Nazi crime

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Nazi crime or Hitlerite crime (Polish: Zbrodnia nazistowska or zbrodnia hitlerowska) is a legal concept used in some legal systems (for example in Polish law).

In the Polish legal system, a Nazi crime is an action carried out by, inspired by or tolerated by public functionaries of the Third Reich (1933-1945) that also classifies as a crime against humanity (in particular, genocide) or other persecutions of people due to their belonging to a particular national, political, social, ethnic or religious group. Nazi crimes were perpetrated against communists, homosexuals, Jewish, Roma, Sinti and socialists.[1][2]

Criminal acts committed by Nazis included physical crimes such as beating, gassing and drowning[3] as well as property crimes.

Types of crimes[edit]

Physical crimes[edit]

Crimes during the Holocaust included physical crimes. In Ukraine, an estimated 400,000 Jewish people were killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. On average per day about 1,864 Jewish people died.[4] Most of the people that were murdered during the Holocaust never had proper burials.[4] Ukraine has over 750 mass graves where groups of five or more Jewish people were marched into mass pits and shot in the back. 5,000 Jews marched from Ukraine into these pits.[4] To save bullets children would be thrown into pits of fire and be burned alive.

Physical crimes also included "criminal assault on innocent and helpless victims"[5] and victims were "beaten, drowned, whipped, shot, ran over, strangled, gassed, and hung."[3] These crimes included sexual crimes or crimes that "were directed at women’s genitalia."[6] Another ‘popular’ way the Nazis murdered people was to have them euthanized.[7] The Nazi crimes also included genocide.[8]

Property crimes[edit]

The Nazis permitted different crimes including property crimes and crimes against classes of people. Nazis took away all of a Jew’s possessions and their incomes to make it harder for the Jewish people to live elsewhere before the strike of the Holocaust.[9] The victims of the Holocaust were described by the Nazis by saying the victims were “criminals who endangered public safety”.[10] The central Nazi camp for Jews between 1940 and 1945 was Auschwitz; where “at least ten thousand POWs were murdered”.[11] Gypsies, as well as Jews and gays were murdered in this concentration camp.[12] “Most of those who entered the Nazi camp system, whether gay, Jewish, Roma, or Sinti, did not survive”.[1]

There were some individuals who excelled at carrying out Nazi crimes. Oswald Kaduk was notorious for his extermination practices because of the torture he committed on prisoners in Auschwitz. One of the torture techniques he used was to “put a cane over a prisoner’s neck and stood on it until the prisoner died.” He also would randomly shoot into a group of prisoners “killing whoever got in the way”.[3] Many people would do what the Nazi soldiers said to do in order to keep their families alive. One Jewish man became a policeman in the ghetto and partook in the destruction of the ghetto where he lived because he was told his wife and daughter would live. His wife and daughter later died because they were forced into a gas chamber.[13]

Nazi hearings[edit]

Main article: Nuremberg Trials

Following the conclusion of World War II, Nazis were charged in many different hearings.[14] Important changes were made to the Control Council Law No. 10 by the Allies because “German jurists exerted pressure on the Allies to prevent national or district courts from using Control Council Law No. 10.”[15] The changes allowed the Allies to deal with “war crimes, conspiracy to commit war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity”.[15]

German law provided for crimes resulting in death other than murder. “Most mass killings in the Political Department at Auschwitz followed some sort of regulated procedure. The murder and torture of children would get a murder conviction due to ‘malicious intent’”.[16] For a case to be a ‘murder case’, the only criteria that needed to be present were “thirst for blood, base motives, maliciousness, and brutality which come into question in connection with the prosecuting of Nazi war crimes”.[17] Along with the criteria, “lust for killing and sadism” were also needed for prosecution. In charging a person assumed to be responsible for murder, a common question the courts asked was whether excessive cruelty and the maltreatment of prisoners led to death. If not, "the punishment of these people would not have a high priority" for the case to be pursued publicly.[18]

"Defendants who had acted on their own initiative or shown base motives or excessive cruelty were murderers: many who had not exhibited such behavior (or against whom sufficient evidence of such behavior was lacking) were judged guilty of manslaughter according to the German Penal Code. Many people who murdered a Jew or Gypsy’s during the Holocaust were charged with “merely aiding and abetting murder”."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Blutinger, 274
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Wittmann, 530
  4. ^ a b c Walt, Vinenne. ”Genocide’s Ghosts.” Time, 16 January 2008. Web. 10 Oct. 2012
  5. ^ Margalit, 227
  6. ^ Wittmann, 531
  7. ^ Breitman, 12
  8. ^ Wittmann, 506
  9. ^ Breitman, 11
  10. ^ Margalit, 222
  11. ^ Wittmann, 524
  12. ^ Margalit, 223
  13. ^ Blutinger, 275
  14. ^ a b Breitman, 13
  15. ^ a b Wittmann, 508
  16. ^ Wittmann, 525
  17. ^ Wittmann, 511
  18. ^ Wittmann, 512