The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 16 of 18)

[Page 995]

(g) Murder and treatment of civilian population, including killing of hostages. Seyss-Inquart, in his capacity as Reich Commissar for the Occupied Netherlands Territory, authorized and directed the exaction of collective penalties, murder, and illtreatment of the civilian population of the Netherlands, and the killing of hostages. All these actions constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity within the meaning of Article 6 (b) and (c) of the Charter, and violated (i) the Hague Regulations, 1907, Articles 46 and 50, (ii) the laws and customs of war, (iii) the general principles of criminal law as derived from the criminal laws of all civilized nations and (iv) the internal penal laws of Netherlands.

Public utterances of Seyss-Inquart reveal his determination to resort to ruthless measures for the purpose of intimidating and repressing the civilian population. In a speech commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Germany's coming into power, at Weert on 29 January 1943, before workers and trades of the NSDAP, he spoke in part as follows:

"I will give my instructions. They must be executed by all. In the present situation a refusal to execute such instructions could be regarded only as sabotage. It is also clear, now more than ever, that every resistance which is directed against this fight for existence must be suppressed. Some time ago the representatives of the churches had written to the Wehrmacht commander and to me, and they presented their conception against the execution of death sentences which the Wehrmacht commanders announced in the meantime. To this I can only say the following: The moment in which our men, fathers and sons with iron determination look towards their fate in the east and unflinchingly and steadfastly perform their highest pledge, it is unbearable to tolerate conspiracies whose goal is to weaken the rear of this eastern front. Whoever dares this must be annihilated. We must be severe and become even more severe against our opponents, this is the command of a relentless sequence of events, and for us perhaps humanly hard, but our holy duty. We remain human because we do not torture our opponents, we must remain firm by annihilating them." (3430-PS)

Endorsement of the policy of holding innocent persons responsible for the misconduct of others beyond their control is implicit in the following public statement of Seyss-Inquart made at Weert on

"I have given orders to suppress all appearances with a se-

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vereness corresponding to the brutality of the crime. If in connection with these measures Dutch citizens are affected and have to undergo difficulties and limitations of special nature, then they have to seek the cause therefor solely in these eruptions of the anarchistic mental attitude of a few culprits and he just-as-criminal-tolerance or apathy within their own circles." (3430-PS)

Evidence of Seyss-Inquart's application of this doctrine of vicarious responsibility is contained in a poster signed by him and warning the Dutch population to expect reprisals in the event of sabotage. The poster reads as follows:


"I consider all inhabitants responsible for the destruction or damage to railroad installations, waterways with their installations, telephone cables and Post Offices occurring within the boundaries of their locality.

"The population of such localities may therefore expect reprisals in the form of seizure of property and destruction of houses or groups of houses.

"I therefore advise the population to protect the means of transportation and communications by means of patrols or other appropriate measures.

"The Hague 24 September 1944
"/s/ Seyss-Inquart
"The Reich Commissar for the
Occupied Netherlands Territories." (1163-PS)

Another poster issued by the Superior SS and Police Chief publicized with remarkable candor the fact that 12 Netherlanders were executed "independent of further investigation" as reprisals for the killing of two Germans. That poster reads as follows:


"The Superior SS and Police Chief gives notice that on 20 November 1944 Schutzgruppenmann Janssen and on 13 December 1944 the Senior Officer Candidate Guse were shot in the back by criminal Netherlands elements. Both were robbed of their pistols.

"Independent of further investigation of the perpetrators, two houses. were blasted and 12 Netherlanders were executed at the place of one of the crimes as reprisals.

"The Hague, 16 December 1944." (1163-PS)

In an interrogation under oath Seyss-Inquart has acknowledged that Netherlanders were shot as hostages without trial. While he sought to shift responsibility to the SS he admitted that upon one

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occasion the SS called on him to furnish 50 hostages and that he gave five instead, all of whom were shot. (Transcript of interrogation of Seyss-Inquart, 18 September 1945, p. 20)

Other crimes against humanity are documented in the statement of the Dutch Government. The vastness of the scale of the commission of such crimes and the necessary notoriety thereof [| clearly implicate Seyss-Inquart as the responsible civil head of the German Government in the Netherlands territory. (1726-PS)

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