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Nuremberg Redux: The Deep Political Context of the Texas Court of Inquiry

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Robert G. Storey

COMMENT: In Miscellaneous Archive Show M31, we examined the military inquiry into the killing of Wehrmacht Corporal Johannes Kunze, whose anti-Nazi sentiments were punished by his fellow prisoners with murder. In the inquest, it became clear that American officers had permitted their German POW counterparts to screen the mail of their fellow prisoners, which provided them the means to identify and kill Corporal Kunze.

The military prosecutor in the case–Leon Jaworski–exercised what was politely termed judicial restraint, and did not investigate the U.S. officers whose conduct led directly to the murder of Kunze.

Jaworski later participated in trials of Third Reich alumni accused of war crimes, including the trial of Dachau medical personnel, some of whom, after experimenting on concentration camp inmates, were awarded contracts to work for the U.S. under Project Paperclip. Again, he apparently exercised “judicial restraint.”

“. . . . Col. Leon Jaworski, who will be in charge of the trial, estimates that at least 5,000 Jews died at Dachau from ordinary mistreatment and torture, while anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 died as a result of medical experiments performed upon them. . . .”

The gruesome Dachau medical experiments:

  1. Were performed by five doctors who were on the Project Paperclip payroll by the time Jaworski manifested judicial restraint: ” . . . . Five doctors working at the center starting in the fall of 1945 were on the list: Theodor Benzinger, Siegried Ruff, Konrad Schafer, Hermann Becker-Freyseng, and Oskar Schroder. Instead of firing these physicians suspected of heinous war crimes, the center kept the doctors in its employ and the list was classified. . . .”
  2. Involved trials by four of the Paperclip recruits of two processes aimed at purifying seawater for drinking, with gruesome results for the Dachau “Untermenschen”: “. . . . Dr. Oskar Schroder, head of the Luftwaffe Medical Corps, was thrilled. Konrad Schafer had ‘developed a process which actually precipitated the salts from the sea water,’ Schroder later testified. . . . The effectiveness of both the Schafer process and the Berka method would be tested on the Untermenschen at Dachau. A Luftwaffe physician named Hermann Becker-Freyseng was assigned to assist Dr. Schafer, and to coauthor with him a paper documenting the results of the contest. The senior doctor advising Becker-Freyseng and Schafer in their work was Dr. Siegfried Ruff. . . .”
  3. Were filmed and screened for SS chief Heinrich Himmler by the fifth Paperclip recruit, Dr. Theodor Benzinger: ” . . . .This was the same Dr. Benzinger who had overseen for Himmler the film screening at the Reich Air Ministry, in Berlin, of Dachau prisoners being murdered in medical experiments. . . .”
  4. Became part of an experimental continuum, in which the Nazi research on Aeromedical Medicine performed at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute proceeded uninterrupted under U.S. Army Air Force command: ” . . . . The Army Air Forces Aero Medical Center in Heidelberg  . . . only a few months prior . . .  had been the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, a bastion of Nazi science where chemists and physicists worked on projects for the Reich’s war machine. At its front entrance, the Reich’s flag came down and the U.S. Flag went up. Photographs of Hitler were pulled from the walls and replaced by framed photographs of Army Air Forces generals in military pose. Most of the furniture stayed the same. In the dining room, German waiters in white servers’ coats provided table service at mealtimes. A single 5” X 8” requisition receipt, dated September 14, 1945, made the transition official: ‘This property is needed by U.S. Forces, and the requisition is in proportion to the resources of the country.’ The mission statement of the project, classified Top Secret, was succinct: ‘the exploitation of certain uncompleted German aviation medical research projects.’ Dr. [Hubertus] Strughold [who was the top researcher in the Dachau projects] was put in charge of hiring doctors, ‘all of whom are considered authorities in a particular field of medicine.’ . . . .”

This “judicial restraint” directly anticipates his work for the Warren Commission, his work as Watergate Special Prosecutor (and a VERY special prosecutor he was) and his work heading the “investigation” into the Korea-gate scandal.

Following President Kennedy’s assassination, Jaworski became both a Warren Commission counsel and, with Judge Robert Storey, headed the Texas Court of Inquiry, the Texas judicial body charged with investigating JFK’s murder. As discussed in the linked Guns of November, Part 3, Jaworski sat on the board of directors of the M.D. Anderson Fund, a documented CIA domestic funding conduit. 

In an earlier professional incarnation, Storey–as Colonel Robert Storey–passed along the word that the de-Nazification edict was to be “relaxed” during the Nuremberg trials. ” . . . . Colonel Robert Storey, the U.S. executive trial counsel at the International Military Tribunal and a senior aide to Robert Jackson, has ‘passed the word down that the denazification directive was to be relaxed,’ . . . .”

Two key Warren Commission members were Allen Dulles–whose Nazi links stretch back before World War II and for decades thereafter–and John J. McCloy, former U.S. High Commissioner for Germany and complicit in the “rehabilitation” of many heinous Nazis and the employment of many of them by U.S. intelligence.

With people like McCloy and Dulles on the U.S. “investigation” and Storey and Jaworski heading the Texas “investigation” (and Jaworski working with the Warren Commission as well), it is not surprising that the Nazi and fascist links to the JFK assassination did not emerge into public view.

It seems probable that the selection of the composition of both the Warren Commission and the Texas Court of Inquiry was shaped, in part, by the perceived necessity of concealing the many Nazis under the American bed.

1.   The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the 20th Century by Christopher Simpson; Copyright 1993 by Christopher Simpson; Grove Press [HC]; ISBN 0-8021-1362-1; p. 247.

. . . . Colonel Robert Storey, the U.S. executive trial counsel at the International Military Tribunal and a senior aide to Robert Jackson, has “passed the word down that the denazification directive was to be relaxed,” Auffinger continued. Sympathetic U.S. officers promulgated this “relaxation” largely by word of mouth during the summer of 1945, but this rumor network had considerable effect.The hard-line U.S. officers targeted in Auffinger’s attack resigned before the year was out, despite the fact that it was their position in the denazification debate, not Auffinger’s, that the President of the United States had publicly endorsed at Potsdam. . . .

2. “Murders of Thousands of Jews at Dachau Will Be Tried by American Military Government;” Jewish Telegraphic Agency; 10/22/1945.

. . . . Col. Leon Jaworski, who will be in charge of the trial, estimates that at least 5,000 Jews died at Dachau from ordinary mistreatment and torture, while anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 died as a result of medical experiments performed upon them. The first of the defendants to be tried, he said, will be the doctors who conducted these experiments, most of whom are in custody. Jews who escaped death at Dachau will appear as witnesses. The trial will be held on the premises of the camp. . . .

3.  Operation Paperclip  by Annie Jacobsen; HC Little, Brown and Company; Copyright 2014 by Anne M. Jacobsen; ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7; pp. 217-218.

. . . . The U.S. war crimes office for the chief counsel wrote up a list of doctors involved in medical research that resulted in “mercy killing,’ a euphemism used by the Third Reich for its medical murder programs. The list was classified with a strict caveat that access to it remain” restricted for 80 years from the date of creation.” This meant that, by the time the world would know who was on the list, it would be the year 2025, and everyone named would be dead.

A copy of the list was given to the commander of the Army Air Forces Aero Medical Center, Robert J. Benford. Five doctors working at the center starting in the fall of 1945 were on the list: Theodor Benzinger, Siegried Ruff, Konrad Schafer, Hermann Becker-Freyseng, and Oskar Schroder. Instead of firing these physicians suspected of heinous war crimes, the center kept the doctors in its employ and the list was classified. . . .

4. Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobsen; HC Little, Brown and Company; Copyright 2014 by Anne M. Jacobsen; ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7; p. 215.

. . . . Dr. Oskar Schroder, head of the Luftwaffe Medical Corps, was thrilled. Konrad Schafer had “developed a process which actually precipitated the salts from the sea water,” Schroder later testified. But another group of Luftwaffe doctors were already backing a different process. “It was thought by the Chief of the Luftwaffe Medical Service to be too bulky and expensive,” Schroder explained. . . .
. . . . The effectiveness of both the Schafer process and the Berka method would be tested on the Untermenschen at Dachau. A Luftwaffe physician named Hermann Becker-Freyseng was assigned to assist Dr. Schafer, and to coauthor with him a paper documenting the results of the contest. The senior doctor advising Becker-Freyseng and Schafer in their work was Dr. Siegfried Ruff. The resultant paper, called “Thirst and Thirst Quenching in Emergency Situations at Sea,” described saltwater medical experiments conducted on prisoners inside Experimental Cell Block Five. . . .

5. Operation Paperclip  by Annie Jacobsen; HC Little, Brown and Company; Copyright 2014 by Anne M. Jacobsen; ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7; pp. 130-131.

. . . . Unlike Dr. Alexander, Colonel Lovelace was able to interview Strughold and Ruff’s colleague Dr. Theodor Benzinger, the high-altitude specialist who ran the Reich’s Experimental Station of the Air Force Research Center, Rechlin, located north of Berlin. This was the same Dr. Benzinger who had overseen for Himmler the film screening at the Reich Air Ministry, in Berlin, of Dachau prisoners being murdered in medical experiments. . . .

6. Operation Paperclip  by Annie Jacobsen; HC Little, Brown and Company; Copyright 2014 by Anne M. Jacobsen; ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7; p. 131.

. . . . With high praise fromRAF and AAF officers, Doctors Ruff, Benzinger, and Schafer were now each being cosidered for leading positions at the new research lab. . . .

7. Operation Paperclip  by Annie Jacobsen; HC Little, Brown and Company; Copyright 2014 by Anne M. Jacobsen; ISBN 978-0-316-22104-7; p. 216.

. . . . The Army Air Forces Aero Medical Center in Heidelberg was a squat, brick, two-story facility facing the Neckar River. Only a few months prior it had been the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, a bastion of Nazi science where chemists and physicists worked on projects for the Reich’s war machine. At its front entrance, the Reich’s flag came down and the U.S. Flag went up. Photographs of Hitler were pulled from the walls and replaced by framed photographs of Army Air Forces generals in military pose. Most of the furniture stayed the same. In the dining room, German waiters in white servers’ coats provided table service at mealtimes. A single 5” X 8” requisition receipt, dated September 14, 1945, made the transition official: “This property is needed by U.S. Forces, and the requisition is in proportion to the resources of the country.” The mission statement of the project, classified Top Secret, was succinct: “the exploitation of certain uncompleted German aviation medical research projects.” Dr. [Hubertus] Strughold (who was the top researcher in the Dachau projects) was put in charge of hiring doctors, “all of whom are considered authorities in a particular field of medicine.” . . .

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