Andrew James John Mackenzie
an historiography
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‘Shot whilst trying to escape’

On 2 January 1946, as punishment for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Second World War, National Socialist Kreisleiter Franz Strasser was hanged at Landsberg Prison. Condemned for the shooting of five downed airmen of the US Airforce in Kaplitz, a city in the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia during December 1944, Strasser contended that he had shot them to prevent their escape from German custody.

Strasser was tried on 24 August 1945 by a MILITARY Commission at Dachau on two counts of violating the laws and usages of war. Charge One specified that on 9 December 1944, Franz Strasser shot an American airman of unknown rank, serial number and name with a machine pistol. Charge Two specified that on the same day, Strasser shot another airman in similar fashion.


On the day in question, a bomber of the US Airforce made a forced landing near Zahdelesdorg, Czechoslovakia and five American airmen were apprehended and loaded into a truck for transport to Kaplitz. It was later on in the day that Franz Strasser intersected the convoy in his own motor vehicle. The five airmen were then shot accordingly. By his own admission, Strasser admitted to participating in the shootings, or rather to the shooting of only two of the airmen “in order to prevent their escape.”


From the court proceedings, however, the truth appears certainly more sinister. Rather than as a prevention of escape, the airmen were shot without cause and with malevolent intent. After shooting one of the airmen, it was alleged that Strasser 
“fired one shot at the prostrate airman and thereafter raked the airman from head to foot with his machine pistol…Some further shots were fired by either STRASSER or WOLFF into the prostrate body of the first airman, who had been shot by STRASSER, and who apparently was still living.”
With a count of two thirds in favor, Strasser was condemned to death by hanging from the neck. The court proceedings relating to Strasser’s crime and execution, Case No. 8-27 (US vs. Franz Strasser) Tried 24 Aug. 45,can be found through the link below.
Jewish Virtual Library, “Case No. 8-27 (US vs. Franz Strasser) Tried 24 Aug. 45” Copyright © 2012 American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE).
All copyrighted material used in this article or cited by this website is the property of their respective owners and in no way accepts any responsibility for an infringement on one of the above.
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