Previously restricted files from the U.N. War Crimes Commission cites documents reveal that Adolf Hitler was indicted as a war criminal for actions by the Nazis during World War II before his death.
The book, “Human Rights After Hitler” by British academic Dan Plesch, says Hitler was put on the commission’s first list of war criminals in December 1944.
The previous month the commission determined that Hitler could be held criminally responsible for the acts of the Nazis in occupied countries, according to the book. And by March 1945 — a month before Hitler’s death — “the commission had endorsed at least seven separate indictments against him for war crimes.”
Plesch, who led the campaign for open access to the commission’s archive, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the documents show “the allies were prepared to indict Hitler as head of state, and this overturns a large part of what we thought we knew about him.”
“The records overturn one of the most important accepted truths concerning the Holocaust: that, despite the heroic efforts of escapees from Nazi-occupied Europe, the allies never officially accepted the reality of the Holocaust and therefore never condemned it until the camps were liberated at the end of the war,” Plesch wrote.
“The book documents not only that the extermination of the Jews was condemned officially and publicly by the allies but that specific features of the extermination were publicized, including a favored method — lethal gas — and the central place of execution — Poland,” he said.
One chapter analyzes country-by-country the indictments that began to be made early in 1944 for anti-Jewish persecution by Germans. It includes 372 cases submitted against Germany by Poland, 110 by the Netherlands, 91 by France, 52 by Czechoslovakia, 30 by Yugoslavia, 21 by the United Kingdom, 18 by Belgium, 14 by Denmark and 12 by Greece.
The book also notes cases brought against German allies Japan and Italy.
“Ultimately thousands of soldiers were tried for war crimes after World War II,” the book says. But Plesch wrote that “the commission’s files contain indictments against thousands of Nazis who were then allowed to go free.”
Source:The Associated Press