Thursday, July 23, 2009

Justice Delayed

From a book review of Hunting Evil by Guy Walters

...After the exemplary hangings at Nuremberg, many of Hitler’s lesser creatures ­vanished into German society, where they were protected by fellow countrymen. Both the Soviet and western intelligence services cynically recruited scores of terrible men for their own purposes, and protected them from justice thereafter. One of the worst, Friedrich Buchardt, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, was employed by the British because of his spying contacts in eastern Europe.

Senior Vatican figures, many of them with ideological sympathies, played a deplorable role in assisting Nazis to reach South America. Adolf Eichmann wrote: “It was odd how throughout my escape journey I was helped by Catholic priests… In their eyes, I was just another human being on the road.”

A fascist named Clarita Stauffer ran an escape network through Spain. A 70-year-old English fascist vet named Arnold Leese hid two Dutch SS men on the run in Guildford. Only MI5’s intervention prevented their escape abroad. Sir Oswald Mosley and his wife tried to “do their bit” for old Nazis around the world, and Diana Mosley even founded a support network, the Bond of Brotherhood, for “our German colleagues”. It is extraordinary that some people regard her indulgently as the Mitford family’s “fun fascist”. She was an impenitent Nazi sympathiser until the day she died...

One way or another, only a tiny fraction of Nazis guilty of crimes against humanity faced legal process, and most served laughably short sentences. Tom Bower wrote the first important book about the allied failure to exact justice, Blind Eye to Murder, in 1981. Now, Walters has updated the story, aided by much new information. He gives gripping accounts of the international ­odysseys of such monsters as Eichmann, Mengele, Klaus Barbie and Erich Priebke.


And this on the backdrop of what is trying to be done to Israel:

Churchill was always uneasy about war crimes ­trials. He feared demands that allied personnel should be indicted — for instance, for murdering ­prisoners or even for bombing ­cities. I am aware of scarcely any case of British or American soldiers being tried for the illegal killing of Germans, though there were plentiful examples. To say this is not to subscribe to a doctrine of moral equivalence — of course the Nazis were vastly more wicked — but merely to acknowledge a difficulty.

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