nuremberg military tribunal




Paul Blobel

It was the contention of the Prosecution that SS-Colonel Paul Blobel commanded Sonderkommando 4a from June 1941 to January 1942, and in that capacity is responsible for the killing of 60,000 people. Defense Counsel, in his final plea, argued that the maximum number of persons executed by Sonderkommando 4a cannot have exceeded 10,000 to 15,000 which in itself, it must be admitted, would anywhere else be regarded as a massacre of some proportions, except in the annals of the Einsatzgruppen.

Defense Counsel maintains that the reports which chronicle the 60,000 killings are subject to error. He points out first that the reports are not under oath. This overlooks the fundamental fact that the reports are strictly military documents and that every soldier who collects, transmits and receives reports is under oath. He then states that the reports were compiled and issued by an office unfamiliar with the subject covered in the reports. But this is to say that a military headquarters is stranger to its own organization. But the crowning objection to the reliability of the reports is the conjecture that possibly the headquarters did not have a map with which to check the locations!

Then, if the reports are assumed to be correct, it is argued that the defendant was under the jurisdiction of the Army, coming directly under the orders of Field Marshal von Reichenau of AOK 6. The Tribunal has already spoken on the defense of Superior Orders. But Blobel asserts that the persons executed by his kommando were investigated and tried, and that Field Marshal von Reichenau had reviewed every case. There is nothing in Blobel's record which would suggest that his bare statement would be sufficient to authenticate a proposition which, on its face, is unbelievable. It is enough to refer to the massacre at Kiev where 33,771 Jews were executed in two days immediately after an alleged incendiary fire, to disprove Blobel's utterance in this regard. Incidentally Blobel, whose kommando took an active part in this mass killing, said that the number reported was too high. " In my

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opinion," he states, "not more than half of the mentioned figure were shot."

The defendant stated further that all his shootings were done in accordance with International Law. He testified:

"Executions of agents, partisans, saboteurs, suspicious people, indulging in espionage and sabotage, and those who were of a detrimental effect to the German Army, were, in my opinion, completely in accordance with the Hague Convention."
(Emphasis supplied)

Sixteen separate reports directly implicate Blobel's kommando in mass murder, many of them referring to him by name. Report No. 143 declares that as of November 9, 1941, Sonderkommando 4a had executed 37,243 persons. Report No. 132, dated November 12, 1941, tells of the execution of Jews and prisoners of war by Blobel's sonderkommando. Report No. 156 declares that as of November 30, 1941, Sonderkommando 4a had shot 59, 018 persons.

In his final plea for the defendant, Defense Counsel offers the explanation why Blobel became involved in the business just related. He said that in 1924 Blobel began the practice of his profession, that of a free-lance architect. By untiring efforts he became successful, and at last he realized his dream of owning his own home. The came the economic crisis of 1928-29. "The solid existence for which he had fought and worked untiringly was smashed by the general economic collapse." He could get no new orders, his savings disappeared, he could not pay the mortgage on his house, which he had previously stated he owned. Paul Blobel was, as his counsel tells us, "down to his last shirt." The defendant was seized by the force of the quarrels between major political parties, and his counsel sums it up:

"This situation alone makes the subsequent behavior of the defendant Blobel comprehensible."

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But this hardly explains to law and humanity why a general economic depression which affected the whole world justified the defendant's going into Russia to slay tens of thousands of human beings and the blowing up their bodies with dynamite.

The defendant joined the SA, SS and NSDAP, not, he explains, because he believed in the ideology of National Socialism, but to improve his economic condition. In 1935 he received an order as architect to furnish the office of the SS in Dusseldorf. Despite the miraculous prosperity promised by National Socialism, the defendant in 1935 still found himself in distress and so he thus decided to take up Nazi work seriously and became clothed again. He would give his entire time to National Socialism.

He was now working for the SD collecting news from all spheres of life in ascertaining public opinion. Defense Counsel states that Blobel tried to withdraw from the SD prior to the outbreak of World War II, but later contradicts this with the statement that "up to 1939 there was no reason for him to withdraw from his activities with the SD and to turn his back upon this organization."

In June 1941 Blobel was called from Dusseldorf to Berlin, took charge of Sonderkommando 4a and marched into Russia. In one operation his kommando killed so many people that it could collect 137 trucks full of clothes. Blobel's attitude on murder in general was well exemplified by his reaction to the question as to whether he believed that the killing of 1,160 Jews in the retaliation for the killing of 10 German soldiers was justified. His words follow:

"116 Jews for one German? I don't know. I am not a militarist, you see. One can only judge it from one's own human ideas. If they are enemies and if they are equal enemies the question would have to be discussed whether one to 116 is a justified ratio of retaliation."

The defendant Blobel, like every other defendant, has been given every opportunity to defend himself against serious charges advanced by the Prosecution.

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The Tribunal finds from all the evidence in the case that the defendant is guilty under counts I and II of the Indictment.

The Tribunal also finds that the defendant was a member of the criminal organizations SS and SD under the conditions defined by the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal and is, therefore, guilty under Count II of the Indictment.

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Musmanno, Michael A., U.S.N.R, Military Tribunal II, Case 9: Opinion and Judgment of the Tribunal. Nuremberg: Palace of Justice. 8 April 1948. pp. 152 - 155 (original mimeographed copy)

Profile of Paul Blobel

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Ken Lewis
April 9, 1998
Rev. 1.1