In June 1959 the Catholic American Sunday paper Our Sunday Visitor printed a letter to the editor that has gained a certain celebrity within the revisionist community. The reason was not only its content, but also the authority of the writer concerning his subject. The letter dealt with a sensitive item, the existence of homicidal gas chambers in the German concentration camps. The author of the letter was a certain Stephen F. Pinter, Attorney at Law in St. Louis, Missouri. After the end of the war Pinter had served as an Attorney for the U.S. War Department within the U.S. War Crimes Program. Through his letter a competent witness of the Allied side had appeared—someone who must have known details about the existence of gas chambers. Therefore, the most important statement of Pinter´s letter, that there were no gas chambers in the camps he had visited, is of considerable value.
The letter to the editor, presumably via German correspondence partners, soon found its way to national circles in the Federal Republic. Nothing was known there about the person of Stephen F. Pinter except for the few things he had mentioned about himself. Thus, some people tried to fill the gap by speculation, which led to erroneous statements, e.g. that Pinter was a German-Jewish emigrant, that he held the title of Doctor or that he had been head of an Allied Investigation Commission in Mauthausen. The following research on Stephen F. Pinter aims to encompass all of his writings and to complete his biography.
1. The Pinter Texts
In addition to the above-mentioned letter from 1959, in the following years Pinter wrote some more texts, and some older texts surfaced which might also originate from him. Today we know of nine texts which (presumably or positively) come from Pinter, and which are designated here in chronological order as follows: Text A 1 , Text B2 , Text C3 , Text D4 , Text E5 , Text F6 , Text G7 , Text H8 and Text I9 . In Anthologie révisionniste10 , a collection of revisionist texts published in 2002 in France, five of the texts (Texts C, D, E, F, and H) are printed in French translation.
The three “presumable” Pinter texts
The two earliest texts (A, B) are anonymous and the third one (C) appeared under a pseudonym. As it emerges from the texts or from some remarks of the respective editors, all three texts originate from an American, and from the fact that (in the cases of B and C) he addressed them to a journal in Argentina which was published in German we may conclude that he was a German-American. In one case (A), the editor mentions that the writer was an American jurist. There is no doubt about the author’s competence in the field of war-crimes prosecution. All indications are such that one might ask: If Stephen F. Pinter is not the author of these texts - who else?
Although the texts A, B and C fit well into the image we have of Pinter, this is of course no proof of his authorship. What actually was the reason that he preferred to remain anonymous? In the case that Pinter really was the author, the explanation is obvious:
When the analysis of the Baldwin Report was written in October 1949 (Text A ), Pinter had quit the U.S. War Department only one year before. As a freelance lawyer, he depended on a licence to practice before U.S. Military Courts. Thus, he hardly was in a position to contradict the report of a Senate Subcommittee headed by the mighty Senator Raymond E. Baldwin. Finally the Report dealt with malfeasances by members of the U.S. War Crime Commission, which was part of the War Department, i.e. Pinter had to accuse his own former colleagues.
Text B (1954) dealt with the release of “war criminals”, who had been still incarcerated in Landsberg prison. The release was “on parole”, which meant that the men were strictly forbidden to speak about their cases. Thus, they were practically silenced as witnesses of the events which had brought them before the War Crimes Court. Text B (a letter to the editor of the little journal Der Weg in Buenos Aires) describes and denounces the “on parole” practice. The anonymous writer attaches copies of the secret U.S. forms (which he had gained access to through a friend’s indiscretion) in order to let them be published in Argentina. This was reason enough to stay anonymous, not least to protect his source.
The third text (Text C) is a letter to the editor (or rather an article) by a certain “Dr. Warwick Hester” to the above-mentioned journal Der Weg in Buenos Aires. The author´s name is a pseudonym. The article is especially interesting due to the revisionist position at such an early date (1954). Warwick Hester´s observations and arguments are more than 50 years later astonishingly precocious. And the forces that deter free discussion are still the same. Thus, the reason why the author dared describe his experiences only under a pseudonym needs no explanation.
The known-authentic texts
The six Texts D through I (three letters to the editor, one short article, one affidavit and one private letter) are authentic. They contain statements on the following items:
a) Gas chambers in the Altreich - yes or no?
This question is even today not answered satisfactorily. “Altreich” means here Germany within the borders of 1937, and ”gas chambers“ means only those for killing people (the fact that in German concentration camps gas chambers were used for the delousing of textiles is denied by no one). According to Pinter's letter to the editor (Text E) “there was no gas chamber at Dachau. … Nor was there a gas chamber in any of the concentration camps in Germany.” Pinter had himself not personally investigated every concentration camp in the Altreich. On this important item we sought more precision. Years later, apparently on an inquiry of Robert Miller, Pinter answered more precisely (Text I) : "I had nothing to do with Mauthausen. However, since I took some months investigating Flossenbürg and all the outcamps connected therewith, while stationed at Dachau, I can talk about those."
b) Fleossnbürg ConcentrationCamp
In the 1960s (and perhaps still today) visitors were told that in the former camp existed a gas chamber and a site for mass shootings where thousands of inmates had been murdered. To this Pinter replied: There was in the camp “neither a gas chamber nor a mass shooting site" (Text H). During the existence of the camp “fewer than 300 persons died, by executions or due to other reasons” (Text D).
In course of preparation for the war crimes and concentration-camp trials (e.g., the Malmedy Case) the American interrogators used methods that were a mockery to the American tradition of justice. The accused, mostly young soldiers of the Waffen-SS, confessed to crimes they never had committed and thus, as Pinter put it, “many were unfortunately sentenced and some of them executed” (Text F).
d) The 6-million number
“As far as I could find out in six post-war years in Germany and Austria, a number of Jews were killed, but the number of one million was certainly never reached” (Text E.)
“In general, I wrote many years ago to our local daily newspaper, that the allegation of the extermination of the Jewish race was grossly exaggerated, that I had many Jewish clients who had lived in Germany, Poland and other countries at Hitler’s time and for whom I collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, thus getting their stories firsthand and could state that the SIX MILLION story was a myth” (Text I). Probably, by such a statement Pinter in Germany of 2005 would face criminal charges for “Holocaust denial.”
Some of the texts deserve a comment, but this would exceed the scope of this study. A comment on the interesting text C will follow later. Pinter’s statements are of value, since he as an Attorney of the U.S. War Department and due to his activity in the War Crimes Program belonged to those who must have known the truth.
.2. Who Was Stephen F. Pinter?
Since the publication of the letter (Text E) in Our Sunday Visitor (1959) historians in Austria, Canada, France and Germany have been interested in the person of Stephen F. Pinter. Significantly, private “independent scholars” did all this research. For established historians and commissioned researchers a witness like Pinter has been always a “nonperson.” In the above-mentioned Anthologie révisionniste Pinter is rightly categorized as an “early revisionist”. The editor Jean Plantin succeeded in finding out some personal data, e.g. his Social Security Number (SSN). Thus, at least it was proven that Stephen F. Pinter was no phantom, but a man who had walked upon this earth. Nevertheless, it was difficult to find out more about this man. The reason was obviously that he had lived quite a normal life as an American citizen, and had not attracted attention by political or public activities - with the exception of his few texts, most published in remote venues. The life of a respectable lawyer in the American Mid-West is not the stuff of which headlines are made
In the course of this research, based on the sparse personal data in Pinter's texts, many letters of inquiry were addressed to institutions and organizations in the United States - mostly without result. Benton College, where he had studied, does not exist any more. As a sole practitioner, he was not a member of a lawyers’ society or a firm. In the Missouri Bar, he had been only a nominal member. A family Pinter living in St. Louis is unrelated to him.11 Finally, Pinter and his wife had moved in their old age from St. Louis to California - with unknown destination. There were no children. With remote relatives they seemed to have no contact. It seemed hopeless.
Furthermore, it appeared also hopeless to gain information about Pinter's post-war activities. As he mentions in one of his letters in German, he had held the rank of “Oberst” (Colonel) (Text D). An inquiry for “Colonel Stephen F. Pinter” at the National Personnel Records Center was in vain until it turned out that Pinter was registered there not as a military officer but as a civilian employee of the U.S. War Department. Only then a query with the proper authority12 brought a number of documents from his Personnel File.
All in all, only little, apparently unimportant indications helped to proceed. Thus, from an application for a passport, his birthplace could be found, where a niece of Pinter's still lived, who could contribute some memories of her uncle. Through an Internet search13 Pinter's date of death was found, but not his last residence. But in the Directory of St. Louis City and County the Christian name of his second wife was registered - Lucia. And in her case the Internet led to the couple´s last residence: Hemet, Riverside County, California.
Some information was confirmed by Pinter himself, who wrote - at 85 years of age - a letter (Text I) to the Canadian ”Pinter researcher” Robert J. Miller, who presumably had asked him some questions concerning his biography. Summarizing all available data, we can reconstruct now Pinter´s curriculum vitae as follows:
Stephen F. Pinter was born on November 23, 1888, in the village of Deutsch-Schützen14 in Burgenland, Austria. Therefore, Pinter was no German from the Reich, but he was born as a subject of Emperor Franz Joseph. His second (middle) name was not recorded. In his application for a passport15 the "F." has been completed to "Frank", but in one of his Personnel Questionnaires16 we read “FRANCIS”. Since in old Austria no one was called Stephen or Francis, Pinter’s Christian names were most probably Franz Stephan17 , which he had Anglicized in America.
In 1906 Franz Stephan Pinter, 17 years old, emigrated to the United States. His parents could pay not much more than the ship passage for him. He went to St. Louis where there was in that time a “German Quarter” and where he apparently knew someone who was ready to sponsor him. In 1909, at 21 years, he married his first wife Anna Maria, who also came from Austria-Hungary. Due to his ambition, his talents and no doubt the help of his wife, Pinter was able to undertake the study of Law (1912-1918). He attended Benton College of Law in St. Louis and graduated with a “Bachelor of Law.”18 In 1917 he was admitted to the Missouri Bar.19 In 1920, at 32 years of age, he settled as a lawyer in St. Louis and in 1924 gained United States citizenship.
Until the end of World War II Pinter worked as an independent attorney at law. He employed one stenographer and one investigator. His field of activities he describes as follows: “Trial of all kinds of lawsuits. Preparation of cases and appeals. Some corporation law work and was counsel for a bank.”
3. Application for Federal Employment
In September 1945, at almost 57 years, Pinter applied at the U.S. Civil Service Commission for employment as “Lawyer for war criminal trials”. One reason for this step was surely the wish to see his home country after forty years again where misery and need now prevailed. Furthermore, the U.S. War Department was seeking jurists with knowledge of the German language for their War Crimes Program. Among the German-speaking jurists who were sent to Germany, German-Jewish emigrants dominated, many of them motivated by sentiments of revenge. In contrast, Pinter was a “genuine” German-American. He got the job, as he was told in Washington, because he “had no axe to grind” (Text I) . On January 13th, 1946, Pinter was sworn in in St. Louis. His employer was the Office of the Secretary of War, Civilian Personnel Division. His position was that of an Attorney and the appointment as civilian employee is of indefinite tenure, but at least for two years. As a civilian employee in a zone of occupation, he was subject to military law and whenever required, had to wear a US military uniform.
The latter requirement may explain a contradiction consisting in that Pinter, as he mentions in one of his texts (Text D) , held the “rank of a Colonel”, but was classified as a civilian employee. Obviously in many cases a military rank was given to civilian employees of the War Department, since they had to wear a uniform and a uniform is always associated with a rank. According to Pinter´s job and his age the rank of a Colonel is most probable. A comparable case is that of Hollywood director Billy Wilder, who was called to Bad Homburg in 1945 as Head of the Film Department, Office of Psychological Warfare. Wilder, too, mentions that he had then been a Colonel.20 It appears that the ranks for civilians were merely formalities, and that the U.S. Army clearly differentiated between the “real” and the “formal” ranks.21
Immediately after his swearing-in (January 13th, 1946) Pinter travelled by train from St. Louis to Washington, in order to introduce himself and receive final instructions. On January 15th, 1946 he started in New York on his flight to Germany.
4. Activities in the War Crimes Program: Part 1 - Dachau
The Americans had made the former concentration camp Dachau into an internment caamp where they had imprisoned accused German war criminals. The camp was also the site of a War Crimes Commission22 and the site of the Dachau Trials. About January 16th, 1946, Pinter arrived in Dachau. The first of the concentration camp trials, the Dachau main trial, had been finished just four weeks before (November 15 - December 13,1945). Following these were the Mauthausen Main Trial (March 29 - My 13,1946) and the Malmedy Trial (May 16 - July 16, 1946). Pinter had nothing to do with either of them.
In an English letter (Text E) he describes his position as an "U.S. War Department Attorney". According to his Personnel File he had one assistant and one secretary at his disposal. His job was the collection of evidence against the accused (mostly SS personnel from the former concentration camps), the interrogation of former camp inmates as witnesses and preparation of the trial. In Pinter's words, he had “to investigate the former officers and employees of the camp and - as far as this was possible - to release them” (Text D). This formulation is remarkable, since most of his colleagues had quite another conception - namely to bring as many as possible of the accused to the gallows. A typical representative of this mentality was the Chief Prosecutor in the three Dachau Main Trials (Dachau, Mauthausen and Buchenwald Trials), Lt. Colonel William D. Denson.
During the trial the attorney changed his role into that of a prosecutor. In four of his German texts Pinter described his position once as "Heeresrichter im Rang eines Obersten" (Text D), once he writes, that he was a “U.S. Armeeanwalt” in the function of a prosecutor (Ankläger) (Text F) , once he spoke of himself as a “Gerichtsoffizier” (Court Officer) (Text G) and once as a "U.S. Armeeanwalt" (Army Lawyer) (Text H). These contradictory roles - judge (Richter), lawyer (Anwalt), prosecutor (Ankläger, Staatsanwalt) - can be explained easily, since an American attorney (as advocate for his client) has no counterpart in the continental European system of justice. His activities included the functions of an “inquisitor" (Untersuchungsrichter) and those of a prosecutor (Ankläger) as well.
When he came to Dachau, he writes, ”I was in my department the highest ranking officer and therefore had a free hand“. Thus, he was able to choose his first subject of investigation and decided upon the former Flossenbürg camp, “which had not been investigated at all before.” Pinter drove to Flossenbürg and ordered the captured SS files of the camp to be brought to Dachau. Then he visited all the DP camps23 where former Flossenbürg inmates were living. He writes that he had interrogated “Hundreds, if not thousands” and had “spoken with thousands of these people”(Texts D, H) . This sounds like an exaggeration, but presumably the former Flossenbürg inmates were called together and asked whether somebody had something to testify. In this way the relevant witnesses could be quickly filtered out and their statements be documented. After visiting the DP camps for several months, Pinter returned to Dachau.
The Flossenbürg trial started on June 12th, 1946. Pinter was one of the prosecutors. Although Flossenbürg camp had only been one of the smaller concentration camps, the trial dragged on until January 22th, 1947 – more than seven months. Thus, it became the longest-lasting trial of all concentration camp trials before American Military Courts. The long duration is not necessarily due to the number of 52 accused, for e.g. the Mauthausen trial with 61 accused had lasted only six weeks. Possibly the long duration of the Flossenbürg trial was caused by other reasons.24
Father Lelere, a former prisoner, testifies at the trial of former camp personnel and prisoners from Flossenbürg. On the right is Fred Stecker, a court interpreter. Could one of these men be Stephen Pinter? Photo 21 June 1946. Source: USHMM - [Photograph #43018]
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
According to all we know about Pinter, he represented a counter position to the thesis of “conspiracy” and “common design“, a more ”old fashioned”, more pragmatic - and more humane - interpretation of law. This was certainly in accord with his Christian beliefs, but not with the spirit of the post-war time. As a genuine German-American (his Austrian origin is irrelevant in this connection) Pinter was an exception among his colleagues in Dachau, for most of the German-speaking Americans engaged in the War Crimes Program were German-Jewish emigrants. Pinter, who apparently felt some sympathy for the defeated Germans and tried to do his duty objectively and justly, must have seen with abhorrence what methods were used by some of his colleagues to obtain “confessions.” The treatment of the prisoners was a mockery of the American tradition of justice, and led to investigations by the Secretary of War and the U.S. Senate. Pinter in his sober manner writes:
“While I did my best to represent the real and decent justice and to prevent a justice of hate, there were a number of persons who repeatedly brought in false or unfounded accusations against the German prisoners, and who, by means of obviously perjured witnesses gained successes before the military courts, which did not accord with the real facts. As a result of such miscarriages of justice, many were unfortunately sentenced although not guilty, and some of them were executed. Of the great trials in Dachau it was especially the Malmedy Trial and the Mauthausen and Buchenwald Concentration Camp Trials which became - during my stay in Dachau but without any involvement on my part in the trials - infamous due to their malfeasances ."
After the end of the Flossenbürg main trial there was a series of subsequent trials. Pinter describes his activities at that time in a questionnaire25 as follows:
“Was Assistant Trial Judge Advocate in principal case. Participated as trial attorney and had charge of administration and filing system. Am now in charge of subsequent proceedings of same case. Engaged in staging and questioning suspected perpetrators so as to determine whether they should be tried or released.”
It seems that in summer 1947 Pinter applied for a relocation to Salzburg, or that he had been offered one, which certainly was welcome to him since Salzburg was nearer to his old Burgenland home. At this time in Dachau the Mühldorf Trial (April 1 - May 13, 1947) and the Buchenwald Trial (April 11 - August 14, 1947) took place. Pinter was not involved in these trials. Probably in July 1947 he moved to Salzburg (Text F).
5. Activities in the War Crimes Program: Part 2 - Salzburg
The relocation to Salzburg meant a change from the 7708 War Crimes Group to the Judge Advocate Section. Pinter was promoted to Chief Defence Counsel in Austria (Text I) , for the defense in Military Courts was performed by American jurists. His residence became the 5-Star Hotel “Bristol,” which had apparently been commandeered by the American Occupation Power.26 ,27
About his activities in Salzburg nothing is known. After one year in Salzburg (about August 1948) Pinter made a surprising decision: he applied for resignation from the service of the U.S. War Department in order to settle in Austria as an independent lawyer. This step is unusual. His application is not contained in his Personnel File (or has not been released), and so we know nothing about his motives. Financial motives can be ruled out, since as a freelance lawyer in Salzburg he could hardly earn more than with the War Department.28 Therefore, we must seek the motives in the professional field. We do not know which trials Pinter had to take part in during his service in Salzburg. Maybe he did not agree with the war crimes prosecution policy as it was practised by the U.S. War Department. Maybe he wanted to do something more expedient in helping accused Germans and Austrians with his experience in Anglo-Saxon Law and knowledge of the English language. But all this is mere speculation.
The last document available from Pinter's Personnel File29 is a Notification of Personnel Action: “Resignation upon completion of minimum period of employment for the purpose of engaging in the private practice of Law in Austria.“ Pinter is subject to the restriction to practice only before Military and Military Government Courts, not before Austrian courts. He retains some minor privileges, but has to waive others, e.g. his shopping privileges at the PX (post exchange, a store for American occupation personnel exclusively) and government transportation to the United States.
About November 1948 Pinter applies for a US passport in Vienna, which is issued on December 17th, 1948. Meantime, he had to leave the “Bristol,” and move to the modest Gasthof “Ziegelstadl” in Salzburg-Aigen. At this time Pinter is visited by his sister and her daughter from Burgenland. His niece, then 25 and today over 80, still lives in Deutsch-Schützen and recalls well that visit with “Uncle Stephan.”30
Pinter in Mauthausen?
Pinter’s name is in a strange way connected to the former concentration camp Mauthausen. This camp had been taken on May 5th, 1945 by American troops, who immediately started an investigation of atrocities by the SS. The results were set forth in a report31 dated June 17th, 1945, where the existence of a gas chamber is mentioned. Pinter was not connected with the Mauthausen Trial at Dachau (March 29 - May 13, 1946).
Mauthausen is situated on northern side of the Danube River some kilometres downstream of Linz, at a straight-line distance of only 120 km from Salzburg. But since the Americans had pulled back, the camp lay in the Soviet Zone of Austria. It emerges from the so-called Lachout document, which surfaced 1987 under mysterious circumstances in Vienna, that in 1948 there was an Allied Investigation Commission consisting of representatives of the four Allied powers which investigated the camp in order to ascertain whether there had been a gas chamber or not. Robert Faurisson, who had flown to Vienna to inform himself about this document, remained skeptical. Apparently he was the first who recognized that, "if this document is genuine and if Emil Lachout is telling the truth", it would constitute a verification of Pinter´s letter (Text E), but he he had formulated this as a mere possibility and as a question yet to clarify.32 It was not long thereafter that Emil Lachout stated that "U.S. Colonel Dr. Stephen Pinter" had been head of the Allied Commission in Mauthausen and author of a (second) Mauthausen report.33
However, the (leftist) "Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance" (DÖW) had from the beginning declared the Lachout Document to be a forgery34 ,35 , and a recent study has confirmed this accusation.36 There was never an Allied Commission in Mauthausen, and therefore Pinter could not have been the head of it. This result has been confirmed by a letter (Text I) of Pinter that surfaced recently. Apparently answering a question of Robert J. Miller, the 85-year-old Pinter wrote in his curt manner: “I had nothing to do with Mauthausen.”
6. The biographic Lacuna
The notification of Pinter's resignation is the last available document from his Personnel File. From there all traces of him are lost until about 1954. Neither in the list of the Lawyers Bar nor in the City Directory of Salzburg is he registered. Thus, we do not know how long he stayed in Salzburg, what he did in his job as a lawyer, which cases he was engaged in, whether he took part in any war-crimes trials, nor when he left Austria.
At the beginning of 1949 Pinter might have started his activities as a lawyer in Salzburg. About this time presumably his wife died in St. Louis. And at some time he must have become acquainted with his second wife Lucia (Lucy), who came from Bavaria. Pinter was about 60 at the time and the woman about 40.
In 1949 emerged the first anonymous text (Text A) that may originate with Pinter. The text appears not so much as an article for a broader public but rather as a working paper for specialists. The background was the malfeasances of American war-crimes investigators in Germany. The methods of some interrogators against the accused were criminal violations of the American tradition of justice (Malmedy case). There were protests by German bishops and lawyers, and in the U.S. a campaign started under the motto: “Stop the hanging machine”. Two Commissions were established to investigate the behaviour of the war-crimes investigators: first the van Rhoden/Simpson Commission (established by U.S. Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall) and later the so-called Baldwin Committee (established by the U.S. Senate). There were objections to the composition of the Baldwin Committee from the beginning, since Baldwin and other members of his commission were professionally related with some of the officers whom they were investigating. In October 1949 the “Conclusions” of the Baldwin Report were read out before the Senate, and the critics found their worst apprehensions confirmed. Text A is a critical analysis of the “Conclusions of the Baldwin Report”. It was obviously a professional work that could only be performed by a specialist - Pinter?
In his letter to Our Sunday Visitor (Text E) Pinter mentions “six post-war years in Germany and Austria.” Since he came to Dachau in mid-January 1946, this would correspond to the time up to January 1952. Accordingly Pinter must have returned with his wife to the United States at the beginning of 1952.
The “Warwick Hester” Problem
The identity of the author of text C is one of the most fascinating problems connected with Pinter. The mysterious “Dr. Warwick Hester” is a “Great Unknown”, since the name is doubtless a pseudonym and we do not know his real identity. Was it Pinter? Warwick Hester mentions some unusual journeys for that time: Barcelona, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro. The purpose was to question some former SS members who lived there in exile, and who all had witnessed and confirmed grave war crimes and atrocities committed by Germans (Text C). Doesn’t that fit very well with a lawyer who is engaged in the defence of such clients? Considering the years 1949-1951, where nothing is known about Pinter, he had time enough to undertake those journeys.
Also Mauthausen camp is mentioned by Warwick Hester:
“The fifth of this strange category of men was a former SS soldier, who pretended he had belonged for a time to the guard unit of Mauthausen. He told me there had been gas chambers where not only Jews, but also other inmates had been killed. He himself had not seen that, but it was no secret in the camp. I [Warwick] visited this camp in the same year. Even the Jews did not pretend that humans had been gassed there. There was no installation which in any way could be used [for that purpose] …”
It would be interesting to know when Warwick had been in Mauthausen. When he spoke with the above-mentioned SS man, he had not yet seen the camp. Many years later the 85-year-old Pinter wrote that he had nothing to do with Mauthausen (Text I). But this formulation does not exclude that he sometime had visited the camp, and probably Pinter's statement related only to a question of Robert Miller, whether he had been head of the mysterious Allied Mauthausen Commission. In summary, owing to the lack of hard data, an identity between “Warwick Hester” and Stephen Pinter cannot be proven but can also not be excluded.
As his niece recalls, Pinter (accompanied by his wife) in 1954 or 1955 visited his old home Deutsch-Schützen - almost 50 years after his emigration. Maybe it was in 1955, when Austria regained her sovereignty (May 15th, 1955), and when American citizens could visit the former Soviet Occupation Zone without risk.
7. From Missouri to California
Although Pinter on his return to the United States (about 1952) was at an age when some people think of retirement, he started again to work as a lawyer. Apparently he was appreciated as a specialist for the compensation of the "politically and racially persecuted" (which was the correct expression in those days), and where he could make use of his law experiences in post-war Germany and Austria and his knowledge of the German language. Years later he wrote:
"In general, I wrote many years ago to our local daily newspaper, that the allegation of the extermination of the Jewish race was grossly exaggerated, that I had many Jewish clients, who had lived in Germany, Poland and other countries at Hitler’s time and for whom I collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, thus getting their stories first-hand and can state that the SIX MILLION story was a myth."
Considering these activities for Jewish people who had been persecuted under the National Socialist regime, and the confidence which he obviously enjoyed, one could hardly have blamed Pinter had he become a Nazi sympathizer or an anti-Semite.
In the St. Louis Directory 37 he appears for the first time in the edition of 1955, which of course does not preclude an earlier return. In Text B the anonymous writer mentions that he attended a meeting in Detroit, which took place at the beginning of 1954. And “Warwick Hester” sent his article (Text C) in the middle of 1954 from the U.S.A. to Buenos Aires. Both are compatible with Pinter´s (apparent) whereabouts.
As late as 1966 Pinter was still registered in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Between 1958 and 1966 he wrote the texts that make him so interesting as a witness. Not until 1968, at 80 years of age, did he retire. In 1976, at the age of 88 years, he is mentioned in the St. Louis City and County Directory for the last time - as "retired”. Apparently in the same year he moved with his wife to Southern California, to Hemet, Riverside County (near San Diego), where he had purchased a house.
Pinter was obviously interested in politics and observed the events of the day - also in Germany. We know, that he had a correspondence with the journalist Helmut Sündermann, who had been the deputy of Reichspressechef Dr. Dietrich from 1942 to 1945.38 Possibly he corresponded with other partners in Germany or Austria. This is the only explanation for the fact that his letter to Sunday Visitor (Text E) in the faraway State of Indiana became known so soon in Germany. Thus, Pinter would have heard of Sündermann´s trial in Munich (1960), which caused him to help the accused with an affidavit (Text F). Also the article for Nation & Europa (Text G) may have been caused by Sündermann´s request. And finally it was supposedly Sündermann who sent an article from the Coburger Tageblatt to Pinter concerning the former Flossenbürg camp, with which Pinter was ”connected“ in a special way. This article moved Pinter, then 78, once more to a response.
From occasional remarks in his texts it emerges that Pinter was a conservative man, and this tendency is also recognizable in the earliest texts (A, B, C), where we can only presume that they originate from Pinter. Thus, the author of Text A tends to the line of Senator Joseph McCarthy who committed himself to a thoroughgoing review of the malfeasances committed by members of the War Crimes Commissions in Germany. Most revealing is Pinter’s remark (Text I) that he corresponded with Austin J. App, since App was (at least among German-Americans) a well-known personality.
Dr. Austin Joseph App, born the son of German immigrants in 1902 in Milwaukee, Wis., was a professor for English language and literature at the (Jesuit) University of Scranton, Pa. and at the (Catholic) La Salle College, Philadelphia, Pa.. Thus, App as well as Pinter were Catholic, conservative German-Americans. Both of them were among the earliest American revisionists of the Second World War, although App sought publicity whereas Pinter went public only on a few occasions. It is probably a mere accident but symptomatic, that in the Anthologie révisionniste Pinter´s famous letter to the editor (Text E) is directly followed by a letter of Austin App.
Since 1942 App had criticized Roosevelt’s politics in articles and letters to editors and politicians.39 After the war App became founder and president of the "Federation of American Citizens of German Descent". As a "lone wolf" he published numerous articles and brochures, in which he pleaded for the defeated Germans.40 In 1952 he organized an "American-German Friendship Rally", where Senator McCarthy was expected to speak (threats of counter-demonstrations led him to withdraw). App found little support by the American mass media, and thus, his articles were printed mostly by obscure German-American or Catholic publishers. In the 1960s Austin J. App visited the Federal Republic of Germany several times and worked up to his old age for American-German understanding. He died in 1984.
We may assume that Pinter agreed in principle with App's point of view. Like App (and McCarthy, too) he had his roots in the Roman Catholic faith. He read his Sunday Visitor regularly. He was at odds with one of his sisters who also lived in the United States since she had converted to a Protestant church.41 In his last years he went almost daily to Mass. Stephen F. (Franz Stephan) Pinter died on March 30th, 1985, 96 years old, in Hemet, Riverside County, California.
Mrs. Lucia Pinter, born May 17th, 1907, survived her husband by 14 years. She died on Nov. 18th, 1999, at age 92, in Hemet. The estate went to relatives of hers in Germany, including the house in Hemet. A lady who had been a neighbor to the Pinters was kind enough to forward a letter to the heirs who live in Germany (address not disclosed). Finally - what a chance to discover some unknown “Pinter papers”! But the heirs refused any contact. Alas - maybe they had at least a photo of Stephen F. Pinter.
An earlier version of this text appeared in German in Vierteljahreschefte fur freie Geschichtsforschung Volume 9, Number 3. April 2006.
1 Text A
Anon., „Analyse der Schlußfolgerungen des Baldwin-Berichts - Untersuchung des Malmedy-Massakers;“ in: Ralf Tiemann, Der Malmedyprozess - Ein Ringen um Gerechtigkeit, Munin-Verlag, Osnabrück 1990, S. 282-311.
2 Text B
Anon. [Eberhard Fritsch?], "Freiheit in Ketten,“ in: Der Weg (Buenos Aires), Heft 4 (April 1954), S. 268-272.
3 Text C
Dr. Warwick Hester, "Auf den Straßen der Wahrheit,“ in: Der Weg, Heft 8 (Aug. 1954), S. 572-578, Dürer Verlag, Buenos Aires 1954
This text, slightly shortened, was reproduced by Udo Walendy, Historische Tatsachen Nr. 43, Vlotho 1990, S. 20-23.
4 Text D
S. F. Pinter, letter to Deutsche Wochenschrift, St. Louis, Missouri, dated 20.11.1958; reproduced in "Suchlicht", a supplement to Nation Europa, Heft 10 (Okt. 1959)
Whether the date 20.11.55 Text E 1959, p. 15.
6 Text F
Stephen F. Pinter, Beeidigte Erklärung (Affidavit in deutscher Sprache), St. Louis, Mo., dated 9. Februar 1960; in: Nation Europa, X. Jahrgang, H. 4 (April 1960), S. 68.
7 Text G
S. F. Pinter, "Die Kollektivschuld,“ Nation Europa , Jahrg. X. H. 9 (Sept. 1960), 9-11.
8 Text H
Stephen F. Pinter, letter to Deutsche National-Zeitung, no date; partly printed in: National-Zeitung Nr. 26, dated 1. Juli 1966, p. 1 and 11.
9 Text I
Stephen Pinter, private letter, dated March 22nd, 1974, to Robert J. Miller.
10 Jean Plantin [editor], "Anthologie chronologique des textes révisionistes des années quarante et cinquante,"in: Jean Plantin [publisher], Etudes Révisionistes, Vol. 2, privately published by "Le cercle antitotalitaire", France 2002.
The collection contains five of the texts in French, namely Text C ("Sur les chemins de la vérité," p. 199), D (lettre du 20 novembre 1958, p. 234), E (lettre du 14 juin 1959, p. 235), F (Affidavit, p. 197, endnote 1) und H (letter to Deutsche National-Zeitung, p. 198, endnote 1) .
11 Questions to 10 addresses with the name Pinter in St. Louis, which were found in the St. Louis Directory, resulted in only one answer (2.7.2001). According to this the respective Pinter family is the only one in St. Louis, but not related to Stephen F. Pinter (Information by Jean Plantin, Sept. 10, 2001).
12 National Personal Records Center, Civilian Personnel Records, 111 Winnebago Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63118-4199 (Personnel Records of Pinter, Stephen F., DoB 11-23-1888).
14 Burgenland then belonged to the Hungarian half of the Double Monarchy. Deutsch-Schützen is situated on the “Pinka Valley Wine Road“ (Pinkataler Weinstraße), which leads along the Austrian-Hungarian border. The next town is the Hungarian Szombathely (Steinamanger), at a distance of 15 km Northeast.
15 Stephen F. Pinter, Application for Passport, Salzburg, 1948 (front page only). According to stamp of Vice Consul in Vienna the passport was issued on Dec. 17th, 1948.
16 Request of Headquarters US Forces in Austria to FBI (Standard Form "Request for Report on Loyalty Data"), dated 17. Nov. 1947.
17 The name Franz Stephan was very popular in Austria then, after Franz Stephan Duke of Lorraine (1708-1765), spouse of Empress Maria Theresia, who as Roman-German Emperor called himself Franz I.
18 Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: “Pinter, Stephen…..´88, ´17 C & L.. 16 LL.B. 4 N. 8th”. Explanation: ´88 = born in 1888, College & Law School Benton College of Law, St. Louis, LL.B. in 1917. (L.L.B. = Legum Baccalaureus = Bachelor of Law). These data we received in a letter of the Saint Louis Public Library, dated April 8th, 1982, to Robert J. Miller.
19 Missouri Bar, Letter to the author dated 8.10.2002.
20 Interview with Billy Wilder, in: Neyl Sinyard und Adrian Turner, Billy Wilders Filme, Berlin 1980.
21 In an order announcing the composition of the Flossenbürg Military Court, from 15 members of the court four are declared as civilian employees (US CIV, WCB USFET), including ”MR. STEPHEN PINTER“ - without any military rank (Headquarters Third U.S. Army, APO 403, Special Orders No. 123, dated 17. May 1946).
22 The War Crimes Commissions in Dachau, Augsburg and Schwäbisch Hall were subordinate to the 7708 War Crimes Group under Lt. Colonel Burton Ellis. Each of the War Crimes Commissions had several War Crimes Investigating Teams.
23 DP = Displaced Persons, i.e. mostly people from Eastern Europe, who had lived during the war in Germany and who could not or would not return to their home country since it belonged now to the Soviet sphere of control.
24 The files of the Flossenbürg trial consist of 16,000 pages and have not yet been evaluated. It is strange that the first Chief Prosecutor, whose name is not known, was replaced during the trial by Lt. Colonel William D. Denson, Chief Prosecutor in the Dachau and the Mauthausen trial, a proponent of the ”common design“ thesis.
25 Application for Federal Employment, dated Dachau, May 12th, 1947.
26 Headquarters United States Forces in Austria to Pinter, Stephen F. dated 28. Sept. 1948.
27 Headquarters United States Forces in Austria to Pinter, Stephen F. dated 18. Oct. 1948.
28 Pinter´s last service grade (Aug. 1947) was P-5, according to a salary of 715 $ monthly (incl. “differential”).
29 Notification of Personnel Action, dated 21. Dec. 1948.
30 Personal information by Mrs. Elisabeth S. to the author (June 2003).
31 Mauthausen Report, 3rd U.S. Army Chemical Corps, dated 17.06.1945. The author of this report was Investigation Examiner Major Eugene S. Cohen, 514th Quartermaster Group, QMC, JA Section, Third US Army.
The report (Document PS-2176) was introduced as evidence not only into the Mauthausen Trial, but also into the Nuremberg Main Trial.
33 Anon., Exclusiv-Interview with Mr. Emil Lachout, SIEG Nr. 6 (1989), 16-19.
34 Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, Wilhelm Lasek, Wolfgang Neugebauer, Gustav Spann [DÖW], "Das Lachout-Dokument" - Anatomie einer Fälschung, Vienna 1989.
35 DÖW and Federal Ministry for Education and Arts [Editors], Amoklauf gegen die Wirklichkeit - NS-Verbrechen und ´revisionistische´ Geschichtsschreibung, DAÖW, Vienna 1992.
Klaus Schwensen, "Zur Echtheit des Lachout-Dokuments“, Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung (VffG) Jahrg. 8 H. 2 (2004), S. 166-178.
37 St. Louis City and County Directories (1940-1979), Type County, Section People.
38 Personal information by Dr. Gerd Sudholt to the author (Febr. 2002).
39 In Lexikon des Rechtsextremismus of the "Informationsdienst gegen Rechts" (IDGR) http://lexicon.idgr.de/index we find this, under "App, Austin J." is noted: "In the years 1942 to36 1945 besides his teaching activities , he inundated newspapers and politicians with attacks against the U.S. intervention in World War II and justified therein the war of aggression and politics of the N.S. regime. For all problems of post-war Germany he blamed Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau (see Morgenthau Plan). His letters to the editor were blatantly anti-semitic. Although they were hardly published App did not relent in this undertaking".
40 Articles, brochures, and books by Austin J. App: "Ravishing the Women of Conquered Europe" (1946), "Slave-laboring of German Prisoners of War", "Our Lend-Lease pals in East Prussia", "The German Food Problem this Winter is an American Problem" (Nov. 1946, several periodicals), "History's Most Terrifying Peace" (1946), Morgenthau Era Letters (1966) and many others.
41 Personal information by Mrs. Elisabeth S. to the author (June 2003).
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