What happened to the accused after the trial was certainly not legal and exposes the true cruelty of the regime. Alice Marie de WERGIFOSSE who had been acquitted was immediately detained by order of Ernst Kaltenbrunner the head of the Austrian SS, using the Nacht und Nebel (Night and fog) procedure whereby people from the occupied countries who had been involved in anti-German activities were made to disappear into the Nazi's murderous concentration camp system.
Therefore by a
cruel twist of Nazi justice the members of the group who got the shortest prison sentences or were acquitted were often to suffer the worst.
On December 7, 1941, Hitler had issued the Nacht und Nebel Decree. This decree replaced the unsuccessful Nazi policy of taking hostages to undermine underground activities. Suspected underground agents and others would now vanish without a trace into the night and fog. SS Reichsführer Himmler issued the following instructions to the Gestapo. "After lengthy consideration, it is the will of the Führer that the measures taken against those who are guilty of offenses against the Reich or against the occupation forces in occupied areas should be altered. The Führer is of the opinion that in such cases penal servitude or even a hard labor sentence for life will be regarded as a sign of weakness. An effective and lasting deterrent can be achieved only by the death penalty or by taking measures which will leave the family and the population uncertain as to the fate of the offender. Deportation to Germany serves this purpose." Field Marshall Keitel issued a letter stating… "Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved either by capital punishment or by measures by which the relatives of the criminals do not know the fate of the criminal…The prisoners are, in future, to be transported to Germany secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place here; these measures will have a deterrent effect because -
A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace.
B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate."
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