Saturday, March 26, 2016

Alex J. Kay's "The Making of an SS Killer"

Alex J. Kay is Senior Academic Coordinator at the Institute of Contemporary History, Berlin. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2005 from the Humboldt University, Berlin, and is author of Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder: Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940–1941 (2006) and numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Kay applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Making of an SS Killer: The Life of Colonel Alfred Filbert, 1905–1990, and reported the following:
Page 99 of The Making of an SS Killer, a biography of SS Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Filbert, a frontline Holocaust perpetrator responsible for the murder of more than 18,000 Jewish men, women, and children in the German-occupied Soviet Union, is notable for describing the opening of preliminary investigations against Filbert on 28 December 1959 by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in (West) Berlin. He was accused:
[...] during the period from July 1941 to April 1942 in Russia, Lithuania and Poland, in the central section of the army group rear area [. . .] of having jointly with others [. . .] by means of several independent actions with base motives, maliciously and cruelly killed or of having had killed by persons subordinated to him a not yet established number of people, mostly of Jewish faith[...].
Some of the details were unclear at this point – not least the precise duration of Filbert’s stint as commander and of the killings ordered by him – but over the course of the next two years the Public Prosecutor’s Office succeeded in ascertaining exactly when Filbert had commanded the mobile killing squad in question, where it had been deployed and, at least approximately, how many people it had murdered under Filbert’s command.

Page 99 of the book is located part way through chapter eight, which addresses the arrest and trial of Alfred Filbert, covering the period from February 1959 to June 1962. The main trial against Filbert and five other officers from his unit – SS-Einsatzkommando 9 – began in Berlin on 14 May 1962. As one German newspaper wrote: “A trial of this magnitude has never previously taken place before a German court.”
Learn more about The Making of an SS Killer at the Cambridge University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue