By Dr Jay Dubashi
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Place: Nuremburg, Germany. The military tribunal is meeting to try war criminals including Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering and others.
Hitler is supposed to have committed suicide, along with his so-called wife, Eva Braun, in his bunker in Berlin, near the chancellery. But that was only a ruse to mislead the Allies. He was caught, along with Goering, Goebbels and others as they were about to take off from the Berlin airport for South America. The trial is taking place in Nuremburg in August 1946.
Court: Will all the accused stand up?
They all stand up, with the exception of Hitler, who keeps sitting. His lawyer says he cannot stand up, as he is suffering from some kind of paralysis.
The prosecutor reads out the charges against the Nazi leaders. The main charge is that they conspired to wage war against their neighbours, and were also responsible for killing over six million Jews in concentration camps and gas chambers.
Hitler & Co. : We did not wage war against any body. It was the Allies who waged war on us. And there was no conspiracy against Jews, who were treated with the utmost kindness.
Prosecutor : You together built the gas chambers and forced the Jews into them. You together gave permission to build the gas chambers and created the machinery to transfer millions of Jews to them, and exterminated them.
Hitler : I do not know what you are saying. The subject never came up before my cabinet. We never discussed it. Otherwise, it would be there in the minutes.
Prosecutor : Do you mean to say, you know nothing about it? But there are letters between your office and the ministry of public works. Do you deny them?
Hitler : Oh, we may have discussed the matter informally, and exchanged a few letters, but that does not mean I sanctioned the expenses for it or was responsible for it. We may have known about it, or may have been told about it casually, but that does not mean I took part in a conspiracy to kill Jews in thousands and millions.
Court : You didn’t kill them; your government didn’t kill them. Then who killed them?
Hitler and Goering (together): How do we know? Germany is a big country. How can we keep track of every thing?
Court : But the fact remains that eight million Jews were killed. There is also evidence of hundreds of gas incinerators and piles of bones and teeth. And all this happened when you were running the government. How can you say you had no hand in it?
Hitler: Granted that the subject did come up at some of the cabinet meetings. But that does not mean there was a conspiracy. In any case, there was no criminal intent. You must remember we are a God-fearing country, and our government was the cleanest in Europe. We always went to church on Sundays, and on our return from church, we fed Jews, and gave them big chunks of bread. If we had cheese, we could have given cheese too.
Court : You say the subject of gas chambers did come up before the cabinet. You say you may have discussed it. That means you were a party to mass extermination of Jews and other undesirable minorities.
Hitler & Co. : I am sorry but you cannot put two and two together and say five. As I told you, there was no conspiracy, and even if we may have written some notes to each other, it does not mean there was criminal intent behind it. Had the subject come before me, I would have vetoed it. But it never came formally before it.
Court : But it did come before you. You or your department wrote at least half a dozen memos to the minister in charge, who naturally believed you had agreed with him. You, Herr Adolf Hitler, were the senior man, and the fact that you agreed with him was enough for him to go ahead with the gas chambers.
Hitler: I was never in favour of gas chambers, for Jews or for anybody else. But it was not my department. It was the responsibility of the minister-in-charge. Even if I had agreed with him, it does not mean that it was a joint effort. As I said before, there was no criminal intent behind the construction of gas chambers. They were purely a part of infrastructure, and I gave my consent for purely economic reasons.
Court : Are you saying that the gas chambers were built as part of infrastructure?
Hitler : Yes, my lord. They were part of infrastructure, like bridges, railways and flyovers. We had to stop the Allies from invading our fatherland, and we needed them. In any case, there was no criminal intent. How can infrastructure be criminal?
Court : You are saying there was no criminal intent, there was no conspiracy. You just happened to agree on infrastructure separately, and it so happened that you and your minister came to the same judgement separately, just by accident?
Hitler : I am glad you have at last grasped the truth behind the gas chambers. We had no intention to kill or do away with Jews, we had no intention to evict them from their houses, we had no intention to send them to Aushwitz, and, upon my word, we had no intention to send them to gas chambers. There certainly was no conspiracy, because there was no criminal intention. And even if you believe that we seem to have acted jointly, I can assure you there was no criminal intent behind it. As you all know, Germany is a disciplined country, and its government is or was a highly disciplined organisation, and none of its ministers or officers could have taken part in a conspiracy almost guaranteed to bring it a bad name. You may think we conspired to kill the Jews, but that was only an accident. I do not know how the Jews died, but we didn’t do it.
Court : Case dismissed! Next accused!!