Shylock as Judge, by Heinrich Haertle — part 13

In contrast to the respectful treatment of the defeated French in 1940, the defeated Germans in 1945 are treated precisely as criminals.


“Hands up! Pants down!”
From Freispruch für Deutschland by Heinrich Haertle
Translated by Hadding Scott, 2015

Only five years have passed since then. Germany’s peace-offer [to Britain] after the victory over France has been rejected. Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin have broadened the European war into a Second Wold War. For five years Germany stood nearly alone against the three greatest powers on Earth, until she succumbed in 1945 to the Allies’ manifold quantitative advantage in personnel and materiel. Would such brave defenders not be entitled to honorable treatment?

Eisenhower, Churchill, and Stalin treat the defeated military opponents as criminals. After the gangsters’ action of arresting the Reich’s Government the path is clear for a retribution and revenge no longer limited by law or morality.

Into the government’s still unoccupied territory of Flensburg-Muerwik, the seat of the Reich’s Government and of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, British tanks, infantry, and military police advance. The members of the Reich’s Government, still not arrested aboard the Patria, have just assembled for a cabinet-meeting. Foreign minister, finance-minister, and acting chancellor Count Schwerin von Krosigk gives a situation-report. One still hopes to keep as many Germans as possible beyond the reach of the Red horde.

Suddenly the door flies open. “Hands up!” bellows a heavily armed Tommy. The astonished ministers rise. “Pants down!” shout the Englishmen. This beats everything. Naked, the members of the Reich’s Government are searched by hasty hands. “Nothing was left unexplored,” reports an eyewitness, the adjutant of Grand Admiral Doenitz, Walter Luedde-Neurath. Then the ministers are shoved out onto the street like bandits in underwear and pajamas. Without regard for decency and sense of shame, the secretaries must endure the same treatment, threatened with machine-pistols, patted down, robbed.

A little later the office of the Reich’s Economic Minister Albert Speer is also “conquered” by tanks, and Speer is arrested. A few hours later Grand Admiral Doenitz, Senior General Jodl are standing against the wall in the yard of the Flensburg Police Department. An English machine-gun menaces their every movement. Then military trucks and tanks carry them away. The last barrier to the fulfillment of victors’ justice has been removed; the German nation has been robbed of its government. With tanks and machine-pistols Germany is liberated from “militarism,” from German militarism…. 

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