The EINSATZGRUPPEN TRIAL (officially, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
VS. OTTO OHLENDORF, ET AL.) was the ninth of the twelve trials for war
crimes the US authorities held in their occupation zone in
* 1 The case * 2 Indictment * 3 Defendants * 4 Quotes from the Judgment * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References
... in this case the defendants are not simply accused of planning or directing wholesale killings through channels. They are not charged with sitting in an office hundreds and thousands of miles away from the slaughter. It is asserted with particularity that these men were in the field actively superintending, controlling, directing, and taking an active part in the bloody harvest.
The judges in this case, heard before Military Tribunal II-A, were
Michael A. Musmanno (presiding judge and Naval officer) from
Crimes against humanity
All defendants were charged on all counts. All defendants pleaded "not guilty". The tribunal found all of them guilty on all counts, except Rühl and Graf, who were found guilty only on count 3.
NAME PHOTO FUNCTION SENTENCE OUTCOME, 1951 AMNESTY
SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of
SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD and the Gestapo; commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe C Removed from the trial on February 5, 1948 due to medical reasons died 1 November 1948
SS Brigadeführer; member of the Gestapo; commanding officer of
SS Brigadeführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Vorkommando Moscow of Einsatzgruppe B 20 years commuted to 15 years; released 30 September 1952-died 1975
SS Standartenführer; member of the SD and the Gestapo; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7a of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to 25 years; released 1955, died 1974
SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 1a of Einsatzgruppe A Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment, released in 1958, died 2010
Willi Seibert (de)
SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; Deputy Chief of Einsatzgruppe D Death by hanging commuted to 15 years, died in 1976
SS Standartenführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of
Sonderkommando 7a of
Walter Haensch (de)
SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C Death by hanging commuted to 15 years
SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the Gestapo; commanding officer
Adolf Ott (de)
SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released 9 May 1958
SS Obersturmbannführer; member of the SD; commanding officer of
SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released 1956-died 1980
SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C 10 years ; reduced to 8 years commuted to 8 years
Waldemar von Radetzky (de)
SS Sturmbannführer; member of the SD; Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C 20 years released
Felix Rühl (de)
Matthias Graf (de)
^ Rasch had to be removed from the courtroom during the arraignment due to his poor health; he was arraigned separately on September 22, 1947.
^ Strauch suffered an epileptic attack during the arraignment on September 15, 1947. His defense later tried to get him removed from the trial on medical grounds, but the tribunal dismissed this, stating that Strauch's testimonies (which he did give subsequently), were coherent and showed no reason why he should not be mentally capable of standing trial.
^ While Fendler was found guilty on all counts, the tribunal considered the evidence presented insufficient grounds in proving that he ordered or helped plan the killings. He seems to have held primarily an office post.
^ Rühl was found guilty only on count 3; regarding counts 1 and 2, the tribunal found him not guilty, stating that as a subaltern officer, he was not responsible for the atrocities committed by Einsatzgruppe D and in no position to prevent them, and although he knew of the killings, it could not be proved that he directly participated in them.
^ Graf was found guilty only of membership of the SD. He had actually been expelled from the SS for "general indifference to the organization" and later had tried to be relieved from the SD. On counts 1 and 2, he was also found not guilty, because as a noncommissioned officer, he had never held any command position, and had even refused one once.
Of the 14 death sentences, only four were carried out; the others were commuted to prison terms of varying lengths in 1951. In 1958, all convicts were released from prison.
QUOTES FROM THE JUDGMENT
are so beyond the experience of normal man and the range of man-made phenomena that only the most complete judicial inquiry, and the most exhaustive trial, could verify and confirm them. Although the principal accusation is murder, the charge of purposeful homicide in this case reaches such fantastic proportions and surpasses such credible limits that believability must be bolstered with assurance a hundred times repeated.
...a crime of such unprecedented brutality and of such inconceivable savagery that the mind rebels against its own thought image and the imagination staggers in the contemplation of a human degradation beyond the power of language to adequately portray. The number of deaths resulting from the activities with which these defendants have been connected and which the prosecution has set at one million is but an abstract number. One cannot grasp the full cumulative terror of murder one million times repeated. It is only when this grotesque total is broken down into units capable of mental assimilation that one can understand the monstrousness of the things we are in this trial contemplating. One must visualize not one million people but only ten persons — men, women, and children, perhaps all of one family — falling before the executioner's guns. If one million is divided by ten, this scene must happen one hundred thousand times, and as one visualizes the repetitious horror, one begins to understand the meaning of the prosecution's words, 'It is with sorrow and with hope that we here disclose the deliberate slaughter of more than a million innocent and defenseless men, women, and children.'
Benjamin B. Ferencz , Chief Prosecutor for the
* ^ A B
* Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals
under Control Council Law No. 10, Nürnberg, October 1946 – April
1949, Volume IV, ("Green Series) (the "
* v * t * e
* TRIAL OF THE MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL MILITARY TRIBUNAL
* I. Doctors\' Trial * II. Milch Trial * III. Judges\' Trial
* v * t * e
* Horst Böhme
Commanders of Einsatzkommandos, Sonderkommandos
Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski
The Black Book
* GND :