The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Artur Seyss-Inquart

(Part 17 of 18)

[Page 997]


(1) Austria.

(a) Persecution of the Jews. While Seyss-Inquart was the Reich Governor of the Province of Austria, laws were issued against Jews and against those who opposed the Nazi Regime politically. As has been shown, this usually took the form of decrees providing for the sequestration and confiscation of the property of these so-called "enemies of the State."

In the early days of November 1938, pogroms against the Jews took place all over the German Reich, including Austria. These pogroms resulted from the killing of von Rath, a diplomatic official at the German Embassy in Paris, by a young Jew named Grynszpan. Jewish synagogues, homes and shops were smashed and destroyed by fire. Large numbers of Jews were arrested, jailed, or placed in concentration camps. A partial report as to what occurred during 9 November 1938 and 10 November 1938 is found in a letter written by the Reich Commissar for the Reunion of Austria with the German Reich, Josef Buerckel, to Goering, dated 18 November 1938. This report reveals that the fire department was not utilized to control the flames consuming Jewish homes, stores, shops, and synagogues. The school children in Vienna were given an opportunity to participate in the demonstration "according to the order." Buerckel's report also discloses that enormous quantities of valuables, jewelry, and merchandise were stolen from the Jews during these pogroms. (2237-PS)

A more detailed description of what happened in Vienna during the 9th and 10th of November 1938 is found in the stenographic report of a meeting on "The Jewish Question" under the Chairmanship of Goering (1816-PS). This meeting was held on 12 November 1938. It appears from this report that altogether 101 synagogues were destroyed by fire 76 synagogues demolished, and 7,500 stores ruined in the Reich, including Austria. In this same

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meeting, a member of the official family of Seyss-Inquart (Reich Governor of the Province of Austria) related the efficiency with which the Civil Administration in Austria dealt with the so-called "Jewish Question." This official was Fischboeck, and in his verbal report to Goering he said:

"Your Excellency,

"In this matter we have already a very complete plan for Austria. There are 12,000 Jewish artisans and 5,000 Jewish retail shops in Vienna. Before the National Revolution, we had already a definite plan for tradesmen, regarding this total of 17,000 stores. Of the shops of the 12,000 artisans about 10,000 were to be closed indefinitely and 2,000 were to be kept open. 4,000 of the 5,000 retail stores should be closed and 1,000 should be kept open, that is, were to be Aryanized. According to this plan, between 3,000 and 3,500 of the total of 17,000 stores would be kept open, all others closed. This was decided following investigations in every single branch and according to local needs, in agreement with all competent authorities, and is ready for publication as soon as we receive the law which we requested in September; this law shall empower us to withdraw licenses from artisans quite independently from the Jewish Question." (1816- PS)

To this Goering replied:

"I shall have this decree issued today." (1816-PS)

The stenographic report of this meeting further reveals that the solution of the so-called "Jewish Problem" adopted in Austria by Seyss-Inquart and his official family was most efficient from the viewpoint of Nazi objectives. The plan adopted in Austria became a model for the entire Reich. (1816-PS)

A report of the Bureau of Statistics for the Provinces of Austria on the Jewish population in Vienna and in Austria, dated 15 December 1939, shows that after the Nazi conspirators assumed power in Austria, the Jewish population in that country decreased approximately 100,000.

While the reasons for the decreases in the Jewish population of Austria would seem to be obvious, yet tangible evidence of at least one reason is provided by Seyss-Inquart himself in a letter written by him to Himmler, dated 4 November 1939. In substance Seyss-Inquart, while Deputy Governor General of the Polish Occupied Territory, stated that an official in Cracow had informed him that there was a plan to send Jews from Vienna to Poland, whereupon he gave instructions that such action should be carried

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out only in cooperation with the SD and by the SD, since he would not permit wild-cat actions. (3398-PS)

(b) Persecution on political grounds. Seyss-Inquart has supplied evidence that the SS in Austria was responsible for the murder of Chancellor Dolfuss on 25 July 1934. (3425-PS)

Seyss-Inquart has also supplied evidence that his predecessor as Chancellor of Austria, von Schuschnigg, had been confined in a concentration camp after his forced resignation from office. (3254-PS)

(2) Poland. The manner is which Polish Jews were treated and given "special handling" by the Nazi conspirators, although a matter of common knowledge, was described in detail in the "Black Book of Poland." This document tells of the establishment of special reservations for the Jews as well as ghettos in various parts of Poland. The report also relates how the Jews were starved and exterminated in large numbers. A great portion of these crimes were committed in Poland by the Nazis while Seyss-Inquart occupied the position of Deputy Governor General of the Polish Occupied Territory. (2613-PS)

During the time that Seyss-Inquart held this high office in the Nazi government of Poland, a special decree was issued by Frank, dated 26 October 1939, which required compulsory labor for Jews domiciled in the General Government of Poland. The decree was to take effect immediately and the Jews were to be formed in forced labor groups. The execution of the decree was placed in the hands of the Higher SS and Police Leaders. (2613-PS)

(3) The Netherlands. Seyss-Inquart, in his capacity as Reich Commissar of the occupied Dutch territory, bears full individual responsibility for the execution in the Netherlands of the Nazi program of persecution of Jews. Acts against the Jews authorized, directed, or condoned by Seyss- Inquart, which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined in Article 6 (b) and (c) of the Charter, included: stigmatization; disfranchisement; denial of civil rights, personal liberty, and economic freedom; religious and cultural persecution; use of organized "spontaneous violence" against persons and property of Jews; ghettoization; starvation; enforced labor; enslavement; mass deportation, and annihilation.

The intentions of Seyss-Inquart with respect to treatment of the Jews is a matter of record. In a speech before a gathering of all workers and trades of the NSDAP at Amsterdam on 13 March 1941 he left no doubt as to where he stood on the Jewish question.

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"The Jews are the enemy of national socialism and the national socialistic Reich. From the moment of their emancipation, their methods were directed to the annihilation of the common and moral worth of the German people and to replace national and responsible ideology with international nihilism. The fatal meaning of Judaism became completely clear to the German people during the years of the world war. It was really they, who stuck the knife in the back of the German army which broke the resistance of the Germans, and in the year 1918, it was they who wanted to dissolve and decompose all national tradition and also moral and religious beliefs of the German people. The Jews for us are not Dutchmen. They are those enemies with whom we can neither come to an armistice nor to peace. This applies here, if you wish, for the duration of the occupation. Do not expect an order from me which stipulates this, except regulations concerning police matters. We will beat the Jews wherever we meet them, and those who join them must bear the consequences. The Fuehrer declared that the Jews have played their final act in Europe, and therefore they played their final act." (3430-PS)

Following his assumption of office in the Netherlands on 29 May 1940, Seyss-Inquart, pursuant to the authority vested in him as Reich Commissar of the Netherlands by the Fuehrer decree of 18 May 1940, systematically promulgated decrees designed to implement the Nazi program of persecution and elimination of Jews. He promulgated a law which prohibited the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals in the Netherlands Occupied Territories, thus making it impossible for devout orthodox Jews to live in accordance with their religious dietary laws. (2705-PS)

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