The Website of Carlos Whitlock Porter

Commentary on Document L-180

By Carlos Porter

Document L-180 is an Einsatzgruppen Report. In NOT GUILTY AT NUREMBERG, I wrote, "These documents are 'photocopies' of 'true copies' on plain paper without headings or signature, prepared by unknown persons, and found buried in a salt mine (IMT II 157) by the Russians (IMT IV 245, VIII 293-301). Katyn is listed as listed as a German crime (NMT IX 96-117, Trial of Otto Ohlendorf)."

Note that Document L-180 was certified as an "ORIGINAL DOCUMENT" by the Nuremberg authorities in a two-page authentication. The authentification, signed 3 years after the war by Fred A. Niebergall and Paul A. Joosten, appears to be standard procedure for Nuremberg (see also Document R-135).

Far from being an "original", Document L-180 (like the other Einsatzgruppen Reports) is a negative photostat without letterhead, stamps, signatures, or handwritten markings of any kind. Like the 116-page so-called Himmler "secret speech" and probably ¾ of the other Nuremberg prosecution documents we have obtained so far, it contains not one single sharp S, a standard letter in the German alphabet. In the pages reproduced here, "Einfluss" should be written "Einfluß", and "Massnahmen" should be written "Maßnahmen".

We understand that native speakers make mistakes; that army typists are often untrained, uneducated, and use inferior equipment; but it is difficult to imagine a native speaker of German never using the sharp S [i.e ß ] under any circumstances at all. It is equally difficult to imagine a typewriter equipped with the umlaut but not the sharp S. We recall that the John Demjanjuk identity card was also without sharp S.

To answer these questions, we asked the following questions of a German who lived through the war:

"Q: During the war, were there many Germans who wrote German on German typewriters entirely without the sharp S?
Were there German typewriters (i.e., German-language typewriters) without the sharp S?
I believe that the sharp S is not used in Switzerland.

A: With regards to your question regarding the sharp S (ß): The sharp S is an official symbol or letter in the German language. Therefore, everyone who wrote German used the sharp S, before, during, and after the war, by hand or by machine. Every German typewriter had a key for the sharp S. Foreign manufacturers wishing to sell their machines in Germany equipped their machines with an key for the sharp S. I myself had an Underwood which had a key for the sharp S. I believe that you are correct in saying that the Swiss have not used the sharp S for a long time. But I cannot say whether Swiss typewriters had a key with the sharp S."


[COMMENT: I had a Swiss typewriter, and it had a sharp S, along with everything else: acute, grave and circumflex accents, cedille, umlaut, sharp S, etc. etc.]


Note the peculiarities of the certification, which is apparently uniform for all Nuremberg documents. We have deleted it on most other documents posted on this site, but it is very strange: it is not the original certification of the same documentation for the Nuremberg trial; the "original document" has disappeared.

Page 1]


I hereby certify that the annexed document [handwritten] L-180 No. USA 246 is a photostat [i.e., it is not an original document] submitted in evidence by the United States Prosecution under this number. The original document has been withdrawn [i.e., it has disappeared] in accordance with Rule 10 of the International Military Tribunal, and to the best of my knowledge and belief is to be held at the National Archives, Washington D.C.
[handwritten] Paul Joosten
Nuremberg, 19 July, 1948

Page 2]

General Secretary International Military Tribunal
Date: [handwritten] 1 August 1948

I certify that [handwritten] Document Number L-180 was introduced into evidence as Exhibit Number USA-246 in the Trial by the International Tribunal of Hermann GOERING, et al, which commenced on 20 November 1945, and that the attached photostat [i..e, the original has disappeared] is a true and correct copy of the original [i.e., the original has disappeared].
[handwritten] Fred Niebergall
Chief, Document Control Branch


We have reproduced only 2 pages here, from the table of contents, which appears at the end. The document in its entirety is 140 pages long. The photocopy is from the Peace Palace at the Hague, which, in most cases, is supposed to possess the "original documents" introduced into evidence at Nuremberg.

In fact, the location of the so-called "original documents" is a complete mystery to everyone, including, for example, the National Archives in Washington, J.-C. Pressac, and Raul Hilberg. Raul Hilberg speaks of the "migration" of the documents (i.e., the archive shell game of shuffling photocopies and microfilm copies around for 50 years), while J.-C. Pressac says "Finding the original of a document, whose content is perfectly well known, requires long and laborious research with frequently uncertain results" (p. 238, TECHNIQUE AND OPERATION OF THE GAS CHAMBERS).

Pressac is a pharmacist. Would he swallow a prescription based on a "negative photostat" of a "copy" without letterhead, stamps, signatures, handwritten markings, etc., prepared by an unknown person?"

What is new in all of this is the acceptance of historical procedures which would be unacceptable in any other field of inquiry.

Just as an example, in the 16th century, Mary Queen of Scots was alleged to have written eight letters in which she confessed to complicity in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley. The letters were not signed. Mary denied that they were in her handwriting. The letters and silver chest in which they were contained have disappeared. The letters were in French. The person to whom they were addressed was not French. It was not alleged that French was a "code language" used among the conspirators. The letters were translated into Scots dialect by a wide variety of people, all of whom had a motivation to lie. There are two versions of the French: the French "original text", and a translation from French into Scots dialect, into Latin, and then back into French. There is also a translation into English. The translation into Scots dialect was made available to a Board of Inquiry in England in May of 1568, but the French "original texts" were not made available until October 1568, five months later, and even then only in the form of "copies". The "original documents" remained in the possession of the First Earl of Gowrie, a participant in the murder of Mary's secretary, David Rizzio. In 1582, Gowrie kidnapped King James VI of Scotland, kept him prisoner for several months, and took over the government; he was pardoned, continued to plot, and was executed for treason in 1584. The Gowrie family was also involved in a number of other anti-Catholic, anti-Stuart conspiracies.

Surely if the documents had been authentic, they would have been made available to the Board of Inquiry, and would have remained in the possession of Queen Elizabeth.

The letters are alleged to contain much material which "could not possibly be invented", but about which nothing else is known; surely a rather subjective criterion. In the absence of the original documents, the authenticity of the letters remains a mystery; they are said to be very convincing. No one would be dogmatic about Mary's guilt solely on the basis of the "content" of the letters; no one would be imprisoned for asserting her innocence. Yet the "content" of the letters -- borrowing a phrase from J.-C. Pressac -- "is perfectly well known" (source: 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Casket Letters", and related articles).

The point is really that forensic tests should be performed on the original documents used at Nuremberg, that these tests have never been performed, and that no one can find the original documents. The archives should be opened, and the 1000 (one thousand) tons of German documents captured after the war should be studied as a whole; we understand that many tons of this material are preserved in military archives in Maryland, among other locations, and that the boxes in which they are contained have not been opened since the late 1940s.

[source of information for last statement:
formerly available from Ernst Zündel, ]