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    Elie Wiesel in 1987
    QUOTE: Was there no resistance to his disastrous projects? There was. But it was too feeble, too weak and too late to succeed... The fact is that Hitler was beloved by his people—not the military, at least not in the beginning, but by the average Germans who pledged to him an affection, a tenderness and a fidelity that bordered on the irrational... Winston Churchill was the only man of state who unmasked Hitler immediately and refused to let himself be duped by Hitler's repeated promises that this time he was making his "last territorial demand." ... In his own "logic," Hitler was persuaded for a fairly long time that the German and British people had every reason to get along and divide up spheres of influence throughout the world. He did not understand British obstinacy in its resistance to his racial philosophy and to the practical ends it engendered... After Rommel's defeat in North Africa, after the debacle at Stalingrad and even when the landings in Normandy were imminent, Hitler and his entourage still had the mind to come up with the Final Solution. In his testament, drafted in a underground bunker just hours before his suicide in Berlin, Hitler returns again to this hatred of the Jewish people that had never left him. But in the same testament, he settles his score with the German people. He wants them to be sacked, destroyed, reduced to misery and shame for having failed him by denying him his glory. The former corporal become commander in chief of all his armies and convinced of his strategic and political genius was not prepared to recognize his own responsibility for the defeat of his Reich. [in TIME (13 April 1998)]

    AUTHOR: Elie Wiesel AKA Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel KBE (born September 30, 1928) is a Romanian-born Jewish-American professor and political activist. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel is also the Advisory Board chairman of the newspaper Algemeiner Journal. When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind," stating that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

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    On this date, May 1, 2008, there was a prison homicide that was caught on CCTV in Arizona. There was no doubt about the guilt at all; even abolitionist cannot use this as an ‘innocent’ argument. The murderer, Pete Van Winkle was sentenced to death on November 17, 2009.


    Please go to this previous Blog Post to learn more.

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                On this date, 1 May 1945, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, committed suicide with his wife after poisoning his children. I will post the information about him from Wikipedia.

    Joseph Goebbels
     
    Chancellor of Germany
    In office
    30 April – 1 May 1945
    President
    Preceded by
    Adolf Hitler
    Succeeded by
    Minister of
    Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
    In office
    13 March 1933 – 30 April 1945
    Chancellor
    Adolf Hitler
    Preceded by
    Office created
    Succeeded by
    Werner Naumann
    Gauleiter of Berlin
    In office
    9 November 1926 – 1 May 1945
    Appointed by
    Adolf Hitler
    Preceded by
    Ernst Schlange
    Succeeded by
    None
    Reichsleiter
    In office
    1933–1945
    Appointed by
    Adolf Hitler
    Preceded by
    Office created
    Succeeded by
    None
    Personal details
    Born
    Paul Joseph Goebbels
    29 October 1897
    Rheydt, Prussia, Germany
    Died
    1 May 1945 (aged 47)
    Berlin, Germany
    Political party
    National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
    Spouse(s)
    Magda Ritschel (m. 1931)
    Children
    Alma mater
    University of Bonn
    University of Würzburg
    University of Freiburg
    University of Heidelberg
    Occupation
    Politician
    Cabinet
    Hitler Cabinet
    Religion
    unknown (formerly Roman Catholic)

    Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devoted followers, he was known for his zealous orations and deep and virulent antisemitism, which led him strongly to support the extermination of the Jews when the Nazi leadership developed their "Final Solution".

    Goebbels earned a PhD from Heidelberg University in 1921 with a doctoral thesis on 19th-century literature of the Romantic school. He found work as a journalist and later as a bank clerk and caller on the stock exchange. He also wrote novels and plays, which were rejected by publishers. Goebbels came into contact with the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP) or Nazi Party in 1923 during the French occupation of the Ruhr and became a member in 1924. In 1926 he was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. In this position, he put his propaganda skills to full use, attacking the Social Democratic Party of Germany and Communist Party of Germany and seeking to win over their working class supporters. Goebbels stressed the need for the Nazis to emphasize both a proletarian and national character. By 1928, he had risen in the party ranks to become one of its most prominent members.

    Goebbels came to power in 1933 after Hitler was appointed chancellor; within six weeks Hitler arranged his appointment as Propaganda Minister. One of Goebbels' first acts was to organize the burning of "decadent" books. Under Goebbels' leadership, the Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts and information in Germany.

    From the beginning of his tenure, Goebbels organized actions against German Jews, commencing with a one-day boycott of Jewish businessmen, doctors, and lawyers on 1 April 1933. These actions eventually led to the outright violence of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, an open and unrestrained pogrom unleashed by the Nazis across Germany, in which synagogues were burned, Jewish-owned businesses were trashed, Jews were assaulted (many killed), and thousands of Jews were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Goebbels commissioned a series of antisemitic films including The Eternal Jew and Jud Süß(both 1940). Jud Süß is widely considered to be "one of the most antisemitic films of all time." Goebbels' antisemitic propaganda promoted stereotypes of Jews as materialistic, immoral, cunning, untrustworthy and physically unattractive and rootless wanderers. Goebbels made it a point in such films to warn German girls of the "sexual devastation that Jews had wrought in the past" and to remind them of the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935, which prohibited any sexual relations between Aryans and Jews. In the Nazi ideology, such relations were Rassenschande(racial disgrace), a dishonor of Aryan blood,[7] and were made a punishable offense.

    During World War II, Goebbels increased his power and influence through adroit and shifting alliances with other Nazi leaders. By mid-1943, the tide of war was turning against the Axis powers; Goebbels responded by urging the Germans to embrace the idea of total war and mobilization. He remained with Hitler in Berlin to the end. Before he committed suicide, Hitler named Goebbels his successor as Chancellor in his will. Goebbels and his wife Magda killed their six young childrenby giving them poison, then committed suicide. The couple's bodies were burned in a shell crater, but due to the lack of petrol, the burning was only partially effective.


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                On this date, May 2, 1945, one of Hitler’s Henchman, Martin Bormann was contested to be killed, he was later tried in absentia in the Nuremberg Trials. I will post information about him from Wikipedia.

     

    Martin Bormann in 1934
    Party Minister of the National Socialist German Workers' Party
    In office
    30 April – 2 May 1945
    Preceded by
    Position established
    Succeeded by
    Position abolished
    Chief of the Parteikanzlei
    In office
    12 May 1941 – 2 May 1945
    Preceded by
    Rudolf Hess (as Deputy Führer)
    Succeeded by
    Position abolished
    Personal Secretary to the Führer
    In office
    12 April 1943 – 30 April 1945
    Personal Secretary to the Deputy Führer
    In office
    July 1933 – 12 May 1941
    Reichsleiter
    In office
    October 1933 – 2 May 1945
    Personal details
    Born
    Martin Bormann
    17 June 1900
    Wegeleben, Prussia, Germany
    Died
    2 May 1945 (aged 44) (Contested)
    Nationality
    German
    Political party
    National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
    Spouse(s)
    Gerda Buch
    (married on 2 September 1929)
    Children
    Adolf Martin Bormann
    Ilse Bormann
    Irmgard Bormann
    Rudolf Gerhard Bormann
    Heinrich Hugo Bormann
    Eva Ute Bormann
    Gerda Bormann
    Fred Hartmut Bormann
    Volker Bormann

    Martin Bormann(17 June 1900 – 2 May 1945) was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery(Parteikanzlei) and private secretary to Adolf Hitler. He was almost always at his Führer's side. Hitler typically did not issue written orders, but gave them verbally at meetings or in phone conversations; he also had Bormann convey orders. He gained Hitler's trust and derived immense power within the Third Reich by using his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler. Bormann earned many enemies, including Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, Robert Ley, Hans Frank, and Albert Speer.

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                On this date, May 2, 1947, a female SS Supervisor of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, Dorothea Binz was executed by hanging at Hameln Prison. I will post information about her from Wikipedia and other links.

    Dorothea Binz

    Dorothea Binz (March 16, 1920 – May 2, 1947) was an SS supervisor at Ravensbrück concentration camp during the Second World War.



    Life

    Born to a middle class German family in Försterei Dusterlake, Binz attended school until she was fifteen. Afterwards, she spent time as a maid but disliked the job, so she applied at a local SS office and was sent to Ravensbrück on September 1, 1939, to undergo training as a guard.

    Camp work

    Binz served as an Aufseherinunder Oberaufseherin Emma Zimmer, Johanna Langefeld, Maria Mandel, and Anna Klein-Plaubel. She worked in various parts of the camp, including the kitchen and laundry. Later, she is said to have supervised the bunker where women prisoners were tortured and killed.

    In August 1943, Binz was promoted to Stellvertretende Oberaufseherin (Deputy Chief Wardress). Her abuse was later described as unyielding. As a member of the command staff between 1943 and 1945, she directed training and assigned duties to over 100 female guards at one time. Binz reportedly trained some of the cruelest female guards in the system, including Ruth Closius.

    At Ravensbrück, the young Binz is said to have beaten, slapped, kicked, shot, whipped, stomped and abused women continuously. Witnesses testified that when she appeared at the Appellplatz, "silence fell." She reportedly carried a whip in hand, along with a leashed German Shepherd and at a moment's notice would kick a woman to death or select her to be killed. French prisoners nicknamed her La Binz (The Binz).

    Binz reportedly had a boyfriend in the camp, an SS officer named Edmund Bräuning. The two are said to have gone on romantic walks around the camp to watch women being flogged, after which they would stroll away laughing. They lived together in a house outside the camp walls until late 1944, when Bräuning was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp.


    Dorothea Binz, at the 1st Ravensbrück Trial 1947: The Sentencing
    Capture and execution

    Binz fled Ravensbrück during the death march, was captured on May 3, 1945, by the British in Hamburg and incarcerated in the Recklinghausen camp (formerly a Buchenwald subcamp).

    Binz was tried with other SS personnel by a British court at the Ravensbrück War Crimes Trials. She was convicted of perpetrating war crimes, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged on the gallows at Hameln prison by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint on May 2, 1947.

    OTHER LINKS:

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                On this date, May 2, 2011, the Al Qaeda Leader, Osama Bin Laden was killed by the U.S Navy SEALS, the Seal Team Six in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I will post the information from Wikipedia.            

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                On this date, May 2, 2011, the Al Qaeda Leader, Osama Bin Laden was killed by the U.S Navy SEALS, the Seal Team Six in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I will give information about this Terrorist from Wikipedia and other links.

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                On this date, 3 May 1947, two female Nazi War Criminals were executed by hanging by British Hangman, Albert Pierrepoint. I will post the information about them from Wikipedia.


    Elizabeth Marschall, the oldest female Nazi to be executed at age 60. [PHOTO SOURCE: http://jtajchert.w.interia.pl/personel%20obozu%20ravensbruck.htm]
    Elisabeth Marschall (27 May 1886 – 3 May 1947) was the Head Nurse (Oberschwester) at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Her duties included selecting prisoners for execution, overseeing medical experiments, and selecting which prisoners would be shipped to Auschwitz. At the Hamburg Ravensbrück Trials, she was found guilty and sentenced to death. On 3 May 1947 she was hanged by British executioner Albert Pierrepoint on the gallows in Hameln prison. Aged 60, she was the oldest female Nazi to be executed.


    Greta Bösel(née Mueller) (9 May 1908 – 3 May 1947) was a trained nurse. Born in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany, she became a camp guard at Ravensbrück some time between 1939 and 1943.

    Her rank at the camp was Arbeitseinsatzführerin (Work Input Overseer). In November 1944, Bösel was supposed to have been one of the staff members to select prisoners for the gas chamber, or for transfer to Uckermark. She is known to have told another SS guard "If they [prisoners] cannot work, let them rot."

    After the death march of prisoners out of Ravensbrück following the impending liberation by the Red Army of Soviettroops, Bösel fled the camp with her husband. She was later caught and arrested by British troops.

    Bösel, along with other female guards including Dorothea Binz, stood accused at the Hamburg Ravensbrück Trials, which took place between December 1946 and February 1947 in Hamburg, Germany. The court found her guilty of maltreatment, murder and taking part in the "selections". She was executed for her crimes, hanged along with Elisabeth Marschall at 9:55 am on 3 May 1947 by Albert Pierrepoint in Hameln prison.

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    I also support the death penalty for plea bargaining to make trials faster where a killer can be sentenced to Life imprisonment. I will post the information about plea bargaining in the United States from Wikipedia


    Supreme Court of the United States

    Plea bargaining in the United States is very common; the vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are settled by plea bargain rather than by a jury trial. They have also been increasing in frequency—they rose from 84% of federal cases in 1984 to 94% by 2001. Plea bargains are subject to the approval of the court, and different States and jurisdictions have different rules. Game theory has been used to analyze the plea bargaining decision.

    The constitutionality of plea bargaining was established by Brady v. United States in 1970, although the Supreme Court warned that plea incentives which were sufficiently large or coercive as to over-rule defendants' abilities to act freely, or used in a manner giving rise to a significant number of innocent people pleading guilty, might be prohibited or lead to concerns over constitutionality. Santobello v. New York added that when plea bargains are broken, legal remedies exist.

    Several features of the American justice system tend to promote plea bargaining. The adversarial nature of the system puts judges in a passive role, in which they are completely dependent upon the parties to develop the factual record and cannot independently discover information with which to assess the strength of the case against the defendant. The parties thus can control the outcome of the case by exercising their rights or bargaining them away. The lack of compulsory prosecution also gives prosecutors greater discretion. And the inability of crime victims to mount a private prosecutionand their limited ability to influence plea agreements also tends to encourage plea bargaining. Prosecutors have been described as monopsonists.

    History and constitutionality

    Early history

    Plea bargaining has existed for centuries; in older legal systems convictions were at times routinely procured by confession and laws existed covering such criminal confessions, although by the 18th century inducements had been forbidden in English Law to prevent miscarriage of justice. Accordingly early US plea bargain history led to courts permitting withdrawal of pleas and rejection of plea bargains, although such arrangements continued to happen behind the scenes. A rise in the scale and scope of criminal law led to plea bargaining gaining new acceptance in the early 20th century, as courts and prosecutors sought to address an overwhelming influx of cases:


    [F]ederal prosecutions under the Prohibition Act terminated in 1930 had become nearly eight times as many as the total number of all pending federal prosecutions in 1914. In a number of urban districts the enforcement agencies maintain that the only practicable way of meeting this situation with the existing machinery of the federal courts ... is for the United States Attorneys to make bargains with defendants or their counsel whereby defendants plead guilty to minor offenses and escape with light penalties.


    However even though the over 90% of convictions were based upon plea bargaining by 1930, courts remained reluctant for some time to endorse these when appealed.

    Modern history (c. 1950 onward)

    The constitutionality of plea bargaining and its placing upon a legal footing was established by Brady v. United States in 1970. The Supreme Court warned in the same decision, that this was conditional only and required appropriate safeguards and usage—namely that plea incentives so large or coercive as to over-rule defendants' abilities to act freely, or used in a manner giving rise to a significant number of innocent people pleading guilty, might be prohibited or lead to concerns over constitutionality. Previous to this, the Court had held in United States v. Jackson that a law was unconstitutional that had the effect of imposing undue fear in a defendant (in that case, the fear of death) to the point it discouraged the exercise of a constitutional right (the 6th Amendment covering the right to a jury trial), and also forced the defendant to act as an unwilling witnessagainst himself in violation of the 5th amendment. The Court stated that:


    [T]he plea is more than an admission of past conduct; it is the defendant's consent that judgment of conviction may be entered without a trial—a waiver of his right to trial before a jury or a judge. Waivers of constitutional rights not only must be voluntary but must be knowing, intelligent acts done with sufficient awareness of the relevant circumstances and likely consequences.


    The ruling distinguished Brady from other prior cases emphasizing improper confessions, concluding, "we cannot hold that it is unconstitutional for the State to extend a benefit to a defendant who in turn extends a substantial benefit to the State and who demonstrates by his plea that he is ready and willing to admit his crime and to enter the correctional system in a frame of mind that affords hope for success in rehabilitation over a shorter period of time than might otherwise be necessary." It laid down the following conditions for a plea to be valid:
    • Defendant must be "fully aware of the direct consequences, including the actual value of any commitments made to him"
    • Plea must not be "induced by threats (or promises to discontinue improper harassment), misrepresentation (including unfulfilled or unfulfillable promises), or perhaps by promises that are by their nature improper as having no proper relationship to the prosecutor's business (e. g. bribes)"
    • Pleas entered would not become invalid later merely due to a wish to reconsider the judgment which led to them, or better information about the Defendant's or the State's case, or the legal position.
    • Plea bargaining "is no more foolproof than full trials to the court or to the jury. Accordingly, we take great precautions against unsound results. [...] We would have serious doubts about this case if the encouragement of guilty pleas by offers of leniency substantially increased the likelihood that defendants, advised by competent counsel, would falsely condemn themselves. But our view is to the contrary and is based on our expectations that courts will satisfy themselves that pleas of guilty are voluntarily and intelligently made by competent defendants with adequate advice of counsel and that there is nothing to question the accuracy and reliability of the defendants' admissions".
    • The ruling in Brady does not discuss "situation[s] where the prosecutor or judge, or both, deliberately employ their charging and sentencing powers to induce a particular defendant to tender a plea of guilty. In Brady's case there is no claim that the prosecutor threatened prosecution on a charge not justified by the evidence or that the trial judge threatened Brady with a harsher sentence if convicted after trial in order to induce him to plead guilty."
    Santobello v. New York added that when plea bargains are broken, remedies exist; and it has been argued that given the prevalence of plea agreements, the most important rights of the accused may be found in the law of contracts rather than the law of trial procedure.

    Federal system

    The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are followed in federal cases and have been created to ensure a standard of uniformity in all cases decided in the federal courts. A two- or three-level offense level reduction is usually available for those who accept responsibility by not holding the prosecution to the burden of proving its case.

    The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedureprovide for two main types of plea agreements. An 11(c)(1)(B) agreement does not bind the court; the prosecutor's recommendation is merely advisory, and the defendant cannot withdraw his plea if the court decides to impose a sentence other than what was stipulated in the agreement. An 11(c)(1)(C) agreement does bind the court once the court accepts the agreement. When such an agreement is proposed, the court can reject it if it disagrees with the proposed sentence, in which case the defendant has an opportunity to withdraw his plea.

    State systems

    Plea bargains are so common in the Superior Courts of California that the Judicial Council of California has published an optional seven-page form (containing all mandatory advisements required by federal and state law) to help prosecutors and defense attorneys reduce such bargains into written plea agreements.

    In California, plea bargaining is sometimes used in proceedings for involuntary commitment for mental disorder. Some individuals alleged to be dangerous to self and/or dangerous to others bargain to be classified instead as merely "gravely disabled."

    Controversy

    The shadow-of-trial argument states that plea agreements merely reflect the outcome that would have transpired had the case gone to trial. E.g., if the accused faces 10 years and has a 50% chance of losing in court, then an agreement will result in a five-year sentence, less some amount deducted for saving the government the cost of trial. Theoretically, the shadow-of-trial should work even better in criminal cases than in civil cases, because civil judgments are discretionary, while criminal judgments are often regulated by mandatory minima and sentencing guidelines, making sentences more predictable. A counter-argument is that criminal sentencing laws are "lumpy," in that the sentencing ranges are not as precise as the dollars-and-cents calibration that can be achieved in civil case settlements. Further, because some defendants facing small amounts of prison time are jailed pending trial, they may find it in their interests to plead guilty so as to be sentenced to time served, or in any event to end up serving less time than they would serve waiting for trial. Outcomes in criminal cases are also made less predictable by the fact that, while a plaintiff in a civil case has a financial incentive to seek the largest judgment possible, a prosecutor does not necessarily have an incentive to pursue the most severe sentence possible.

    The United States Supreme Court has recognized plea bargaining as both an essential and desirable part of the criminal justice system. The benefits of plea-bargaining are said to be obvious: the relief of court congestion, alleviation of the risks and uncertainties of trial, and its information gathering value. However, in 1975 the Attorney-General of Alaska, Avrum Gross, ordered an end to all plea-bargaining; subsequent attorneys-general continued the practice. Similar consequences were observed in New Orleans, Ventura County, California, and in Oakland County, Michigan, where plea bargaining has been terminated. Bidinotto found:


    ...ending plea bargaining has put responsibility back into every level of our system: police did better investigating; prosecutors and lawyers began preparing their cases better; lazy judges were compelled to spend more time in court and control their calendars more efficiently. Most importantly, justice was served—and criminals began to realize that they could not continue their arrogant manipulation of a paper-tiger court system.


    Some legal scholars argue that plea bargaining is unconstitutional because it takes away a person's right to a trial by jury. In fact, Justice Hugo Black once noted that, in America, the defendant “has an absolute, unqualified right to compel the State to investigate its own case, find its own witnesses, prove its own facts, and convince the jury through its own resources. Throughout the process, the defendant has a fundamental right to remain silent, in effect challenging the State at every point to ‘Prove it!’” By limiting the powers of the police and prosecutors, the Bill of Rights safeguards freedom.

    Plea bargaining is also criticized, particularly outside the United States, on the grounds that its close relationship with rewards, threats and coercion potentially endangers the correct legal outcome.

    In the 1991 book Presumed Guilty: When Innocent People Are Wrongly Convicted, author Martin Yant discusses the use of coercion in plea bargaining.


    Even when the charges are more serious, prosecutors often can still bluff defense attorneys and their clients into pleading guilty to a lesser offense.

    As a result, people who might have been acquitted because of lack of evidence, but also who are in fact truly innocent, will often plead guilty to the charge. Why? In a word, fear. And the more numerous and serious the charges, studies have shown, the greater the fear. That explains why prosecutors sometimes seem to file every charge imaginable against defendants.


    The theoretical work based on the prisoner's dilemma is one reason why, in many countries, plea bargaining is forbidden. Often, precisely the prisoner's dilemma scenario applies: it is in the interest of both suspects to confess and testify against the other suspect, irrespective of the innocence of the accused. Arguably, the worst case is when only one party is guilty—here, the innocent one is unlikely to confess, while the guilty one is likely to confess and testify against the innocent.

    It has been argued that plea bargaining benefits societyby ensuring that the guilty are not acquitted.

    Another argument against plea bargaining is that it may not actually reduce the costs of administering justice. For example, if a prosecutor has only a 25% chance of winning his case and sending the defendant away to prison for 10 years, he may make a plea agreement for a one-year sentence; but if plea bargaining is unavailable, he may drop the case completely.


    Some murderers choose life in prison to avoid death penalty

    Curtis Krueger, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, April 20, 2014 8:23pm

    In the murder case against William S. Coffin III, a grim life-or-death negotiation came to the surface last week.

    Coffin, 32, is considering pleading guilty to fatally stabbing a Largo woman and spending the rest of his life in prison, a prosecutor said in a court hearing. Coffin wants something in return: no death penalty.

    This might sound like the ultimate choice between bad alternatives, but it's not as rare as it may sound.

    There have been scattered cases in the Tampa Bay area in recent years of murderers pleading guilty to get life sentences to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.

    Like just about everything else involving executions, it's a practice that can be controversial and spark strong emotions.

    Take Anthony J. Giancola, a former Hillsborough County middle school principal who gained notoriety in 2007 when he was arrested for buying cocaine in his school office. In 2012, in an event never fully explained, Gian­cola went on a murderous rampage in mid-Pinellas County.

    Deborah Clem's nephew, Justin Lee Vandenburg, 27, was one of two people Giancola killed that day.

    Last year, Giancola pleaded guilty to two murders, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office agreed not to seek the death penalty, and he was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences, plus 30 years.

    "I think he got off easy," Deborah Clem said. "He gets to see his family, he gets to go to bed at night. What does my nephew get? Nothing. He didn't even get to say goodbye."

    But in some cases, victims' families actually see this as a better alternative, partly because they avoid the seemingly endless appeals that come with every death penalty case.

    Giancola is not the only one who chose this route.

    In January, Egan Fernando Atkins admitted in Hillsborough Circuit Court that he broke into a home and stabbed a woman with a kitchen knife. His guilty plea gave him a life sentence and spared him the death penalty.

    Last year, Michael Scott Norris pleaded guilty to killing two men in St. Petersburg after he escaped a Largo work-release center. Prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty, and Norris got three life sentences.

    Under Florida law, judges have only two options for those convicted of first-degree murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no parole.

    But it's not easy for prosecutors to obtain a death sentence. Under the law, people can be sentenced to death only when the killing involves certain "aggravating circumstances," such as murder committed for money or one that was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel." On the other hand, juries and judges weigh "mitigating circumstances" that argue against the death penalty, such as whether the defendant had an otherwise clean record, or whether he was mentally impaired.

    Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said key for him in any case is to listen to victims' families.

    "There are some that don't like the death penalty, don't agree with it," he said. "There are others that want it, very strongly want it."

    Also important, he said, is trying to predict whether a jury would recommend a death sentence, a judge would impose it, and appeals courts would uphold it.

    In the case of a death penalty for Giancola, "I thought it was going to be a real uphill climb to get it, and an even bigger uphill climb to keep it," said McCabe, citing the killer's mental health issues.

    In court last week, Assistant State Attorney Richard Ripplinger said attorneys for Coffin, accused of murdering Patricia Ann King, 50, in her Largo home, had mentioned the idea of a guilty plea.

    Ripplinger said that before the state would consider it, he wanted to make sure the defense had more information about the case — a move apparently designed to make sure Coffin is fully informed and less likely to file an appeal later.

    If a judge sentences a man or woman to death, appeals can easily last more than a decade. That's one reason their families sometimes don't mind a guilty plea and life sentence, said Mark Cox, spokesman for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office.

    "We've had cases where the victim's family no longer wishes us to go after the death penalty, not so much for the defendant, but for their wishes," he said. "They want closure."

    All options are difficult, and there can be different opinions even within the same families, said Bobbie Hodson, victim advocate for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. "There's no happy ending in a murder case, unfortunately."

    There is one thing some families appreciate about a guilty plea. The killer has to stand up in court and admit he or she did it. That often does not happen in a trial, not even when someone is sentenced to death.

    Because of the trials and appeals, various studies argue that the cost of prosecuting murder defendants actually exceeds the cost of simply imprisoning them for life. Although politicians and advocates argue the cost-effectiveness, this particular debate stays mostly out of the courtroom. The lawyers are supposed to be arguing for justice, not savings.

    Defendants usually plead guilty only when the evidence is overwhelming.

    But from their point of view, is life in prison really much better than execution?

    It can be. On death row, killers are housed individually and spend little time outside cells. Inmates know they'll spend more than a decade that way.

    But a murderer sentenced to life can be housed in the general prison population, where "you can work, you can socialize, you can make some sort of life for yourself," said defense attorney Bjorn Brunvand.

    Times researcher Natalie Watson and staff writer Sue Carlton contributed to this report. Curtis Krueger can be reached at ckrueger@tampabay.com (727) 893-8232. On Twitter: @ckruegertimes.

    Some murderers choose life in prison to avoid death penalty 04/20/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2014 10:39pm]

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    Napoleon Bonaparte [PHOTO SOURCE: http://izquotes.com/quote/212010]
    QUOTE: He who fears being conquered is certain of defeat.[p. 146 of Political Aphorisms, Moral and Philosophical Thoughts(1848)]

    AUTHOR: Napoleon Bonaparte (French: Napoléon Bonaparte[napoleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt], Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe.
    As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. His legal reform, the Napoleonic Code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide, but he is best remembered for his role in the wars led against France by a series of coalitions, the so-called Napoleonic Wars. He established hegemony over most of continental Europe and sought to spread the ideals of the French Revolution, while consolidating an imperial monarchy which restored aspects of the deposed Ancien Régime. Due to his success in these wars, often against numerically superior enemies, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, and his campaigns are studied at military academies worldwide.
    Napoleon was born at Ajaccio in Corsica in a family of noble Italian ancestry which had settled Corsica in the 16th century. He trained as an artillery officer in mainland France. He rose to prominence under the French First Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. He led a successful invasion of the Italian peninsula.
    In 1799, he staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later the French Senate proclaimed him emperor, following a plebiscite in his favour. In the first decade of the 19th century, the French Empire under Napoleon engaged in a series of conflicts—the Napoleonic Wars—that involved every major European power. After a streak of victories, France secured a dominant position in continental Europe, and Napoleon maintained the French sphere of influence through the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.
    The Peninsular War and 1812 French invasion of Russia marked turning points in Napoleon's fortunes. His Grande Arméewas badly damaged in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig; the following year the Coalition invaded France, forced Napoleon to abdicate and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he escaped Elba and returned to power, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life in confinement by the British on the island of Saint Helena. An autopsy concluded he died of stomach cancer, but there has been some debate about the cause of his death, as some scholars have speculated that he was a victim of arsenic poisoning.





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    On this date, May 6, 2011, Jeffrey Motts was executed by lethal injection in South Carolina for the prison homicide of his cellmate, Charles Martin on May 12, 2005. Ten years before the prison murder, he had killed two people in a robbery. Please go to this previous blog post to learn more.


    Jeffrey Motts



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    At the end of World War II in Europe, Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims as the representative of Karl Dönitz. I will post the information of this German General from Wikipedia and other links.

     

    General Alfred Jodl

    Born
    10 May 1890
    Würzburg, Germany
    Died
    16 October 1946 (aged 56)
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Allegiance
     German Empire (to 1918)
    Weimar Republic (to 1933)
    Nazi Germany (to 1945)
    Service/branch
    Years of service
    1910–45
    Rank
    Battles/wars
    • World War I
    • World War II
    Awards
    Relations
    Ferdinand Jodl (brother)
    Signature


    Alfred Josef Ferdinand Jodl (10 May 1890 – 16 October 1946) was a German military commander, attaining the position of Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, or OKW) during World War II, acting as deputy to Wilhelm Keitel, and signed the unconditional surrender of Germany as a representative for German president Karl Dönitz. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal. Jodl was exonerated by a German denazification court in 1953. After pressure from the US military, the exoneration was subsequently revoked by a Bavarian politician, though the revocation had no legal effect.

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    At the end of World War II in Europe, Jodl signed the instruments of unconditional surrender on 7 May 1945 in Reims as the representative of Karl Dönitz. I will post the information from Wikisource.


    This instrument of surrender was signed on May 7, 1945, at Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's headquarters in Rheims by Gen. Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. At the same time, he signed three other surrender documents, one each for Great Britain, Russia, and France.
    Signatories:
    On behalf of the German High Command. JODL
    IN THE PRESENCE OF On behalf of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. W. B. SMITH
    On behalf of the Soviet High Command. SOUSLOPAROV
    F SEVEZ Major General, French Army (Witness)
     
    German Instrument of Surrender (1945)
    by authority of the German High Command

    The German Instrument of Surrender was the legal instrument by which the High Command of the German Armed Forces surrendered simultaneously to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and to the SovietHigh Command at the end of World War II in Europe. Before the main body of the German military surrendered, there were partial surrenders of components of the German military.
     
    This is the main Instrument of Surrender, which was signed on 7 May, 1945, at Rheims, France. The signing took place in a red brick schoolhouse that served as the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).

    Only this text in English is authoritative

    Act of Military Surrender

    1.     We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.

    2.     The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8 May and to remain in the positions occupied at that time. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment.

    3.     The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Soviet High Command.

    4.     This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to Germany and the German armed forces as a whole.

    5.     In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Soviet High Command will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.

    Signed at Rheims at 0241France on the 7th day of May, 1945.

    On behalf of the German High Command.
    in the presence of

    On behalf of the Supreme Commander,
    Allied Expeditionary Force.
           
    On behalf of the Soviet
    High Command.


           



    Major General, French Army
    (Witness)


    Alfred Jodl (between Major Wilhelm Oxenius to the left and Generaladmiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg to the right) signing the German Instrument of Surrender at Reims, France 7 May 1945.


    Colonel General Jodl signs the instruments of unconditional surrender in Reims on 7 May 1945.

           
    Blank300.png

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    On this date, 8 May 1945, Dönitz authorised Keitel to sign an unconditional surrender in Berlin. Although Germany had surrendered to the Allies a day earlier, Stalin had insisted on a second surrender ceremony in Berlin. I will post the information from Wikisource.


    Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel signing the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht at the Soviet headquarters in Karlshorst, Berlin on 8 May 1945.

    German Instrument of Surrender
    by authority of the German High Command



    See also German Instrument of Surrender for other texts with the same name.

    ACT OF MILITARY SURRENDER

    1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Supreme High Command of the Red Army all forces on land, at sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.
    2. The German High Command will at once issue order to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 8th May 1945, to remain in all positions occupied at that time and to disarm completely, handing over their weapons and equipment to the local allied commanders or officers designated by Representatives of the Allied Supreme Commands. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment, and also to machines of all kinds, armament, apparatus, and all the technical means of prosecution of war in general.
    3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Supreme Command of the Red Army.
    4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to GERMANY and the German armed forces as a whole.
    5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Supreme High Command of the Red Army will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.
    6. This Act is drawn up in the English, Russian and German languages. The English and Russian are the only authentic texts.
    Signed at Berlin on the 8 day of May, 1945

    Von Friedeburg

    Keitel

    Stumpff

    On behalf of the German High Command

    IN THE PRESENCE OF:

    A.W.Tedder
    On behalf of the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force


    Georgi Zhukov
    On behalf of the Supreme High Command of the Red Army


    At the signing also were present as witnesses:

    F. de Lattre-Tassigny
    General Commanding in Chief
    First French Army


    Carl Spaatz
    General, Commanding
    United States Strategic Air Force


    TEDDY ROOSEVELT CONDEMNED PACIFISM [SOLDIERS’ QUOTE ~ JULY 17, 2014]


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    On this date, 8 May 1945, Dönitz authorised Keitel to sign an unconditional surrender in Berlin. Although Germany had surrendered to the Allies a day earlier, Stalin had insisted on a second surrender ceremony in Berlin.

    I will post information about this Field Marshal AKA Lackeitel, Wilhelm Keitel from Wikipedia and other links.


    Wilhelm Keitel

    Birth name
    Wilhelm Bodewin Gustav Keitel
    Nickname(s)
    "Lakeitel"
    Born
    22 September 1882
    Helmscherode, Brunswick, German Empire
    Died
    16 October 1946 (aged 64)
    Nuremberg, Allied-occupied Germany
    Allegiance
    German Empire (to 1918)
    Weimar Republic (to 1933)
    Nazi Germany (to 1945)
    Service/branch
    Years of service
    1901–1945
    Rank
    Commands held
    OKW
    Battles/wars
    World War I
    World War II
    Awards
    Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
    Wound Badge of 20 July 1944 (in black)
    Golden Party Badge
    Relations
    Bodewin Keitel (brother)

    Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel (22 September 1882 – 16 October 1946) was a German field marshal, chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces), and also served as Minister of War. At the Allied court at Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to death, and hanged as a war criminal. He was the highest-ranking German officer to be tried at Nuremberg.

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                540 years ago on this date, May 9, 1474, a German Military and Civil Commander, Peter Von Hagenbach, was beheaded for war crimes. Despite the fact there was no explicit use of a doctrine of command responsibility it is seen as the first trial based on that principle. I will post the information about him from Wikipedia and other links.

    Hagenbach on trial, from Berner Chronik des Diebold Schilling dem Älteren.
    Peter von Hagenbach (or Pierre de Hagenbach or Pietro di Hagenbach or Pierre d’Archambaud or Pierre d'Aquenbacq, circa 1420 – May 9, 1474) was a Bourguignon knight from Alsace and Germanic military and civil commander.

    He was born into an Alsatian-Burgundian family, originally from Hagenbach and owned a castle there.

    He was instated as bailiff of Upper Alsace by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, to administer the territories and rights in Upper Alsace which had been mortgaged by Duke Sigmund of Further Austria for 50,000 florins in the Treaty of St. Omer in 1469. There he coined the term Landsknecht—from German, Land("land, country") + Knecht ("servant"). It was originally intended to indicate soldiers of the lowlands of the Holy Roman Empire as opposed to the Swiss mercenaries. As early as 1500 the misleading spelling of Lanzknecht became common because of the association with Lanze("lance").

    Following a rebellion by towns of the Upper Rhine against his tyranny, Hagenbach was put on trial for the atrocities committed during the occupation of Breisach, found guilty of war crimes, and beheaded at Breisach am Rhein. His trial by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1474, was the first “international” recognition of commanders’ obligations to act lawfully. He was convicted of crimes "he as a knight was deemed to have a duty to prevent." He defended himself by arguing that he was only following orders, from the Duke of Burgundy to whom the Holy Roman Empire had given Breisach. Despite the fact there was no explicit use of a doctrine of command responsibility it is seen as the first trial based on that principle.

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                On this date, May 10, 1945, a Nazi War Criminal, Richard Glucks who was one of the Holocaust Perpetrators, committed suicide by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule. I will post information about him from Wikipedia and other links.


    Richard Glücks in his SS uniform

    Born
    April 22, 1889
    Odenkirchen, German Empire
    Died
    May 10, 1945 (aged 56)
    Flensburg, Germany
    Allegiance
    Nazi Germany
    Service/branch
    Schutzstaffel
    Rank
    Gruppenführer, SS (Major General)
    Service number
    NSDAP #214,805
    SS #58,706
    Unit
    SS-Totenkopfverbände
    Battles/wars
    World War I
    World War II
    Other work
    One of the primary organizers of The Holocaust, he organized slave labor, medical atrocities, and mass murder.

    Richard Glücks  (April 22, 1889, Odenkirchen, Rhine Province – May 10, 1945) was a high-ranking Nazi official. He attained the rank of a SS-Gruppenführer and a Generalleutnantof the Waffen-SS and from 1939 until the end of World War II was the head of Amt D: Konzentrationslagerwesen of the WVHA; the highest-ranking Concentration Camps Inspector in Nazi Germany. Close to Reichsführer-SSHimmler, he was directly responsible for the forced labour of the camp inmates, and was also the supervisor for the medical practices in the camps, ranging from human experimentation to the implementation of the "Final Solution", in particular the mass murder of inmates with Zyklon-B gas. When the Nazi regime fell and Germany capitulated, Glücks committed suicide by swallowing a potassium cyanide capsule.



    Early life

    Glücks was born 1889 in Odenkirchen (now part of Mönchengladbach) in the Rhineland. Having completed gymnasium in Düsseldorf, he worked in his father's business, a fire insurance agency. In 1909, Glücks joined the army for one year as a volunteer, serving in the artillery. In 1913, he was in England, and later moved to Argentina as a trader. When World War I broke out, Glücks returned to Germany under a false identity as a sailor on a Norwegian ship in January 1915 and promptly joined the army again. During the war, he eventually became the commander of a motorized artillery squad and was awarded the Iron Cross I and II. After the war, he became a liaison officer between the German forces and the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control, the allied body for controlling the restrictions placed upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles regarding re-armament and strength of their armed forces. Until 1924, he stayed in that position, before joining the staff of the 6th Prussian Division. He also served in the Freikorps.

    Rise under the Nazi regime

    Glücks joined the NSDAP in 1930 and two years later, the SS. From September 6, 1933 to June 20, 1935, he was a member of the staff of the SS-Group "West" and rose to the rank of an SS-Sturmbannführer. Subsequently, he became the commander of the 77th SS-Standarte of the Allgemeine SS with the rank of an SS-Obersturmbannführer. On April 1, 1936, he became the head of staff of Theodor Eicke, then Concentration Camps Inspector and head of the SS-Wachverbände, first with the rank of a Standartenführer and later rising to Oberführer. When Eicke became field commander of the SS Division Totenkopf, which had been created following his instigation, Glücks was promoted to Concentration Camps Inspector and named by Himmler as Eicke's successor on November 18, 1939. On April 20, 1941, Glücks was promoted to the rank of an SS-Brigadeführer, and on March 29, 1942, he became the head of Amt D: Konzentrationslagerwesen of the newly formed SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt(WVHA), the Economics and Administrative Department of the SS. On July 23, 1943, Glücks was made SS-Gruppenführer and a Generalleutnant of the Waffen-SS.

    Concentration Camps Inspector

    Glücks was described by Rudolf Höss as a static administrator and bureaucrat, afraid of Himmler and mostly occupied with maintaining the concentration camps as Eicke had set them up. At the same time, Höss described Glücks as a man unable to grasp the consequences of his directives, and claimed Glücks had risen to his high position (and stayed there) only as a protégé of Eicke and Oswald Pohl, the head of the WVHA.

    Glücks's responsibilities at first mainly covered the use of concentration camp inmates for forced labour. In this phase, he urged camp commandants to lower the death rate in the camps, as it went counter to the economic objectives his department was to fulfill. Other orders of his were to ask for the inmates to be made to work continuously. At the same time, it was Glücks who recommended on February 21, 1940, Auschwitz, a former Austrian cavalry barracks, as a suitable site for a new concentration camp to Himmler, Pohl, and Heydrich. The camp opened on June 14, 1940, and Glücks was quick to provide slave labour from the camp to the new coal-oil and rubber plant erected nearby by I.G. Farben.

    From 1942 on, Glücks was increasingly involved in the implementation of the "Final Solution", along with Oswald Pohl. In July 1942, he participated in a planning meeting with Himmler on the topic of medical experiments on camp inmates. From several visits to the Auschwitz concentration camps, Glücks must have been well aware of the dire conditions, and he certainly was aware of the mass murders and other atrocities committed there. Orders for the extermination went through Glücks' office and hands; and he specifically authorized the purchase of Zyklon B for gassing in Auschwitz.

    Death

    When the WVHA offices in Berlin were destroyed by Allied bombing on April 16, 1945, the WVHA was moved to Born on Darß in Pomerania on the Baltic sea. Owing to the advances of the Russian forces, Glücks and his wife fled to Flensburg at the end of April. It is known that Glücks met Himmler for the last time there. After the capitulation of Germany, he is believed to have committed suicide on May 10, 1945 by swallowing a capsule of potassium cyanide at the Mürwik naval base in Flensburg, although the lack of official records or photos gave ground to speculations about his ultimate fate.

    In popular culture

    Richard Glücks is featured as a minor character in the novel The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth. The novel is set in post-war Germany at the year 1963. In the novel, it is revealed that Glücks did not commit suicide but instead, manages to evade capture by the Allied forces and flees to Argentina. He changes his name to Ricardo Suertes (Suerteand Glück having the same meaning, Luck in Spanish and German respectively), obtains Argentine citizenship and joins the ODESSA (the international network of former SS officers).

    He is reputed to be the number two man in the ODESSA, direct deputy of Martin Bormann on whom the mantle of the Führer had fallen after 1945. To avoid being captured, he does not return to Germany and instead, operates out of his lavish apartment in Buenos Aires, issuing orders and dictating policies to be implemented by his subordinate, codenamed "Werewolf", in West Germany. {Although "Werewolf" is not named he is implied to have been the head of the Werwolf organization-which was headed by SS General Hans-Adolf Prützmann-who committed suicide in 1945}

    The novel erroneously puts Glücks to be in his early sixties. However, given his year of birth as 1889, he would have been 74 in 1963 had he actually survived the war. He is portrayed as having become immensely rich as a result of his wartime activities, which includes widespread looting of Jews, communists, and other political prisoners under his supervision as head of the Reich Economic Administration Main Office of the SS.

    During a meeting in Madrid with Werewolf, Glücks tells him to hasten the research operation aimed at developing a tele-guidance system for the Egyptian rockets, Al Kahira and Al Zafira. Since the research is being headed by ODESSA man codenamed "Vulkan", Glücks also orders him to protect Vulkan until the end of the operation. After the meeting has taken place, he returns to Buenos Aires and is never again mentioned in the novel.

    In the film adoptation of "The Odessa File" the part of Glücks was played by Hannes Messemer who had also played the POW Commandant in The Great Escape.

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                On this date, May 10, 1962, the last surviving Field Marshal of Japan, Shunroku passed away. I will post information about him from Wikipedia and other links.


    Field Marshal Shunroku Hata (俊六Hata Shunroku)
    Born
    July 26, 1879
    Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
    Died
    May 10, 1962 (aged 82)
    Tokyo, Japan
    Allegiance
    Service/branch
    Years of service
    1901-1945
    Rank
    Field Marshal
    Commands held
    Battles/wars
    Russo-Japanese War
    World War II
    Awards
    Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Golden Kite

    Field Marshal Shunroku Hata (俊六Hata Shunroku, July 26, 1879 – May 10, 1962), was a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. He was the last surviving Japanese military officer with a marshal's rank.

    Hata (on the left) with his brother before Russo-Japanese War.


    Biography

    Early years

    Hata was a native of Fukushima prefecture, where his father was an ex-samurai of the Aizu domain. At the age of 12, the family relocated to Hakodate, Hokkaidō, but at the age of 14, he was accepted into the prestigious First Tokyo Middle School. However, his father died the same year, and unable to afford the tuitions, he enrolled in the Army Cadet School instead, going on to graduate of the 12th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, in 1901 as a second lieutenant in the artillery. Hata served in the Russo-Japanese War. He graduated from the 22nd class of the Army Staff College with top rankings in November 1910.

    Sent as a military attaché to Germany in March 1912, Hata stayed in Europe throughout World War I as a military observer. He was promoted to major in September 1914 and to lieutenant colonel in July 1918, while still in Europe, and he stayed on as a member of the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations in February 1919.

    On his return to Japan, Hata was given command of the IJA 16th Field Artillery Regiment in July 1921, and was promoted to major general and commander of the IJA 4th Heavy Field Artillery Brigade in March 1926.

    Hata was subsequently assigned to the strategic planning division of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, serving as chief of the Fourth Bureau in July 1927 and Chief of the First Bureau in August 1928.

    Hata was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1931 and became Inspector General of Artillery Training. He was then given a field command, that of the IJA 14th Division in August 1933. After serving as head of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service from December 1935, he became commander of the Taiwan Army of Japan in 1936.

    Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi in Xuzhou With Hata

    Second Sino-Japanese War

    His rise after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War was then very rapid: Military Councilor, Inspector General of Military Training and promotion rank of general all in late 1937. He was appointed as commanding general of the Central China Expeditionary Army in February 1938, to replace General Matsui Iwane, who had been recalled to Japan over the Nanjing Incident. Hata became Senior Aide-de-Camp to Emperor Shōwa in May 1939 followed by a stint as Minister of War from August 1939 to July 1940 during the terms of Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe and Mitsumasa Yonai. In July 1940, Hata had a pivotal role in bringing down the Yonai cabinet by resigning post as Minister of War.

    Hata returned to China as commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army in March 1941. He was the main Japanese commander at the time of Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, during which Chinese sources claim that over 250,000 civilians were killed. Hata was promoted to the rank of field marshal on June 2, 1944.

    Hata was requested to take command of the Second General Army, based in Hiroshima from 1944 to 1945 in preparation for the anticipated Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. He was thus in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing. Hata was one of the senior generals who agreed with the decision to surrender, but asked that he be stripped of his title of Field Marshal in atonement for the Army’s failures in the war.

    Shunroku Hata (俊六Hata Shunroku) during the trial in 1946.
    Judgment

    ata was arrested by the American occupation authorities after the end of the war, and charged with war crimes. In 1948, as a result of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, he was sentenced to life imprisonment under the charges of: “Conspiracy, waging aggressive war, disregarding his duty to prevent atrocities”. Hata was paroled in 1954, and headed a charitable foundation for the welfare of former soldiers from 1958. He died in 1962, while attending a ceremony honoring the war dead.

    Hata's brother, Eitaro Hata (1872–1930), was also a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, and commander-in-chief of the Kwangtung Army.

    Promotions
    • Second Lieutenant: June 1901
    • Lieutenant: November 1903
    • Captain: June 1905
    • Major: April 1914
    • Lieutenant Colonel: July 1918
    • Colonel: July 20, 1921
    • Major General: March 2, 1926
    • Lieutenant General: August 1, 1931
    • General: November 1, 1937
    • Marshal: June 2, 1944