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Old 16th March 2017, 04:31 PM   #2283
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Originally Posted by EtienneSC View Post
Page reference to Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners (1996) is pages 249-50. Goldhagen cites a book by Hoffmann, not Browning, as I wrongly assumed.
I cannot find anything related to your post on pp 249-250 of the 1997 paperback edition of Goldhagen’s book (I don’t have the 1996 edition); however, on pp 380-381 we can read Goldenhagen’s discussion of Ohlendorf’s testimony about superior orders, which is in line with recent scholarship about the possibility of members of the Einsatzgruppen opting out.

However, I think you’ve confused apples with oranges - or Pollack has. Because Goldhagen wasn’t exactly clear. Goldhagen quotes Ohlendorf’s 1947 NMT testimony about men he deemed unable or unsuitable for the killing duty on account of their mental state - not about men refusing duty, which was the situation you say Pollack addressed ("Ohlendorf admitted to ordering those who refused to take part in liquidations shot”). Evading orders, by request or refusal, would be apples to the oranges of Ohlendorf’s reference to men deemed unsuitable for the killing duty and excused by the command.

The exact wording of Ohlendorf’s 1947 testimony quoted by Goldhagen doesn’t say what your gloss on Pollack says:
I had sufficient occasion to see how many men of my Gruppe did not agree with this order in their inner opinion. Thus, I forbade the participation in these executions on the part of some of these men and I sent some back to Germany.
Goldhagen also cites the testimony of one of the members of Einsatzgruppe D to the effect that the men in the unit knew that those “unfit for the performance of such tasks” would be “released.” Goldhagen’s point here is that men could find a way out of duty and Ohlendorf’s testimony on unfitness is just one of the examples he gives.

Ohlendorf’s 1947 testimony is in line with his earlier IMT testimony (1946) in which he discussed both

- cases of unfitness for duty (“I excluded some whom I did not consider emotionally suitable for executing these tasks and I sent some of them home”), and
- cases of attempts to evade or opt out of the duty (“the result would have been a court martial with a corresponding sentence”)

Despite Ohlendorf’s testimony on this, scholars agree that the search for any such cases (death penalty for refusal to participate in the killing operations) has proven fruitless. In its judgment, in fact, the NMT already stated (NMT, Green Series, vol IV, p 482) that
Ohlendorf himself 'could have got out of his execution assignment by refusing cooperation with the army. He testified that the Chief of Staff in the field said to him that if he, Ohlendorf, did not co* operate, he would ask for his dismissal in Berlin.
I don’t have Pollack’s book, so I don’t know what he wrote. Nor do I get your point: if it is that different writers like Pollack and Goldhagen will interpret testimony and events differently, meh; if it is that Ohlendorf may have made some untrue and/or some contradictory statements, meh. I mean, in 1946 Ohlendorf was trying to prove his value to the allies, whilst in 1947 the man’s life hung in the balance.

As an aside, during his NMT examination Ohlendorf further testified (p 249), in line with the superior orders defense many of the defendants in the NMT trial tried using, as follows ( ):
The men of my group who are under indictment here were under my military command. If they had not executed the orders which they were given, they would have been ordered by me to execute them. If they had refused to execute the orders they would have had to be 'called to account for it by me. There could be no doubt about it. Whoever refused anything in the front lines would have met immediate death. If the refusal would have come about in any other way, a court martial of the Higher SS and Police Leader would have brought about the same con* sequences. The jurisdiction of courts martial was great, but the sentences of the SS were gruesome. The orders for the execu* tion in the past given in Pretzsch went to all Einsatzgruppen commanders or Einsatzkommando leaders who went along during the beginning of the Russian campaign. They were never revoked. Thus they were valid for the entire Russian campaign as long as there were Einsatzgruppen. Thus it was, therefore, unneces* sary at any time to give another order of initiative and I did not give any individual order to kill people.
Perhaps Pollack was referring to this passage. I don’t know - and I still don’t know what point you tried making.
. . . all this would be absurd if it weren't happening, now let's go and eat.
- Jose Saramago, The Stone Raft
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