A New Axis

(Own report) - Nazi mass crimes, with hundreds of thousands of civilian victims, are not only to remain unpunished, but even rewarded with a "a clear docket" for the state of the Federal Republic of Germany on the remaining cases. This is the primary objective of the German state's official lawsuit before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Berlin filed this suit in the last few days of December, hoping to elude prosecution for crimes committed by its predecessor - the German Reich. Berlin seeks to permanently thwart the application of claims raised by the victims and their descendents. In its suit, the German government is claiming "immunity" and considers that the German Reich's crimes fall within its regular national jurisdiction. The suit literally states that verdicts ruling reparations to the victims should not be enforced because they violate "Germany's sovereign immunity". The Federal Republic of Germany sees itself as the direct legal successor of the German Reich, whose heritage it had assumed in 1949, while renouncing its responsibilities. The "sovereign immunity" that Germany now seeks to claim, was annulled during the Nuremberg Trials with the assessment that the German Reich had committed unimaginable crimes against humanity. Essential elements of its government bodies functioned as criminal associations, spreading murder and terror throughout Europe.

Berlin's lawsuit is directed at the survivors and the descendents of victims of several World War II massacres carried out by the Wehrmacht and its assistant military units. One of these massacres took place on June 29, 1944 in Civitella in Val di Chiana (Arezzo) an Italian mountain village. According to a British investigation, German soldiers murdered 250 civilians in Civitella and neighboring communities - in revenge of two drunken Wehrmacht soldiers, killed in an ambush. As Dino Tiezzi, one of the few survivors, reported, the Germans assembled all of the inhabitants on the square in front of the Church and made their selection. "The men were immediately executed." The Mayor Gilberto Dindalini added that "the culprits of the Wehrmacht have yet - even 50 years later - to be prosecuted. Civitella has never received justice."[1]

Death Unit
The death unit was attached to the 1st Paratroop Panzer Divison Hermann Goering. Formally an air force unit, it was also attached to army units. This division, founded by the war criminal Göring, committed numerous crimes in North Africa and in the eastern occupied zones, where they eked out space for concentration and death camps. Units of this division were involved in the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising and are accomplices in the deaths of 200,000 Polish civilians.

Peace Under the Law
The government in Berlin alleges that the Federal Republic of Germany, which sees itself as the legal successor of the Nazi state, is "immune" to claims being raised by the victims of this division. This allegation is supposed to avert the confiscation of German state property in Italy, that has been accorded to the survivors in Italian lawsuits.[2] According to Berlin, an "international peace under the law" can only be achieved through expunging all victims' claims from the dockets, otherwise the Federal Republic of Germany would face billions in claims. This would be unacceptable. German diplomats have already used similar justifications in an attempt to stave off Greek Nazi occupation survivors.[3] According to this logic, the crimes of a tyrannical state need merely to be extensive enough to thwart compensation to its victims. The more inhumane, brutal and omnipresent an occupier proceeds against the most densely settled civilian population, the more assured it can be of impunity.

Common Interests
Berlin's insolence, which is an implicit incitement to large scale state brutality or being rewarded for this savagery long thereafter, is being benevolently received by the Italian government. At a recent meeting, German Chancellor Merkel and the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi agreed that Germany's suit in The Hague was in their common interests.[4] Should the ICJ grant impunity for German crimes, Italy is hoping to also be able to plead "immunity" in cases concerning war crimes carried out in Greece, Libya and Ethiopia by the Mussolini government. The agreement between Berlin and Rome derives from the consequences of an alliance ("Axis") that plunged Europe and the rest of the world into an unprecedented catastrophe. Over fifty million people lost their lives. In the year marking the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the war, the culprits' descendents are proclaiming themselves "immune" to the victims' claims.

[1] Hans-Rüdiger Minow: Herrenpartie. Eine italienische Reise, WDR. die story 2001
[2] see also Ein immuner Staat and Totalabwehr
[3] see also Berlin: Keine Reparationen and Berlin: Keine materielle Entschädigungspflicht für NS-Verbrechen
[4] Streit um Wehrmacht-Massaker vor dem Weltgericht; tz-online.de 28.12.2008