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The Mark of CainGuilt and Denial in the Post-War Lives of Nazi Perpetrators$
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Katharina von Kellenbach

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937455

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937455.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 September 2021

Faith under the Gallows

Faith under the Gallows

spectacles of innocence in wcp landsberg

(p.62) 3 Faith under the Gallows
The Mark of Cain

Katharina von Kellenbach

Oxford University Press

The convicts of the International Military Tribunal and the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings were kept in U.S. War Crimes Prison 1 Landsberg/Lech, where most executions took place. This chapter examines the “last words” of convicts, which were recorded by U.S. military authorities between 1945 and 1951. The vast majority stepped under the gallows affirming their innocence before God. Christian expressions of faithful piety stood alongside steadfast denial of personal responsibility. Only three men issued unambiguous expressions of regret, and they were convicted for ordinary crimes, not for Nazi atrocities. Overall, the prison chaplains failed to grasp the peculiar moral condition of Nazi criminals and understood their primary task as pastoral counselors to be helping convicts achieve peace of mind in the face of death rather than contrition or recognition of culpability for atrocities.

Keywords:   executions, wcp landsberg/lech, last words, death-bed confessions, prison chaplains

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