http://inconvenienthistory.com/archive/ ... _trial.php
I'll just reproduce here a section on the manipulation of interrogation records by British War Crimes investigators:
1.1 The Interrogations of Drosihn and Weinbacher
The interrogation transcripts for Drosihn and Weinbacher, unlike those of Tesch, exist in full in both German and English. Neither knew anything about Sehm’s travel report, or about the gassing of humans. Their interrogations are particularly interesting, however, in that they give us a look into the operating procedures and ethical standards of the British War Crimes Investigation Team. The interrogations, in fact, exist in two different versions each in both German and English: an original transcript of the interrogations, which took place on October 17 in Drosihn’s case and October 16 in Weinbacher’s, and a doctored version.38 The doctored versions have had certain passages embarrassing to the prosecution removed, but are still signed and certified as accurate transcripts by Captain Freud and the stenotypist. Altogether, then, there exist (1) a German original, with the passages to be removed indicated in pen, (2) an English translation of the German original, (3) a sanitized German copy with the offending passages removed, and (4) an English translation of the sanitized German copy.
What kinds of passages were thought worth removing? To start, the very beginning of Weinbacher’s interview was removed:
What was this obstinate behavior? In the report on the case, it is stated that Weinbacher was “so insolent” during his interrogation that “special steps” had to be taken.39 Another excised passage from the interrogation gives a sample of this “insolence”. After having first claimed that Dr. Tesch had bribed Weinbacher, something Weinbacher indignantly denied (the entire exchange being later excised from the transcripts), Capt. Freud then claimed that Dr. Tesch had given the members of the firm instructions about what to tell investigators. Weinbacher denied this, and in the exchange that followed (which was cut from the transcript) showed more of his “insolence”:Q. Take your hands out of your pockets if you come in here.
A. Yes, I have done it already,
(Owing to the obstinate behaviour of the prisoner Captain FREUD ordered the presence of an armed guard).
When Weinbacher denied that TESTA had specially secured files,40 he was threatened by the interrogator, but the exchange was later removed from the transcript:Q. Don’t lie.
A. No. As sure as I am standing here, there was no question about it. You are under a misconception.
Q. Don’t shout at me.
A. I am speaking in the same voice as you are talking to me.
Q. Don’t become insolent. What did you get from Dr TESCH?
Q. I didn’t get anything. I can only say that you do not appreciate Dr TESCH [German original reads daß Sie Dr. Tesch falsch beurteilen.]
Dr. Drosihn’s October 17 interrogation experienced similar expurgations. As in Weinbacher’s interrogation, a passage to do with the disparagement of Tesch’s character was removed. (The first two lines of the following quotation were not removed; they are included here to provide the proper context.)Q. How do you like the prison? Apparently too well. We shall send you to a working camp [Arbeitslager] if you don’t want to speak the truth.
A. I can only tell the truth and nothing more. I can’t say anything but the truth.
In another removed passage Captain Freud expounded on the converted shower theory that dominated thinking about gas chambers at the time.41 (He also made such a sketch and description of gassing showers during the interrogation of TESTA employee Johann Holst.42)Q. What did Dr. Tesch say when such an enormous order came?
A. “Good; that is a beautiful order”.
Q. He did not say: “Good, another 100,000 Poles or Russians dead”?
A. No, he never did say that. In my opinion he would always have been against that.
Q. I am very much disappointed with you. I thought you would speak more openly.
A. I did so.
Q. No you did not. You did not say anything about the gassing of men.
A. I don’t know anything about it.
Q. We will show you how we found the gas chambers. (Captain FREUD makes a sketch). I show you the chambers of RIGA. These rooms had once been shower baths. The SS was standing armed on the roof, the people were driven into the yard, then the doors were locked and the SS pushed the people into the rooms, allegedly to take a shower bath. They were told that, then the doors were locked and the ZYKLON gas was sprinkled through the holes in the ceiling. After ten minutes the people could be brought to the incinerator, How many of these installations did you see?
A. Not a single one. In RIGA I only saw the normal installation.The questioning of Drosihn on Sehm’s travel report story was also cut, with the following text being removed:
Figure 1: A page from the original transcript of Weinbacher’s interrogation, showing passages to be excised.
Figure 2: A page from the original transcript of Drosihn’s interrogation, showing passages to be excised.
As in Weinbacher’s interrogation, threats were removed from the edited version of Drosihn’s interrogation. First to go was a threat to hand him over to the Russians to be tortured:Q. I will tell you what records we have found. At the end of 1941 Dr Tesch was in BERLIN and had conferences with the highest officials of the Wehrmacht and the SS. And in the course of these conferences it was said literally: “Because the shooting of Jews is unhygienic it is suggested that BLAUSAEURE GAS should be used.” That is to be read in black and white in a letter from the High Command. I am rather sure that you, too, took some part in this. What do you know about the destruction of men? But this time I don’t want to hear the same lies, but the truth.
A. I state once again that I heard of it only after the occupation.
Q. That is impossible for the shower baths were only camouflaged; there was no water there.
A. I assume that they were perhaps hot air chambers, but it is not allowed to build them like that, for that is not permitted by the law, that chambers must stand quite apart.
Q. It was a barrack standing alone. Didn’t you supply anything for it?
A. No, nothing. That is not the expert way and cannot be brought in accordance with the laws relating to BLAUSAEURE.
Also removed was a veiled threat against Drosihn’s wife:Q. I see, Dr DROSIHN. We won’t get anywhere like that. I had thought you would like to speak, but as you are not doing that, we must proceed differently with you; for we want to know what the firm had to do with the gassing of men. You know the firm’s position today, as well as yours, and that of the other gentlemen, Dr TESCH and WEINBACHER? Your sphere of activity was mostly in the East, such as AUSCHWITZ, RIGA, LUBLIN, ORANIENBURG, and all those places are now under Russian authority. We shall be forced to pass you on to the Russians who now deal with such cases and probably employ other methods to make you speak.
A. I cannot make any other statements. I can only assure you that my tongue has been loosened and that I will tell you everything.
Q. Until now you have not told us anything.
A. I must adhere to my statement that only after your victory did I hear that men had been gassed in the concentration camps.
Figures 1 and 2 show pages from the original German transcripts of the interrogations, with the passages to be excised marked in pen.Shall we first hear [verhören, translation should be ‘interrogate’] your wife about [what Drosihn had heard about Auschwitz]? We want to spare her this.
The revelation of this procedure of sanitizing interrogation transcripts has significant implications, and raises the question of how far this practice extended to other similar cases of the time. Certainly one must suspect similar alterations to Tesch’s interrogations, neither of which exists in a true original (meaning the copy actually taken down during the interrogation). However, there is also a strong possibility that similar acts took place in other British and American interrogations. In one similar case, there was testimony in the Congressional investigation of the Malmedy trial that the investigators engaged in extensive rewriting of interrogation-derived statements.43 Interrogation materials are often not available in the original typed version, as seen in Figures 1 and 2 (with characteristic lack of formatting), but only in better-formatted, retyped versions. In light of the modifications demonstrated here, scholars cannot deny the very real possibility that they are dealing with doctored materials - “the interrogation as it should have been”. Though this is not the time to treat the subject thoroughly, one must remark that when using interrogation and trial materials, holocaust scholars have not shown adequate sensitivity towards the type of evidence with which they were dealing. It is no surprise that reading the prosecution’s file makes the accused look guilty: the prosecution was aiming for that effect, and often was not being particularly honest in the process. On the theme of caution with interrogation-derived statements, one should also note the penchant of prosecutors to use their own statements in the deposition of a witness. In simplified and somewhat caricatured form, the process looks like this: one begins with an interrogation as follows:
INTERROGATOR: Statement 1 is true, right?
INTERROGATOR: Statement 2 is true, right?
WITNESS: I guess so.
INTERROGATOR: Statement 3 is true, right?
WITNESS: No, definitely not.
INTERROGATOR: Statement 4 is true, right?
WITNESS: I don’t think so.
INTERROGATOR: Is it impossible?
WITNESS: Well, I guess I can’t prove it didn’t happen.
Through the magic of the prosecution’s rewriting, this becomes
DEPOSITION OF WITNESS: Statement 1. Statement 2. It is quite possible that Statement 4.
In this way, the witness simply becomes the mouthpiece for as much of the prosecution’s case as he will assent to, or at least not explicitly deny. The appearance of voluntary or spontaneous admissions in the resulting statements makes them much more convincing evidence than the interrogation transcript itself would have been. This, of course, was intentional on the prosecution’s part. To give a simple example from the Tesch case, consider the following exchange during Drosihn’s interrogation
In his statement, this becameQ. What was your impression of Dr TESCH as a man?
A. Dr TESCH could be very inconsiderate.
Q. He would step over corpses if it helped his business?
A. I don’t know whether I can express it that way. It is true he neglected my salary.
Q. It astonishes me that you still protect him thus, for now he will not have an opportunity to employ people. I want to know your real opinion of him.
A. I have already stated at the beginning that I had several quarrels with Dr TESCH. Besides, he was very correct and tried not to come into conflict with the law.
Q. Did Dr TESCH tell you about the conference in BERLIN?
Q. Where did he keep secret records?
A. I don’t know. I only know that he wrote a secret letter about me. I don’t know what was in it. He put it into a blue, closed envelope and laid it in the upper shelf of the cupboard.
Q. Perhaps he wanted to bring you to a concentration camp?
A. That is possible. [Das kann sein.]
Q. Then you would perhaps have been gassed and experienced the matter from the other side?
A. Yes; possible. [Ja, möglich.]44
I also know that Dr TESCH kept a sealed envelope which probably contained my criticisms of the State in order to be able to blackmail me.45
This is damning evidence Jansson has provided here of foul play by the War Crimes teams in the preparation of interrogation transcripts, interrogation reports, and witness statements.
Also notable is the fact that two of the main characters in the War Crimes team discussed by Jansson in this article, Captain Gerald Draper and Caption Anton Freud (Sigmund's grandson), were both involved in the British interrogations of Rudolf Hoess.