In Stade took place from March, 6 till April, 18 1950 the trial of SS-Oberscharführer Otto Hoppe. 130 witnesses were marched in to accuse him. Hoppe was condemned for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, and wounding to a double life sentence plus 15 years. He lost all civic rights. Particularly aggravating was his “stubborn denial, despite the overwhelming evidence”.
- Especially scandalising was the description by several witnesses of the cruel treatment inflicted to WWI veteran and bearer of the “Pour-le-mérite” medal Oberleutnant Wolff.
- The court of justice also handled the murder by Hoppe of the former jewish Reich deputy Asch. Witness Brinitzer gave a dramatic and emotionally charged description of the criminal attacks on the life of the poor Reich deputy. With shameless boldness, Brinitzer explained how, in this case, he felt it was his particular duty to serve the truth, for Asch had been his friend and comrade.
- The professional witness Herbst, the crown witness of the accusation, testified that as a surveillant, Hoppe had beaten and killed the inmate Heinrich Seiler from Giessen with a club.
- The inmate and witness Przyjemski placed, in a highly dramatical way, his denture onto the table in front of the judge, explaining that Hoppe had knocked out his teeth !
It became more and more obvious that the witnesses, so adept at juggling with dates and names that concorded so perfectly and that – much later – were unmasked as pure lies, had only reached such perfection by learning and rehearsing these testimonies beforehand. The witness Przyjemski with his twelve teeth allegedly smashed in had to finally admit that he had performed his testimony on the basis of a little note that had been specially prepared for him.
In 1952, Hoppe’s trial was revised. The verdict was slightly reduced.
- The accusation, that Hoppe had shot the first inmate during the Winter of 1937/38 in Buchenwald was abandoned.
- The accusation by 13 ex detainees, that Hoppe had taken part in the shooting of 25 jews in November 1940 was proven to be intentionally untrue. Such a shooting had never occurred.
- Equally untrue was the accusation by numerous witnesses that Hoppe had taken part in a shooting during a march from Weimer to Buchenwald.
Of course, Kogon also counts among those who accused Hoppe. In his book “Der SS-Staat”, Kogon makes Hoppe guilty of the murder of the jew Silbermann. And although in 1945/50 it became evident that Hoppe could not be charged with this case –- if there ever was a case Silbermann — Kogon nevertheless publishes the murder in the newer editions of his book. The description was made even more atrocious.
It is quite revealing that Kogon, who had been in Buchenwald from September 1939 till the liberation of the camp by American troops, was not able to bring any personal charges against Hoppe. If Hoppe had really done anything, Kogon would have heard of it; he knows nothing, but neglects to exonerate Hoppe. He repeats in his book the grave accusation about Silbermann, which he only knows from hearsay, although it had been exposed in the meantime as a lie.
Kogon collected with disgusting zeal every available piece of garbage against the KZ. If Hoppe had really committed a crime, Kogon would surely have heard about it. And Kogon, the most zealous collector of KZ-atrocities, would not have hesitated one second to put them into his wastebin.
That Kogon himself is not able to charge Hoppe is the clearest and surest proof that Hoppe never committed any crime in Buchenwald.
From Franz J. Scheidl, Geschichte der Verfemung Deutchlands compiled and translated by Widukind.