…by Jonas E. Alexis and Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton, Ph.D., is a professor of humanities at a major American university. He is the author of the acclaimed book Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides, and numerous articles on the Holocaust, history, and the two world wars.
Alexis: You state that the Nuremberg trials were
“heavily weighted with Jewish-Americans—so much so that a leading American prosecutor, Thomas Dodd, felt compelled to remark on this fact in a series of personal letters. They appear in his book Letters from Nuremberg (2007), edited by his son, the former US Senator Christopher Dodd…In a letter of 20 September 1945, Thomas Dodd explains his concerns about Jewish dominance:
“‘The staff continues to grow every day. [Jewish-American] Col. Kaplan is now here, as a mate, I assume, for [Jewish-American] Commander Kaplan. [Jewish-American] Dr. Newman has arrived and I do not know how many more. It is all a silly business—but ‘silly’ really isn’t the right word. One would expect that some of these people would have sense enough to put an end to this kind of parade…[Y]ou will understand when I tell you that this staff is about 75% Jewish.
“‘The Jews should stay away from this trial—for their own sake. For—mark this well—the charge ‘a ware for the Jews’ is still being made, and in the post-war years it will be made again and again. The too-large percentage of Jewish men and women here will be cited as proof of this charge. Sometimes it seems that the Jews will never learn about these things. They seem intent on bringing new difficulties down on their own heads.’”
You also argue that the trials weren’t fair at all because they lacked serious evidence and rigorous scrutiny. You write:
“In a real trial, there are three main parties involved: the accused, the plaintiff, and the impartial judge/jury. The judge and jury assume a neutral stance, hear evidence from both sides, allow cross-examination, and make impartial decisions regarding guilt, innocence, and punishment. All these were seriously deficient at Nurember.”
Step by step, walk us through what was being played at Nuremberg and how the victors ended up torturing German captives in order to extract so-called confessions. Did the judge play by some other rules? If so, what were they?
Dalton: The Nuremburg trials are important because they established the context for our entire understanding of the Holocaust. It’s not that the trials dwelt so much on the so-called extermination of the Jews—they didn’t—but they did declare the Germans as the instigators of the war, found them guilty of the newly-created “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes”, and punished many leading Germans with death or long prison sentences. Most importantly, they were a kind of monopoly on the truth, which turned into a monopoly on history.
Recall what the trials actually were. They were a series of 13 separate trials, conducted over a period of about five years. The most important trial was the first one, which ran from November 1945 to October 1946. It was overseen by a group called the International Military Tribunal, or IMT, which consisted of eight judges—two from each of the four major victorious nations: US, UK, USSR, and France. It tried 22 leading Germans, convicting 19 and executing 12. The other 12 trials were run by the Americans. They tried nearly 200 Germans, issuing many death sentences and prison terms.
From the perspective of the Holocaust, there were many troubling aspects of the trials. Let me start with the biggest problem of all, the one that overshadows everything else: the trials, as I said, were designed and conducted by the victor nations. It is self-evident that no belligerent party in any war can be an objective and unbiased judge of what happened.
This fact alone invalidates or delegitimizes every aspect of those trials. Had the warring parties wanted a fair and impartial trial, they could have set something up in Switzerland. Or better still, they could have had the newly-created United Nations tackle such a trial. But in choosing to conduct it themselves, they invalidated its conclusions. They did succeed, however, in putting to death many leading Germans, and in establishing a kind of “history” of the war.
The biased nature of the trials is abundantly clear. For example, the very Articles of conduct contain some striking statements. Article 19 says that the IMT “shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence”—meaning, anything they choose to accept as evidence was fine, anything not favorable could be rejected, and the German defendants had no right to challenge such evidence. Article 21 says that “the Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge, but shall take judicial notice thereof.” This means that, once the court accepts something—say, the attempted extermination of the Jews—then that fact becomes unchallengeable. Even if contrary evidence later emerges, a “judicially noticed” fact cannot be challenged. It is written in stone, no matter how absurd it may be.
Certain American observers recognized how biased the trials were, and they were disgusted. A supreme court justice, Harlan Stone (in office 1941 to 1946), talked about the “high-grade lynching party in Nuremburg.” More damning were the statements by Charles Wennerstrum, a judge at one of the later trials. Wennerstrum stated the obvious: “The victor in any war is not the best judge of the war crime guilt.” The original Nuremberg trial was “devoted to whitewashing the allies and placing sole blame for World War II upon Germany… The prosecution has failed to maintain objectivity aloof from vindictiveness, aloof from personal ambitions for convictions… The entire atmosphere is unwholesome.” Most troubling was the use of highly questionable testimony by captive Germans:
“[A]bhorrent to the American sense of justice is the prosecution’s reliance upon self-incriminating statements made by the defendants while prisoners for more than 2½ years, and repeated interrogation without presence of counsel.”
Though he doesn’t say it explicitly, it was understood that the Germans suffered neglect, abuse, and torture during those long years. In the end, Wennerstrum said, “If I had known seven months ago what I know today, I would never have come” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 23 Feb 1948).
And it wasn’t only the Americans. In 2012 it was revealed that the British extensively tortured captive Germans in order to extract confessions. Ian Cobain’s book Cruel Britannia describes a facility known as the “London Cage,” through which thousands of Germans passed—to be beaten, sleep deprived, tortured, and in some cases murdered. The most disturbing aspect was “when interrogators switched from extracting military intelligence to securing convictions for war crimes.”
The undisputed fact that American Jews were dominant there tells much in itself. Jews worldwide hated Hitler from the beginning, and did everything they could to disrupt his leadership. Throughout the 1930s, they were the driving force in the US, UK, and France to build a policy of war toward the Germans, even though Hitler had done nothing against those nations, and had no intentions of acting against them.
Hitler’s focus was on cleansing Germany of its Jews and on gaining territory in the East—primarily in Poland, Ukraine, and western Russia. At Nuremberg, Hitler was found guilty of starting the war, even though, as we recall, it was France and the UK that declared war on him, not vice versa, when he moved into Poland.
Even granting all this, it is astonishing that some three-quarters of the US personnel at Nuremberg were Jews—from a nation in which they were less than a 2% minority. Clearly the Jews wanted revenge and wanted to write history to their advantage. And they wanted to establish as “fact” that “6 million Jews” were killed by Hitler, and so they made sure it was recorded in the tribunal proceedings—three times, in fact.
I could go on and on with the many problems. Much of the documentation of these concerns is in German, and so they get little airtime here in the US. For interested readers, they might want to read the article “The value of testimony and confessions concerning the Holocaust,” by Manfred Kohler (available in the book Dissecting the Holocaust, edited by Germar Rudolf). He clearly describes the trial process as one of
“threats of all kinds, or psychological torture, of non-stop interrogation and of confiscation of property of defendants as well as of coerced witnesses. Intimidation, imprisonment, legal prosecution and other means of coercion were applied to witnesses for the defense; distorted affidavits, documents, and synchronized translations; arbitrary refusal to hear evidence, confiscation of documents, and the refusal to grant the defense access to documents; as well as to the systematic obstruction of the defense by the prosecution…” (pp. 99–100)
All in all, Nuremberg was a farce. It was the beginning of Jewish manipulation of WW2 history and truth for personal and political ends—a process that continues unabated today.
Alexis: Nuremberg was obviously the lynchpin which the Powers That Be used to torture and rape German prisoners of war. In fact, Colonel Alexander Scotland, “an accepted master in techniques of interrogation,” admitted exactly that. There were indeed torture chambers such as London Cage, in which German prisoners of war had to abandon all hope. Scotland himself ran the London Cage. Scotland, Ian Cobain of the Daily Mail tells us,
“was hushed up for half-a-century by an establishment fearful of the shame his story would bring on a Britain that had been fighting for honesty, decency and the rule of law… After the war, he wrote a candid account of his activities in his memoirs, in which he recalled how he would muse, on arriving at the Cage each morning: ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here.’”
Scotland made a fool of himself when he said: “If any German had any information we wanted, it was invariably extracted from him in the long run.”
Well, how can you trust any information that was extracted on brutal torture and force? Did Scotland really believe that Rudolf Höss’ “confession” that two and half million people were killed in Auschwitz gas chambers was genuine? The Daily Mail again admitted that “A fellow inmate begged to be killed because he couldn’t take any more brutality.” There is still no evidence which rigorously shows that information extracted from torture is reliable.
In any event, Scotland got into trouble because he pointed out that torture was one of the main vehicles that the Powers That Be used after World War II:
“As was customary, before publication Scotland submitted his manuscript to the War Office for clearance in 1954. Pandemonium erupted. All four copies were seized. All those who knew of its contents were silenced with threats of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. What caused the greatest consternation was his admission that the horrors had continued after the war, when interrogators switched from extracting military intelligence to securing convictions for war crimes.”
In short, the Nuremberg trials, as Michael Karson of the University of Denver put it, “stand for the proposition that ‘he who holds the gun makes the rules,’ not for the proposition that there is some higher law we are obligated to.” Even before the Nuremberg trials took place,
“At a conference of allies held in Tehran during the war, Joseph Stalin is said to have raised a toast to the prospect of quickly trying and then shooting 50,000 Nazi war criminals…Roosevelt made an attempt to reduce the tension in the room by joking that perhaps the Allies could make do with only shooting 49,000.”
With that kind of mindset, German prisoners of war just didn’t stand a chance. The Allies were obviously ready to move heaven and earth to literally torture virtually any German during World War II. That was one reason why they completely raped German women after the war. And let us not forget the beautiful words of Ilya Ehrenburg:
“Germans are not human beings. Henceforth the word German means to us the most terrible curse. From now on the word German will trigger your rifle…If you have not killed at least one German a day, you have wasted that day. If you think that instead of you, the man next to you will kill him, you have not understood the threat. If you do not kill the German, he will kill you.
“If you cannot kill your German with a bullet, kill him with your bayonet. If there is calm on your part of the front, if you are waiting for the fighting, kill a German before combat. If you leave a German alive, the German will hang a Russian and rape a Russian woman.
“If you kill one German, kill another—there is nothing more amusing for us than a heap of German corpses. Do not count days; do not count miles. Count only the number of Germans you have killed. Kill the German—this is your old mother’s prayer. Kill the German—this is what your children beseech you to do. Kill the German—this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not waver. Do not let up. Kill.”
Interestingly enough, the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust doesn’t contain any mention of Ehrenburg’s visions of the Germans, going no further than to praise him as an anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi.
So much for historical fairness and balance.
 Thomas Dalton, Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides (Uckfield: Castle Hill Publishers, 2015), kindle edition.
 Jewish writer John Sack argued exactly that. John Sack, An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945 (New York: Basic Books, 1993).
 Ian Cobain, “How Britain tortured Nazi PoWs: The horrifying interrogation methods that belie our proud boast that we fought a clean war,” Daily Mail, October 26, 2012.
 For a scholarly study on this, see Shane O’Mara, Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015).
 Cobain, “How Britain tortured Nazi PoWs: The horrifying interrogation methods that belie our proud boast that we fought a clean war,” Daily Mail, October 26, 2012.
 Michael Karson, “Torture, Psychology, and Nuremberg: Might Makes Right,” Psychology Today, December 15, 2014.
 Rebecca Gordon, American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2016), 17.
 See Alfred Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 40; Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 72; Antony Beevor, Berlin: The Downfall 1945 (New York: Penguin, 2002), 169; Richard Bessel, Germany 1945: From War to Peace (New York: Harper Perennial, 2009), 150; Joachim Hoffmann, Stalin’s War of Extermination (Chicago: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2001), 235-236.
 Shimon Redlich, “Ilya Grigoryevich Ehrenburg,” Israel Gutman, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, vol. II (New York: Macmillan, 1990), 425-426.