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Phillips Nuremberg Trials Collection: Trial 9 - Einsatzgruppen Case

Materials donated to the law school by General Eugene Phillips.

Summary of Charges

The Einsatzgruppen were SS mobile death squads, operating behind the front line in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe. From 1941 to 1943 alone, they murdered more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of "partisans", Roma, disabled persons, political commissars, and others. The 24 defendants in this trial were all officers of these Einsatzgruppen and faced mass murder charges. The tribunal stated in its judgment:

... in this case the defendants are not simply accused of planning or directing wholesale killings through channels. They are not charged with sitting in an office hundreds and thousands of miles away from the slaughter. It is asserted with particularity that these men were in the field actively superintending, controlling, directing, and taking an active part in the bloody harvest.

Counts: 1) Crimes Against Humanity; 2) War Crimes; and 3) Membership in the SS

Original Indictment


Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team

  • More information regarding the Einsatzgruppen including organizational structure

AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS


Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10

The 15-volume series, also known as “The Green Series,” focuses on the 12 trials of almost 200 defendants. This publication by the United States Government Printing Office is the official abridged record of the individual indictments and judgments, as well as the administrative materials that were common to all the trials.

  • Volume 4, "The Einsatzgruppen Case" & "The RuSHA Case"

Chief Prosecutor

1943 - Graduated from Harvard Law School. Joined the Army and assigned to 115th Anti-Aircraft Battalion
June 10, 1944 - lands at Omaha Beach and moves through France
Nov. 1944 - Assigned to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) section of General Patton's Third Army HQ
Dec. 1944 - Arrives in Luxembourg and starts work on setting-up the War Crimes Section. He travels to reported crime scenes, conducting investigations and interrogations to determine responsible parties and to make arrests for later trials. His investigations include the killing of American soldiers and downed plane crews. It was necessary for him to observe the exhumation of bodies for identification purposes. At the time he was a sergeant and classified as a jeep driver but was given the authority to travel anywhere and talk to anyone.
April 11, 1945 - Visits Ohrdruf concentration camp, part of the Buchenwald complex (liberated April 4). When visiting camps he always headed to the office to secure the camp records. These included the death registry, correspondence showing transportation of inmates from labor sites to the camp for elimination when they were no longer fit to work.
April 29, 1945 - Arrives at Flossenburg concentration camp (liberated April 23)
May, 1945 - Early May arrives at Dachau concentration camp (liberated April 29). Dachau was established on March 22, 1933, just a few weeks after Adolf Hitler had been appointed Reich Chancellor, as a concentration camp for political prisoners. Visits Ebensee, part of the Mauthausen complex (liberated May 6) and Hitler's retreat the Kehlsteinhaus (known as the Eagle's Nest). Dachau was the site of a number of trials conducted entirely by American military personnel between November 1945 and August 1948. Their legal authority had been conferred by the JAG Department within the U.S. Third Army. Ferencz considered the approach of the military personal toward these legal proceedings to be undisciplined but knew that many considered the proceedings appropriate given the presence of graves filled with innocent victims.

The term genocide first appeared in the indictment against the defendants in the Major War Criminals trial. Lemkin is credited with coining the term to describe the efforts to destroy groups of people solely because of their race, religion, or nationality.

Trial Records

Style of the case: United States of America v. Otto Ohlendorf, et al.

Indictment filed: 30 July 1947

Trial dates: 29 September 1947 - 13 February 1948

Judges:  Michael A. Musmanno (Pennsylvania) (presiding judge), John J. Speight (Alabama), and Richard D. Dixon (North Carolina)

Chief Prosecutor: Benjamin B. Ferencz; Assistants: Arnost Horlick-Hochwald, Peter W. Walton, John E. Glancy, James Heath

Judgment: 8 April 1948

Sentencing: 10 April 1948

Defendant Position Sentence Outcome, 1951 Amnesty
Otto Ohlendorf
  • SS Gruppenführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe D
Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Heinz Jost
  • SS Brigadeführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe A
Lifetime imprisonment commuted to 10 years; died 1964
Erich Naumann
  • SS Brigadeführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe B
Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Otto Rasch
  • SS Brigadeführer
  • Member of the SD and the Gestapo
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzgruppe C
Removed from the trial on February 5 , 1948 due to medical reasons died November 1, 1948
Erwin Schulz
  • SS Brigadeführer
  • Member of the Gestapo
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 5 of Einsatzgruppe C
20 years commuted to 15 years; released 9 January 1954, died 1981
Franz Six
  • SS Brigadeführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Vorkommando Moscow of Einsatzgruppe B
20 years commuted to 15 years; released 30 September 1952, died 1975
Paul Blobel
  • SS Standartenführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C
Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Walter Blume
  • SS Standartenführer
  • Member of the SD and the Gestapo
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7a of Einsatzgruppe B
Death by hanging commuted to 25 years; released 1955, died 1974
Martin Sandberger
  • SS Standartenführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 1a of Einsatzgruppe A
Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment, released in 1958, died 2010
Willy Seibert
  • SS Standartenführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Deputy Chief of Einsatzgruppe D
Death by hanging commuted to 15 years, died in 1976
Eugen Steimle
  • SS Standartenführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7a of Einsatzgruppe B
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C
Death by hanging commuted to 20 years; released June 1954; died 1987
Ernst Biberstein
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C
Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment, released in 1958, died 1986
Werner Braune
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD and the Gestapo
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 11b of Einsatzgruppe D
Death by hanging executed June 7, 1951
Walter Haensch
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C
Death by hanging commuted to 15 years
Gustave Nosske
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the Gestapo
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D
Lifetime imprisonment commuted to 10 years; died 1990
Adolf Ott
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B
Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released May 9, 1958
Eduard Strauch
  • SS Obersturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 2 of Einsatzgruppe A
Death by hanging handed over to Belgian authorities; died in hospital September 11, 1955.
Emil Haussmann
  • SS Sturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Officer of Einsatzkommando 12 of Einsatzgruppe D
Committed suicide before the arraignment on July 31, 1947  
Waldemar Klingelhöfer
  • SS Sturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Officer of Sonderkommando 7b of Einsatzgruppe B
Death by hanging commuted to lifetime imprisonment; released 1956, died 1980
Lothar Fendler
  • SS Sturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4b of Einsatzgruppe C
10 years; reduced to 8 years commuted to 8 years
Waldemar von Radetzky
  • SS Sturmbannführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Deputy chief of Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C
20 years released
Felix Rühl
  • SS Hauptsturmführer
  • Member of the Gestapo
  • Officer of Sonderkommando 10b of Einsatzgruppe D
10 years released
Heinz Schubert
  • SS Obersturmführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Officer in Einsatzgruppe D
Death by hanging commuted to 10 years
Mathias Graf
  • SS Untersturmführer
  • Member of the SD
  • Officer in Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe D
Time already served  

              
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