Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

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Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:52 pm

On page 794 of "The Final Solution", Cesarani says this:

Once Germany was at war, the position of the Jews deteriorated sharply. The abuse and mass shooting of Jews in Poland marked a profound escalation of violence combined with a weakening of inhibitions. In this sense Operation Tannenberg was far more important in the course of anti-Jewish policy than the covert compulsory euthanasia project. The former was open and unashamed, the humiliation and killing of Jews openly celebrated; the latter was secret and stained with such ignominy that the perpetrators wished to conceal their deeds.


I'm in disagreement with this. Essentially Cesarani is saying that Operation Tannenberg was more influential on the course of the Final Solution than the T4 Program.

I disagree for the following reasons:
1) Operation Tannenberg targeted a large selection of the Polish population, those intellectuals and elites that the Germans considered a threat. These included priests, professors, politicians, military officers, etc., irrespective of their religion. Naturally the Germans included Jews but they were not a particular target.
2) The T4 Program targeted a specific population, the disabled. The murderers used methods we later see against the ghettos, isolation and starvation.
3) We see the introduction of gas chambers, both mobile and stationary. The murderers even use primitive gas vehicles, later expanded to more sophisticated gas vans used at Chelmno, Mauthausen and by the Einsatzgruppen.
4) The T4 Program used a selection process, the beginnings of the selection process later used to sift out the healthy Jews capable of working from those who couldn't.
5) Chelmno and the ARC even utilized personnel from the T4 Program.

Now, this is not an indictment of the book as a whole, it is excellent. I recommend it to anyone. I also realize that these are opinions and are open to interpretation.

Thoughts?

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:03 pm

Point for Cesarani on this is that the mass murder of Jews began in the East, carried out by operational units functioning in the rear of the Wehrmacht, and utilized mass shootings as did the murder of the Polish intellectual leadership. As with the initial mass murder of the Jews after Barbarossa, the Polish intellectuals were murdered by Einsatzgruppen (augmented in some instances by Orpo units) which filed regular reports on their progress with Berlin. The open, mass killing in Poland - as Cesarani says - was thus an escalation and it reduced inhibitions and the effect of customary operational "morality." The passage from "Tannenberg" to the mass killings in summer-fall '41 was more direct in that sense, with gas chambers, division of fit/unfit, etc coming later and only after the first wave of mass shootings. I'd also add that Operation Tannenberg relied on selection criteria, utilizing lists of 10s of 1000s of targeted intellectuals/leaders.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:31 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Point for Cesarani on this is that the mass murder of Jews began in the East, carried out by operational units functioning in the rear of the Wehrmacht, and utilized mass shootings as did the murder of the Polish intellectual leadership. As with the initial mass murder of the Jews after Barbarossa, the Polish intellectuals were murdered by Einsatzgruppen (augmented in some instances by Orpo units) which filed regular reports on their progress with Berlin. The open, mass killing in Poland - as Cesarani says - was thus an escalation and it reduced inhibitions and the effect of customary operational "morality." The passage from "Tannenberg" to the mass killings in summer-fall '41 was more direct in that sense, with gas chambers, division of fit/unfit, etc coming later and only after the first wave of mass shootings. I'd also add that Operation Tannenberg relied on selection criteria, utilizing lists of 10s of 1000s of targeted intellectuals/leaders.



Good point.

But, we can also say that the T4 Program broke the "morality barrier" as well. The T4 Program also operated alongside the Einsatzgruppen murders, continuing in the open until public outcry ended open operations in August of 1941.

I also look at the initial Einsatzgruppen actions against the Jews in the Summer of 1941, originally Jews were not targeted specifically as a group, they were just added alongside Communist Party officials. It just became easier to shoot Jews because they were easier to find, with other targets fleeing or hiding.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:44 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:Point for Cesarani on this is that the mass murder of Jews began in the East, carried out by operational units functioning in the rear of the Wehrmacht, and utilized mass shootings as did the murder of the Polish intellectual leadership. As with the initial mass murder of the Jews after Barbarossa, the Polish intellectuals were murdered by Einsatzgruppen (augmented in some instances by Orpo units) which filed regular reports on their progress with Berlin. The open, mass killing in Poland - as Cesarani says - was thus an escalation and it reduced inhibitions and the effect of customary operational "morality." The passage from "Tannenberg" to the mass killings in summer-fall '41 was more direct in that sense, with gas chambers, division of fit/unfit, etc coming later and only after the first wave of mass shootings. I'd also add that Operation Tannenberg relied on selection criteria, utilizing lists of 10s of 1000s of targeted intellectuals/leaders.

Good point.

But, we can also say that the T4 Program broke the "morality barrier" as well. The T4 Program also operated alongside the Einsatzgruppen murders, continuing in the open until public outcry ended open operations in August of 1941.

No disagreement on this point.

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I also look at the initial Einsatzgruppen actions against the Jews in the Summer of 1941, originally Jews were not targeted specifically as a group, they were just added alongside Communist Party officials. It just became easier to shoot Jews because they were easier to find, with other targets fleeing or hiding.

My limited study of the shootings - biased toward the Baltics - shows that alway 85-95% of the victims in summer 1941 were Jews. In other words, the mass murder of Communists and others was an adjunct to the main activity, which was the mass murder of Jews (I am pretty sure that Arad, Headland, et al reach the same conclusion). The escalation that occurred during summer-fall 1941 wasn't toward shooting a higher % Jews but towards shooting entire communities of Jews.

E.g., in Lithuania Jäger's report shows that about 2% of July's victims were Communists, against <1.5% of the total for July-December.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:08 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
My limited study of the shootings - biased toward the Baltics - shows that alway 85-95% of the victims in summer 1941 were Jews. In other words, the mass murder of Communists and others was an adjunct to the main activity, which was the mass murder of Jews (I am pretty sure that Arad, Headland, et al reach the same conclusion). The escalation that occurred during summer-fall 1941 wasn't toward shooting a higher % Jews but towards shooting entire communities of Jews.


Going by memory (I know, that's a scary proposition) but Heydrich's original instructions to the Einsatzgruppen (March, 1941 I believe) only included Jews in leadership positions of the Communist Party along with Party officials.

In practice it simply became easier to shoot male Jews (leading to what you describe in July and August of 1941, the inclusion of families and communities) because their neighbors gave them up and Communist Party officials fled with the Red Army.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:18 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:Going by memory (I know, that's a scary proposition) but Heydrich's original instructions to the Einsatzgruppen (March, 1941 I believe) only included Jews in leadership positions of the Communist Party along with Party officials.

March '41 were IIRC the negotiations between Heydrich and the Wehrmacht on the operational tasks of the Einsatzgruppen. Heydrich's instructions, written in early July but summarizing earlier oral instructions given at Pretszch, were as follows: “All the following are to be executed: Officials of the Comintern (together with professional Communist politicians in general); top and medium-level officials and radical lower-level officials of the Party, Central Committee and district and sub-district committees; People’s Commissars; Jews in the Party and State Employment, and other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, inciters, etc.).”

Kay, in his study of Filbert, discusses a 17 June meeting Heydrich held in Berlin: “It was most likely here, on this day, that the EG and EK chiefs were expressly informed that their commission in the area of operations would involve the decimation of Soviet Jewry. . . . Heydrich had probably specified that the Jewish intelligentsia and as many male Jews of military service age as possible be killed, since these groups were regarded by the German leadership as likely Communist activists and potential partisans.”

Kay’s argument is that the orders given to the EG leaders most likely conformed to the written orders issued by the OKW to Wehrmacht troops as well as Heydrich’s 2 July 1941 “written communication” to the HSSPFs (who had not been present at the 17 June meeting but were to collaborate with the EG leadership) – where Heydrich targeted among others “Jews in party and state positions.” Kay makes two points about this: by mentioning Jews at all, Heydrich prioritized liquidation of Jews and by the nature of his list of targets (and the use of “etc.”), Heydrich encouraged his commanders to sue initiative and go beyond the literal orders (for example, Roma were not mentioned yet became victims during the summer).

In any event, in reality the targeted population from the outset was the Jews of the occupied territory. EGs also executed commissars in POW custody, mentally ill patients, and many others, but consistently the % of Jewish victims was 85% or above.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:42 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:
Jeffk 1970 wrote:Going by memory (I know, that's a scary proposition) but Heydrich's original instructions to the Einsatzgruppen (March, 1941 I believe) only included Jews in leadership positions of the Communist Party along with Party officials.

March '41 were IIRC the negotiations between Heydrich and the Wehrmacht on the operational tasks of the Einsatzgruppen. Heydrich's instructions, written in early July but summarizing earlier oral instructions given at Pretszch, were as follows: “All the following are to be executed: Officials of the Comintern (together with professional Communist politicians in general); top and medium-level officials and radical lower-level officials of the Party, Central Committee and district and sub-district committees; People’s Commissars; Jews in the Party and State Employment, and other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, inciters, etc.).”

Kay, in his study of Filbert, discusses a 17 June meeting Heydrich held in Berlin: “It was most likely here, on this day, that the EG and EK chiefs were expressly informed that their commission in the area of operations would involve the decimation of Soviet Jewry. . . . Heydrich had probably specified that the Jewish intelligentsia and as many male Jews of military service age as possible be killed, since these groups were regarded by the German leadership as likely Communist activists and potential partisans.”

Kay’s argument is that the orders given to the EG leaders most likely conformed to the written orders issued by the OKW to Wehrmacht troops as well as Heydrich’s 2 July 1941 “written communication” to the HSSPFs (who had not been present at the 17 June meeting but were to collaborate with the EG leadership) – where Heydrich targeted among others “Jews in party and state positions.” Kay makes two points about this: by mentioning Jews at all, Heydrich prioritized liquidation of Jews and by the nature of his list of targets (and the use of “etc.”), Heydrich encouraged his commanders to sue initiative and go beyond the literal orders (for example, Roma were not mentioned yet became victims during the summer).

In any event, in reality the targeted population from the outset was the Jews of the occupied territory. EGs also executed commissars in POW custody, mentally ill patients, and many others, but consistently the % of Jewish victims was 85% or above.


I found this by Andreas Hillgruber:

http://www.yadvashem.org/untoldstories/documents/studies/Andreas_Hillgruber.pdf

Going to page 112 it describes a series of meetings that took place in the Spring of 1941, including meetings in May that describes Heydrich meeting with the original 3,000 EG members at their training center. Apparently the order to shoot all Soviet Jews was passed on then but that didn't happen until later that Summer.

In any case, I'll have more on the topic later. I'm SUPPOSED to be working.... :D

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:17 pm

Those meetings in spring '41 (May) were where the Pretzsch instructions I mentioned were delivered. I think.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:08 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Those meetings in spring '41 (May) were where the Pretzsch instructions I mentioned were delivered. I think.


I'm still looking for a good book on the E.G., you've mentioned some, I'm still looking for other sources.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:53 pm

I highly recommend Alex Kay's biography of Filbert and Hilary Earl's book on the Einsatzgruppen NMT trial. Headland is dated but has basic information on the reports that's valuable, as does Cholawsky on Belorussia. Nick Terry will know better than I about others. I'm guessing that I've rad 15 or so titles, in addition to lots of documents and web stuff and not quite a zillion articles, on Lithuania, but on the EGs there's no single book aside from Kay I'd suggest.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:53 pm

Fritzsche makes the same argument relative to the escalatory role of the executions/mass murder in Poland as Gerlach, pp 115, 150, 153.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:01 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Fritzsche makes the same argument relative to the escalatory role of the executions/mass murder in Poland as Gerlach, pp 115, 150, 153.


Gerlach or Cesarani?

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:06 pm

Cesarani. Whoops!
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:10 pm

:lol:

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:13 pm

I've been watching season 3 of Wallander and am beginning to wonder if I am not afflicted by whatever is devouring Wallander's brain :)
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:17 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:Cesarani. Whoops!


That reminds me, I'm looking into getting Gerlach's book.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:19 pm

It is excellent. I highly recommend it. Great to read along with Cesarani actually. Very different perspectives creating interesting contrasts.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:20 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:I've been watching season 3 of Wallander and am beginning to wonder if I am not afflicted by whatever is devouring Wallander's brain :)


I had a conversation with someone who's about my age about walking out our offices to get something....and having to go "now, what did I come out here for?????

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:23 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:It is excellent. I highly recommend it. Great to read along with Cesarani actually. Very different perspectives creating interesting contrasts.


That's what I want, differing perspectives. I'm looking to expand my library on this subject.

Every time I look into the Holocaust it amazes me how much there is I want to learn more about.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:26 pm

Gerlach's perspective is unlike any of the other books we've discussed in this forum, except maybe in a distant way Bloxham's: Gerlach looks at the European continent as the site of prolonged, extreme violence among the groups (not just nations) making up the continent. He takes both a top-down and bottoms-up view of these processes. The Final Solution is understood within this model, not on its own; nor is the continent-wide violence focused on European Jews. The processes are wider in scope. That said, Gerlach focuses on the Final Solution but within this context.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:17 am

Giving this a bump to add this:

http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-chelm-t4-deception.html?m=1

I didn't want to open a new thread on this.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:49 pm

One interesting point Friedlander points out in the “Origins of Nazi Genocide” is that the EG shot the handicapped as well as Jews and Communist functionaries.

He cites Vladimir Romanenko as an example. Originally arrested as a spy, the EG executed him on September 9th, 1941 for “reasons of hereditary health.” The Germans actually cleared him of espionage but during the course of the investigation Romanenko admitted he spent time on three separate occasions in a mental hospital. (Page 141)

It footnotes back to Nuremberg Trial document NOKW-604. I’ll try and track it down later unless someone has it.

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Re: Cesarani on T4 and Operation Tannenberg

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:37 pm

For more support on this, see Headland, Messages of Murder:

p 57 (Kiev - EM 132, also in Arad et al, The Einsatzgruppen Reports, p 228)
pp 64-65 (Aglona asylum - EM 88, also in Arad et al, p 138; Chernigov - EM 108, also in Arad et al, pp 182-183 which also mentions Minsk and Mogilev liquidations of "mentally deficient people"; EM 94,; EM 86, also in Arad et al, p 136 Ulianov and Uledovka, EMs 135, 156, 173, and 184 - also in Arad et al, pp 240, 283, 300, 318; Poltava - EMs 135 and 143 - also on Arad et al, pp 239, 251; Irgin hospital in Dnepropetrovsk - EMs 135, 156 and 173, also in Arad et al, pp 242, 283, 300)
p 71 (Poltava again)
p 81 (Schumjatschi - EM 148, aslo in Arad et al, p 264)
p 142 (Poltava again, Karasubasar region - and EM 184, also in Arad et al, p 318)
p 157 (also in Jäger Report)
p 248 fn 60 (Mariupol - gas action)

There are likely other instances of murder actions against hospital and asylum patients reported in the EMs. NOKW-604 is discussed on pp 261-262 of NMT Green Series vol IV where Ohlendorf says that the document is a report from SK11a to the army in which the Romanenko execution is discussed:
. . . the reason probably was that - or at least this becomes evident from the document - that the Sonderkommando 11a received a direct order from the Commander in Chief of the Army that Romanenko should be punished as deterrent and, if possible, should be executed in public by hanging. The Kommando investigated this case, as becomes evident from the document, and did not find the reasons confirmed for this request by the Commander in Chief. It does not become evident from the report why the Kommando, in spite of this, executed the order, especially as it gives the reason as: "hereditary biological." I do not know whether I ever saw this report, but if I had seen it I would not have agreed with it, but I assume that it went to the Commander in Chief immediately after the Commander in Chief had been put in charge of this Kommando.
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817


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