After a long struggle, on Tuesday, the German parliament revoked the convictions of the last group of victims, those condemned as “war traitors,” more than 60 years after the end of World War II…
According to historians, around 30,000 people were sentenced to death for desertion or treason by Nazi military tribunals during World War II, and some 20,000 were executed.
Ludwig Baumann says the men who were described as “wartime traitors” were not traitors at all.
“They behaved humanely. Some hid Jews, others helped prisoners – they followed their moral conscience,” he said.
It is a view backed by experts. “These men were not traitors, they were part of the German resistance movement against Hitler,” said Johannes Tuchel, the Director of the German Resistance Memorial Centre in Berlin.
“This is a great day for Germany – finally the last sentences handed down by Nazi courts will be lifted,” he said.
But the issue of pardoning WWII soldiers has proved to be highly controversial in Germany. For years, many conservative politicians resisted calls for a general rehabilitation, arguing that they did not want to encourage soldiers to betray their comrades.
“We never believed we could achieve this because we had so many opponents. But we got there in the end and I’m very pleased,” Baumann said…
“I’m on my own now, one of the few survivors. But the fight for dignity was worth it,” he says.
I wonder when next we might have an American generation which feels the same. Not since the VietNam War has there been enough courage and spirit in a generation – willing to stand up to deceit and murder by those in charge of this nation.
While the same sort of conservative ideologues invent rationales to prevent justice. RTFA.