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Der Spiegel Advances Third Reich, Pan-Germanist “Ostpolitik”


COMMENT: For decades, the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many has advanced an ost­poli­tik that is a con­tin­u­a­tion of Third Reich pol­i­cy toward what it called “the East­ern Ter­ri­to­ries.” Advanc­ing Ger­man claims to his­tor­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and [con­se­quent] polit­i­cal hege­mo­ny over much of the ter­ri­to­ry to the East, the pres­ti­gious Ger­man peri­od­i­cal Der Spiegel makes the case for a “Nurem­berg II” war crimes inves­ti­ga­tion to redress “injus­tices” alleged­ly per­pe­trat­ed against the Ger­man minori­ties in those lands.

Argu­ing this view­point places that estimable pub­li­ca­tion in the same camp as the SS-linked and inspired ver­triebene groups and esca­lates the Pan-Ger­man view­point at a time when Ger­many in attempt­ing to impose its polit­i­cal  will on a Europe it has already sub­ju­gat­ed eco­nom­i­cal­ly.

In the last para­graph of the arti­cle that fol­lows is a ref­er­ence to the Fifth Col­umn move­ments that Ger­many used to desta­bi­lize its neigh­bors in the run-up to war and occu­pa­tion. (A good his­to­ry of this is pre­sent­ed in The New Ger­many and the Old Nazis by T.H. Tetens, avail­able for down­load for free on this web­site.)

NB: The excel­lent german-foreign-policy.com feeds at the bot­tom of the front page of the Spit­fire web­site.

“Nurem­berg II”; german-foreign-policy.com; 3/8/2011.

EXCERPT: . . . The jour­nal [Der Spiegel] takes a con­spic­u­ous posi­tion in an arti­cle deal­ing with the prospect of pros­e­cut­ing so-called crimes of expul­sion of Ger­mans in the after­math of World War II. Accord­ing to this arti­cle, the “expul­sions” of Ger­mans from East Euro­pean coun­tries in the imme­di­ate after­math of the war, are acts that are “not at all so dif­fer­ent” from the crimes that have been pros­e­cut­ed in The Hague before the Inter­na­tion­al Tri­bunal for Yugoslavia since the 1990s. The fact that these acts were not han­dled by an inter­na­tion­al court sub­se­quent to the Nurem­berg Tri­als that pros­e­cut­ed the main Nazi war crim­i­nals has brought great dis­plea­sure to the West Ger­man pop­u­la­tion. It is there­fore “under­stand­able” that “many post-war Ger­mans,” espe­cial­ly among the reset­tled, have char­ac­ter­ized the Nurem­berg Tri­al ver­dicts “vic­tors’ jus­tice” that “had not alle­vi­at­ed his­tor­i­cal injus­tice but rather com­pound­ed it”.[6]

As Der Spiegel explains, those “crimes of expul­sion” could still be pros­e­cut­ed today cit­ing the prece­dence of Esto­nia. In 1994 the pos­si­bil­i­ty of pros­e­cut­ing cer­tain “crimes against human­i­ty” were writ­ten into Eston­ian penal law, even though the alleged crime had occurred in the dis­tant past. Under this law, two men were con­vict­ed, “who in 1949 had par­tic­i­pat­ed in deport­ing civil­ians to Sovi­et labor camps.” The Euro­pean Court of Human Rights in Stras­bourg has sub­se­quent­ly ruled these and oth­er sim­i­lar ver­dicts to be legal­ly bind­ing, in spite of their being in vio­la­tion of the pro­hi­bi­tion on ex post fac­to laws. It would “be dif­fi­cult to deny” that also “the expul­sion of Ger­mans” under cur­rent stan­dards are clear­ly “crimes against human­i­ty”. In light of the con­fir­ma­tion of the Eston­ian con­vic­tions by the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights, “the genie of Nurem­berg” is today, no longer to “be kept in the bot­tle.” “What Esto­nia can do, oth­ers can do too.”[7]

Cam­ou­flaged as sug­ges­tive ques­tions, Der Spiegel con­cludes with the sug­ges­tion that an inter­na­tion­al tri­bunal should be estab­lished to pros­e­cute those, who had com­mit­ted the so-called crimes of expul­sion against Ger­mans — a “Nurem­berg II”. This sort of tri­bunal could be based on “an inter­na­tion­al­ly bind­ing treaty with the for­mer nations of expul­sion” [8] — mean­ing the coun­tries of East and South­east Europe. In the after­math of World War II, they, on the legal basis of the Pots­dam Agree­ments, had reset­tled Ger­man-speak­ing minori­ties — who had been used as “fifth columns” by the Nazis to desta­bi­lize those coun­tries — to what became West Ger­many. The jour­nal’s case could be hinged on the fact that since 1949, every West Ger­man gov­ern­ment has char­ac­ter­ized this reset­tle­ment of Ger­mans an injus­tice, which, in prin­ci­ple, should be pros­e­cut­ed. Just last week, the Ger­man Bun­destag vot­ed in favor of declar­ing August 5, an annu­al com­mem­o­ra­tion day for the “injus­tice of expul­sion”. Only a few years ago, this would have been con­sid­ered just as unthink­able, as the cre­ation of a tri­bunal for the “expelling coun­tries” today.


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