Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 15:24

Otto Ohlendorf

I surrendered my moral conscience to the fact that I was a soldier, and therefore a cog in a relatively low position of a great machine.

Otto Ohlendorf (February 4, 1907June 7, 1951) was a German SS-Gruppenführer and head of the interior division of the SD. In June 1941, Reinhard Heydrich appointed Ohlendorf to be commander of Einsatzgruppe D which operated in southern Ukraine and Crimea. Over 90,000 executions are attributed to Ohlendorf's command, who testified to this effect during his trial at Nuremberg. At the end of 1943, in addition to his other jobs, Ohlendorf became deputy secretary of state in the Reichsministerium für Wirtschaft (Reichs-Ministry for Economics). During the trial against Einsatzgruppen leaders, Ohlendorf was the chief defendant, and was also a key witness in the prosecution of many other indicted war criminals. Otto Ohlendorf was sentenced to death and hanged on June 7, 1951.

SourcedEdit

  • There were a large number of Jews who held more favorable positions than they should have, according to their percentage of the population. Germans should have held those positions.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 1, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • Fascism is a purely stately principle. Mussolini said in 1932, 'The first thing is the state - and from the state are derived the rights and fate of the people. Humans come second.' In National Socialism, it was the opposite. People and humans come first, and the state is secondary.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 1, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • In the child, we see the grown-up. I see the problem differently.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 1, 1946, after Goldensohn asks Ohlendorf, "How did you figure a six month old Jewish infant must be killed - was it an enemy? Quoted in "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • Those Jews stood up, were lined up, and were shot in true military fashion. I saw to it that no atrocities or brutalities occurred.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 1, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • The treatment of the Germans by the Allies was at least as bad as the shooting of those Jews. The bombing of cities with men, women, and children burning with phosphorus - these things were all done by the Allies.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 1, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • Because to me it is inconceivable that a subordinate leader should not carry out orders given by the leaders of the State.
    • Confessing to the execution of 90,000 Jews at the Nuremberg Trials. Quoted in "Gestapo: Instrument of Tyranny" - Page 141 - by Edward Crankshaw - History - 1956
  • I surrendered my moral conscience to the fact that I was a soldier, and therefore a cog in a relatively low position of a great machine.
    • Quoted in "Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror" - Page 92 - by Os Guinness - 2005
  • The men of my group who are under indictment here were under my military command. If they had not executed the orders which they were given, they would have been ordered by me to execute them. If they had refused to execute the orders they would have had to be called to account for it by me. There could be no doubt about it. Whoever refused anything in the front lines would have met immediate death. If the refusal would have come about in any other way, a court martial of the Higher SS and Police Leader would have brought about the same consequences.
    • At the Nuremberg Trials. Quoted in "Valhalla's Warriors: A History of the Waffen SS on the Eastern Front" - Page 186 - by Terry Goldsworthy - History - 2007
  • There was no distinction made between Gypsies and Jews, the same order applied to both.
    • At the Nuremberg Trials. Quoted in "Winter Time: Memoirs of a German Sinto who Survived Auschwitz" - Page 146 - by Walter Winter, Struan Robertson - History - 2004

About OhlendorfEdit

  • Now, the prosecution will probably bring up Ohlendorf, who worked for me and who admitted before his tribunal he killed ninety thousand Jews. I was quite upset when I heard Ohlendorf. I didn't know things like that existed. And secondly, I didn't know Ohlendorf was involved.
  • I always had the feeling that Ohlendorf was spiritually depressed. I mentioned several times to my wife, when we had Ohlendorf to dinner, that he seemed like a man who just could not be happy. Ohlendorf must have been very depressed on account of that experience. He could not laugh heartily - and a man who cannot is either depressed, or sick, or bad. I thought he had something in his soul which bothered him.
  • Most of these handpicked leaders were lawyers, and a few were physicians or educators; most had earned doctoral degrees. Among the more exotic specimens were Otto Ohlendorf, a handsome but argumentative young economist who had fallen into disfavor with Himmler.
    • Richard Rhodes, 2003

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