Tuesday, September 8, 2009

14. EX-NUREMBERG ATTORNEY SAYS WALDHEIM NO HERO, BUT WAS SMALL FISH IN NAZI EUROPE, 1986



Classic photo of Dwight D. Eisenhower on D-Day

14.

News story published by Lurene Kathleen Helzer in The Daily Review, page one, May 22, 1986, “Ex-Nuremberg Attorney Says Waldheim Small Fish.”

This story was surprising for readers back in 1986 because at the time, Kurt Waldheim was defending his political reputation. It had emerged that he was quite embedded with the Nazi party, and that he’d obviously concealed this through his post-war career in his native Austria and United Nations.

In this story, I was able to quote former Nuremberg Chief Prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz talking about the immensity of the crimes. The world would not be watching millions of Nazis waiting in line to be tried.

Total justice and genocide do not shake hands, if this analogy makes sense.

The world had to understand the impossibility of putting millions of Nazis on trial, or try to understand it.

Waldheim’s alleged acts of non-stop murder were not near the magnitude of the mass murders allegedly carried out by those who did stand trial at Nuremberg:

“It was never our intention, it was never our capacity to try all those who might have been engaged in some form or another of Nazi crimes,” said the former prosecutor, Benjamin B. Ferencz of New Rochelle, N.Y.

Those accused of killing only a few hundred people were not tried because prosecutors were too busy with cases such as that of a Nazi doctor who was “responsible for killing 73,000 within two hours,” Ferencz said.

“Two hundred people killed? We don’t waste time with that. Five hundred people killed? We don’t waste time with that,” he said.


Mr. Ferencz was saying this at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Market Street. I had to dress in business-formal attire because you usually had notable visitors at The Commonwealth Club, like Henry Kissinger, for example.

I was just 21 then. The Waldheim controversy was in full debate around the world, but especially in Europe and the United Nations. (Mr. Waldheim died at age of 88 in June, 2007.)

I reported what I could, given the text limits and felt I’d done a reasonable story.

Still, reporting for readers the old counselor's words about one of the most known participants/Fascists with the German Einsatzgruppen had me a bit nervous as well as focused. It was one of my first few published news stories. I could not trip and fall, so to speak.

--------

Some time around 2004, I came across the story while digging through files and sent a copy to Mr. Ferencz. He accepted it, but disliked having to pick it up at the post office in New York where he lived. It was a small story, anyway. I forgot it.

But then, in March of 2008, I decided to write a better description to introduce the topic in my online library. I wondered if Mr. Ferencz was still active, still in good health. He had a fantastic website. I sent a note with a face shot to the email address listed. I was glum, though. He had to be about 87 by now, and I would be lucky if I got a reply.

But I did!! On March 18, 2008, the fair counselor wrote short email saying I was welcome to quote from his words online, and that he had nothing new to add to those materials.

Hearing from him changed my day. I was so pleased he was in good enough health to reply and to think clearly. I called my grandmother about this and she was just as uplifted in spirit.

I admit, the Nuremberg Trials are history class for most readers today. If you're in high school, you may not see it all as relevant. But there are important lessons for everyone about the importance of diplomacy and national defense in Ferencz's writings.

He’s a talented attorney. I like studying these materials sometimes, and go to his site at http://www.benferencz.org

From my original newspaper story:


SAN FRANCISCO --- Kurt Waldheim probably never would have made it to the Nuremberg war crimes trials for his involvement with the Nazi party after World War II, one of the trials’ prosecutors said Wednesday night.

“It was never our intention, it was never our capacity to try all those who might have been engaged in some form or another of Nazi crimes,” said the former prosecutor, Benjamin B. Ferencz of New Rochelle, N.Y.

Those accused of killing only a few hundred people were not tried because prosecutors were too busy with cases such as that of a Nazi doctor who was “responsible for killing 73,000 within two hours,” Ferencz said.

“Two hundred people killed? We don’t waste time with that. Five hundred people killed? We don’t waste time with that,” he said.

“What we were really trying to do was just to take a sampling, a brief sampling, of some of those who were involved and to lay bare the historical record.”

Ferencz, speaking at the Commonwealth Club, was the chief prosecutor for the trial in which Hitler’s extermination squads, called “Einsatzgruppen,” were tried. The squads killed thousands of people.


Check out my other blogs:

bayarealurene.blogspot

bayarealureneb.blogspot
fecklesspreapproved.blogspot
unbelievableanimalstories.blogspot
risksinreporting.blogspot
genesisoutline.blogspot

assadinsyria1973.blogspot
jerusalem2000,blogspot

Lurene Gisee
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last edit August 17, 2016
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2 comments:

Edward said...

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LureneKathleen said...

Hi Edward,

Sorry for my delayed reply. I want to say I agree with your point. -- Lurene
360-752-6581
Aug. 24, 2012