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Schuultz
06-20-2009, 04:28 PM
From Spiegel.de:


Rehabilitation of NS Victims becomes a tradegy

Legal tricks, cautionary newsletters and political maneuvers of the Partys: The fight for the rehabilitation of so-called traitors from the NS-Time becomes more and more absurd - and the German parliament threatens to humiliate itself.

Berlin - With a political ruse, delegates of the SPD [Social Democrats], the Left, and the Green Party tried to overcome the resistance of parts of the CDU [Conservatives] and rehabilitate 'traitors' convicted by NS-court martials over 64 years ago during WW2. Back then, over 30,000 people were convicted to death for desertion and treachery, 20,000 of which were actually executed.

Since tuesday, parliamentarians collected signatures in order to vote in parliament on the rehabilitation through a so-called group-proposal, for which the usual faction-disciplines to not apply. After SPIEGEL ONLINE first reported on the so-called "Red-Red-Green Flirt", the three-and-a-half year old political quarrel is now going into the next round. The legal politician of the SPD-Faction, Carl-Christian Dressel, fears 'that a group request with a possible red-red-green parliamentary majority in this symbolic request might make the CDU exploit this constellation for the election campaign.


http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1520350,00.jpg
Hung German soldiers. The parliament has a hard time rehabilitating these 'traitors'.

Even though Dressel condemns the "irresponsible attitude" of the Union in a letter to his SPD-colleagues, he paradoxically wants them to "not sign the proposal, regardless of its textual correctness." In his letter, Dressel refers to the SPIEGEL ONLINE report, which showcases the "political brisance".

Dressel's faction-friend Christine Lambrecht, Co-initiator of the group-proposal, immediately reacted to the newsletter and sent her own, in which she shows herself as "surprised". "It is new to me, that we make our voting conduct dependent on the headlines." She goes on to say that it is very sad that an important matter, pursued by historians, human rights activists, politicians and clerics for years, "be torpedoed by shortsighted political reasonings."

The SPD-internal quarrels also seems to circle less around the question of whether one plays towards the CDU. This argument is settled by the fact that by now, delegates of the FDP [Liberals] and the CDU have already signed the proposal was well - the rehabilitation of these so-called 'traitors' would therefore be no longer a Red-Red-Green project, but desired by all Factions.

The required quorum of five percent of all delegates has already been reached: 130 parliamentarians have put their name under the paper by friday, according to SPIEGEL ONLINE information. Even from such SPD politicians, who do not desire a Red-Red-Green Alliance, such as Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Wolfgang Thierse and the former GDR civil rights activist Stephan Hilsberg.

Within CDU and FDP, it got out that the textual arguments against the rehabilitation have broken down, and the stiff non-compliance can be traced back to single delegates, such as Norbert Geis of the CSU , and Joerg van Essen of the FDP. A legally decisive assessment of former Federal Constitutional Court judge Hans Hugo Klein, a CSU-member himself, a paper of the scientific service of the parliament, renowned military historians Wolfram Wette and Manfred Messerschmidt as well as statements of [B][Various politicians, didn't feel like listing them all. Schuultz], all demand the rehabilitation. None of the mentioned are sympathizers with the Left.

Leftist Jan Korte, who brought the matter on the table for years, reacts more and more furiously. In a round table of the parliamentary leaders of all factions, spokesmen of both CDU and SPD stopped the request from being dealt with by the end of this legislature. "It couldn't be", says Korte, "that some 'Cold Warriors' are leading their private politics on the backs of NS-victims" and that "the right and the initiative of delegates of all factions should be hindered by insinuations and political ruses."

Through this, it could happen that during the history- and memorial-year 2009, delegates of all partys might try to rehabilitate victims of the NS-Courts - and the German parliament still fails. "How are you supposed to explain that to the public and the voters?", Korte asks.
Translated by me


Sorry for the hard read, I'll try to make a couple of things more clear:

The Left is a relatively new party, which, because of its partially extremely left attitude is somewhat of a Pariah in the German politics.

The term Red-Red-Green refers to a possible political alliance of the SPD (whose color is Red), the Left (also Red) and the Green party (Guess what their color might be).
If the SPD chose to ally themselves with the left in order to create a majority government, this might cause them to lose a lot of votes, as many people are afraid of the Left, who opponents call 'Communists'. Even the implication of this possible alliance could be abused by the Conservative CDU, who are traditionally allied with the FDP.

I thought this article was a great indicator of how politics get in the way of historical justice...

Link to the original article (in German):
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,631412,00.html

flamethrowerguy
06-23-2009, 05:41 AM
It's sad that a sensitive issue like this is misused for these morons' little political games...

Rising Sun*
06-23-2009, 08:15 AM
I'm not clear from the news article on the background to this issue.

Could Schuultz or FTG explain what is intended by 'rehabilitating' the convicts?

As the article refers to courts-martial for desertion and treachery, is it now thought that everyone in whatever branch of the Wehrmacht who was convicted of such offences was innocent?

Does this cover only those convicted by properly constituted court martials, as distinct from, for example, summary executions by field police or some sort of Party court?

What is intended by rehabilitating those convicted? A general pardon, or something else?

Schuultz
06-23-2009, 08:58 AM
Yep, that's pretty much it. A general pardon for anybody who was convicted of Desertion,Cowardice in front of the enemy, etc. The idea is, that not being willing to fight for a criminal regime isn't a crime, therefore everybody who was convicted as a deserter/coward/anything related to the war that isn't a war crime, will be pardoned.

Especially when the end of the Reich was close, thousands of people, young and old, where rounded up and forced to fight - who didn't do so was a coward or traitor, and therefore killed.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2009, 09:54 AM
Yep, that's pretty much it. A general pardon for anybody who was convicted of Desertion,Cowardice in front of the enemy, etc. The idea is, that not being willing to fight for a criminal regime isn't a crime, therefore everybody who was convicted as a deserter/coward/anything related to the war that isn't a war crime, will be pardoned.

I find that hard to accept, on a common sense or justice basis.

Surely there were some, probably many, who were rightly convicted by properly constituted military tribunals of desertion and cowardice according to German military law principles?

Whether the penalty was appropriate might be a different issue, and clouded by modern views which obscure contemporary standards, but that doesn't bear on whether or not the conviction was correct.

Has it occurred to the proponents of this pardon idea that the necessary consequence of holding all these people as innocent victims of the Nazi regime entitled to a posthumous pardon because they wouldn't fight, ran away or deserted (which are rather less courageous acts than refusing to enlist or fight for a bad cause and rarely a principled decision by people who either can't take any more or are just not willing to take any more, or even just not willing to try to take anything) is that everyone who did their Wehrmacht duty is a criminal?

That seems to me to tarnish most unfairly the service of millions of Wehrmacht members who did their duty without deserting etc or committing war crimes.

It would seem a lot fairer to treat both the dead convicts and Wehrmacht members on an individual basis according to their conduct, just like we do with everyone else in a just society, regardless of how difficult that might be so long after the war. But, if this exercise is about justice for the dead, then that is what has to be done, to avoid pardoning those who do not deserve it.

P.S. Love your signature. Who said that?

Schuultz
06-23-2009, 10:53 AM
I agree. But that's the mindset of German politics. They don't specifically consider 'loyal' Wehrmacht soldiers as criminals, but they stay far from honoring them in any way.
Where you find dozens of US or British barracks named after their respective War Heroes, you will have a hard time finding German barracks named after Wehrmacht War Heroes.

The political BS aside, this is the way Veterans are 'dealt' with in Germany. Through actions like these, Wehrmacht veterans are pretty much told in a roundabout way 'We hate you', though they wouldn't say it directly in their face.

Obviously it's not really fair to anybody that all the people who deserted or showed cowardice - many of whom were rightfully convicted, though to excessive punishments - are all pardoned, but that once again goes back to a 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' attitude. They were convicted and persecuted by the Nazis, therefore they can't be that bad, once again a big '**** YOU' to the Wehrmacht veterans.
It's bullshit, but sadly anything that modern politicians do to undermine anything Third Reich seems to get positive feedback - people don't think about what the real implications are.


My quote is actually from me, it came from a discussion with a couple of political philosophy students & profs. It's entirely possible that I had heard it somewhere else beforehand, though, and just can't remember.

Rising Sun*
06-23-2009, 05:59 PM
I agree. But that's the mindset of German politics. They don't specifically consider 'loyal' Wehrmacht soldiers as criminals, but they stay far from honoring them in any way.
Where you find dozens of US or British barracks named after their respective War Heroes, you will have a hard time finding German barracks named after Wehrmacht War Heroes.

The political BS aside, this is the way Veterans are 'dealt' with in Germany. Through actions like these, Wehrmacht veterans are pretty much told in a roundabout way 'We hate you', though they wouldn't say it directly in their face.

Obviously it's not really fair to anybody that all the people who deserted or showed cowardice - many of whom were rightfully convicted, though to excessive punishments - are all pardoned, but that once again goes back to a 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' attitude. They were convicted and persecuted by the Nazis, therefore they can't be that bad, once again a big '**** YOU' to the Wehrmacht veterans.
It's bullshit, but sadly anything that modern politicians do to undermine anything Third Reich seems to get positive feedback - people don't think about what the real implications are.

I wasn't aware of any of that.

How were Wehrmacht veterans treated after the war, and how are they treated now, so far as veterans' pensions, medical services, and other benefits such as education are concerned?

From what you're saying I'm guessing that they weren't and aren't as well treated as Allied, or at least Western Allied, veterans. Or perhaps German social security, which I understand was very good at least until the 1980s although maybe under a bit of pressure since reunification, provided and provides adequate care?

I suppose Germany wasn't in any position for a decade or so after the war to provide anything like the US GI Bill benefits such as college education for veterans?

Schuultz
06-23-2009, 11:10 PM
Well, directly after the war, a huge amount of the men living in Germany served in the Wehrmacht, so they wouldn't really discriminate against themselves, though the government obviously didn't treat them overly 'gracious'. Where you have your Veteran's Days or 'Victory in Europe' Days in Allied countries, you have 'National Day of Mourning' in Germany, dedicated to all war dead of WW2 (and I think WW2). There is no special day dedicated to Wehrmacht veterans to my knowledge.

IIRC, Wehrmacht veterans do get a veteran status and a pension, though. But don't expect them to go to schools and parade themselves in commemoration of WW2 - the only time they might drop by the school would be in the role of a student's grandpa who talks about the war in front of the history class. That's it. No special respects, etc for them.

SS or Waffen SS members didn't even get any kind of veteran status for the longest time, and even today most of them still don't have it and therefore get no pension. Part of this is due to the reluctance of the German government to recognize them as Military veterans - the SS was declared an 'illegal entity' by the Allied after the war, after all, and are obviously still illegal today. The other part is because many former SS/Waffen SS members rather stay unrecognized and don't get any kind of pension whatsoever than be outed as SS in front of friends and family.

I hope I didn't get anything wrong, if I did, I'm sure FTG will correct me.

flamethrowerguy
06-24-2009, 03:31 AM
On the German 'National Day of Mourning' all dead of all armed conflicts are commemorated. Our legislative body made sure no one could tend to feel being stepped on their toes.
Waffen-SS vets and pensions is a most complex topic (just as an example: it was differentiated between SS-Verfügungstruppe and Waffen-SS which is the same organisation. The term SS-Verfügungstruppe was used until mid 1940 and the changed).
After all it was possible for them to receive pensions - under certain circumstances. As mentioned - quite complex. Paul Hausser's book "Soldaten wie andere auch" mostly deals with this particular topic.

Schuultz
06-25-2009, 06:52 PM
And you shouldn't even get started about our modern veterans from the Kosovo or Afghanistan. I alone have probably been part in over a dozen of solidarity and support events for the Canadian troops in the last 3 years. In Germany most people either ignore the German War effort (Whereas our minister of defense declines to call it a 'War' in the first place), or compare them with the Wehrmacht.

You can imagine the morale boost this gives our soldiers.

Again, I lead this back to politics. It's the Left and the 68ers who try to constantly compare anything the Bundeswehr tries to do with Nazism in order to keep themselves alive and a viable political force. It's disgusting.

carlobee
07-21-2009, 01:14 AM
And you shouldn't even get started about our modern veterans from the Kosovo or Afghanistan. I alone have probably been part in over a dozen of solidarity and support events for the Canadian troops in the last 3 years. In Germany most people either ignore the German War effort (Whereas our minister of defense declines to call it a 'War' in the first place), or compare them with the Wehrmacht.

You can imagine the morale boost this gives our soldiers.

Again, I lead this back to politics. It's the Left and the 68ers who try to constantly compare anything the Bundeswehr tries to do with Nazism in order to keep themselves alive and a viable political force. It's disgusting.
Yes . Definitely. Very well said. I would agree to this Schuultz. http://storeyourpicture.com/images/signature_imageHost.jpg