Walter Blume

The attitude of S.S.-Colonel Walter Blume was a little different than that of General Naumann. He said that he obeyed the Führer-Order because he was compelled to do so although actually it filled him with revulsion. However, despite this supposed revulsion, he told us he urged upon his men the reasonableness of the order. With a scar which began at the left corner of his mouth and extended halfway across his cheek, it seemed, as he testified, that his speaking outlet had had to be enlarged by surgical operation so that he could make speeches to his Sonderkommando 7a which did its part in wiping out what one of his reports declared to be "racially completely inferior elements".

It was not difficult to visualise Blume, with his slanting forehead and elongated mouth, as he stood before his men ordering them to load and cock their rifles and then stentorianly addressing them in the following language, which he repeated in Court: "As such, it is no job for German men and soldiers to shoot defenceless people, but the Führer has ordered these shootings because he is convinced that these men otherwise would shoot at us as partisans or would shoot at our comrades, and our women and children were also to be protected if we undertake this execution."

Blume also explained from the witness stand: "This we would have to remember when we carried ou this order." But he did not remember to say that the men, women, and children he ordered killed had not committed any crime or shot at anybody. He only remembered that the Führer had said these people "would shoot" at them, their women and children - a thousand and more miles away. In other words, the Jews were to be killed because of the possibility they might at an unknown time in the unknown future be of some danger to the Führer and the executioners. Blume said he made this speech to ease the feelings of his men, but what he was really doing was convincing them how proper and justifiable it was to kill innocent and helpless human creatures. If he had actually believed the order to be unjust, conscience would at least have restrained him from falsely defending it on the basis of justice and reasonableness. His exhortations probably persuaded his men into the enthusiastic accomplishment of other executions which might otherwise have been avoided entirely or less completely fulfilled.

Evidently foreseeing that the proposition might be put to him that if he regarded the Führer-Order as unjust he could have avoided it by simply sending in a false report, he volunteered a refutation to the unspoken charge. "A false report did not occur to me. I would have considered it unworthy of myself." And then he added as an afterthought: "Apart from this my personal attitude about giving a false report, it would have been discovered very soon and it would have brought the same results as an open refusal to obey, namely, my sentence to death."

Of course, if the latter alternative were the more probable of realisation, there would be, on the basis of self-preservation, justification for Blume's refusal to misreport. However, since he offered two contradictory excuses, I asked which of the two motivated him to kill rather than to falsify. He replied:

"Your Honour, today I cannot exactly put myself in a situation, which one of these two thoughts dominated at the time, but they were both very close and both faced me barring a way out."

I insisted on an answer: "But those two reasons can't be reconciled. It is like a person who must decide whether to steal a hundred dollars or not and a conflict arises in his mind: 'If I steal this money I am being dishonest and I would not be true to myself; it is not correct, it is not moral - that is one reason. And then, for the second reason, I may get caught and they may send me to jail.' But here the second reason completely nullified the first because in the latter case he was not debating the problem morally; he was concerned only with the fear that he might 'be caught'."

Blume seemed offended with the illustration. He squared his shoulders; he was a man - and he declared with emphasis that "the feeling that a false report was unworthy of me induced me not to take such a way out".

Thus, he found it more manly to kill people he knew to be without fault then to tell a lie to his superiors in Berlin - several civilisations away.

This presents an interesting subject for relection. The man who must choose between honour with sacrifice and dishonour without sacrifice would prefer naturally not to be forced into choosing between such alternatives. But no one can be assured, in the complexities of life, the he will not be required to make momentous decisions. Blume had the choice between the physical fact of murder and the abstract concept of equivocation. He had to decide which was more honorable: to write up a report stating that five hundred men, women and children had been killed although they still lived, or to take these helpless human creatures out into the woods, shoot them down pitilessly and fling them into graves with the possibility that some of them might still be alive.

One defendant stated that to have disobeyed orders would have meant a betrayal of his people. Did he really mean that the German people, had they known, would have approved of this unrestrained butchery? The masses of the home-loving German people, more content to have a little garden in which to grow a plant ot two than a promise of vast lands beyond the horizon, now got to learn, through the Nuremberg trials, how they were betrayed by their supposed champions. How much inhumanity, how much oppression, how much of innocent blood has been shed throughout history in the name of the "People", whose only desire is to be allowed to live at peace with their neighbors, unharrassed by restless, ambitious and greedy chieftains so determined to lead them to riches and glory - over a precipice.

Blume was very solicitous about the health of his men. After a spell of executions he would take them out into the country by the shores of a beautiful lake where they found diversion and recreation. He testified: "They were particularly grateful for this. We started every day with sports. In the evenings I had songs sung at the campfire."

But there were no songs sung in the thousands of homes he had emptied of father, mother and babies. For Blume, there was only one home and that was his own, to which he expected to return, crowned with laurel wreaths which he would place at the feet of the man to whom he had entrusted his conscience and who represented for him the law of the world. When Blume spoke of an incident where he had executed three men because they had urged some farmers not to bring in a harvest for the Nazi invaders, Mr. Ferencz asked: "Are you familiar with the rules of war?"

"In this case I acted by carrying out the Führer-Order which decreed that saboteurs and functionaries were to be shot."

"Did you regard a person who told a farmer not to assist the Nazi invaders as a saboteur - only because he refused to help the Nazis - as worthy of the death sentence which you invoked?"


"Are you familiar with the rules of war?"

"I already stated that for me the directive was the Führer-Order. That was my law of war."

Blume stated that he "admired", "adored", and "worshipped" Hitler because what Hitler did was right. His ideas of what constituted right may be gathered from some of his answers regarding Hitler's invasion of neutral countries.

"You believe that it was proper to make war on Norway, which had not declared war on Germany?"

"Your Honour, I can only repeat that at the time it was explained to us quite clearly and we believed this."

"You believed it was proper?"

"Because we believed....We would be first this way."

"Well, regardless of what was told to you, you believed it was proper to invade Norway?"

"Only because of what I was told."

"You believed it to be proper in view of what had been told you?"


"And you believed it was proper to invade Denmark and Holland and Luxembourg?"

"All this was connected with the statement that we had to carry out thisin order to avoid that they attack us."

"Well, you believe it was proper?"

"From that point of view, yes."

"You believed it was proper to invade Greece?"

"At the time there were differences already."

"But you believed it was proper. That is the only thing I want o find out."

"You believe it was proper to invade Yugoslavia and Belgium?"

"Yes, we were told that at the time."

"Now, do you justify all those invasions today? Do you think today it was proper to have invaded all these countries?quot;

"Your Honour, I have no possibility to study history here."

"Do you believe today it was proper to invade Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the other countries?"

"I can't reply to this, your Honour."

Blume felt that Adolf Hitler "had a great mission for the German people". It did not matter to him what this mission might mean to the rest of mankind. With all other members of the Nazi Party he voluntarily took the Führer-oath: I vow inviolable fidelity to Adolf Hitler; I vow absolute obedience to him and to the leaders he designates for me. By this absolute submission of his will to that of Hitler, Blume wiped out the defence of superior orders. When anyone willingly abdicates all independant thinking and tenders himself as putty into the hands of another, he cannot complain if he is punished for the crimes plotted and planneed by the other with whom he stands inviolably in agreement. For let it be said once and for ever that Hitler with all his cunning and unmitigated evil would have remained as innocuous as a rambling crank if he did not have the Blumes, the Blobels, the Braunes and the Bibersteins to do his bidding - to mention only the B's.

Musmanno, Michael A., Justice. The Eichmann Kommandos. London: Peter Davies. 1961. pp. 161 - 167

[Home] [ Index]

Electric Zen
Ken Lewis
May 29, 1998
Rev. 1.0