Tuesday, April 04, 2017

137 Crushed Lies, or Why Denial Is Beyond Repair

Author: Sergey Romanov
The average online denier is not a sophisticated creature. He is usually satisfied with a few memes he has found on Twitter or at some forum and repeats them ad infinitum, never bothering to fact-check them, thus regurgitating the deceptive tidbits that have been debunked over and over and over again. One such moldy debunked meme is the myth about the crushed testicles of 137 German defendants in the Dachau trials.

From David Irving's site:
All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was Standard Operating Procedure with American investigators.
The source is given as "The Progressive, February 1949, p. 21f", the author is alleged to be Edward L. Van Roden:
a Pennsylvania judge served in World War I and II, in the latter as Chief of the Military Justice Division for the European Theater where he saw service in Normandy, Belgium, the Rhineland, the Battle of the Bulge, and in the Ardennes. In 1946 he was reassigned to active duty and served on several important court martial trials in Germany. In 1948 Secretary of the Army Royall appointed him to an extraordinary commission charged with investigating the Dachau War Crimes program.
So of course this is repeated ad nauseam on Twitter and at trashy forums like CODOH, where this is a favorite of its know-nothing Aufseher Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis.

But the meme is used not only by online clowns. More "serious" sources quote it as if it were a proven fact. Germar Rufolf, writing under pseudonym "Manfred Köhler", insists in his article "The Value of Testimony and Confessions Concerning the Holocaust" that "... Americans extorted confessions from accused persons ...  the methods used were [a list of allegedly used methods ending in] crushed testicles". Robert Faurisson, in a letter to the Journal of Historical Review, quotes Manstein's not quite honest lawyer Paget, who claimed that the Simpson Inquiry Commission "reported among other things that of the 139 cases they had investigated, 137 had had their testicles permanently destroyed by kicks received from the American War Crimes Investigating Team". Carlo Mattogno repeats the meme in Intervista sull'olocausto,in My Banned Holocaust Interview and in "The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews: Part II". The claim is repeated by Richard Harwood in Did Six Million Really Die? and by Roger Garaudy in The Founding Myths of Modern Israel, by Arthur Butz in The Hoax of the Twentieth Century and by Serge Thion in Historical Truth or Political Truth?.

Which basically means that the average denial guru has not evolved far from the average denier chimp.

Anyway, the claim is of course false and of course none of the individuals mentioned above have bothered to verify it. It was decisively debunked during the Malmedy massacre investigation hearings in the US Senate in 1949.

Gordon Simpson, of the Simpson Commission (composed of Simpson and Judge Van Roden), a former justice of the Texas Supreme court, was examined about the claim in 29.04.1949 (MMI, vol I, p. 197):
Mr. CHAMBERS. Today in the examination of other witnesses and in some of the printed stories based on the Simpson report, there is reference made to the fact that a rather surprising percentage - I think out of 139 cases all but 2 of the Germans had had their testicles damaged beyond repair. Where did you find the evidence on that?
Mr. SIMPSON. None at all.
Mr. CHAMBERS. Were there charges made to that effect?
Mr. SIMPSON. No; no claim was made to that effect in any of the records we inspected, and we diligently tried to find them.
Senator MCCARTHY. Just a second. Did you read Colonel Everett's affidavit, Judge?
Senator MCCARTHY. You say there was no claim made. You read that before you conducted your investigation?
Mr. SIMPSON. I suppose you are correct. When I say no claim was made, I am too broad in that. I like to separate between the realm of allegation and the realm of proof. I want to say I found no proof of that
Judge Van Roden was examined on 04.05.1949 (MMI, vol I, p. 244):
Senator MCCARTHY. Yes. Am I correct in saying that you did find evidence to indicate that a sizable number of those men sentenced to die were crippled to at least some extent because of having been kicked in the testicles?
Judge VAN RODEN. We found that to be so. But I have seen some of the articles in the papers and some were exaggerated. I read one the other day saying that all but two of the men had been injured for life. We did not find that.
Senator MCCARTHY. But you found -
Judge VAN RODEN. That some of them had been injured in their testicles. We could not find out how many.
As a side note, here is what was Van Roden's evidence consisted of (MMI, vol I, p. 250):
Senator BALDWIN. In your statement sometime ago that was made in February 1949, you said American investigators of the United States Court in Dachau, Germany, used the following methods to obtain confessions: Beating and brutal kickings. What evidence can you tell us there was of that?
Judge VAN RODEN. The only evidence I can recall was what the person who came before us talked to us about, and the petitions that were filed, and I suppose Colonel Everett, of course, spoke to us and told us what he knew, and he presented, I think, two affidavits he had while in Washington, either then or before that time. I cannot remember the specific stories for each of those various things, but we learned that in the course of our investigation over there. 

About the article in Progressive (MMI, vol I, pp. 256-7):
Senator HUNT. Judge Van Roden, I have here before me a magazine known as the Progressive, I believe it is called.
Judge VAN RODEN. I have seen that.
Senator HUNT. Which carries, I presume, a written article by you, at least it accredits the article to you, and that makes some rather serious, very serious and direct charges, and I would like to ask you some questions with reference to the source of your information for making those charges.
Judge VAN RODEN. Before you do so, Senator, I want this to be made very definitely of record. I did not write that article. I had made a talk at a Rotary Club meeting in our county and a gentleman who was there took some notes on the talk, and I understand that is supposed to be a condensation of the things, some of the things that I said at that Rotary Club gathering. The gentleman who actually did write that article, actually is the author of it, telephoned to me that it was to have a byline. I did not know what a byline was, believe it or not, gentlemen. Then I was startled by receiving a copy of that as the author of that article. I am not the author of that article.
Senator HUNT. Let me ask you, Judge, after having read the article, would you like to say that the statements in there are statements made by you, or are they incorrect statements attributed to you?
Judge VAN RODEN. Well, some are correct and some are not correct. Senator HUNT. Judge, in your report of January 6, 1949, which you signed along with Colonel Simpson and Col. Charles W. Lawrence, this paragraph appears:
There was no general or systematic use of improper methods to secure prosecution evidence for the use at the trials.
Now, does that statement reflect your position as a member of the board?
Judge VAN RODEN. I would say so as stated therein. 
And later (05.05.1949), commenting on the individual passages of the article in Progressive (MMI, vol I, p. 312):
Now, in the next paragraph where it says "All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair," I did not say that. What I said was that all but two were recommended for commutation to life imprisonment, and the other two for other sentences. I do not know how many we heard or how many may or may not have been kicked or kneed in the testicles. We learned some had been but that figure is absolutely wrong. I do not know how many were kicked or abused in the testicles.
Later it turned out that a certain Finucane, who was the actual author of the article, ran the draft by Van Roden (03.06.1949; MMI, vol I, pp. 1112-7):
Mr. CHAMBERS. Now, I notice that in this first press release - is this item that "all but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair"?
Judge VAN RODEN. Not over 130. I do not know horn many were kicked; all we found was that some of them were kicked or kneed in the groin or in their testicles.
Mr. CHAMBERS. Now, in your original testimony you denied that categorically.
Judge VAN RODEN. That is correct.
Mr. CHAMBERS. And you said you did not say and never heard any such things.
Judge VAN RODEN. I do not know how many were kicked. Some of them were kicked; I do not say none were not. Maybe I said categorically - I did not say a specific number had been kicked. I never said all but two. I think what I said there was that when I referred to "all but 2 of the 139 cases," we recommended clemency to the extent of commutation of their death sentences, but for 2, that is life imprisonment.
But for two recommendations, one got 10 years and one 2 1/2 years, all but two; we recommended rather that they be commuted from death to life imprisonment. That may be where the confusion of that 2 came in, but I denied categorically, and still deny categorically that all but 2 were kicked in the testicles.
Mr. CHAMBERS. It is not the question of kicking, but "damage beyond repair."
Judge VAN RODEN. Damaged beyond repair.
Mr. CHAMBERS. But also since it was in your original press article which you had a chance to edit and correct, why did you not see fit to delete it from there rather than later let it get out as a later story?
Judge VAN RODEN. I do not know.
Mr. CHAMBERS.  Because that particular item has been the most inflammatory thing that has come before us. I will say the same thing about that particular part of it.
Judge VAN RODEN. That one item?
Mr. CHAMBERS. That one item is probably the worst, and you furthermore made the statement, or the statement was accredited to you in the original press release, that this was standard operating procedure with our American investigators, and that also appears in the Progressive.
Judge VAN RODEN. Yes.
Mr. CHAMBERS.  You denied it later before us, and you said you did not say that; but you let it stand in the press release. Now why, Judge?
Judge VAN RODEN. Oversight is all I can think of to answer that, I remember the telephone conversation; I tried to cover all that by telephone, and I wrote a letter which has gone out there. I cannot explain it to you.
Mr. CHAMBERS. Well, Judge, here is what I am getting at.
Judge VAN RODEN. Why was it in that letter of December 18?
Mr. CHAMBERS. On December 18 you wrote a detailed letter enumerating a great many items which should be deleted from this press release, but you did not see fit to delete that one about the 139 cases with respect to having been kicked in the testicles, and the statement that they had been damaged beyond repair, and the statement that this was standard operating procedure with our American investigators.
Judge VAN RODEN. It should have been.
Mr. CHAMBERS. It should have been?
Judge VAN RODEN. It should have been. 
Mr. CHAMBERS. That is right.
Now, you have gone through the Progressive magazine here and scratched out certain things for us.
Now, Mr. Finucane took the stand and also under oath testified that you knew all of these things.
For instance, on this particular item where it appears you had a chance to correct and did not, and which has proven to be of great controversy, it, in fact, cannot be corroborated; that is, this matter of -
Judge VAN RODEN. Let me see if we are very far apart on that. You are suggesting that because I did not correct the item with respect to the number of persons who had been kicked in the testicles, that should be repudiated in its entirety? I do not know if I follow that.
Mr. CHAMBERS. I am not saying that at all, sir. I merely want to ask you this: You say that the whole thing - I read the two parts of it:
"All but 2 of the Germans, in the 139 cases me investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was standard operating procedure with our American investigators.
Senator BALDWIN. As I understood, Judge Van Roden, you said that you did not say that.
Judge VAN RODEN. As to the number, yes, sir. I said some had been kicked, and some injured beyond repair, from what we found in the papers.
Senator BALDWIN. But you did not say a hundred.
Judge VAN RODEN. Not all but two.
Senator BALDWIN. And you did not say it was standard operating procedure.
Judge VAN RODEN. No.
Mr. CHAMBERS. And you further said that should have been deleted and was not deleted when you marked that up.
Judge VAN RODEN. When I wrote that letter. 
Mr. CHAMBERS. Now, what I was trying to find out from you was this matter of whether or not in your opinion American investigators adopted a standard operating procedure, the custom of kicking people in their testicles for the purpose of getting confessions.
Judge VAN RODEN. No; I do not believe so.
Mr. CHAMBERS. And if you had caught that at the time you would have deleted it.
Judge VAN RODEN. I may summarize it, in answer to your question, and say this: The deletions in the Progressive that I have told you. about at the previous hearing, I still say should be deleted, and they should not be attributed to me, and those same averments, either in the same words or meaning the same thing, if they appeared in any previous press release, they are hereby repudiated by me, and should be deleted, and if they were not deleted, if one that you have mentioned here was overlooked and not deleted, all I can explain that is due to the fact of the suddenness of this matter, when this release came to me on a Saturday morning, when I tried to get them on the telephone I could not, had a lot of difficulty, finally got Finucane, and I think it was that same morning, December 18 - it must have been whether it was a Saturday or not, I can tell from the calendar -
Judge VAN RODEN. I took my girl there and dictated to her in the desire to get it off as soon as I possibly could, and it must have been that I overlooked mentioning that fact of 139 only 2 had escaped - let me finish. When the second release came there I got that, and I put it in my file, and I was disgusted with the whole thing, and I did not know how far it had gone; I got the impression from Mr. Libby, as a matter of fact, that the first press release had already been distributed, and it was impossible to call it back, and Mr. Finucane said that he thought there was some that they could recall and not have them delivered and have them revised. I think it could have happened on the following Monday. The time limit - I did not have the time to go over it thoroughly, but I was entirely upset and distressed about that going out without my having seen it, and that is the only excuse I can give you for not picking it up, picking up the one thing I should have picked up, because it certainly is not so that of 139 all but 2 were injured beyond repair.
So Van Roden repudiated the 137/139 meme, though claiming that they did find that some were kicked in the testicles (we've seen above what sort of shaky evidence he relied on). Simpson however disagreed with his colleague on this (MMI, vol I, p. 198):
Senator BALDWIN. Could you tell us, judge, at that point what you found in the Malmedy case with reference to the abuses of any prisoners or anything that was complained of?
Mr. SIMPSON. We found no proof of physical abuse. We found proof enough of these improper methods to which I have referred, to satisfy me personally, that even though I was convinced that the record warranted the findings of guilty, I didn't want to see anybody hung in a procedure which had the blemish in it of that improper investigation; and so clemency was recommended, not because we didn't think the men were guilty, but because we didn't approve the procedures by which the cases were investigated.
The Simpson Commission report, signed by Simpson, Van Roden and Lawrence, states (MMI, vol. I, p. 1197):
Based upon the examination made and additional information from other sources, including interviews with persons connected in varying ways with the war crimes program (Tab E), it is the opinion of the undersigned that:
(a) The unexecuted confirmed death sentences resulting from the Dachau war crimes trials are based upon records which [...] reflect that the trials mere essentially fair.
(b) There was no general or systematic use of improper methods to secure prosecution evidence for use at the trials.
(c) Except as to the cases of the twenty-nine prisoners referred to in Tab H, no reason is perceived why the death sentences under consideration, all of which were imposed for participation in murder, should not be executed.
The accusations of the alleged abuses were thus limited to a few cases (connected the the Malmedy Massacre). Since the allegations about those improper methods are not the topic of this post and since they were examined during the Senate subcommittee hearings, I refer the interested readers to the subcommittee's final report (just 35 pages, so it's not a long read).

The subcommittee ordered a medical examination of the prisoners available at Landsberg prison (Report of Subcommittee..., pp. 15-16):
The subcommittee itself secured a medical staff, consisting of two doctors and a dentist of outstanding qualifications, from the Public Health Service of the United States. This medical staff independently examined all the Malmedy prisoners who are presently at Landsberg Prison. In addition, they also examined Eble for evidence of physical abuse. They state, of those convicted prisoners at Landsberg, 11 claim that they were not physically mistreated at Schwabisch Hall, 34 allege they were physically mistreated at Schwabisch Hall but do not claim to have received injuries which would leave evidence of a permanent nature, and 13 allege that they were physically mistreated and have injuries of a permanent The medical staff pointed out that there was no question that the 11 prisoners were not subjected to physical mistreatment at Schwabisch Hall and that the second group of 34 prisoners had no physical evidence to support their claims of alleged physical mistreatment. Of the 13 who alleged physical, mistreatment with permanent results, the medical evidence does not support, to any degree, the claim of these prisoners. They state that 3 had conditions which definitely were not due to physical mistreatment, and that the remaining 10 showed physical findings which might possibly have resulted from physical mistreatment, but none of these 10 showed evidence of the severe acts alleged by the prisoners.
The full medical examination report is in MMI, vol. II, pp. 1616ff.

While there undoubtedly were some improper interrogation methods used in some cases during the Malmedy Massacre investigations (the methods, the allegations about which caused a public scandal and a whole Senate subcommittee hearing), the claim that 137 of 139 accused were kicked in the testicles rendering them beyond repair and that it was somehow standard operating procedure among the American investigators is simply false. It was categorically refuted both by Van Roden and Simpson.

Which, of course, will not prevent the deniers from citing this debunked zombie meme again and again and again and again...

(Slightly updated on 05.04.2017.)


Gilles Karmasyn said...

There's a classical mistake here. If 137 *guys* are concerned, the whole thing is about *274* testicles (let's exclude monorchidia for the sake of realism and simplicity). So this blog has finally rescued 274 testicles. Good job!

Nathan said...

I will always maintain that the Malmedy trial hurts the case of the deniers more than it helps. As Sergey showed, the claims of "torture" in this trial were nothing more than a massive, coordinated hoax. Roberto shared an article once showing exactly where this hoax came from. It came from Rudolf Aschenauer, Princess Isenburg, and German bishops, all of whom worked with underground SS movements and a generally sympathetic population. It was observed that "the accused had made identical statements; The texts of the affidavits were the same in every word" regarding torture. In this case, the "witness consistency" was because the Neo Nazi scumbags mentioned above fed them a story, as part of an actual hoax. This is actually an excellent illustration of how witness testimony actually works, and how to analyze it carefully. The statements of the Malmedy defendants in the Malmedy torture hoax all matched to the last detail precisely because they were part of a hoax: a coordinated attempt to spin a yarn. In contrast, Holocaust testimonies have mistakes and inconsistencies because each different person is trying to relate in their own words their own experiences from their own perspectives. The key word is "in their own words"- they're not doing it as part of a "hoax" or because they got together to prepare this hoax in advance: they're honestly trying to find the right words to explain their own unique experiences.

Roberto's article also undermines the deniers' fantasy of a "hoax" for other reasons. Namely, it shows that the US government occupying authorities really weren't interested in fabricating any such "hoax". In 1947, Aschenauer was already bringing forth claims before the US occupying authorities that "coercion" was used to procure statements. While the Army and the Inspector General did not see this, they either failed or refused to see that Aschenauer was planting the seeds for the Malmedy torture Hoax. It also cannot be understated that one of the key proponents of the Malmedy Hoax was then US Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was an antisemite and did not hesitate to accuse Jewish investigators like William Perl of collaboration with Communists; a very serious charge at the time. Finally, even though the American commissions saw the Malmedy Hoax for what it was, the US eventually showed leniency to the Malmedy defendants and commuted all the death sentences to prison terms. They would all be released by 1958. Thus, there was no "Hoax" on the American side. The US government had no shortage of Antisemites like Joseph McCarthy, and their agenda was to show leniency to West Germany and have them as an ally against the USSR. All of the captured wartime records are therefore genuine, and could not have been forged; no one wanted to fake them. The Holocaust happened, and the only "Hoax" here was the Hoax of the Malmedy defendants' "crushed testicles", created by Neo Nazi Hoaxsters.

Deniers love to accuse everyone of Faking the Holocaust, but they're the only ones who've been caught faking shit.


The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Margret Chatwin>>> "At this time, however, it became apparent that all the accused had made identical statements. The texts of the affidavits were identical in every word."

That's not what Maximilian Koessler told the Senate Commission:

[Mr. KOESSLER] I consider improper the fact that their so-called statements were dictated by the Investigator in such a way that if you compare some of the statements, they are almost literally identical. It is for every experienced lawyer, I believe, a reason to be skeptical about statements under oath of several defendants having exactly the same wording. It may be said "Well the investigator only formulated—"
Mr. CHAMBERS. When you say "exactly the same wording," you don't mean the entire affidavit?
Mr. KOESSLER. No, certain features.
Mr. CHAMBERS. But, certain expressions they used?
Mr. KOESSLER. No, certain features. For instance, it would have been difficult for me to describe it altogther. I would have to study again the record. But certain features, the description of an incident in which several defendants were involved, each of them, or at least more than one of them giving exactly or almost exactly the same description.

P.1355: http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Malmedy_hearings-2.pdf

Could you show us some examples of these identical statements, Nathan?

Sergey Romanov said...

This may refer to the following (MMI vol. I, p. 1197ff., Clay's Board's report):

"The Board also received in evidence additional affidavits of several individuals submitted by the defendant Peiper in the Malmedy case (Ex. 36) and a number of affidavits submitted by Cardinal Frings, Archbishop of Cologne, the latter being duplicates of certain of the affidavits in Exhibit 23 (Ex. 37)."

Explained by Harbaugh during the hearings thus (op.cit, p. 1151):

"Senator BALDWIN (reading) : "The Board also received in evidence additional affidavits of several individuals submitted by the defendant Peiper in the Malmedy case (exhibit 36) and a number of affidavits submitted by Cardinal Frints[sic], archbishop of Cologne, the latter
being duplicates of certain of the affidavits in exhibit 23 (exhibit 37)."
That is the petition, I assume.
General HARBAUGH. Yes, sir.
Perhaps I can explain about those affidavits. In my capacity as staff JA of EUCOM, I received petitions and affidavits from a great many people. A great many of them would be duplicates. For instance, a great many of these affidavits that we received from Cardinal Frints[sic] were duplicates of the affidavits which were attached to Mr. Everett's petition, and I think we received some from the Pope, but they were all the same identical affidavits, in most cases."

If I understand correctly, he is merely saying that those were copies of the affidavits already submitted, and Chatwin may have misunderstood this as meaning that they were duplicates of each other. (Unless I'm missing something else.)

As for Koessler, he was not describing the exculpatory affidavits but rather the initial confessions, quite a different issue altogether.