64 years after the end of WW2

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Lindele, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Today 11 years ago, the German parliament voted with 100% to cancel all convictions for enemy preferred treatment.

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  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Given that there was no equivalent of the all German government, against which the Allies declared war, until German reunification then there could be no legal end to WW2 so the thread title is inaccurate
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Treaty on the Final Settlement with respect to the war against Germany was signed by the Four Allies on 12 September 1990 which enabled German unification to be established on 3 October 1990.

    These diplomatic moves then enabled the unified Germany to become a sovereign state on 15 March 1991.

    Both the DFR and the DDR were both members of the United Nations from 1973 but the Western powers could only negotiate with DFR who had become a sovereign state in 1955.The DDR remained a Russian satellite until reunification with the Russian occupational troops destined to leave in accordance with the Final Settlement Treaty in 1994.Western Power forces presence in the unified Germany could only be continued if invited to do so by the unified sovereign state of Germany

    Stefan is recording legislation which took place in 2009 which the unified German Parliament, being a function of a sovereign state was entitled to make.
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  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Effectively 19 years after the final legal conclusion of the war, not 64 - hence my comment
  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert on international law. However the Berlin surrender and the legal end of WW2 has been questioned on numerous occasions (mainly on civil grounds) since the surrender was military and didn't include civil authorities. As stated there was no German civil government in 1945. The matter was finally resolved in 2005 by the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that legally the Berlin surrender included the civilian authorities since it was a case of 'Sui Generis' ie. there was no one else.
    The Treaty of Final Settlement was not a peace treaty but a renouncement by the Allied Powers to the rights they held in Germany and was in order to allow reunification.

  6. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    However given that the surrender was to the United Nations a body over which the ECHR has no authority I believe that there is still some doubt over its mandate in this matter. The whole business of when exactly the war ceased is messy - for example Italy did not sign a peace treaty with the Allies until 1947 - the 1943 Armistice was a cessation of hostilities but not a peace treaty and the USSR stood in the way of a final settlement - hence many Italians taken prisoner pre the Armistice and scattered round the world remained POWs until 1947. Similar logic was used by the British government to hang onto numbers of German POWs until 1948 (in reality there was a manpower crisis and they were needed to continue to work the land). It took cross party accusations in Parliament that the government was indulging in 'slave labour' to end their use.

    Johann Custodis, Employing the enemy: the contribution of German and Italian Prisoners of War to British agriculture during and after the Second World War, in The Agricultural History Review, Volume 60, Part II. 2012.
    Bob Moore, Enforced Diaspora: The Fate of Italian Prisoners of War during the Second World War. War in History, 22 (2) 174 – 190, University of Sheffield, 2015
    Office of the Historian, United States efforts to negotiate a modification of the Italian armistice regime (January 1946–February 1947), Foreign relations of the United States, 1946, the British Commonwealth, Western and Central Europe, volume V 40.00119 EW/4–1146: Telegram The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Smith) to the Secretary of State Moscow, April 11, 1946
    Hansard, HC Deb 04 June 1946 vol 423 cc1822-4, Oral Questions German Prisoners of War
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Hi Stephan.

    Can you explain enemy preferred treatment? It's a new term to me.

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  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Me too

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  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    And me. Hopefully Stefan will provide the answer. The only people I can think of at the moment are those Germans who were convicted by the Nazis of crimes against the State.

    Not sure where this has come from. UN was still in discussion and formation at this time. It didn't come into operation until Oct 45.

    Edit: I now see the Allies were sometimes called the United Nations but the term was rarely used. Confused this with the UN as we know it today.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards the two world wars.

    The Great War conflict was ended by the Germans seeking armistice terms and due to the Kaiser and the German Imperial military abdicating and absconding from their responsibility,the Versailles Peace Treaty was agreed to and signed by the politicians from the Council of People Representatives.This leadership which evolved as ad hoc were put under pressure to agree to the peace terms by the continued presence of the naval blockage of Germany which was only lifted when the Versailles Peace Treaty was signed in the vacuum caused by the collapse of the Second Reich.

    The ending of the Second World War was more decisive.The Germans in the end succumbed to unconditional surrender.The Third Reich military leadership had no other option to sign the terms of surrender.Germany was split into 4 occupational zones and the Russian occupied East Germany became a satellite state of Russia.

    The fact that a Treaty of Final Settlement not been agreed to had no bearing on the development of West Germany from the three Western Powers' occupational zones into the democratic state of the DFR a few years after the war. Germany became a sovereign state on 5 May 1955 and a member of NATO a few days later.

    Tims #5 post final paragraph sums up the reasoning of the Treaty of Final Settlement

    Incidentally in the alliance of the Western Powers and Russia against the Third Reich,the alliance were frequently referred to as the United Nations in the home front newsreels....often in the commentary reference was made to the "fighting spirit of the United Nations"

    (Finally achieved the posting....opera not behaving itself )
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
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  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I think you are getting confused between the UN Declaration and the UN Charter. The Declaration by The United Nations of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, was when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. The term became quite widely used. At the Dumbarton Oaks conference in 1944 it was agreed that the post war UN would be built on the basis of those who were in the UN at the close of hostilities (ie at war with the Axis). This had the result that numbers of neutral countries declared war before the finish but often only against the member of the Axis furthest away from them. There were also some very last minute declarations (for example Turkey). Spain missed the boat because by the time Franco decided to take the plunge the Spanish Ambassador in Berlin, scuttling around under Soviet shell fire, could find no German FO officials to deliver the ultimatum to. The UN Charter was in 1945 but the UN originated well before.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
  12. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Thanks for asking.

    those were Germans having been too nice to the enemy according to the Nazi party line.
    The German wording was Kriegsverrat or Feindbeguenstigung.
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  13. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Feindbegünstigung = comfort to the enemy
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  14. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    War treason was a German legal term for "comfort to the enemy" (favouring the enemy), which was largely intensified shortly after the National Socialists seized power and then, especially in connection with the planning and execution of World War II, was so broadly defined in its meaning that almost any undesirable behaviour could be punished.

    In the summer of 2009, the Bundestag agreed to rehabilitate in a law all so-called "war traitors" convicted under Section 91b of the Reich Penal Code under National Socialism. The bill was unanimously adopted by the German Bundestag on September 8, 2009.

    For a long time, a significant problem arose from the existing legality of judgments at the time with regard to the enforcement of financial claims such as survivors' pensions. For example, according to a decision of the Federal Social Court, the payment of a pension was only possible if it could be proven that in the case of the judgments of that time "in individual cases there was no justification for the exhaustion of the punitive framework or even that the punitive framework had been exceeded". As early as 1991, however, the Federal Social Court explicitly distanced itself from its previous jurisprudence and came to the conclusion that, in assessing military justice verdicts, it must be taken into account "that an unjust state has waged a war contrary to international law, in which any resistance, including that of simple disobedience or abandonment of the troops, was punishable by the death penalty, and therefore, even in retrospect, as resistance to an unjust regime, cannot be excluded from compensation under the Federal Pensions Act. Practice suggests that the death sentences handed down by the Wehrmacht Courts are in principle manifestly unlawful judgments in the sense of constitutional court rulings

    translated from Wikipedia: Kriegsverrat im Nationalsozialismus – Wikipedia

    The "war traitors" are rehabilitated...not rehabilitated are the politicians who delayed this decision for 64 years
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  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Thanks for the explanation,I though I would not have to refer to my Oxford Duden German dictionary.

    Itdan thanks for the comprehensive explanation.

    On the other side of the coin, was there any further developments on Roland Freisler's widow's pension"...he being categorised as a victim of war while serving as a NS judge.

    Presumably his widow continued to receive a pension from his NS service.
  16. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Not sure. is the widow still around? Itdan, any idea?
  17. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Marion Freisler, née Russegger * February 10, 1910 in Hamburg; † January 21, 1997 in Munich

    In 1985 it became known that the monthly widow's pension of Marion Freisler's war victims' benefit had been increased by DM 400 in 1974. The responsible pension office justified this increase with the fact that her deceased husband, due to his professional qualifications, would presumably have worked as a lawyer or civil servant in the higher civil service after the war. This was in accordance with the law, despite the moral ambiguity.
    As early as 1955, it was known that the widows of Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler, Göring, Freisler and a Goebbels sister were receiving "befitting" pensions....

    see also: Another court case of an ex-SS man in Hamburg
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  18. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Thanks for an insight to the background of this war pensions practice.I knew that Freisler's widow must have died sometime ago but the revelations in the British press of the pension did result in some astonishment and take some understanding.

    To recap what I posted earlier that from my understanding of the post war Germany judiciary,such was the situation which was impossible for a fresh start with judges having unblemished backgrounds that 80% of judges appointed in the new DFR had served under the NS judicial system.

    As to the widows of the Nazi leadership.A few years ago I saw Lina Heydrich being interviewed as an older person.It was well known that she was an ardent Nazi even after all these years since the fall of NS.In the interview she demonstrated that she was unrepentant of the past and clearly missed the days of National Socialism.

    Lina Heydrich
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