Does doing this to a 94 yr old REALLY serve any justice at this point?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 07, 2015 5:05 PM GMT
    http://www.aol.com/article/2015/07/07/prosecutors-seek-3-years-in-prison-for-ex-auschwitz-guard/21206071/
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    Jul 07, 2015 6:22 PM GMT
    Difficult to say, not having read the entire trial. But my first impression would be that he was a minor player, of little rank, truly entitled to the "Just following orders" defense.

    What should he have done at the time instead? Said "I refuse to follow orders to unload this baggage on moral grounds" and be taken out and shot? Unless there was evidence of him physically abusing the prisoners, or dropping the cyanide into the showers or something comparable, then I'm not sure of the extent of his guilt. Or else, every German at that time was also guilty, for having supported the Nazis and enabled their genocidal policies.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 3381

    Jul 08, 2015 2:18 PM GMT
    Not familiar with the case, but not sure just how minor his rank really was.
    He was a member of the SS.

    nazi-oskar-groenin_3274160b.jpg

  • mwolverine

    Posts: 3381

    Jul 08, 2015 2:44 PM GMT
    Just read the Wikipedia entry, and there is no indication that he played more than a minor clerical role. Which I suppose is why he is being tried as an accessory.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Groening

    In his youth, he was a member of various nationalist organizations, including the hitler youth, and then he volunteered for the SS, then being assigned to Auschwitz.

    At Nuremberg and I believe later trials, defendants often boasted of the crimes, how many Jews they murdered, perhaps even defiantly saying "f*ck the Jews".

    Groening started there. He believed (likely influenced by his father) that Germany had been back-stabbed in WW I and that enemies of the state - including the children - deserved their fate. He requested transfers to the front, but not because he objected to the murders.

    According to him, that started to change already in the camp, when he heard the screams from the gas chambers. After the war he reportedly told his family never to mention Auschwitz and his connection.

    When he encountered Holocaust deniers (in the 1980s?), he stood up to them:

    || I saw everything. The gas chambers, the cremations, the selection process. One and a half million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz. I was there.

    Groening told the judge in his opening statement:

    || I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide

    I am not familiar with the German law, but know there is a precedent to find guilty even those who were just accessories.

    Thus he should be found GUILTY.

    SENTENCING is a different question. I say 1 day in jail (serving the principle of doing time) and a certain number of hours of community service - speaking out against Holocaust denial, with a credit for time already voluntarily served.
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    Jul 08, 2015 2:49 PM GMT
    It might be more disturbing that someone is still on AOL.

    Though this one part of that story bothers me...

    Last week, Groening told the court in a statement read by his attorney that even though he had known what was going on at Auschwitz, the personal stories of the co-plaintiffs during the trial had brought home the enormity of the atrocities.


    ...which doesn't sound like the guy lived a life of reflection or redemption or making amends. He had to be told of "the enormity of the atrocities"? Really! So that might just be the phrasing or out of context--I don't have more info than that to judge--but my first impression is that even if that was an honest appeal to sympathy, that it backfires because I'd think that'd be something someone of conscience would have figured out all on their own.

    PS just read post above apparently written while I was watching youtube trailers of "the man in the glass booth".

    Interesting to have that info. I think your sentencing is reasonable and correct for both society and the guy, that if he lived knowing his guilt, that he too might have some relief.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 5:45 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidDifficult to say, not having read the entire trial. But my first impression would be that he was a minor player, of little rank, truly entitled to the "Just following orders" defense.

    What should he have done at the time instead? Said "I refuse to follow orders to unload this baggage on moral grounds" and be taken out and shot? Unless there was evidence of him physically abusing the prisoners, or dropping the cyanide into the showers or something comparable, then I'm not sure of the extent of his guilt. Or else, every German at that time was also guilty, for having supported the Nazis and enabled their genocidal policies.


    "What should he have done at the time instead? Said "I refuse to follow orders to unload this baggage on moral grounds" and be taken out and shot?"

    Yes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2015 6:09 AM GMT
    From the article:


    If convicted, the possible punishment ranges between 3 and 15 years in prison.
    Court spokeswoman Frauke Albers said that because Groening was previously investigated in the 1970s but authorities then shelved the case, prosecutors also recommended that he have between 14 and 22 months deducted from his sentence because he wasn't granted a speedy trial.


    I didn't quite catch whether the 3.5 years was before or after this deduction, but I'd have to think the 'justice' ship has sailed many times over.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 6:20 AM GMT
    mwolverine saidJust read the Wikipedia entry, and there is no indication that he played more than a minor clerical role. Which I suppose is why he is being tried as an accessory.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Groening

    In his youth, he was a member of various nationalist organizations, including the hitler youth, and then he volunteered for the SS, then being assigned to Auschwitz.

    At Nuremberg and I believe later trials, defendants often boasted of the crimes, how many Jews they murdered, perhaps even defiantly saying "f*ck the Jews".

    Groening started there. He believed (likely influenced by his father) that Germany had been back-stabbed in WW I and that enemies of the state - including the children - deserved their fate. He requested transfers to the front, but not because he objected to the murders.

    According to him, that started to change already in the camp, when he heard the screams from the gas chambers. After the war he reportedly told his family never to mention Auschwitz and his connection.

    When he encountered Holocaust deniers (in the 1980s?), he stood up to them:

    || I saw everything. The gas chambers, the cremations, the selection process. One and a half million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz. I was there.

    Groening told the judge in his opening statement:

    || I share morally in the guilt but whether I am guilty under criminal law, you will have to decide

    I am not familiar with the German law, but know there is a precedent to find guilty even those who were just accessories.

    Thus he should be found GUILTY.

    SENTENCING is a different question. I say 1 day in jail (serving the principle of doing time) and a certain number of hours of community service - speaking out against Holocaust denial, with a credit for time already voluntarily served.


    There is - very specifically - no statute of limitations on such crimes under German Law, and the prosecutor has no choice but to file. And it wouldn't matter if there were no law in Germany regarding such a case. Germany is a State Party to the Rome Statute. In countries where there is no domestic law governing what is a crime under international law, the defendant would then have to be handed over to the ICC by the State Party under their Treaty obligation to the Statute, for trial at the ICC.

    The "Superior Orders" defense (sometimes called the Nuremberg Defense) is most specifically EXCLUDED for acts of "genocide and crimes against humanity."

    Under both Principle IV, "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him;"

    And Principle VII, (By Incorp. & Ref.VI) "Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law,"

    the accused (who was "complicit", at least, in this case) must stand trial.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jul 09, 2015 6:28 AM GMT
    3 years? Better than nothing I suppose ... they should have also taken everything he owned and given it to the relatives of the survivors.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 3381

    Jul 09, 2015 1:57 PM GMT
    I am a relative of people who did NOT survive.
    He was not personally enriched from his position.
    I have no desire for any of his belongings.

    The man is not a threat to society, incarceration serves no purpose.
    He has already been rehabilitated.

    I prefer he continue to speak out and confront the Holocaust deniers.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 2:34 PM GMT
    mwolverine saidI am a relative of people who did NOT survive.
    He was not personally enriched from his position.
    I have no desire for any of his belongings.

    The man is not a threat to society, incarceration serves no purpose.
    He has already been rehabilitated.

    I prefer he continue to speak out and confront the Holocaust deniers.


    But you don't get to make the law.
  • mwolverine

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    Jul 09, 2015 3:00 PM GMT
    Did I claim I get to make the law?
  • WrestlerBoy

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    Jul 09, 2015 3:07 PM GMT
    mwolverine saidDid I claim I get to make the law?


    In saying "incarceration serves no purpose", yes, you did. And that decision has been made, and you're disagreed with.,
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    Jul 09, 2015 3:18 PM GMT
    Whatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 3:59 PM GMT
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.
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    Jul 09, 2015 4:57 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.


    Yes, which makes examining exactly what he did w/ his rank and power more relevant than simply what that rank was. The only thing I'm deciding here, at this point, is which questions to ask.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 5:16 PM GMT
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.


    Yes, which makes examining exactly what he did w/ his rank and power more relevant than simply what that rank was. The only thing I'm deciding here, at this point, is which questions to ask.


    1.Did he know what he was doing? (Yes. He himself has acknowledged "moral culpability").

    2."The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". Was a "moral choice" possible to him? Yes, by his own admission, for if "no moral choice was possible", he could not be "morally culpable", obviously.

    And if, under Principle IV of the Nuremberg Principles cited above (2), he has acknowledged that a moral choice was possible for him (which he has done in acknowledging moral culpability) the accused is guilty of the crime, by confession.
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    Jul 09, 2015 5:22 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.


    Yes, which makes examining exactly what he did w/ his rank and power more relevant than simply what that rank was. The only thing I'm deciding here, at this point, is which questions to ask.


    1.Did he know what he was doing? (Yes. He himself has acknowledged "moral culpability").

    2."The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". Was a "moral choice" possible to him? Yes, by his own admission, for if "no moral choice was possible", he could not be "morally culpable", obviously.

    And if, under Principle IV of the Nuremberg Principles cited above (2), he has acknowledged that a moral choice was possible for him (which he has done in acknowledging moral culpability) the accused is guilty of the crime, by confession.


    All fine and good, but I choose not to do the deciding but leave it to those empowered to do so. A man has the right NOT to decide at times, too,* particularly when his doing so or not makes no difference.
    _____
    *Cf., the "right to be left alone."
  • tazzari

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    Jul 09, 2015 5:30 PM GMT
    On the one hand, it's not important to punish an old man, but it is important to continue to make it clear that crimes against humanity will not be tolerated. I often wonder about the morality of the Nurenberg trials - but humanity really must express outrage about such crimes.

    What should he have done at the time instead? Said "I refuse to follow orders to unload this baggage on moral grounds" and be taken out and shot?


    There's actually a great deal of evidence that guards, military and SS, were not punished for refusing to take part in genocide (Andrew Roberts, in seveal excellent books on WWII, and if memory serves, also in Hastings, I believe.)
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 09, 2015 5:39 PM GMT
    I think it is right that he be held accountable. He had decades to turn himself in, but instead he lived with blood on his hands, as if he wasn't there. And considering all of the genocides, hate crimes, etc have happened since WWII it would seem irresponsible and socially dysfunctional not to seek justice.
  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 5:40 PM GMT
    tazzari saidOn the one hand, it's not important to punish an old man, but it is important to continue to make it clear that crimes against humanity will not be tolerated. I often wonder about the morality of the Nurenberg trials - but humanity really must express outrage about such crimes.

    What should he have done at the time instead? Said "I refuse to follow orders to unload this baggage on moral grounds" and be taken out and shot?


    There's actually a great deal of evidence that guards, military and SS, were not punished for refusing to take part in genocide (Andrew Roberts, in seveal excellent books on WWII, and if memory serves, also in Hastings, I believe.)


    All of this is correct, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of people like Maximilian Kolbe, on the one side, and SS (but especially ordinary Wehrmacht) soldiers, on the other.

    The principle in the history of the jurisprudence of crimes against humanity is not simply the question of "punishing an old man" (in this case), but what used to be called "retribution to the universe", which is what you're alluding to when you say such crimes "will not be tolerated."

  • WrestlerBoy

    Posts: 1903

    Jul 09, 2015 5:43 PM GMT
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.


    Yes, which makes examining exactly what he did w/ his rank and power more relevant than simply what that rank was. The only thing I'm deciding here, at this point, is which questions to ask.


    1.Did he know what he was doing? (Yes. He himself has acknowledged "moral culpability").

    2."The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". Was a "moral choice" possible to him? Yes, by his own admission, for if "no moral choice was possible", he could not be "morally culpable", obviously.

    And if, under Principle IV of the Nuremberg Principles cited above (2), he has acknowledged that a moral choice was possible for him (which he has done in acknowledging moral culpability) the accused is guilty of the crime, by confession.


    All fine and good, but I choose not to do the deciding but leave it to those empowered to do so. A man has the right NOT to decide at times, too,* particularly when his doing so or not makes no difference.
    _____
    *Cf., the "right to be left alone."


    Nonsense.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2015 5:57 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidI think it is right that he be held accountable. He had decades to turn himself in, but instead he lived with blood on his hands, as if he wasn't there. And considering all of the genocides, hate crimes, etc have happened since WWII it would seem irresponsible and socially dysfunctional not to seek justice.


    Do note that his trial was supposed to happen in the 1970s, and it was the government who put it off. Doesn't excuse anything, but it appears the delays are not entirely on his account.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jul 09, 2015 6:21 PM GMT
    anotherphil said
    HottJoe saidI think it is right that he be held accountable. He had decades to turn himself in, but instead he lived with blood on his hands, as if he wasn't there. And considering all of the genocides, hate crimes, etc have happened since WWII it would seem irresponsible and socially dysfunctional not to seek justice.


    Do note that his trial was supposed to happen in the 1970s, and it was the government who put it off. Doesn't excuse anything, but it appears the delays are not entirely on his account.

    That seems strange that they waited this long. Are they under political pressure to finally act?
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    Jul 09, 2015 6:24 PM GMT
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD said
    WrestlerBoy said
    MGINSD saidWhatever its relevance, judging from his collar insignia, he was no more than a senior corporal, if that, in the SS, a rather low NCO rank less than a sergeant. Still, he did have a limited ability to supervise and direct others. How he did so in relation to the crimes charged is the more relevant question.


    You realize the charge is accessory to the murder of... 300,000 human beings, yes? Not 1.


    Yes, which makes examining exactly what he did w/ his rank and power more relevant than simply what that rank was. The only thing I'm deciding here, at this point, is which questions to ask.


    1.Did he know what he was doing? (Yes. He himself has acknowledged "moral culpability").

    2."The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him". Was a "moral choice" possible to him? Yes, by his own admission, for if "no moral choice was possible", he could not be "morally culpable", obviously.

    And if, under Principle IV of the Nuremberg Principles cited above (2), he has acknowledged that a moral choice was possible for him (which he has done in acknowledging moral culpability) the accused is guilty of the crime, by confession.


    All fine and good, but I choose not to do the deciding but leave it to those empowered to do so. A man has the right NOT to decide at times, too,* particularly when his doing so or not makes no difference.
    _____
    *Cf., the "right to be left alone."


    Nonsense.


    Translation, from the NY-ese: "I disagree."

    Stop. Re-read your posts, and consider just the slight possibility that you're hyperventilating over this issue over which neither you, I nor anyone else on this board has any control. icon_rolleyes.gif