Indeed (and please do correct me if I am wrong) did not Simon Wiesenthal himself say that all those men he wished to bring to justice were now behind bars or dead?
Kind regards,

Wizard
01-10-2011, 03:35 PM
Hello again,
I doubt that we shall convert one another on this point, but although I agree that matters of dispute may aid the accused, as indeed John Demanjuk was aided in Israel by doubts about his identity, the amount of stress placed upon these aged individuals and their families (who are innocent even if the accused is guilty) is out of proportion to the 'value' of these individuals to the crime as committed. They were not death camp commandants or einsatzgruppen leaders, but minor guards or low ranking foot soldiers. I think that those men still wanted for Nazi ear crimes are those whose part in the events was often so inconsequential that it is no longer just to put a vulnerable individual through such an ordeal. I think it risks becoming more about vengence than justice. Indeed (and please do correct me if I am wrong) did not Simon Wiesenthal himself say that all those men he wished to bring to justice were now behind bars or dead?
Kind regards,

Yes, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue.

I see no point in discriminating amongst war criminals on the basis of their rank or position at the time; murder is murder regardless of whether it is perpetrated by a corporal or ordered by a general who does not wish to get his hands dirty.

You have a valid point about putting stress on the families of suspected war criminals, but the perpetrator brings that on himself; it should be a consideration before the crime is committed. And justice is too important an issue to be ignored; state-administered justice is vital if we wish to avoid the barbarity of blood feuds and personal vendettas. Justice is a duty every state owes it's citizens.

Iron Yeoman
01-10-2011, 06:18 PM
Yes, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue.

I see no point in discriminating amongst war criminals on the basis of their rank or position at the time; murder is murder regardless of whether it is perpetrated by a corporal or ordered by a general who does not wish to get his hands dirty.

You have a valid point about putting stress on the families of suspected war criminals, but the perpetrator brings that on himself; it should be a consideration before the crime is committed. And justice is too important an issue to be ignored; state-administered justice is vital if we wish to avoid the barbarity of blood feuds and personal vendettas. Justice is a duty every state owes it's citizens.

Whole heartedly agree, as for the rank thing it has long been the legal position that 'I was only following orders..' is no excuse for committing war crimes.

Heimwehr danzig raises an interesting point about the passage of time affecting people's recollection of events. I would say evidence must be concrete, simply saying someone committed war crimes is not enough, you need solid proof.

That said old nazis should be and must be brought to justice. Just because it happened 60 odd years ago doesn't mean we should all forgive and forget. Personally, i'd string the old buggers up, but that's me.

Wizard
01-10-2011, 06:52 PM
...Heimwehr danzig raises an interesting point about the passage of time affecting people's recollection of events. I would say evidence must be concrete, simply saying someone committed war crimes is not enough, you need solid proof....

The whole rationale for a statute of limitations is that the passage of time makes it difficult to both prosecute and defend criminal cases. At some point, it becomes more trouble than it is considered worth to try old cases of a minor nature. But in heinous crimes such as murder, torture, maiming, etc. the interest in seeing justice done outweighs the trouble necessary to prosecute and defend old crimes; that is why there is no statute of limitations on murder.

War crimes, by their very nature, where the victims are usually completely helpless, most often fall into the heinous category. Moreover, because war crimes typically can't be resolved immediately, they frequently are not prosecuted until years later. To burden the prosecution with a finite time limit would mean that many war crimes could not be prosecuted at all.

Nickdfresh
01-10-2011, 07:25 PM
As far as the issue of prosecuting/not prosecuting lower ranking war criminals: what would be the dincentive of following illegal orders if one could hide long enough from it after the fact?

Uyraell
01-10-2011, 09:00 PM
As far as the issue of prosecuting/not prosecuting lower ranking war criminals: what would be the dincentive of following illegal orders if one could hide long enough from it after the fact?

But Nick, you ask a non-sequitor:
At the time the order was given, it was a valid order within the command structure in which it was issued.
Your question implicitly carries the assumption of retrograde illegality, cf Nuremberg Trials.

At the time the order is given, there is indeed no disincentive to follow it, beyond the innate humanity or inhumanity of the person receiving said order.
The corollary, however, is that there is a huge incentive to obey the order (however illegal it may later be determined to have been) in as much as: the person receiving the order will obey it in attempting to preserve themself from either prison sentence in a military prison, sentence to service in a Penal Unit, or Execution by Firing Squad.

The introduction of retroactive illegality at the Nuremberg trials tends in and of itself to cloud our thinking in these modern times.

While I agree some form of Justice-after-the-fact must be rendered, the entire issue of retroactive illegality is one that, imo, tends by its' very nature to detract from, rather than enhance Justice.

Those who committed warcrimes at the time should face Justice: in that much I agree. However: Justice should be rendered according to the laws of the *neutral and international non-victor nations* that existed at the time, and not by the legal legerdemain of retroactive illegality, which again, in and of itself tends to make those enforcing victor's justice near as bad as those they seek to prosecute, and certainly far far more selective in application of penalty than those they seek to prosecute.

*...* this also answers the point RS* raises when he states that Allied soldiers guilty of warcrimes should also, in all fairness and justice, be prosecuted.

Unfortunately, what it does not address, is the creation of a huge disincentive for any citizen of an Allied nation to then serve said nation in a military capacity in a time of conflict. I.E: Why be a soldier when being so can result in your imprisonment for obeying orders given by a superior who can and will have you imprisoned or executed for disobedience?
Is not this the root of the many, many hours recruits in the US and UK Forces spend in classes/lectures upon Military Law and Military Justice, and the UCMJ?

Kind and Respectful Regards Nick, Uyraell.

royal744
01-10-2011, 09:20 PM
There have been many accounts after the fact that if a soldier failed to kill defenseless soldiers or civilians, "they would have killed me." Maybe. I have also read of German Wehrmacht soldiers refusing to participate in such killings and permitted to not do so. One assumes that these were not SS who apparently had no such scruples. It is an undeniable fact that many tens of thousands of ex-SS who survived the war and raised children in its aftermath, lived to a ripe old age. Many apparently spent a lifetime lying about "what I did during the war" to outsiders, but many also apparently had to face the horrified awareness of their children of what the father had done. The book, "Born Guilty" supplies some interesting descriptions of what the childrens' reactions were. My personal belief is that the children are entirely innocent, but the parents definitely not. In addition to the approbium of the children, many must surely have eventually felt a terrible shame at having been so stupid and so gulled by Hitler. Of course, many thousands probably protested their innocence until the last breath. The parents managed to murder a lot of innocents - the figures are inexact but surely upwards of over 30 million. If I had the power, I would send all of the guilty to prison. I don't care how old they are.

Wizard
01-10-2011, 09:25 PM
But Nick, you ask a non-sequitor:
At the time the order was given, it was a valid order within the command structure in which it was issued.
Your question implicitly carries the assumption of retrograde illegality, cf Nuremberg Trials.

At the time the order is given, there is indeed no disincentive to follow it, beyond the innate humanity or inhumanity of the person receiving said order.
The corollary, however, is that there is a huge incentive to obey the order (however illegal it may later be determined to have been) in as much as: the person receiving the order will obey it in attempting to preserve themself from either prison sentence in a military prison, sentence to service in a Penal Unit, or Execution by Firing Squad.

The introduction of retroactive illegality at the Nuremberg trials tends in and of itself to cloud our thinking in these modern times.

While I agree some form of Justice-after-the-fact must be rendered, the entire issue of retroactive illegality is one that, imo, tends by its' very nature to detract from, rather than enhance Justice.

Those who committed warcrimes at the time should face Justice: in that much I agree. However: Justice should be rendered according to the laws of the *neutral and international non-victor nations* that existed at the time, and not by the legal legerdemain of retroactive illegality, which again, in and of itself tends to make those enforcing victor's justice near as bad as those they seek to prosecute, and certainly far far more selective in application of penalty than those they seek to prosecute.

*...* this also answers the point RS* raises when he states that Allied soldiers guilty of warcrimes should also, in all fairness and justice, be prosecuted.

Unfortunately, what it does not address, is the creation of a huge disincentive for any citizen of an Allied nation to then serve said nation in a military capacity in a time of conflict. I.E: Why be a soldier when being so can result in your imprisonment for obeying orders given by a superior who can and will have you imprisoned or executed for disobedience?
Is not this the root of the many, many hours recruits in the US and UK Forces spend in classes/lectures upon Military Law and Military Justice, and the UCMJ?

Kind and Respectful Regards Nick, Uyraell.

It's a false assumption that all orders are legal and legitimate simply because they are given in accordance with an existing legitimate command structure.

The underlying basis for rejecting the defense of "I was just following orders" is that orders which direct someone to engage in activities prohibited by the customs and conventions or war, or by duly enacted treaties which prohibit certain actions, are in themselves illegal. It is the duty of every military man to know the appropriate conventions of war and to judge for himself whether the orders of his superiors contravene those conventions. Otherwise he might easily find himself charged with war crimes and with no legitimate defense.

Nuremberg was not an example of "retroactive illegality" in that Germany had agreed to abide by certain conventions and treaties and with which her leaders subsequently failed to comply. An example would be the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed aggressive war. That was subsequently one of the charges against the senior Nazi Party members at Nuremberg.

Nickdfresh
01-10-2011, 10:07 PM
But Nick, you ask a non-sequitor:

I think you can disagree, but fail to see my question as a non sequitur...


At the time the order was given, it was a valid order within the command structure in which it was issued.
Your question implicitly carries the assumption of retrograde illegality, cf Nuremberg Trials.

Orders which contravene the rules of war are not in any way valid as was carefully explained to me as a soldier, especially ones which contravene various international conventions that one's country is a signatory too...


At the time the order is given, there is indeed no disincentive to follow it, beyond the innate humanity or inhumanity of the person receiving said order.
The corollary, however, is that there is a huge incentive to obey the order (however illegal it may later be determined to have been) in as much as: the person receiving the order will obey it in attempting to preserve themself from either prison sentence in a military prison, sentence to service in a Penal Unit, or Execution by Firing Squad.

So, they have the mindset of criminals that think they will never be caught and act with impunity of "just following orders"?


The introduction of retroactive illegality at the Nuremberg trials tends in and of itself to cloud our thinking in these modern times.

As pointed out here, the Nuremberg Trials were indeed not just cases of "retroactive illegality" as the Nazi Party not only violated international law, but simply ignored German criminal code in their murder of say, Jewish civilians...


While I agree some form of Justice-after-the-fact must be rendered, the entire issue of retroactive illegality is one that, imo, tends by its' very nature to detract from, rather than enhance Justice.

Those who committed warcrimes at the time should face Justice: in that much I agree. However: Justice should be rendered according to the laws of the *neutral and international non-victor nations* that existed at the time, and not by the legal legerdemain of retroactive illegality, which again, in and of itself tends to make those enforcing victor's justice near as bad as those they seek to prosecute, and certainly far far more selective in application of penalty than those they seek to prosecute.

*...* this also answers the point RS* raises when he states that Allied soldiers guilty of warcrimes should also, in all fairness and justice, be prosecuted.

Unfortunately, what it does not address, is the creation of a huge disincentive for any citizen of an Allied nation to then serve said nation in a military capacity in a time of conflict. I.E: Why be a soldier when being so can result in your imprisonment for obeying orders given by a superior who can and will have you imprisoned or executed for disobedience?
Is not this the root of the many, many hours recruits in the US and UK Forces spend in classes/lectures upon Military Law and Military Justice, and the UCMJ?

Kind and Respectful Regards Nick, Uyraell.

I would surmise that while the Allies certainly had their fair share of bastards, certain gov'ts--namely under authority of the U.S. Army--did investigate and prosecute murders of enemy prisoners in Sicily IIRC whereas the mass murder of Soviet prisoners was in fact Nazi state policy. While yes, there were horrors in respect to strategic and concentric bombing campaigns or the forced expulsion/ethnic cleansing of German-speaking civilians from parts of Eastern Europe for instance, the Allies were certainly able to prosecute the War and win it without resorting to the extent of wholesale excesses their enemies did...

Uyraell
01-11-2011, 03:28 AM
Nick, Wizard, I accept the reproof.
By and large, I agree with you, gentlemen, though I'm somewhat uneasy over a soldier having to choose, in the heat of the moment, between obeying an illegal order or being penalised for not doing so by his own side and risking later penalty from the enemy for same.
I do still see the Nuremberg trials as legal legerdemain, to a large extent, Kellog-Briand Pact notwithstanding.
I regard the Kellog-Briand Pact as just another piece of League of Nations/diplomatic idiocy, weak-kneed and pointless, since it was never going to be enforceable without resort to the same sort of legal legerdemain as was employed in the Nuremberg trials in any case.
I have never had any but the most extremely cynical view of the Kellog-Briand Pact. At its' most polite, I would describe the Kellog-Briand Pact as "Pointless utopian Diplomatic opium-dream Bullshit."

Kind and Respectful Regards my friends, Uyraell.

Rising Sun*
01-11-2011, 06:52 AM
The recent discussions are intelligent, well-informed, balanced and, most commendably, courteous on a topic which can polarise opinion between the "it's so long ago, let it go" and "it's so bad, it can never go unpunished" extremes. I agree generally with Wizard and similar views, but I can see the reason in opposing views.

However, let's go beyond the essentially legalistic issues raised so far and look at it from the perspective of the victim.

If you were a relative of an orphaned child such as some of these, or the seventy year old adult now who was a child such as these,


http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/4683/holocaustchildren.jpg (http://img39.imageshack.us/i/holocaustchildren.jpg/)


who were victims of a monstrous campaign of racist and religious inhumanity and extermination, would you think that those responsible for it should not be brought to account for their evil actions?

I realise that I'm introducing a degree of emotion into a so far largely dispassionate discussion, but isn't it emotion, in the sense of a gut response of what is right and wrong, which informs most of our views about what is and is not just?

Why shouldn't the victim or his or her surviving relatives be allowed to see justice (whatever that means, which may be a different discussion) visited upon the wrongdoer?

Why should the distress charges about ancient crimes may cause the families (and in cases where the allegations are accurate, the unfortunately deluded families) outweigh the legitimate desire of the victim's surviving families to see the offender brought to justice?

Put yourself in the position of a survivor of whichever of the many pieces of criminal bastardry occurred during WWII when the person, now aged at least well into his eighties, who committed that piece of criminal bastardry has been identified. He's had about seven decades of life denied to those he killed. Do you say that you forgive him for killing one of your parents and agree that he should be allowed to live out the remainder of his life in peace, so that his old age and the comfort of his family won't be disturbed? Or do you think the bastard has had an outstandingly good run and he's long overdue to be brought to account, regardless of his age?

Or, to put it in a different context where legitimate outrage against an offender encourages many people to pay no attention to the defendant's age at the time of trial, do you think that a paedophile who has raped dozens of children during the preceding seventy years should not stand trial because he's too old? If you think he should stand trial, why shouldn't people accused of serious war crimes and crimes against humanity? If you think aged war criminals etc shouldn't stand trial, why do you think the aged paedophile shouldn't be prosecuted?

If you think that we should now take account of the special circumstances of WWII to refrain from prosecuting crimes which occurred during it, can you explain why it would be acceptable not to prosecute an Allied soldier for executing an Axis prisoner when at the same time the civil legal system in the Allied soldier's country did not alter its legal system to modify the law on murder to accommodate the special circumstances of the war affecting civil society?

Wizard
01-11-2011, 12:31 PM
Nick, Wizard, I accept the reproof.
By and large, I agree with you, gentlemen, though I'm somewhat uneasy over a solider having to choose, in the heat of the moment, between obeying an illegal order or being penalised for not doing so by his own side and risking later penalty from the enemy for same.
I do still see the Nuremberg trials as legal legerdemain, to a large extent, Kellog-Briand Pact notwithstanding.
I regard the Kellog-Briand Pact as just another piece of League of Nations/diplomatic idiocy, weak-kneed and pointless, since it was never going to be enforceable without resort to the same sort of legal legerdemain as was employed in the Nuremberg trials in any case.
I have never had any but the most extremely cynical view of the Kellog-Briand Pact. At its' most polite, I would describe the Kellog-Brand Pact as "Pointless utopian Diplomatic opium-dream Bullshit."

Kind and Respectful Regards my friends, Uyraell.

Well, we've established that you don't think much of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But it was just one example, and perhaps not the best one, of several conventions and treaties which existed before the Nazi's willfully violated them even though the German government had previously agreed to abide by them. In any case, the charges against the German leadership at Nuremberg were not applications of retroactive law.

Whatever the shortcomings of the Nuremberg trials, and there were flaws, I think they were necessary steps to a new, if imperfect, international order in which some standards of civilized behavior can be enforced. Just as the principles of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence evolved over several centuries, I think commonly accepted principles of law regarding crimes committed in the pursuit of war will eventually evolve; either that or we will all descend once again into hopeless barbarism.

Regards

Deaf Smith
01-11-2011, 07:05 PM
There is no statute of limitation on murder. And murder they did.

Hunt them down like dogs no mater how old they are.

Deaf

heimwehr danzig
01-13-2011, 03:14 PM
I do understand what an emotive topic this is, but I do not see how you can retain the moral high ground when bringing an old man into court when he is unable even to stand or to breathe without an oxygen tank. Surely the sight of John Demanjuk looking so pitiful in the courtroom in Germany sent a clear message that the time has come to lay this episode of history to rest.
That being said, can I trust that those who feel that these men should be tried regardless of age or infirmity would say the same about the German government seeking charges against allied troops or officers for killing of German p.o.ws or civilians?

Wizard
01-13-2011, 04:06 PM
I do understand what an emotive topic this is, but I do not see how you can retain the moral high ground when bringing an old man into court when he is unable even to stand or to breathe without an oxygen tank. Surely the sight of John Demanjuk looking so pitiful in the courtroom in Germany sent a clear message that the time has come to lay this episode of history to rest.
That being said, can I trust that those who feel that these men should be tried regardless of age or infirmity would say the same about the German government seeking charges against allied troops or officers for killing of German p.o.ws or civilians?

The old Nazi's and Nazi sympathizers who are brought into court look no more pitiful than did their victims during WW II; helpless men women and children forced to stand around naked while their executioners prepared to murder them.

And murder is murder no matter who commits it. If any government has evidence of war crimes it should be brought forth.

Deaf Smith
01-13-2011, 10:17 PM
but I do not see how you can retain the moral high ground when bringing an old man into court when he is unable even to stand or to breathe without an oxygen tank.

Right Wizard, I agree. There are many pictures of old Jewish men being shot in the back of the head by the Nazis. The Nazis didn't have any compassion for their victims then, so why should we have compassion for them now?

They reaped what they sowed and I have not one ounce of pity for them.

Deaf

Rising Sun*
01-14-2011, 08:28 AM
Right Wizard, I agree. There are many pictures of old Jewish men being shot in the back of the head by the Nazis. The Nazis didn't have any compassion for their victims then, so why should we have compassion for them now?

I have compassion for old and allegedly bewildered (we've had a couple here who've played the same bewildered card, which perhaps deserves scepticism when one knows a little more about them) people required to front courts on ancient charges. It would be terrible if they were innocent and were being hounded in their dotage, and didn't have the recall to defend themselves.

I also have a commitment to justice for the dead. And if the old and bewildered now are responsible for those the Nazis, and others, murdered, then they should undergo the legal process, no matter how burdensome it may be for them.

After all, our legal processes are impossibly better than the extra-judicial executions those people are accused of committing.

Nobody here opposed a 76 year old man being sent to gaol for murdering his wife http://manningham-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/keen-to-go-back-home/ or a paedophile priest being stuck in gaol until he's at least 79 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/pedophile-priest-sorry/story-e6frf7kx-1111113008658 so I don't see why anyone should oppose old people who've done far, far worse standing trial and, if convicted, finally doing their time.

heimwehr danzig
01-14-2011, 02:26 PM
What appears to be forgotten is that the examples quoted above did not have any duress placed upon them to commit their crimes. Nazi soldiers faced enourmous pressure to follow orders, both from superiors and comrades. I will grant you that it is often quoted that no one was ever shot for refusing to shoot Jews etc, but men in the field were not to know that.
We need to discriminate between the senior leaders of a regime and the men unfortunate enough to find themselvers ordered to commit horrendous tasks.
No one ever signed up for an Einsatzgruppen, except the top commanders. I suggest reading "Ordinary Men - the story of police battalion 101" and you will see exactly how ordinary these men were. Imagine you find yourself faced with this terrible moral dilemma and fear that if you do not pull that trigger you may never see your loved ones again.

boyne_water
01-14-2011, 02:41 PM
I read Ordinary Men a few years ago,and a very good read it was.But i seem to remember that at the very first action(murder?) that the C.O. gave all the men the chance to refuse to take part.

Several did decline and as was promised suffered no penalties.What about the guilt of those who did take part,were they only obeying orders.

If i,m mistaken in my recollection of the book please feel free to correct me.

heimwehr danzig
01-14-2011, 03:25 PM
Hi Boyne Water,
You are quite right about the offer to decline participation in the killings, I believe that particular c.o. made the offer on more than one occasion, but he was later replaced and the offers to avoid shooting ended. Some men still managed to evade the duty though.
As to the men who did not decline to shoot, they may have felt that they would face scorn from their comrades if they did not shoot. That may seem a poor excuse to shoot somebody, but I daresay they felt the pressure to comply was considerable.

boyne_water
01-14-2011, 03:41 PM
I would say it was a very poor excuse and i don,t think peer pressure could be used as a defense or even as mitigation.

I understand what your saying about it being along time ago and the few left being old men,but the crimes that were comitted by the nazi regime were so monsterous that just prosecutions must continue imho.

heimwehr danzig
01-14-2011, 03:51 PM
I don't doubt that peer pressure is not admissable as a defence in law, however I think that when assessing whether or not a case should be prosecuted it should be amongst the things considered. Is it reasonable from 60+ years distance to say that an SS private should have been able to avoid an unpleasant or objectionable task in front of his superior officers and fellow soldiers because he found it immoral?
We cannot understand what the victims suffered, but nor do I think we can truly understand how the perpetrators felt.
It is so easy to condemn, sometimes it is best to err on the side of mercy. Whether they did or not.
Each to their own though Sir, of course.

skorzeny57
01-14-2011, 04:48 PM
The modern trends and the present ways of thinking, entitle us to pass judgement on everybody and everything. Confortably sunk into his armchair, the modern man acquits or convicts... And he decides who's good and who's evil.
But, in doing this, how many try to really consider all the factors that lay heavy over the material executors of that crimes? I really agree with you, heimwher danzig, when you talk about the enormous pressure that they had to face, the dreadful moral dilemma and the fear they couldn't never see again their families. I've been thinking a lot of times, about this kind of things but, honestly, i didn't find anything. In every war, even the modern ones, there are crimes, sometimes brutals and horrifyings. Probably, the only thing that we are certain is that, from the point of view of the single man, the wae itself is a crime...
Best things to all of you.

boyne_water
01-14-2011, 06:13 PM
I agree that i have never shared the same presure as any kind of soldiier,but im pretty certain i would never become genocidal.
Like everbody else i have my own likes and dislikes but it would never involve the death of millions because they are or think differently from me

by the way. helmwehr danzig,please exuse me for not saying hi in my first response

heimwehr danzig
01-14-2011, 06:24 PM
Thank you Boyne Water, no apology is necessary I assure you. I must say, this forum is a very civilised place!
I agree with you that none of us feel we would ever commit genocide, but war places ordinary men into extraordinary circumstances. This turns some into heroes and some into criminals. Often there was no indication before the war that these men were capable of extremes for good or ill.
My point is that although soldiers must be disciplined and should always act decently towards prisoners, civilians etc, war is also a unique environment where it is possible for the lines between what is acceptable and what is not to become blurred. Those who commit crimes should be held to account, but it is important to do this as soon as possible after the events occurred.
Therefore, as we sit in the comfort of the 21st century, can we really sit in judgement over those men who were unfortunate enough to live in the 'interesting times' with which we are so engaged?

Wizard
01-14-2011, 06:27 PM
...But, in doing this, how many try to really consider all the factors that lay heavy over the material executors of that crimes? I really agree with you, heimwher danzig, when you talk about the enormous pressure that they had to face, the dreadful moral dilemma and the fear they couldn't never see again their families....

From what I've read about the men in the Nazi war machine who perpetrated the horrendous crimes of mass murder and torture, they were under no extraordinary, and in fact, surprisingly little, pressure to commit those crimes. The Nazi officials who oversaw these programs of genocide were extremely solicitous of the feelings and mental health of those tasked with repeated murders. Men who felt a moral compunction not to commit these crimes were never forced to do so.

As for the possibility of never seeing their families again, that was something that every soldier in every combat zone around the world faced as a routine. It was not a threat that the Nazi officials held against men who refused to take part in mass murders. There may have been a kind of peer pressure exerted to shame some members of the murder formations into participating in these heinous acts, but that is a feeble and pathetic excuse for doing so.

The real reason most of these men participated is that they saw no moral reason not to; they felt no compassion for their fellow human beings. In short, they exhibited no humanity and no common decency. In my opinion, they are deserving of no consideration whatsoever.

Wizard
01-14-2011, 06:38 PM
...Therefore, as we sit in the comfort of the 21st century, can we really sit in judgement over those men who were unfortunate enough to live in the 'interesting times' with which we are so engaged?

The answer is a resounding YES!!

We have to, otherwise justice has no meaning and the civilized standards we wish to promote will whither and be lost.

I agree that every war criminal regardless of side should be punished and that justice should be done as quickly as possible. But it should be remembered that war crimes are not like most murders which, in the huge majority of cases, are solved and brought to trial within a few weeks or months of the crime. War crimes often languish for years or even decades before evidence can be gathered, evaluated, and acted upon, and this is usually through no fault of the authorities. War criminals routinely hide in third countries under assumed names and try to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. Justice should not be thwarted simply because they have been successful in doing so.

heimwehr danzig
01-14-2011, 06:41 PM
Forgive me sir, but if my commanding officer has just ordered me to participate in an act of mass murder, what ever should give me the idea that a man capable of issuing such an order would have the slightest sympathy for my moral scruples at not wishing to carry it out?
We have discussed the offer to avoid such duties in Police Battalion 101, as far as I know this was a unique case of an understanding officer and not common practice.
True, men like Bach-Zelewski were concerned about the mental health of the Einsatzgruppe personnel, but even if this were to extend to transfering those who could not face the killings, how many men would feel able to raise the matter with their superiors.
I feel there will have been many tragic cases (and I use that term deliberately) of perfectly decent men, who felt they had no choice but to follow orders, even when they were abhorrent to their conscience.
We can count ourselves very fotunate indeed not to have faced the same choices.
These events occurred, and they were wrong. Some of those responsible died in the war, others were brought to justice and some were not. Still remaining are a tiny handful of those who played only the most tiny parts in these events, we bring none of the dead back to life by the pursuit of frail old men for the crimes of over half a century ago.

skorzeny57
01-14-2011, 06:46 PM
The matter, this is my humble opinion, isn't to decide if we would do it or not... I'm pretty sure that i would never kill innocent people, exactly like you boyne_water. The question, not very easy to answer, is " does it still make sense to bring an old man to court, for a crime that was committed about seventy years ago?" And about the poor victims, his supposed conviction wouldn't never bring back to life... And, someone thinks that the revenge has really a good taste?
Best regards.

boyne_water
01-14-2011, 07:03 PM
Forgive me sir, but if my commanding officer has just ordered me to participate in an act of mass murder, what ever should give me the idea that a man capable of issuing such an order would have the slightest sympathy for my moral scruples at not wishing to carry it out?
this is only part of the post do not read it out of context,please read above

your on moral wellbeing
my reply was only to the above

Wizard
01-14-2011, 07:42 PM
Forgive me sir, but if my commanding officer has just ordered me to participate in an act of mass murder, what ever should give me the idea that a man capable of issuing such an order would have the slightest sympathy for my moral scruples at not wishing to carry it out?
We have discussed the offer to avoid such duties in Police Battalion 101, as far as I know this was a unique case of an understanding officer and not common practice.
True, men like Bach-Zelewski were concerned about the mental health of the Einsatzgruppe personnel, but even if this were to extend to transfering those who could not face the killings, how many men would feel able to raise the matter with their superiors.
I feel there will have been many tragic cases (and I use that term deliberately) of perfectly decent men, who felt they had no choice but to follow orders, even when they were abhorrent to their conscience.
We can count ourselves very fotunate indeed not to have faced the same choices.
These events occurred, and they were wrong. Some of those responsible died in the war, others were brought to justice and some were not. Still remaining are a tiny handful of those who played only the most tiny parts in these events, we bring none of the dead back to life by the pursuit of frail old men for the crimes of over half a century ago.

There were men who questioned the orders for mass murder and were not punished or threatened as a result; that should give others a pretty good idea that negative consequences would not be severe.

What do you mean by "a tiny handful of those who played only the most tiny parts in these events"? Do you mean, they simply pulled the trigger a few times? Or only once? Or that they only ordered the doomed victims to disrobe? Or that they only drove the trucks, or shoveled the dirt over the dying victims? It's for a jury to decide their individual degree of guilt and an appropriate punishment.

Any man who killed innocent victims, or assisted those who did, or who enabled the murderers, should be tried. There is no statute of limitations on murder, so it doesn't matter if it has been ten years or fifty years since the crime; justice still waits yto be done.

Wizard
01-14-2011, 07:51 PM
The matter, this is my humble opinion, isn't to decide if we would do it or not... I'm pretty sure that i would never kill innocent people, exactly like you boyne_water. The question, not very easy to answer, is " does it still make sense to bring an old man to court, for a crime that was committed about seventy years ago?" And about the poor victims, his supposed conviction wouldn't never bring back to life... And, someone thinks that the revenge has really a good taste?
Best regards.

So where do you draw the line?

If the perpetrator is able to avoid justice for 70 years, he get's off scot free? Of course, prosecuting the perpetrator will never bring the victim back to life, it never does, but does that mean we should not attempt to render justice? Of course not. Should a man escape justice and due punishment simply because he is now old? I don't see any logic in that reasoning.

If you don't do justice simply because the perpetrator is now old or because of the realization that no act will bring the victim back to life, when will justice be done? Forgiving is one thing, but it should only be done once the perpetrator has acknowledged his crime, been punished, and asked for forgiveness.

Deaf Smith
01-14-2011, 10:36 PM
I have compassion for old and allegedly bewildered (we've had a couple here who've played the same bewildered card, which perhaps deserves scepticism when one knows a little more about them) people required to front courts on ancient charges. It would be terrible if they were innocent and were being hounded in their dotage, and didn't have the recall to defend themselves.

I also have a commitment to justice for the dead. And if the old and bewildered now are responsible for those the Nazis, and others, murdered, then they should undergo the legal process, no matter how burdensome it may be for them.

After all, our legal processes are impossibly better than the extra-judicial executions those people are accused of committing.

Nobody here opposed a 76 year old man being sent to gaol for murdering his wife http://manningham-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/keen-to-go-back-home/ or a paedophile priest being stuck in gaol until he's at least 79 http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/pedophile-priest-sorry/story-e6frf7kx-1111113008658 so I don't see why anyone should oppose old people who've done far, far worse standing trial and, if convicted, finally doing their time.

Right. And just as important punishment is also to send a message. In this case to would-be tyrants that no matter what, no matter where you go, no matter how long you hide, THEY WILL FIND YOU.

And that is why Hitler, Goering, Himmer, Goebbels, and others took the suicide route. They knew what was instore for them and saying, "I was only following orders" would not cut it.

Deaf

heimwehr danzig
01-15-2011, 04:28 AM
I think we should also bear in mind how these things get going. It is not something you do on your first day out of Bad Tolz, this is something into which a man can be inexorably drawn, and it is very difficult to extricate oneself once enmeshed in this way.
Consider, an SS man enters a village with his unit. His c.o. orders all men of military age and all communists etc to be shot. He explains they are a security risk, and must die so German troops will be safe. True, they are unarmed, but you assume he may be right, so you pull the trigger.
The next day, he orders you to shoot the young women. Why? Under the wicked bolshevik system a woman can be a soldier too, so these are not like our German women, they are a risk. Well, maybe he's right, so you pull the trigger a second time.
Then on the third day, he orders you to shoot the old and the children. Why? The children will grow to be avengers, and the elderly, it is kinder to shoot them than let them starve. This is too much, so you ask to be releived...but you are already a murderer he tells you. You have killed defenceless men and women already, because you beleived in your superiors. You are trapped.
If the killers were as cold and brutal as assumed, why did they need to be fortified with drink, why did they suffer mental breakdowns?
I daresay that if such horrors had occurred to my family I would probably agree that age should be no barrier, but would I truly be after justice, or revenge?

Rising Sun*
01-15-2011, 05:57 AM
1. I'm with Wizard and Deaf Smith.

2. heimwehr danzig

I understand your reasoning from the 'it's all too long ago - let it be - what is gained from persecuting old people' modern viewpoint.

However, it is fallacious because it is based on ignoring the historical fact that Nazism advocated and committed various forms of crimes against humanity which were repugnant to the philosophical outlook and the social and political systems in the Allied nations, even if the Allied nations were found wanting in various degrees in their own observance of their high-minded principles. The Allied social and political views were subsequently enshrined as internationally agreed humanitarian standards only a few years after the war by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a direct response to the evils perpetrated by the Nazis, which confirmed the international condemnation of the Nazis' crimes.

We may be able to understand how people involved in abominable acts and or criminal organisations, be they the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis or my local Vietnamese / outlaw bikie / Lebanese / whatever drug importers and dealers and merciless thugs, are products of their personal history and circumstances.

But the fact remains that they chose that course and they bear the consequences when required to answer to the law, which represents the values of ordinary decent people and their condemnation of outrageous crimes.

As for it being too long ago, I live in a city which has perhaps the greatest proportion of Holocaust survivors outside Israel. If you know any of them, you know that every day they still suffer from the actions of Nazi, and others such as some French and Polish and Hungarian etc bastards, under the anti-Semitic umbrella of the Nazis. I don't see why the bastards who caused that suffering, who generally are about the same age as those still suffering who were adults or late teenagers at the time of the crimes, shouldn't face the proper justice they denied their victims.

Rising Sun*
01-15-2011, 06:54 AM
I think we should also bear in mind how these things get going. It is not something you do on your first day out of Bad Tolz, this is something into which a man can be inexorably drawn, and it is very difficult to extricate oneself once enmeshed in this way.
Consider, an SS man enters a village with his unit. His c.o. orders all men of military age and all communists etc to be shot. He explains they are a security risk, and must die so German troops will be safe. True, they are unarmed, but you assume he may be right, so you pull the trigger.
The next day, he orders you to shoot the young women. Why? Under the wicked bolshevik system a woman can be a soldier too, so these are not like our German women, they are a risk. Well, maybe he's right, so you pull the trigger a second time.
Then on the third day, he orders you to shoot the old and the children. Why? The children will grow to be avengers, and the elderly, it is kinder to shoot them than let them starve. This is too much, so you ask to be releived...but you are already a murderer he tells you. You have killed defenceless men and women already, because you beleived in your superiors. You are trapped.
If the killers were as cold and brutal as assumed, why did they need to be fortified with drink, why did they suffer mental breakdowns?

You're assuming that they left Bad Tolz as poor little innocents reluctant to do anything nasty until forced to by evil commanders.

They didn't join the SS because they were strident opponents of Nazism who just happened to be converted to killing people they didn't like by small steps.

One of the pre-requisites for joining the SS was adherence to National Socialist beliefs. Which included a slew of beliefs about Aryan (i.e. German) racial superiority; anti-Jewish on every front; the Jewish-Communist conspiracy; the Communist, notably Russian, threat; anti-Catholicism; and generally hatred for and elimination of everyone who wasn't like them.

(Bad Tolz wasn't the best example you could have used. It was a school for SS officer candidates. They were going to be the ones giving the orders to men, not the supposedly good men obeying them as they were slowly drawn into badness.)


but would I truly be after justice, or revenge?

I don't care all that much.

Revenge is something the individual rarely gets to wreak upon the wrongdoer, but I'm all in favour of it if someone gets the chance. Naturally I have to pay lip service to the evils of vigilante justice, but if I got the opportunity to put a bullet into the head of some bastard who had done the same to someone close to me I'd reckon it was a great day and too good an opportunity to let pass. If there was any justice, I wouldn't be prosecuted for it

In the meantime, what we call the justice (but really is only a legal) system has to do.

Nickdfresh
01-15-2011, 01:01 PM
Not that I find this thread uninteresting, but arguing points here ad nauseum seems a tad silly. Whether or not men whom were of lower rank participated in atrocities should be prosecuted for said atrocities (if possible) is one thing. But I think such prosecutions have been rare as even higher ranking SS commanders largely got off after well document massacres of British, American, and Canadian POWs, including the perpetrators of the Malmedy Massacre who were released Scott-free after being 'victimized' by their U.S. Army C.I.C. investigators unprofessional and ill advised conduct--which even at its worst never approached their ad hoc machine-gunning and bayoneting of defenseless men. So the arguing of hypothetical as relevant here seems clap trappish to me. Few if any "brave, heroic" older SS veterans have ever been prosecuted for whatever War crimes they may or may not have committed. So I don't see why it would even be an issue at this point in history. Even in the instance of the La Paradis Massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Paradis_massacre) of British Tommies near Dunkirk, only the senior SS bastard was hanged, not the individuals who did most of the actual murdering..

heimwehr danzig
01-15-2011, 05:22 PM
(Bad Tolz wasn't the best example you could have used. It was a school for SS officer candidates. They were going to be the ones giving the orders to men, not the supposedly good men obeying them as they were slowly drawn into badness.).

Ha, touche sir!

Deaf Smith
01-15-2011, 11:00 PM
heimwehr,

They danced with the devil and they thought there would be no consequences.

Some may have the 'excuse' they followed orders to shoot men, then women, and later sort of blackmailed into shooting children and the elderly.

But you will find in a court of law, even in the U.S., where the prosecution has to prove beyond a 'reasonable doubt', that once you have admitted you did the deed, then it's the defendant who has to prove they had a justification (it’s called affirmative defense.)

And I most sincerely doubt the ex-SS killers would be able to prove they were blackmailed.

And it’s more than revenge (though revenge does have therapeutic value.)

It’s a) making sure they offenders never offend again,
b) give society a sense of justice, and
c) send a message to all would-be killers that what happened to the ones caught would happen to them, sooner or later.

And in fact that is pretty much what most criminal law is about.

Rehabilitation? Hah! Prisons are very poor places for that (more like training grounds for hardened criminals.)

But, all the above must happen or society will break down into lawlessness.

Deaf

heimwehr danzig
01-16-2011, 09:06 AM
Hi all,
It's been really interesting so far discussing these issues with you all...even though we don't always see eye to eye. If the moderators don't object to me pitching another thread in this topic, I would like to invite your opinions on an older but still very controversial war crimes case.
I have begun a thread in the 'Other Wars' section on the Australian poet and convicted war criminal Breaker Morant and the request for a posthumous pardon.
If those of you with an interest in war crimes would like to share your views on this topic too I would be really grateful for your input.
Kind regards,