The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 15 of 18)

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(e) Participation in activities of Einsatzstab Rosenberg. Seyss-Inquart, in his capacity as Reich Commissar for the Occupied Netherlands territory, also cooperated with and acquiesced in the activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in the territory under his jurisdiction. He is therefore responsible for his actions in this regard, which constituted crimes under Article 6 (b) of the Charter and violations of Articles 46, 47, and 56 of the Hague Regulations,

(The Einsatzstab Rosenberg, which commenced as a research library project, developed into a systematic program for the wholesale looting of art treasures and cultural objects in the conquered territories. Its activities are discussed in Chapter XIV.)

Implication of Seyss-Inquart in the criminal activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg is revealed in a detailed progress report of its chief Netherlands representative, Schimmer. The first paragraph of this report states as follows:

"The Working Group Netherlands of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg began its work in agreement with the competent representative of the Reichskommissar during the first days of September 1940. The execution of the post, conforming with the Fuehrer's orders, coordinated itself with the liquidation, that is confiscation, according to civil law, of the various subversive institutions -- as set forth in the circulars of the OKW, dated 5 July 1940, and of the Chief of the OKW to the Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht in France, dated 17 September 1940, as well as to the Commander in Chief of the OKW in the Netherlands, dated October 1940. The screening of the material of the various Masonic lodges was taken care of primarily, and the library and the archives of the following lodges were sifted and all useful material was packed." (176-PS)

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There follows the specification of some 92 Masonic IOOF Lodges and Rotary Clubs which were screened and yielded 470 cases of valuable objects. Also, a large number of libraries and scientific and cultural institutions were listed with the statement that all books and archives contained therein were being catalogued preparatory to shipment to Germany. (176-PS)

The report concludes with the following statement indicating close integration in the Netherlands between Rosenberg's program of grand larceny and Seyss-Inquart's anti-Jewish program, viz:

"The Working Group, in executing the afore-mentioned tasks, is bound strictly to the pace set by the Reichskommissar for the handling of the Jewish questions and that of the international organizations. This pace again is determined by the political evolution which is taking shape according to decisions made on a higher level, and which must not be hampered by individual acts." (176-PS)

Other documents captured from Rosenberg's files remove any doubt whatever as to Seyss-Inquart's full knowledge of the criminal activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in Holland and his participation therein. On 11 September 1944 Rosenberg informed Seyss-Inquart by letter that orders had been issued for the seizure and transportation to Germany of the library of the Social Institute in Amsterdam. (091-PS; see also 1621-PS, a secret letter from Reichsfuehrer SS (Himmler) ordering SS Gen. Rauter in the Hague to seize medical apparatus at the Universities of Leyden and Utrecht with the aid of Seyss-Inquart.)

(f) Conscription of civilian labor. In his capacity as Reich Commissar for the occupied Netherlands territories Seyss- Inquart authorized and directed the deportation of vast numbers of Netherlands nationals to the Reich for forced labor in the instruments of German war production. These acts were all in violation of Articles 6 (b) and (c) of the Charter; Articles 6, 23h, 46, and 2 of the Hague Regulations, 1907 (3737-PS); and the Prisoner of War Convention, Geneva, 1929.

The deportation program in the Netherlands was initiated on 20 June 1940, five weeks after the occupation of that country. The Germans at first deported only the unemployed, threatening them with curtailment of their dole for refusal. Thereafter in 1942 measures were taken to draft employed workmen. Dutch business concerns were combed in "Sauckel- actions" for available workers, who were forced to register at the labor offices. Workmen who refused were prosecuted by the SD, committed to one of the prisoners' camps in the Netherlands, and eventually put to work in Germany. By the end of April 1942 the program

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was in full operation, and not less than 22,000 workers were deported that month. Many Belgian concerns not considered essential were closed down to release manpower for deportation to Germany or for work in Dutch industries deemed essential to the German war effort. New measures of a drastic nature were inaugurated in the spring of 1943. All males between 18 and 35 were forced to register for "arbeitseinsatz" (war effort), which was synonymous with deportation. As time elapsed and the German military situation deteriorated, the measures taken became increasingly more ruthless. Whole sections of a town were lined off and people were seized in the streets or in their homes and transported to Germany. A total of approximately 431,500 Netherlands workers were deported to. Germany and other foreign countries. (1726-PS)

Illustrative of the participation of Seyss-Inquart in the slave labor program are four proclamations which he caused to be issued, calling up Dutch civilians between certain ages for forced labor and threatening them with shooting in the case of noncompliance. (1162-PS)

Sauckel, General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor, on 5 October 1945 disclosed, under oath, the part played by Seyss-Inquart in the forced recruitment of Dutch workers for German war production. The following is an excerpt from an interrogation of Sauckel:

"Q. For a moment I want to turn our attention to Holland. It is my understanding that the quotas for the workers for Holland were agreed upon, and then the numbers given to the Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart to fulfill. Isn't that correct?

"A. Yes, that is correct.

"Q. After the quota was given to Seyss-Inquart, it was his mission to fulfill it with the aid of your representatives, was it not?

"A. Yes. This was the only possible thing for me to do and the same applied to the other countries." (3722-PS)

Seyss-Inquart has himself acknowledged under oath his active participation in deporting 250,000 Netherlands workmen between the ages of 17 and 42 toward the end of 1944, although he attempted to shift responsibility by stating that the order was issued by the Wehrmacht and that "I can't intervene against the Wehrmacht." However, he admitted:

"I didn't oppose it. I helped to carry it out in my province." (Transcript of Interrogation of Seyss- Inquart, afternoon session, 18 September 1945, pp. 19- 20.)

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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