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The Fine Print

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mahendra singh

An excellent & concise post into an area of US-German business/politcal relations which most citizens of both countries know little about. I strongly recommend to you & your readers the well-researched & valuable book by Carolyn Eisenberg, Drawing the Line.

She deals with the immediate post-war decisions by the Allies regarding Germany, culminating in the East-West split. The overwhelming influence of both American & German business interests upon the entire process was morally revolting and politically shortsighted. And as you point out, this was merely the continuation of an equally disreputable pre-war and during-the-war relationship.

Nice guys finish last, eh?

John Ptak

Mahendra: thanks so much for your comment. I had a look at the Eisenberg book at the library and it frankly looks too complex to jump into without having (and I'm talking about myself here) a real understanding of what in the h*ll happened at Yalta. And for that matter, the repatriation horrors with the Soviets '45-'47. Anyway I'm just saying that the Eisenberg book looks like it would require more understanding than I have right now. I do thank you for bringing it up here and making me think about it.


Interesting read John. I too have been reading up on the Nuremberg trials lately and stumbled upon this post. Whilst I haven't read too much on the IG Farben trials per se, I have come to form the opinion that the Testa directors whom were tried and executed did not deserve the death penalty.

Firstly, historical accounts from the Germans have documented evidence that the Nazis went out of their way to hide these secret extermination camps from the German citizens. Thus the allegations that a mere industrialist and his business associate would have privy to such knowledge is undoubtedly refutable.

Secondly, Testa was merely a distributor acting as an intermediary in the supply of the toxic gas as a wholesaler. The business ultimately functions as a fumigation service provider for commercial properties. Whilst it is widely assumed during the trials that the large amounts of Zyklon B gas was used solely for the purposes of mass murder, this assumption had been attributed without verification. On hindsight, historians and investigators have discovered that 95% of the toxic gas was used for delousing (effects and buildings) to contain the typhus epidemic in the concentration camps. Only the remaining 5% had been used for homicidal gassings.

Lastly, the court was only presented with witness accounts of an ex-bookkeeper who had purportedly seen a report which suggests that the defendants had knowledge of the Nazis' homicidal gassing activities. Ultimately, there was inconclusive evidence to implicate the defendants with certainty and this account would not have held in the court of law if it were a fair trial.

What puzzles me the most is how the British Military Tribunal could condemn these 2 men to death with their indirect proximity to the crime when the Nuremberg doctor trials saw short-to-medium terms for a few in the actual concentration camps. The death sentence seems too harsh.

Appeals were also single-handedly denied. It seems they were condemned to death by association and were victims of convenient blame, where their role is serve the public interest by accounting for "international justice".

P.S. you might find this an interesting read - http://vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres10/v4%233.pdf

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