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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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