Several trials were orchestrated by both Poland and Germany with a focus on crimes alleged to have been committed at the Majdanek Camp during the war.
Soviet-Polish Show Trials
The first show trial in Poland was conducted by a mixed staff of Soviet and Polish officials. It was staged at Lublin from 27 November to 2 December 1944. Four members of the SS camp staff and two Kapos (inmate foremen) captured by the Soviets when overrunning the camp were accused of murder and abuse of prisoners. The proceedings were a typical Stalinist show trial, where the focus was not on the individual defendant’s alleged crimes, but on painting a horrific picture of alleged German atrocities committed in Poland in general, and in Majdanek in particular.
For example, one prosecutor claimed that half a million Germans had been involved at Majdanek in the “well-organized machinery for killing defenseless people.” Another prosecutor made a witness confirm that the Germans had planned “the extermination of the Slavic peoples in Majdanek.” Another had a defendant describe in detail how children were gassed in an unspecified gas chamber. The witness saw how the children’s lungs burst due to the gas, making them bleed out of mouth and nose. However, none of the gasses claimed to have been used at Majdanek – carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide – have such an effect. Therefore, it is undeniable that this show trial was carefully orchestrated.
The methods used to make the defendants cooperative can be gleaned from the fact that one of the defendants committed suicide during the trial. The defense lawyers didn’t help either, as they acted like auxiliary prosecutors who expressed their revulsion at their client’s alleged crimes, and their unwillingness to defend them.
The prosecution’s atrocity claims were based substantially on the bogus conclusions of a mixed Soviet-Polish investigative commission. They asserted the existence of seven homicidal gas chambers inside the Majdanek Camp, claimed that over a million bodies of mass-murder victims had been cremated in the camp’s cremation furnaces, and that mass graves contained a further 300,000 bodies. All this flies in the face not only of documented and material facts, but also stands in stark contrast to today’s orthodox narrative. In its verdict, the Soviet-Polish judges determined that 1.7 million victims had died at the Majdanek Camp. (For more details, see the section “Propaganda History” of the entry on Majdanek.)
All remaining defendants were sentenced to death and hanged one day after the verdict was announced. They were sacrificed on the altar of Soviet-Polish atrocity propaganda designed to crush the German spirit during that final phase of the war, and to justify the targeting of all Germans. (For more details, see Graf/Mattogno 2012, pp. 229-233.)
This initial show trial was followed by a series of minor Polish trials against a long list of German defendants. These defendants were extradited to Poland step by step by the Allied occupational authorities in West and Central Germany. These trials took place at various locations between 1946 and 1948. They all followed the strict propaganda script predefined by the first Majdanek Trial of 1944. Therefore, the prosecutions’ arguments and the courts’ decision were effectively pre-ordained. It was a conveyor-belt conviction machine, with sentences ranging from 2-year imprisonments to death sentences.
German Majdanek Trials
The first two German trials on crimes committed at the Majdanek Camp were carried out during the war by the SS-internal court system against two former camp commandants, Karl-Otto Koch and Hermann Florstedt. They were accused of having embezzled valuables confiscated from camp inmates. Both Koch and Florstedt were found guilty as charged, and were executed just prior to Germany’s military collapse.
West Germany conducted one major show trial on crimes allegedly committed at the Majdanek Camp, and one single-defendant trial some 20 years later.
The large-scale Majdanek Show Trial was staged in Düsseldorf between 26 November 1975 and 30 June 1981. In the dock were 15 former members of the camp staff, including six women. One defendant died a year into the proceedings, while another’s case was shelved due to the defendant’s unfitness for imprisonment. Four defendants were acquitted four years into the trial. Of the remaining nine defendants, one was acquitted, one was imprisoned for life, while the rest received prison terms between 2 and 12 years.
The trial was characterized by large-scale manipulations of witnesses by the Zentrale Stelle and by Polish judicial authorities, which was revealed by defense lawyer Ludwig Bock. Hence, many witness accounts had been streamlined and harmonized prior to the trial, so they would support the camp’s narrative prevalent at the time.
This trial gained much public attention in West Germany and abroad. The judges found themselves under massive pressure from domestic and foreign media, anti-fascist organizations as well as foreign governments and their own West-German government. Every early acquittal of some of the defendants resulted in a flood of protests. The atmosphere during the trial was in many ways similar to that prevailing during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Show Trial. Hence, radically revising the prevalent Majdanek narrative – as documental, physical and forensic evidence would have required – was not a politically acceptable option.
During the Majdanek Trial (as during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Show Trial), neither judges nor prosecution nor any of the defense lawyers ever tried to support or verify any of the death-toll or gas-chamber claims with documents from the Majdanek Museum’s archives. They never asked for any forensic evidence of mass graves; or requested expert opinions on cremations in furnaces or during open-air incinerations; or whether the alleged gas chambers could have operated as claimed. No one involved in this mass-murder trial was interested in examining the claimed murder weapons or any traces of the alleged victims.
The court’s utter ignorance of documentary evidence is reflected in its claim that the term “delousing facility” was only a code word to hide homicidal facilities. If the judges had studied the surviving German documents, they would have found many documents detailing the planning, design, construction and operation of real delousing facilities. The reality of delousing operations is even apparent from many witness reports.
The court’s verdict reflects the orthodox narrative of that time, with bogus gas-chamber claims, an exaggerated death-toll figure of “a minimum of 200,000 victims,” and the story of mass-executions of some 17,000 inmates during the so-called Operation “Harvest Festival,” all taken uncritically at face value.
It is one of the many travesties of justice, of which the German political class and judiciary are particularly proud, as major events of “moral cleansing.”
A late sequel to the Düsseldorf Majdanek Trial was staged in 1989 against Karl-Friedrich Höcker. During the war, Höcker made a career as adjutant of several camp commandants at various camps, among them Auschwitz and Majdanek. In 1989, the Bielefeld District Court sentenced him to four years in prison for having ordered a total of 3.6 metric tons of Zyklon B for the Majdanek Camp between May 1943 and May 1944.
However, Höcker’s purchase of Zyklon B was used for disinfestation purposes. Hence, it probably saved the lives of thousands of inmates. Yet Höcker fell into the trap that the British had laid during their Bergen-Belsen Trials and particularly during the Tesch Trial. During those trials, the British used flawed arguments and bogus evidence in order to turn any Zyklon-B order, used to save inmate lives, into evidence for mass murder.