The English language Wikipedia article on the Dirlewanger Brigade in Belarus quotes Martin Kitchen, The Third Reich: Charisma and Community, p. 267, stating that the unit:

committed such shocking atrocities in the Soviet Union, in the pursuit of partisans, that even an SS court was called upon to investigate

In contemporary history, we consider that Nazi war crimes, in particular Waffen SS (but also Wehrmacht) crimes in central and eastern Europe, are the epitome of war crime atrocities. I was therefore somewhat surprised to read that an SS court would investigate atrocities committed against citizens of Nazi occupied territories, because I cannot imagine what may constitute going "too far" and that the SS effectively was given a free hand to do as it pleased. Although the article does not state any ruling of the SS court, I suppose Dirlewanger was acquitted or it would have said otherwise. On the other hand, if not even Oskar Dirlewanger was convicted then probably nobody was.

Are there any documented cases of where SS or other Nazi courts having convicted any soldiers, officers, or otherwise, for atrocities / war crimes that went "too far" even by the standards of the SS / Nazi?

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    @Jan According to the article, They were tried for stealing the property of the Reich, as the stolen property was to have been delivered to Himmler, but Kaminski and his men had attempted to keep it for themselves, so I'm not sure if that counts.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 13:26
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    One problem here might be the motive for conviction. Atrocities which leaked out would have been damaging to the Nazi regime; convictions in such cases should probably be interpreted as a public relations exercise rather a genuine attempt to deal with excesses. See, for example, Adam Grünewald and the Bunker Tragedy. Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 13:34
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    (I have no clue what a "PC version of reality" means in the context of nazi war crimes)
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 13:35
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    In the Soviet Union, there basically was no "too far": "Prosecution of offenses against civilians by members of the Wehrmacht was decreed to be "not required" unless necessary for the maintenance of discipline." en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbarossa_decree The original text is actually yet a bit more tolerant towards war crimes: 1000dokumente.de/…
    – Jan
    Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 14:10
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    I can't recollect where I read or heard this, but if memory serves me well in the early days a few judges thought it was a good idea to condemn SS members who overstepped, only to see the offenders getting pardoned on the spot. They learned what they shouldn't bother prosecuting in short order. So yeah, basically there are some court docs in the nazi regime's early days, and not that many (if any at all) from its later days. Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 15:03

2 Answers 2


To expand on the comment I left on your question, in the Nazi regime's early days (and in the run up to it), a few judges thought it was a good idea to condemn nazis who overstepped, only to see the offenders getting pardoned on the spot. They learned what they shouldn't bother prosecuting in short order. Here's one example:

In August of 1932, in the town of Potempa, nine Nazi Stormtroopers murdered a supporter of the German Communist Party, kicking him to death in his own apartment as his family watched in horror. Six were convicted, with five receiving the death penalty.

After the verdict, Hitler sent them a telegram in which he declared to them his "boundless loyalty."

Shortly after he came to power in 1933, he pardoned the killers.

This continued on into WW2, going as far as overriding military courts:

De Mildt contrasted the experience of Täubner in postwar German courts with that of an army officer Manfred Blume, who during the summer of 1942 randomly killed a number of Soviet prisoners of war by shooting, beating, and bayoneting. A military court sentenced him to two years in prison plus demotion for manslaughter. Hitler, however, quashed the sentence and terminated the proceedings, opining that one cannot reproach “vital natures” in the unique fateful struggle of the German people, who reject all humanitarianism. Ironically, Hitler’s appreciation of Blume landed him in enormous trouble. Instead of the relatively privileged convict status of a somewhat overzealous military officer, Blume took charge of a battalion at Stalingrad, and was taken prisoner and sentenced in the USSR to twenty years forced labor.

This article might have a few more examples - I couldn't access it, but the Google snippet seemed very promising.

Anyway, the short answer is yes: there were courts - both civil and military - who convicted nazis for going too far; but then the criminals would get pardoned by Hitler.

  • -1 Question was about SS, and certainly Hitler didn't have time or will to pardon each and every convict .
    – rs.29
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 20:46
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    @rs.29 The question was about "SS or other Nazi courts" -- this answer directly cites a case of an "other Nazi court" convicting someone for going "too far", and then Hitler pardoning them.
    – Yakk
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 13:42
  • @Yakk Answer implies that "a few judges thought it was a good idea to condemn nazis who overstepped, only to see the offenders getting pardoned on the spot" . In other words, Hitler didn't have anything better to do then go and pardon everyone sentenced by military courts .
    – rs.29
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 20:41
  • @ns.29 I do not understand your point. This answer directly answers the question, as summarized in the last paragraph of the question. The question was not "about SS", despite your claims to contrary. I mean, it could go on further, about how Nazi Germany was about imputed "will of the Furur" and how that works. Is that your issue?
    – Yakk
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 23:15
  • @Yakk: If you browse his profile and pay attention, you'll find that his answers on the History and Politics SE ooze nazi sympathy. Methinks that is his actual problem. Just leave it IMO. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 4:19

In 1943 General Feketehalmy-Czeydner was convicted by the Hungarian Courts for 15 years for the mass murder in Novi Sad. During the German occupation in 1944 Hitler had let him loose after which Czeynder joined the Waffen SS. After the war he was hanged in Serbia, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferenc_Feketehalmy-Czeydner

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