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From: (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: von Braun (was Re: It's that time of year again...)
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 14:23:27 GMT

In article <>,
Graham Nelson  <> wrote:
>> was a research scientist.  Medaris? and Degenkolb made the production
>> decisions, *NOT* von Braun.
>Von Braun worked in the factory attached to the concentration camp in

Uh, no, he worked in an R&D lab a couple of hundred miles away.  He did
visit the factory at times, but how much he saw/knew/guessed is difficult
to assess.  He was there to consult about technical problems, not to tour
the place, and curiosity on such matters was not encouraged.  We know he
suspected -- he said as much afterward -- but beyond that it's less clear.

>and was fully aware of what happened there.

That's a theory, not a self-evident fact.

>Albert Speer was nearly hanged simply for having visited this camp and
>been aware of what conditions were like there.

And for being in a position to do something about it, and failing to do
so.  It is most unlikely that von Braun could have done anything about it.
The attempt might or might not have gotten him in trouble -- he definitely
was not exempt from trouble, as witness his arrest by the Gestapo -- but
he simply did not have the clout to get major changes made in an area he
had no authority over.

>Unlike Speer, von Braun didn't go to prison and didn't reconsider his
>actions and didn't apologise.

There is no doubt that von Braun's strategically-important technical
skills exempted him from the sort of searching investigation most others
got.  Whether such an investigation would have turned up matters calling
for a prison sentence is not so obvious.
When failure is not an option, success  |  Henry Spencer
can get expensive.   -- Peter Stibrany  |      (aka

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