Letter 2   25-Mar-2002   The Jewish show trial of Julius Viel
Former Waffen-SS officer cadet, and more recently retired Concordia University economics professor, Hungarian-born 75-year-old Adalbert Lallier, was induced by Steven Rambam to finally break his vow of silence that he had sworn to his Nazi comrades by stating in 1997 that he had seen Julius Viel murder seven Jews in 1945.

Former Waffen-SS Untersturmführer (2nd lieutenant), and more recently retired newspaper editor, 83-year-old Julius Viel, convicted in Revansburg in 2001 for murdering seven Jews in 1945, and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

From left to right, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Viel confronted by Steven Rambam and reporter Eric Friedler.  This publicity stunt attempted to discompose Julius Viel, to provide him with the opportunity to blurt out something ill-advised that could be quoted to his discredit, and to provide a photo opportunity to bolster Rambam's credentials as a Nazi hunter.  As Mrs. Viel is not a party to the proceedings, the photograph masks her features.

Alternative captions:

Last month Rambam traveled to Germany to meet the German war crimes prosecutor and to confront Julius Viel.  When Rambam confronted Viel regarding his activities at Theresienstadt, the suspected SS commander denied any involvement.  Yet, as he entered his car, Viel said, "They tried before and failed.  They will fail again."  (Jerusalem Post, 29-Nov-1999, www.pimall.com/nais/nl/n.rambam.html)

Accompanied by a German ARD television news crew, Rambam and the Montreal professor, identified only as "L" [Lallier does not appear in this particular photograph], confronted Viel at his home last September.  Viel vehemently denied all charges and his wife was caught on video pouring water at the TV camera. Viel was arrested a short time later.  (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 10-Jul-2000, International News section, pp. 87-88)

  25 March 2002

Steven Rambam
Pallorium, Inc
PO Box 155 Midwood Station
Brooklyn, New York
USA      11230

Steven Rambam:

I see that after using the 1996 Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax as a platform from which to introduce yourself to the world as a Nazi hunter, you went on in 2001 to solidify that reputation by engineering the conviction of Julius Viel for the crime of killing seven laborers, perhaps six of them Jews, in Czechoslovakia in 1945.

What surprises me with respect to the Julius Viel case is that even though press coverage was heavily biased against him, it still managed to leave me, at least, with the distinct impression that he should not have been convicted.  As you were close to the case, and all I know about it is what I have read in newspaper accounts, perhaps you will be able to dispell some of my qualms which are outlined below.

The Press Provided No Context

The press seems never to have informed its readers that the context in which the Julius Viel trial took place was one in which

Documentation for my three claims above can be found throughout the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org, with an overview being available in my letter of 02-Dec-2000 to F. David Radler, to whom you need no introduction, as it was his Jerusalem Post that sponsored your Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax.

So, then, if most Jewish-holocaust stories are exaggerations or fabrications, then it is hard to keep from wondering if the story you got Lallier to tell about Viel might not have been an exaggeration or a fabrication; and if most Nazi prosecutions are Jewish show trials, then one cannot be expected to keep one's mind from wandering to the question of whether the Viel trial may not have been a Jewish show trial; and if most Jews involved in holocaust work are fabulists, then it might be prudent to question your, and the Canadian Jewish Congress's, involvement in the Viel case.

The Press Disclosed Nothing About You

On top of providing no context, the press overlaid a blanket of secrecy about who you are, and who you are is highly relevant because of the pivotal role that you played in inducing eyewitness Adalbert Lallier to testify against Julius Viel, and because of Lallier's pivotal role in the prosecution:

Officials close to the case, however, fear that accused Nazi war criminal Julius Viel may never face justice unless additional witnesses in the case come forward during the next few months.  That was also the appraisal of private investigator Steven Rambam, the Nazi hunter who was responsible for 'turning' a former SS inductee, "L", and bringing him to testify before a German judge.  L's testimony lead directly to Viel's arrest last month for the murder of seven Jewish inmates at the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.
Jerusalem Post, 29-Nov-1999, at www.pimall.com/nais/nl/n.rambam.html

The case would never have come to court let alone to a guilty verdict had it not been for the testimony of Mr. Lallier, a native Hungarian who immigrated to Canada in the 1950s.
Karl-Anton Maucher, Ottawa Citizen, 04-Apr-2001, Final Edition, p. A1.

With only one eye-witness, Lallier's credibility is the central question facing the panel of five judges.
Karl-anton Maucher And Kate Jaimet, The Gazette (Montreal), 05-Mar-2001, Final Edition, p. A8.

Who you were in the more distant past would not be highly relevant if there were indication that you have become a different person today, but when I see you playing the leading role in the recent Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax as explained both in my letter to Irving Abella of 30-Apr-2000, and perhaps more comprehensively in my letter to you of 13-Mar-2002 I begin to wonder whether it is not your fate to maintain an unwavering war against probity throughout the course of your life.

And so as you may be today what you were from the beginning, the press, I think, was under an obligation to disclose both your early psychiatric history, and then your later involvement in terrorism along with your stint in federal prison, even your attacking trick-or-treaters with a baseball bat, and most particularly your recent collaboration with Irving Abella in Canadian Jewish Congress hoaxes.

The Press Did Not Notice That Your Modus Operandi Resembles Extortion or Blackmail

Of questionable mental stability and unquestionable mendacity, with the Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax recently entered to your credit what could those plotting against Julius Viel expect other than that whatever you touched you stood in danger of contaminating?  And so the general question arises of why anybody would involve you in any project, and the particular question arises of why anyone would involve you in the Julius Viel prosecution?

I can imagine two reasons.  One is that you were willing to do things that people of higher integrity would not do, like threatening, intimidating, misrepresenting, and blackmailing.  The other is that as the anti-Viel conspiracy appeared to have a good chance of miscarrying, it was decided that it would best be associated in the public mind with somebody expendable.

Your own description of your tactics is candid enough to give them the appearance of promising protection from the accusation of war criminality in exchange for testimony.  If this is not exactly blackmail, the difference escapes me.  Particularly ominous is that the potential witness whose arm is being twisted may understand from your statement below that "building" a case against him may mean "fabricating" a case against him, and that "another cooperative witness" may mean "another suborned witness":

"If you are a war criminal, this is your last chance because if you don't come forward and co-operate with us, we may very well end up building a case against you with another co-operative witness.  The train is leaving the station, come forward, do the right thing and we'll try to help you."
Steven Rambam quoted by Stephen Bindman, Gazette (Montreal), 20-Mar-1997, Final Edition, p. E10.

The targets of your arm-twisting are clearly those who have themselves been accused of war crimes:

Rambam did not distinguish between degrees of wrongdoing when he said the congress would interview and re-interview suspects against whom war crimes allegations had been made to see if they are willing to give evidence against their "co-conspirators in murder.

"We are telling these people that we want them to come forward and give evidence against the people with whom they murdered civilians," he said.

"If they do so we will go on their behalf to the RCMP and to the justice minister to try to strike a deal for them."
David Vienneau, Toronto Star, 23-Mar-1997, p. 86.

That the targets of your arm-twisting were not allowed to forget, even after they have been "turned," that they themselves continue to be susceptible to denunciation is illustrated by the following public accusation made against Adalbert Lallier:

According to Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the man himself must also be considered a war criminal.  "He confined innocent people, seven of whom were eventually murdered.  In my books, that's an accessory to murder.  That's a war crime."
Ellie Tesher, Toronto Star, 10-Jun-1997, Metro Edition, starts on p. 84.

The public has a right to fear that you may have left your arm-twistees with the impression that they must testify falsely against others so as to avoid having others testify falsely against them.  You may have sweetened this offer by allowing your arm-twistees to conclude, at least initially, that their suborned evidence would constitute only an insignificant proportion of all the evidence against the accused, whereas the evidence that could be suborned against themselves, in the event that they proved uncooperative, would do incalculable damage:

Several other witnesses testified they recall hearing rumours in spring of 1945 that Viel had been involved in a shooting of one or more prisoners.

But Pfliegner says Lallier might have heard the same rumours.  "Maybe Lallier had this somewhere in his memory.  ...  He said: 'Viel had something to do with some shootings, so I won't be fingering a totally innocent man.' "
Karl-anton Maucher And Kate Jaimet, The Gazette (Montreal), 05-Mar-2001, Final Edition, p. A8.

"He says his conscience is tormenting him after 55 years," Mr. Pfliegner says.  "I don't believe it."  Mr. Pfliegner contends Mr. Lallier fingered Mr. Viel in order to stave off investigation into his own membership in the Waffen-SS.

The year Mr. Lallier made his accusation, the Canadian Jewish Congress was lobbying the Justice Department to become more aggressive in pursuing the files of suspected Nazi war criminals living in Canada.

The Congress even set up a "snitch line" in Montreal, manned by Mr. Rambam.

Mr. Pfliegner contends that Mr. Lallier was afraid that someone would come forward and denounce him as a former SS-man.  Rather than waiting to be targeted, he took the pre-emptive move of voluntarily confessing his membership in the Waffen-SS, and simultaneously denouncing Mr. Viel, the defence lawyer argues.
Karl-Anton Maucher and Kate Jaimet, Ottawa Citizen, 04-Mar-2001, Final Edition, p. A5.

In view of the charlatanism that can be seen to corrupt Nazi war crimes prosecutions, and in view of your own predisposition to charlatanism, and in view of the descriptions of your modus operandi immediately above, there is called to mind the possibility that something akin to blackmail in order to extract suborned testimony played a role in the Julius Viel prosecution.

The Crime Scene Was Bustling

It will become useful for us to establish at this point that the scene of the putative crime was a massive project to dig anti-tank trenches, involving perhaps thousands of workers and guards, though estimates of the exact number vary:

And in this setting, according to Adalbert Lallier, Julius Viel suddenly starts shooting and kills six or seven people.  If seven, then probably six were Jews.  As seven is the number mentioned most often, let us say the number of victims is supposed to have been seven, and as their ethnicity is irrelevant to our argument, let us pretty much ignore it.

And now for some questions.

Whose Rifle Did Viel Shoot With?

The weapon is always described as a "rifle" or a "carbine," never as a "submachine gun"; and the shots come individually, never in bursts.  But as Viel was an officer, we expect him to have been carrying a sidearm, but for only the lower-level guards to have been lugging rifles, so where did Viel get the rifle?  Over and over again, he is said merely to have "seized a rifle," as for example: "Adalbert Lallier, a one-time Nazi officer trainee and now an economics professor in Canada, testified he was standing guard when Viel seized a rifle and shot the victims in cold blood."  (Oliver Schmale, Associated Press, at www.pimall.com/nais/nl/n.rambam.html)

"Seized a rifle"? What can that mean?  Now on the principle that especially on a bustling construction site every firearm is in the possession of an individual, and no firearm is left unattended, I expect that Viel must have walked up to a guard and either requested his rifle, or ordered him to hand over his rifle, or he may have grabbed one out of a guard's hand, or yanked it off his shoulder.  I was able to find no information about the manner of rifle acquisition, until I came across a statement that indicated that my assumption that every firearm must be in someone's possession was in error namely, the statement that Lallier "told the court in the southern city of Ravensburg that Viel had taken a rifle from a pile of weapons"! (Agence France Presse, 15-Dec-2000)

A pile of weapons loaded weapons in the middle of a bustling construction site?  But wouldn't this pile of weapons be an invitation to the prisoners to grab them and stage a revolt or an escape?  Wouldn't the pile of weapons be an invitation to theft?  Wouldn't the pile of weapons need to be closely guarded, thus draining manpower from the useful task of guarding prisoners?  Wouldn't this pile of weapons, presumably lying on the ground, get clogged with soil?  Wouldn't this pile of weapons have no role to play on a bustling construction site?

What I sense here is fabrication.  A pile of loaded weapons in the middle of a construction site seems to be a detail invented by Lallier in response to the question of where the murder weapon came from, and it's a detail that doesn't ring true.

But let us move on.

How many bullets did Viel fire?

So, then, Viel begins shooting, and stops exactly when? Lallier invariably testifies that Viel stopped only when the rifle was empty, by which time he had killed seven workers.  How many bullets would that have required?

Well, seven victims, so probably seven bullets minimum, and more if some victims had to be shot more than once and some victims did have to be shot more than once:

Let us assume that the first man above is the same as dark-beard.  But red-beard appears to be a different individual: (1) his beard is not dark, but is red; (2) he does not defy or curse, only looks up to see where the shot came from; (3) a "second shot" hits him, but not four.  Well, there is some ambiguity about "then many more" does this mean "then many more shots into red-beard," or "then many more people were shot"?  Can't tell.

So, then, let's count the bullets.  Dark-beard got 4, red-beard got 2, and the remaining five victims got? We don't know, but at one bullet each, it adds up to 4 + 2 + 5 = 11 bullets.  On the other hand, dark-beard is a "giant of a man" and "raised his hand" while red-beard is a "big one" and "raises his arm" so, maybe it's the same person, in which case we have 4 bullets for him and six people left over needing a minimum of one bullet each for a total of 10, or averaging two bullets each for a total of 16, and so on depending on how many bullets per remaining victim.

So far then, our speculation is that 10 or 11 or 16 bullets were required, and these are low estimates because Viel did not walk from one individual to another executing each at point-blank range with a single bullet to the forehead or to the back of the neck NKVD style or anything like that, but seems rather to have shot from where he stood, in which case a single bullet per remaining victim would have left some wounded victims who died later, or who even recovered which, however, was never mentioned.  Rather, all seven of these victims appeared to have died on the spot, which would take more than one bullet per remaining victim, and which renders our low estimates implausible.

The next question is, how many bullets did Viel's rifle hold?

Integral Five-Round Magazine

Gordon Williamson, The SS: Hitler's Instrument of Terror, Motorbooks International, Osceola WI, 1994, pp. 204-205.

Julius Viel claims that the rifles of the time held only five bullets: "We all only had five-shot carbines."  (RP ONLINE GERMAN NEWS at www.rp-online.de/news/german/2000-1205/nazi_trial.html).  However, we can't trust what Viel says, as he's the accused and may be lying to save himself, so we look up the rifles of the time and find that there is some slim chance that it was the outmoded Gewehr 98, but more likely that it was the Mauser Karabiner 98 (Kar 98) which one it was doesn't matter, as for our purposes they were equivalent they were both bolt action, and both had 5-round integral box magazines, as can be seen in the accompanying drawing of the Kar 98.  I take "integral box" to imply that when all rounds have been discharged, a fresh loaded clip cannot be snapped in place, but rather each new bullet has to be inserted into the rifle individually.

If my reasoning is correct so far, then the implication is that if Julius Viel never reloaded, then he would have had only five shots, not enough to kill seven victims, and especially not enough if some victims required more than one bullet.  If Viel reloaded once, then he would have had ten shots, barely enough to be consistent with Lallier's story, but requiring the implausible assumption that whereas red-beard took four bullets, the remaining six victims took only a single bullet apiece to kill on the spot and so, Viel must have reloaded once at least, but more likely two or three times.

One problem with Viel reloading is that he would not have been carrying ammunition for the borrowed rifle, and unless there was a pile of rifle bullets lying at his feet the sort of fantastic detail we might expect Lallier to fabricate Viel would have had to approach some rifle-toting guard and either ask for bullets from the guard's cartridge belt, and insert these one by one into his rifle, or more simply swap rifles Viel's emptied rifle in exchange for the guard's loaded one.  However, no such transactions are ever described by Lallier.

Now as this scene of Viel laboriously reloading the borrowed Kar 98 crystallizes before us, we have to refresh our minds as to the scene's background.  Remember that the setting is a massive construction project, with thousands of laborers, and hundreds or thousands of guards.  It is busy, it is congested, it is goal-oriented.  Suddenly, one of the guards goes berserk and begins shooting the workers.  Already, I expect something to happen in response, don't you?  And on top of that, this guard who has suddenly gone berserk has to stop to reload, has even to walk over to a guard and request ammunition.  Well what do you think would happen?

I expect two things to happen, especially during the reloading.  First, I expect other guards, other officers especially, would run up to Viel and stop him.  Why wouldn't they?  When one soldier goes berserk, don't the others try to stop him, if only out of concern for their own safety, because there is no knowing who the crazed man will turn on next?  And when he is performing criminal acts, he would also be stopped for his own sake, so as to lessen his own culpability.  And then there is the construction project to consider the Red Army is advancing, the anti-tank trench will slow it down, completion of the project is important, undoubtedly behind schedule, and depends on the workers to complete and so the shooting of workers would be stopped because it would disrupt the project.  Everybody within sight would stop what he was doing and begin to watch.  After the shooting, they would gather round to see the effects who had been killed, what treatment were the wounded receiving, how was the shooter behaving?  The wounded would need to be treated, the dead would need to be carried away.  And there would be lingering repercussions the workers would be demoralized, their minds would turn to resistance and escape, which change of attitude would constitute a setback for the project.  In other words, Viel's killing spree would have been stopped because it was bad for the German war effort.

The second thing that I would expect to happen is that nearby laborers would run away, perhaps not at the instant that Viel first started firing, but certainly when he paused to reload, when he turned to a guard to resupply his ammunition.  Nothing prevents the nearby laborers from running away.  They are not a chain gang.  They are workers, not prisoners slated for execution.  Nearby are thousands of other workers among whom they can be swallowed up.  The other guards won't stop anyone from running, or walking, or backing up a few meters to escape from a crazed madman; the other guards are themselves aghast at what is happening, and not about to leap into the role of assistants to the madman, assistants who herd the laborers toward him to be slaughtered.  Other guards who have not the presence of mind to stop the crazed one might be gripped with the impulse to run away themselves, but not to collaborate in his butchery.  In fact, with everybody's eyes transfixed on the lunatic, workers who took a few steps backward to get away from him might be considered to be acting so naturally as to pass beneath awareness.  Everybody in unison might have been taking a few steps backwards.

In short, although under many circumstances it is possible for a guard to run amok and spray workers with gunfire killing seven, it seems implausible when the guard is doing his shooting with a bolt-action rifle having a 5-round integral magazine, and where he needs to reload, and where he does not have on his person the ammunition for reloading, and where other nearby guards have strong reasons to stop him, and where nothing prevents his victims from running away.  Lallier's story leaves the impression that he made it up.

Adalbert Lallier's Oath of Silence

How does Lallier explain his coming forward with his story after more than half a century?

In answering this question, it helps to understand that Adalbert Lallier is not a common man.  Rather, he is a "French Huguenot."  He is a member of the "haute bourgeousie."  His life journey has taken him from the "ballrooms of Vienna to the classrooms of Concordia University in Montreal."  As a member of "the elites" it is not surprising that an early mistake had been for him to think that "In the elites, often people believe they can chase and order everybody around, especially the peasants," but since then an epiphany has elevated him out of this conceit (a conceit so natural in the superior classes), elevated him to the recognition that it was not all right to chase and order around peasants, but rather that you "need to reach out and give everybody equally hope, no matter where they might be born."  As can be expected, when we ask such an exalted person as Adalbert Lallier how it is that he broke his silence after half a century, the answer will be saturated with nobility.

Specifically, Lallier comes up with the self-aggrandizing picture of a man tormented by two lofty principles at war with each other inside his noble personality his half century of silence is explained by his super-human committment to remaining loyal to his oath, but in the end this immovable rock of loyalty is overturned by the irresistible force of his iron conscience.  Whether you look at his silence or at his breaking his silence, all you can say is What a great guy!

Lallier says he was tormented by his memories, yet bound by an oath of silence and loyalty to his ex-comrades.  Finally, in 1997, his conscience would no longer allow him to keep the secret hidden and he denounced Viel to an American Nazi-hunter named Steve Rambam.
Karl-anton Maucher And Kate Jaimet, The Gazette (Montreal), 05-Mar-2001, Final Edition, p. A8

And just what oath was that? Why the commandant of the Waffen SS military school that Lallier was attending ordered the eyewitnesses to swear that they would never tell anyone about Julius Viel running amok:

After the shooting, Mr. Lallier said, the commandant of Waffen SS officers' school, Lt.-Col. Willi Kruft, ordered the witnesses to swear an oath never to tell anyone.
Kate Jaimet, Ottawa Citizen, 13-Dec-2000, Final Edition, p. A3.

However, let us examine this oath of silence of Lallier's.  In the first place, it is relevant to note that Lallier's induction into the officer corps of the Waffen SS was involuntary:

Mr. Lallier, who was born in Hungary of French Huguenot descent, was only 17 and barely out of high school when he and his brother Andreas were taken against their will into the signal corps of the Waffen SS, the fighting arm of the SS, Hitler's elite guard.
Joanne Laucius, Ottawa Citizen, 05-Dec-2000, Final Edition, p.A1

And not just involuntary, but accompanied by credible death threats:

"We then heard that a German draft list had been created.  Suddenly, a German colonel showed up at our home, looked at me and my brother-Andre was 20 and I was 17 and warned us not to try to run away or we would be caught and shot."
Bram Eisenthal, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 10-Apr-2001, at www.zipple.com/newsandpolitics/internationalnews/20010410_ss_speaks.html

He told the students he was about their age when he was forced to join the SS in his native Hungary, under threat of being shot.
Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News, Internet edition, 31-May-2001, at www.cjnews.com/pastissues/01/may31-01/front3.asp

And on top of the involuntary nature of his service, Lallier spends the half century after the war, as do all who survived the war to date, being told how cruel and inhuman and evil and criminal the Nazis were and yet despite these two overwhelming reasons to not honor his oath of silence, Lallier informs us that he did anyway.

And there are other reasons Lallier should not have honored his oath of silence.  One is that Viel's act was criminal, in contravention of German civil and military law, so that the oath of silence was not made "out of loyalty to his ex-comrades" as he states above, but out of a desire to protect a single criminal among his ex-comrades, a criminal who himself violated his own oath, who stood apart from and against his former comrades-in-arms.  Lallier recognizes that the act was criminal, but somehow was never gifted with any second epiphany to the effect that this removes the act from protection under the principle of "loyalty to one's comrades":

"To kill seven Jews, in the ditch, half-starved, without any means of self-defence, you know that it's wrong.  The military code tells you that officers will never consent to shooting an unarmed enemy."
Kate Jaimet, Ottawa Citizen, 13-Dec-2000, Final Edition, p. A3.

Some of Lallier's statements reveal that his view of his oath wanders beyond the bounds of the irrational and into the territory of the bizarre.  In the following statement, for example, Lallier lets slip his perception that his oath was not made to his comrades after all, and not to the murderer Viel, but rather to the mass murderer, Hitler:

"I decided that on behalf of humanity my highest allegiance is to the process of natural justice, not to Hitler."
Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News, Internet Edition, 31-May-2001 at www.cjnews.com/pastissues/01/may31-01/front3.asp

With respect to the above statement, we have to wonder whether Lallier has entered senility, or perhaps is so frazzled by your pressure to adhere to your preposterous story that he has abandoned striving for consistency and plausibility.  He seems to be unconscious of the fact that being bound for half a century by an oath to the impulsive murderer Viel, or to the compulsive mass-murderer Hitler, does not look good, and can only encourage prosecution of himself if admitted.  He seems unconscious of the fact that being bound by such an oath would be indicative not of nobility of character, but rather indicative of either a baseness of character or else of derangement of intellect.  Lallier seems unconscious of the fact that his words imply that for half a century he remained a staunch Nazi.

Impulsive Killing

Military commanders are faced with two tasks.  The first is to get the men under them to kill upon command.  This is not as easy as is generally thought, as just before these men were put into uniform, they were civilians, and looked upon killing with fear and loathing, and the most killing the majority of them had ever done was to swat a mosquito.  Anyone who wants to know just how hard it is to get civilians to kill is obligated to read Brigadier-General, and official army historian, S. L. A. Marshall's stunning book, Men Under Fire, in which he documents that the vast majority of American servicemen involved in any battle even the fiercest fire fight will be discovered afterward to have made no use whatever of any of their weapons.

The second task faced by military commanders is to keep their men from killing when not commanded to.  If men are allowed to kill upon their own impulse, two outcomes follow: (1) the army degenerates into an uncontrollable mob; and (2) upon its return to civilian life, the army poses a danger to society.

The average person who learns his military history from movies has no appreciation of the resistance of the majority of civilians to killing upon command, and is insufficiently cognizant of the necessity of keeping a minority gifted with a vicious streak from killing on their own initiative.  It is this second obligation that concerns us here, and we find that historians are well aware of this obligation, and that they document that the German military respected the obligation:

The Germans sought to avoid damage to "the soul" [...] in the prohibition of unauthorized killings.  A sharp line was drawn between killings pursuant to order and killings induced by desire.  In the former case a man was thought to have overcome the "weakness" of "Christian morality"; in the latter case he was overcome by his own baseness.  That was why in the occupied USSR both the army and the civil administration sought to restrain their personnel from joining the shooting parties at the killing sites.  [In the case of the SS,] if selfish, sadistic, or sexual motives [for an unauthorized killing] were found, punishment was to be imposed for murder or for manslaughter, in accordance with the facts.
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, pp. 1009-1010.

The killing of the Jews was regarded as historical necessity.  The soldier had to "understand" this.  If for any reason he was instructed to help the SS and Police in their task, he was expected to obey orders.  However, if he killed a Jew spontaneously, voluntarily, or without instruction, merely because he wanted to kill, then he committed an abnormal act, worthy perhaps of an "Eastern European" (such as a Romanian) but dangerous to the discipline and prestige of the German army.  Herein lay the crucial difference between the man who "overcame" himself to kill and one who wantonly committed atrocities.  The former was regarded as a good soldier and a true Nazi; the latter was a person without self-control, who would be a danger to his community after his return home.
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 326.

Every unauthorized shooting of local inhabitants, including Jews, by individual soldiers [...] is disobedience and therefore to be punished by disciplinary means, or if necessary by court martial.
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 327.

Under German authority, a discharge of a firearm in a non-combat situation was not an event beneath the notice of the command hierarchy as Lallier would have us believe; rather, it was considered noteworthy enough to require the filing of a report.  In Ukrainian police action under German command, for example, every round fired had to be accounted for in writing, and fresh ammunition was issued only to replace the spent ammunition that could be documented in a report.  For example, Michael Hanusiak presents 43 photocopies of such reports of police actions in Ukraine, the translation of his Exhibit 32 being:

Lviv, 8/21/42.

Commissariat Ukrainian Police
City of Lviv.
Document #2333/42.

Command of Ukrainian Police.
City of Lviv.

Pertaining to: Unusual action (use of firearms).

I report that on 8/20/1942, Lieutenant Myhailo Prekhidko, during the time of loading Jews into an auto at 20:00 o'clock, used 1 cartridge after an escaping Jew.  The Jew was not killed because the aim was poor as the result of darkness.  The Jew was apprehended and returned.

The cartridge was fired from a service pistol FN.

I ask permission to deduct this cartridge.

Head of the Commissariat
Officer, Ukrainian Police.

Michael Hanusiak, Lest We Forget, New York, first printing 1973, second printing 1975, p. 139.  Printed by Commercial Printers, Dunnellen, N.J.

It must be recognized also that there existed personnel within the German military armed with both the power and the zeal to hunt down and to punish those who made the mistake of imagining that because they were in uniform and carried firearms, they were licensed to kill whenever it suited them.  Foremost among these was judge Georg Konrad Morgen who testified at the first Nuremberg trial in 1946 that deviation from the military code, particularly the most heinous deviation of unauthorized killing, was not tolerated:

Q.  Now, how extensive did these investigations become?  [...]

A.  I investigated Weimar-Buchenwald, Lublin, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Herzogenbosch, Cracow, Plaschow, Warsaw, and the concentration camp at Dachau.  And others were investigated after my time.

Q.  How many cases did you investigate:  How many sentences were passed?  How many death sentences?

A.  I investigated about 800 cases, or rather, about 800 documents, and one document would affect several cases.  About 200 were tried during my activity.  Five concentration camp commandants were arrested by me personally.  Two were shot after being tried.

Q.  You caused them to be shot?

A.  Yes.  Apart from the commandants, there were numerous other death sentences against Führers and Unterführers.
The trial of German major war criminals: Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal sitting at Nuremberg Germany, His Majesty's Stationery Office, Part 20, 07-Aug-1946, p. 381.

One can imagine many other reasons why impulsive killing would be strictly prohibited and punished with the utmost severity.  For example, among those killed might have been a prized and irreplaceable informant, or even a German agent.  It might be the case that one of the victims owned property say a Swiss bank account that the Nazis could have seized had he remained alive.  It might be the case that among the victims were some who had information that the Nazis prized but had not yet extracted.  Some victims might have been well-connected, and could have brought a high ransom.  Some might have turned out to be well-connected, and killing them would lead to negative repercussions.  Among those killed might have been persons with rare skills that the Nazis could have profited from, or harnessed to their war effort.  Thus, it is obvious that if impulsive killing were allowed, serious losses could result, and that the only killing that would be permitted would be killing upon command from those who had deliberated over the consequences.

Keeping the above background in mind, then, we turn now to Adalbert Lallier's story of what Julius Viel did, and what happened to him afterward.  Lallier does portray Viel as being guilty of exactly that impulsive and unauthorized killing that we saw above was anathema to the German military:

Suddenly, without warning or provocation, Mr. Lallier saw Mr. Viel pick up a carbine, take aim, and shoot seven prisoners dead in the ditch.
Karl-Anton Maucher, Ottawa Citizen, 04-Apr-2001, Final Edition, p. A1

The impulsive nature of Viel's act is emphasized repeatedly, and in the statement below we find added the detail that he suffered no consequences:

Lallier said that he saw nothing that could have provoked the attack, and that the officer was not berserk.  No one apprehended him, and he apparently suffered no consequences, even though higher ranking officers were present.
Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News, 13-Jan-2000, at www.cjnews.com/pastissues/00/jan13-00/front1.htm

That Viel suffered no consequences is also widely repeated, as for example:

No action was taken against Viel at the time, although the incident may have been witnessed by hundreds.
Canadian Jewish News, 03-Aug-2000 at www.pallorium.com/ARTICLES/art19.html

And so, what Viel did at least according to Lallier seems odious and reprehensible and criminal to us, and it would have seemed the same to the Germans.  Viel's act could not have been overlooked by the German command not only because it was the act of a madman, and not only because it contravened German military law, but also because it delayed the construction project at hand by killing some of its workers and by demoralizing the rest.

Lallier's choosing to repeat, over and over as he does, that Viel "was not berserk" initially appears unaccountable.  Someone grabbing a rifle and for no apparent reason mowing down people around him is as berserk as it is possible to get, and there is no accompanying observation that could disqualify such a killer from being so described.

We are able, however, to discover a motive for Lallier recommending to us that "Viel was not berserk."  Lallier proposes it for one reason only he wants Viel convicted in the 2001 Ravensburg trial, and he will say whatever he thinks needs to be said in order to achieve this conviction.  But how does Lallier saying that Viel "was not berserk" help convict Viel?

Simple! If Viel was considered to have gone berserk, then certain consequences would have followed.  Viel would have been relieved of command, court-martialed, maybe shot.  Or, if he was lucky, he may have been locked up in a psychiatric facility.  But all of these sequela of going berserk leave a trail, they leave documentation, they can be verified.  And as Viel was not relieved of command, was not court-martialed or disciplined, and was not institutionalized, then Lallier is forced to explain that after all this is only because Viel had not despite outward appearance to the contrary gone berserk.  The alternative explanation, of course, would be that Viel was not relieved of command, not court-martialed, not institutionalized because he did not shoot seven workers.

Another consequence, or at least correlate, of someone going berserk is that he might be expected to have also gone berserk in his past, and that he is more likely to go berserk again in the future.  But if Viel showed no predisposition to going berserk either before or after, then it weakens the plausibility of his having gone totally berserk just that one time in his whole life when he shot those seven workers.  And so Lallier portrays Viel committing seven murders but without going berserk in order to inhibit us from asking, "And when else in his life did he go berserk?" because the answer unwelcome to the prosecution probably is, "Never!"

What Story Would Have Been Credible?

People don't kill without reason; in fact don't do anything without there being some cause or some explanation.  If an act of killing catches us by surprise, that means that we hadn't been aware of the cause that was at work; however, after the killing has taken place, we are able to search for the cause and if we are not denied information, then we will find it.  In the case of Julius Viel's killing, no cause is offered, and no description is provided of how afterward the officer trainees discussed the incident and came to their own understanding of its cause.  Lallier wants us to believe that he found Viel's act inexplicable, and everybody around him did too, and yet nobody speculated as to what the cause might have been, and no conjecture circulated which could have accounted for the murders.

And the lack of reaction on the part of the military is not credible either.  Either Julius Viel had gone insane and needed to be put in a straitjacket, or he had committed a criminal act and needed to be put in jail but whatever the case, nobody would have wanted him around any longer as he would henceforth be recognized as dangerously unpredictable, and nobody would be able to guarantee that Viel wouldn't soon be seizing some other rifle and emptying it into whoever angered him.  A man who has inexplicably shot seven workers is not someone you want walking around with a pistol strapped to his hip, or past the piles of loaded weapons that seemed to be littering the construction site.  One cannot run amok and kill seven workers on a construction site and expect to be trusted afterward.

But are there versions of these killings that we might find credible? Why certainly!  For example, assuming for the sake of argument Viel's guilt, the following imaginary scenario is one such more credible version:

The Red Army is rolling over the German Army, heading straight for Berlin, and obviously about to subject the German people to a humiliating defeat and to unimaginable suffering.  Understandably, Julius Viel is frustrated, bitter, and angry.  He struggles valiantly to make his small contribution to staving off defeat, but realizes all the while that it will never be enough.  Certainly this pathetic tank ditch so hard for the Germans to build, and yet so easy for the Soviets to bridge or to circumvent will make little difference.  If only Germany could muster support, could energize those laboring on its behalf willingly or unwillingly then there might still be some chance, there might still be enough delay that Hitler could produce the magic super-weapon that he was working on and that the German army was waiting to turn upon the enemy.

But what was Viel getting from these workers?  Why nothing but insubordination and foot-dragging!  These workers acted as if Germany had already lost the war, and as if there were no point busting their asses to help Germany reverse that loss.  This tank-ditch project was dragging on, and these workers were making a joke of it, scratching away with their tools as if they were children in a sand box, whining for rests for claimed exhaustion.  Exhaustion! How could they be exhausted when they didn't work?  They appeared well enough rested to Julius Viel, not to mention well enough fed.  In fact, in comparison to his own German boys who had been on short rations for months now, some of these workers appeared positively plump.  And in any case, the fate of Germany, Europe's leading civilization, was at stake, so was it too much to ask these prisoners to work through their fatigue and to cut back on their caloric intake?

And here this particular group of workers seemed to form some sort of nucleus of resistance.  They started the day by feigning illness.  Then came an interval of horsing around.  And now they were lolling about.  They seemed content to accomplish exactly nothing.  They responded to requests to redouble their efforts with insolence.  They were practically sabotaging the project.  And there they were now leaning on their shovels, one having a smoke, holding his cigarette daintily like a gentleman, and behind him another was eating chocolate!  Cigarettes?  Chocolate?  Where did these beggars get cigarettes and chocolate?  Who did they think they were, enjoying luxuries that the German fighting men lacked?  Was this a construction project, or a gentleman's club?  The German army was sacrificing itself to save Europe from the Asiatic hordes on its doorstop, and these insolent beggars were standing around laughing, laughing as if it did not matter whether Germany lived or died, laughing while they smoked their cigarettes and nibbled their chocolates!  They needed to be taught a lesson, these beggars.  An example needed to be set for all the workers in this project that sabotage will be punished, that those who refuse to join the defense of Europe against the Slavic barbarians must pay a price.

The last straw was when Viel locked eyes with one of the workers, the insolent ringleader of this nucleus of saboteurs, and that ringleader stared back at him unafraid.  Viel's gaze did prove the stronger, but as the ringleader turned away, he spat.  That is when Julius Viel lost control.  He shouted to the nearby guards to encircle these saboteurs, these Bolsheviks wallowing in their stinking ditch, these smokers and chocolate-eaters, and he ordered the guards to open fire.

The guards did encircle the trench as they were ordered, and they did raise their rifles, but their fingers froze on the triggers.  They were young men who had not seen action, were unused to killing, and below them in the ditch stood not incarnations of evil, not Bolsheviks frustrating German defense efforts, but only men like themselves, trapped by fate on the other side of a conflict initiated by others, and all irrespective of side united by their common prayer that the war end.  These young guards had been brought here to guard, not to kill, and could not readily jump rails from the easy role to the difficult one.  Seeing that action depended on himself alone, and used to taking the lead and setting an example, Viel shouted "If anybody tries to escape, shoot him!", pulled out his pistol, and began walking around the rim of the pit firing at the workers inside.

Some of the workers tried to scramble out of the ditch, and these particularly drew the fire of Viel, and guards who had found themselves unable to shoot workers standing still in a ditch, suddenly did find themselves able to shoot once they heard others shooting, and once the victims were transformed in their perception from workers into escaping prisoners.

After it was over, it was not readily apparent exactly who had killed who.  There had been some shooting on the part of the guards, undeniably, but nobody had any idea of exactly how much, or with what effect.  The young guards noted that the number of victims was seven, and the number of Viel's shots was eight as Viel had eight rounds of ammunition in that pistol of his which he emptied, and which was either a Pistole 08 (or P08, known throughout the world as the Luger) or a Walther P38, either of which carried eight rounds.  The young guards whispered among themselves that eight shots was enough to kill seven workers.  If the shooting of the young guards themselves contributed to the killing, that contribution was small and unimportant, and many began to recollect that they had shot only to appease Viel, but had aimed so as to miss.  All eventually agreed that the full responsibility for all seven deaths fell upon Viel's eight bullets.

Viel's immediate superiors did not act against Viel because they sided with him.  They agreed that the project was dragging, and that the resistance of the workers was to blame.  They agreed that fear was the missing ingredient needed to spur the workers to greater effort.  They did not view Viel's action either as deranged or as inexplicable they viewed it as resourceful labor management, severe but only because the times called for severity.  They decided to hush the incident up.  That is why Viel was never prosecuted, and that is why he was not institutionalized, and that is why he was not feared as a lunatic who posed a danger to his comrades.

Returning to reality, now, I remind you that the above depiction is entirely fictional, and offered here not as what must have happened, but only as an account of something that could have happened, whereas Lallier's is not an account of anything that could have happened.  For all the blue blood that Lallier tells us has been coursing through his elite veins right from his days waltzing in Viennese ballrooms to his belated assault on Nazism in recent years, he nevertheless lacks the intelligence to fabricate a story whose credibility exceeds that of a child's fairy tale; or if he is telling the truth, then he lacks the intelligence to realize that the manner that he has chosen of telling the truth gives it the appearance of a lie.  And anyone like yourself who assisted Lallier in fabricating his false story, or who coaxed the true story from the recesses of his memory where it had been skulking for half a century, similarly lacks the intelligence to notice that the story has the appearance of fantasy, and is incapable of receiving wide acceptance in its present form.

It must be noted that the particular version of the story that I have imagined above is one that is not serviceable to Lallier because it broadens responsibility beyond Viel himself to include nearby guards, and therefore to include Lallier himself.  If Viel is indeed guilty of the murders in question, and if Lallier was indeed an eyewitness, then perhaps the reason that Lallier cannot come up with a credible narrative is because he had to amend the true story in order to exculpate himself, and because he selected his amendments incompetently.

Bulletin-Board Fantasy

That Lallier has joined the ranks of Jewish-holocaust fabulists is suggested in the lack of credibility of every detail that drops from his lips.  Take the detail of the bulletin-board posting following the murders:

At the SS officers' school the next day, a memo was posted by their superior, he said.

"It said, to the effect, what happened, happened; it can't be undone," he recalled three years ago.  "If we win the war, we will not be responsible.  If we lose, we will all be dead anyway."
Ottawa Citizen, 05-Dec-2000, Final Edition, p. A1.

But to believe this detail of the bulletin-board posting, we would have to overlook several incongruities:

This bulletin-board posting gives the impression of being another product of a juvenile imagination that is blind to incongruity and that receives no guidance from a mature understanding of how the world works.  Lallier and you, in other words, may have reached par with other Jewish-holocaust fabulists, but have not graduated to the higher level of competence that would permit you to cook up a story capable of satisfying a discerning audience.

We Need a Statute of Limitations

It is characteristic of Jewish show trials that key defense witnesses are excluded, as for example in the Jerusalem trial of Adolph Eichmann:

German witnesses for the defense were excluded from the outset, since they would have exposed themselves to arrest and prosecution in Israel under the same law as that under which Eichmann was tried.  (p. 114)
The documentary evidence was supplemented by testimony taken abroad, in German, Austrian, and Italian courts, from sixteen witnesses who could not come to Jerusalem, because the Attorney General had announced that he "intended to put them on trial for crimes against the Jewish people."  (p. 200)
It quickly turned out that Israel was the only country in the world where defense witnesses could not be heard [...].  (p. 201)
Justice was more seriously impaired in Jerusalem than it was at Nuremberg, because the court did not admit witnesses for the defense.  In terms of the traditional requirements for fair and due process of law, this was the most serious flaw in the Jerusalem proceedings.  (p. 251)
Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the banality of evil, Viking Press, New York, 1963.

In the case of John Demjanjuk, his Israeli defense attorney, Yoram Sheftel, considered all those who had served in the German military to have been "Nazi thugs," and refused to call them as witnesses, as for example:

Gill and Chumak went to Germany, to Hamburg.  On 9-10 December they were to question a German SS man called Rudolf Reiss, who had been a sergeant at Travniki.  I strongly objected to using his testimony [...][...]  I was not prepared under any circumstances to use the testimony of Nazi thugs.
Yoram Sheftel, The Demjanjuk affair: The rise and fall of a show-trial, Victor Gollancz, London, 1994, p. 177.

More outrageous than that, John Demjanjuk was on trial for having been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and yet the Deputy Commandant of Treblinka, Kurt Franz, was excluded from testifying.  Why?  Because he was expected to deny having ever heard of John Demjanjuk, to deny having ever heard of any Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, and to deny the stories that five Jewish witnesses were recounting about Treblinka in other words, because his testimony would powerfully assist the defense.  Kurt Franz's exclusion was implemented by Israeli agent Yoram Sheftel acting as John Demjanjuk's defense attorney:

Gill, Nishnic and many people close to the Demjanjuk family, especially the anti-Semite Jerry Berntar, had incessantly pressed for the defence to take evidence from the Deputy Commandant of Treblinka, the fiend Kurt Franz.  He had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 in Germany, and was incarcerated until July 1993.  I opposed this categorically, because using the testimony of Treblinka's Deputy Commandant would look very bad and could be interpreted as meaning that Demjanjuk had asked for his ex-commander's assistance.  I emphasized also that in any case no court would believe Franz's claim that Ivan Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible, since he had lied flagrantly at his own trial and denied all the atrocities he committed at Treblinka.  Then there was my moral opposition, and at one point I even threatened to resign from the case.  Our compromise was the Kurt Franz would not be called to testify for the defence; the defence would question Reiss, but I would not take part, nor would I refer to it in my summation.
Yoram Sheftel, The Demjanjuk affair: The rise and fall of a show-trial, Victor Gollancz, London, 1994, p. 177.

An impartial observer, however, might lean toward the view that Kurt Franz would have been not just a valuable witness, but the most valuable witness that appeared in the course of the trial, because he was the only one of all the witnesses who had incontestably been at Treblinka no evidence whatever being presented that the Jewish witnesses had ever been there.  If Kurt Franz lacked credibility, this could have been brought out during cross-examination, but denying him an appearance because the judges had already made up their minds that he was a liar and a fiend was an innovation of Jewish show-trial justice, and did not conform to Western practice.

Most typically these days, the exclusion of defense witnesses continues to be engineered by the implicit threat that anybody who admits having served in German uniform will himself be prosecuted, and as well by delaying prosecution until defense witnesses have died.  In the Julius Viel trial, there was a very key witness, who unfortunately for Viel and fortunately for you and Lallier, died just a few years earlier this was Lieutenant-Colonel Willi Kruft, the commandant of Lallier's school, and the man who Lallier alleges exacted the oath of silence:

Lt.-Col. Kruft died in 1993 without ever breaking his silence.
Kate Jaimet, Ottawa Citizen, 13-Dec-2000, Final Edition, p. A3.

By Kruft never breaking his silence is possibly meant not that he stood mute before all questions, but that he denied that the Viel killings ever took place, a distinction too fine for Kate Jaimet to bring to the attention of the readers of the Ottawa Citizen.

In any case, a prosecution more than half a century after a supposed crime needs to be handled with great care, as memories have faded and warped, documentation has been lost, witnesses have died, and the probability of accurately reconstructing what happened has become remote.  At this late date, a statute of limitations for Nazi war crimes would contribute little toward allowing the guilty to go free, but would give the innocent badly-needed protection against persecution.  We need a statute of limitations because the eyewitnesses have been definitively excluded from testifying by death, and because fabulists now walk in their shoes.

Your Nazi-Hunting Credentials

It seems that your credentials as a Nazi hunter consist of your participation in two projects.

First, the Rambam-Abella Fifty Confessions Hoax.  The Canadian Jewish Congress represented you as having elicited 50 confessions of war crimes from former Nazis; the appearance is that you elicited none.

Second is the conviction of Julius Viel discussed above.  However, Lallier's testimony was indispensable to this conviction, and Lallier's story shows symptoms of fabrication.

The impression that I am left with, then, is that your reputation as a Nazi hunter is built upon two frauds, which does not surprise me, as the reputation of other Nazi hunters that I have investigated specifically, Simon Wiesenthal, Neal Sher, and Sol Littman have similarly turned out to be based on fraud.

If my impression concerning you is in error, then I am anxious to correct it, so I will appreciate being supplied with any opposite information that may be in your possession.

Lubomyr Prytulak