1963

► January 22nd. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle signed the Franco-German cooperation treaty. The document became known as the "Élysée Treaty". This agreement sealed Franco-German reconciliation and to this day remains the essential cornerstone of partnership between the two countries.
► June 26th. US President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous speech in western Berlin. Faced with a threat from the Soviet bloc, Germany expected a clear statement of solidarity from the US president. And Kennedy this declaration made. About one million people gathered in front of the town hall in West Berlin to listen to the US President's speech.

He ended with a famous saying in German: "Ich bin ein Berliner".


Kennedy's visit to Germany in summer 1963 made history. Few people know however that this wasn't his first visit to Germany. Future US President visited Germany in 1937, 1939 and 1945 - first during the Nazi dictatorship and then as a defeated country. Twenty years old Kennedy was fascinated by Hitler's propaganda efficiency. He wrote about it in his diary. In 1939 John Kennedy's father was the US ambassador in London. The young Kennedy, during his half term break, served as his secretary. He went on tour to Germany and reported as an eyewitness. Kennedy traveled also to the Free City of Danzig. There he talked with Nazi bosses and all the consuls. During that time Kennedy was bothered by questions - "How to avoid war? Is Germany going to withdraw?". On 20 August 1939 Kennedy wrote to one of his friends: "I still think that there will be no war". Like many other Western politicians and intellectuals Kennedy underestimated the potential of German aggression and Hitler's radicalism.
► December 20th. The second court process of the Auschwitz staff. 22 members of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp staff were trialed in a court in Frankfurt am Main.

Auschwitz was the largest concentration camp in the occupied Europe. The number of Auschwitz victims exceeds 1.1 million men, women and children. The camp was served by a total of about 8000 members of SS, of which 7,000 survived the war. Only 700 of those were held criminally responsible for their crimes. The post-war justice system in Germany, consisting mostly of the Third Reich lawyers, was not interested in prosecuting those criminals. The sentences were surprisingly lenient. Many cases were closed. Some suspects died, many were not trialed due to the health condition, and others as it turned out already served their sentences immediately after the war. The main accused in the "Frankfurt process" was Robert Mulka former Rudolf Hoss'es adjutant commandant. Like most defendants he remained silent or denied everything. About the murder of millions of people in gas chambers supposedly Mulka knew nothing. The proceedings ended with sentences from 3.5 to 14 years of imprisonment and one sentence of 10 years of punishment for juveniles - accused Hans Stark on arrival at Auschwitz was 19 years old. Mulk himself was sentenced to 14 years in prison. "Shame after Auschwitz" - 69 years after the war the weekly magazine "Der Spiegel" titled in this way their article on court settlements for the staff of German concentration camps and quoting the writer Ralph Giordano called it "the second Germans' fault."
► Investigation of the alleged tomb of SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller. After the grave was digged out it turned out that it contained the remains of three other men, none of which belonging to Heinrich Müller. SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller was a high-ranking Nazi officer, counselor and director of criminal Reich (Reichskriminaldirektor). From 27 September 1939 to the end of World War II he was the head of Gestapo. Heinrich Müller was directly responsible for all the crimes committed by the Gestapo during the war. He also personally interviewed important prisoners of the Gestapo, among others, Polish General Stefan "Grot" Rowecki in 1943. The General was murdered by Gestapo in their prison. The best known Gestapo prison in Poland was located on the Szucha Avenue 25 in Warsaw, victims were transported from Pawiak prison or simply captured during Nazi street round-ups.

Tools of torture used by the Gestapo on Szucha Avenue, Warsaw (source:  muzeumniepodleglosci.art.pl/filia_muzeum_wiezienia_pawiak.php )

Tools of torture used by the Gestapo on Szucha Avenue, Warsaw (source: muzeumniepodleglosci.art.pl/filia_muzeum_wiezienia_pawiak.php)

Interrogations were extremely brutal. The victims were beaten with batons, whips and sticks. Tortures included breaking bones, crushing genitals, knocking out eyes and teeth, strangling, burning and waterboarding. Often torture took place in the presence of family members. In March 1944 Emanuel Ringelblum, the chronicler of the Warsaw ghetto, was interrogated for three days in the building on Szucha Avenue. Also Irena Sendler was tortured there.

Heinrich Müller (far right) during a meeting of the directorate of the German police; sitting beside him, from left: SS officer Franz Josef Huber, the head of the Kripo Arthur Nebe, head of the SS and police chief Heinrich Himmler and the RSHA head Reinhard Heydrich, November 1939 (source: Bundesarchiv Bild)

Heinrich Müller (far right) during a meeting of the directorate of the German police; sitting beside him, from left: SS officer Franz Josef Huber, the head of the Kripo Arthur Nebe, head of the SS and police chief Heinrich Himmler and the RSHA head Reinhard Heydrich, November 1939 (source: Bundesarchiv Bild)

Müller was heavily involved in espionage and counter-espionage. In the Nazi government hierarchy he held the post between Heinrich Himmler and Adolf Eichmann. They called him "Gestapo Müller", as opposed to another SS General Heinrich Müller. "Gestapo Müller" directly supervised military groups involved in the Jewish extermination, including the Einsatzgruppen. After the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944 Müller headed the special committee of inquiry into the RSHA. He arrested more than 5,000 people, 200 of them were found guilty and sentenced to death. In April 1945 Müller was one of the last remaining Nazi officials in central Berlin when the Red Army was approaching. For the last time he was seen by the Hitler's pilot, Hans Baur. The day after Hitler's suicide, Müller said to Baur: "We know exactly the Russian methods. I have no intention of being taken prisoner by the Russians." From that day he was gone. Heinrich Müller remains the highest-ranking member of the Nazi regime, whose fate is unknown. In 1960 Adolf Eichmann during his trial suggested that Heinrich Müller was alive. There are several different hypotheses about his disappearance and death. Peter Malkin, experienced Mossad agent, who took part in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, in his book Eichmann in my Hands maintained that Mueller was recognized in Brazil in the 50s during the observation of his son staying there on holidays.