The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Fifteenth Day: Friday, 7th December, 1945
(Part 3 of 9)


[Page 195]

The next paragraph was read by the learned British Attorney General in his speech and I will refer only to the last paragraph but one:
"The German attack came as a surprise and all the invaded towns along the coast were captured according to plan with only slight losses. In the Oslofjord, however, the cruiser 'Blucher', carrying General Engelbrecht and parts of his division, technical staffs and specialists, who were to take over the control of Oslo, was sunk. The plan to capture the King and members of the Government and Parliament failed. In spite of the surprise of the attack, resistance was organised throughout the country."
That is a brief picture of what occurred in Norway.

What happened in Denmark is described in a memorandum prepared by the Danish Royal Government, a copy of which I hand in as Exhibit GB 94, and an extract from which is in Document D-628, which follows the TC documents.

"Extracts from the memorandum concerning Germany's attitude towards Denmark before and during the occupation, prepared by the Royal Danish Government.

On 9th April, 1940 at 0420 hours" - in the morning that is - "the German Minister appeared at the private residence of the Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs accompanied by the Air Attache of the Legation. The appointment had been made by a telephone call from the German Legation to the Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at 4 o'clock the same morning. The Minister said at once that Germany had positive proof that Great Britain intended to occupy bases in Denmark and Norway. Germany had to safeguard Denmark against this. For this reason German soldiers were now crossing the frontier and landing at various points in Zealand, including the port of Copenhagen; in a short time German bombers would be over Copenhagen; their orders were not to bomb until further notice. It was now up to the Danes to prevent resistance, as any resistance would have the most terrible consequences. Germany would guarantee Denmark territorial integrity and political independence. Germany would not interfere with the internal government of Denmark, but wanted only to make sure of the neutrality of the country. For this purpose the presence of the German Wehrmacht in Denmark was required during the war.

[Page 196]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared in reply, that the allegation concerning British plans to occupy Denmark was completely without foundation; there was no possibility of anything like that. The Minister for Foreign Affairs protested against the violation of Denmark's neutrality which, according to the German Minister's statement, was in progress. The Minister for Foreign Affairs declared further that he could not give a reply to the demands, which had to be submitted to the King and the Prime Minister, and further observed that the German Minister knew, as everybody else, that the Danish Armed Forces had orders to oppose violations of Denmark's neutrality, so that fighting presumably had already taken place. In reply, the German Minister stated that the matter was very urgent, especially to avoid air bombardment."
What happened thereafter is described in a dispatch from the British Minister in Copenhagen to the British Foreign Secretary, which the Tribunal will find in D-627, the document preceding the one which I have just read. That document, for the purposes of the record, will be Exhibit GB 95.

That dispatch reads:

"The actual events of the 9th April have been pieced together by members of my staff either from actual eye- witnesses or from reliable information subsequently received, and are given below. Early in the morning towards 5 o'clock, three small German transports steamed into the approach to Copenhagen harbour, while a number of aeroplanes circled overhead. The Northern battery, guarding the harbour approach, fired a warning shot at these planes when it was seen that they carried German markings. Apart from this, the Danes offered no further resistance, and the German vessels fastened alongside the quays in the Free Harbour. Some of these aeroplanes proceeded to drop leaflets over the town, urging the population to keep calm and co-operate with the Germans. I enclose a specimen leaflet, which is written in a bastard Norwegian-Danish, a curiously un-German disregard of detail, together with a translation. Approximately 800 soldiers landed with full equipment and marched to Kastellet, the old fortress of Copenhagen, and now barracks. The door was locked, so the Germans promptly burst it open with explosives and rounded up all the Danish soldiers within, together with the womenfolk employed in the mess. The garrison offered no resistance, and it appears that they were taken completely by surprise. One officer tried to escape in a motor car, but his chauffeur was shot before he could get away. He died in hospital two days later. After seizing the barracks, a detachment was sent to Amalienborg, the King's palace, where they engaged the Danish sentries on guard, wounding three, one of them fatally .. Meanwhile, a large fleet of bombers flew over the city at low altitude."
Then, the last paragraph of the dispatch reads:
"It has been difficult to ascertain exactly what occurred in Jutland. It is clear, however, that the enemy invaded Jutland from the South at dawn on 9th April, and were at first resisted by the Danish forces, who suffered casualties. The chances of resistance were weakened by the extent to which the forces appear to have been taken by surprise. The chief permanent official of the Ministry of War, for instance, motored into Copenhagen on the morning of 9th April, and drove blithely past a

[Page 197]

sentry who challenged him, in blissful ignorance that this was not one of his own men. It took a bullet, which passed through the lapels of his coat, to disillusion him."
The German memorandum to the Norwegian and Danish Governments spoke of the German desire to maintain the territorial integrity and political independence of those two small countries.

I will close by drawing the Court's attention to two documents which indicate the kind of territorial integrity and political independence the Nazi conspirators contemplated for the victims of their aggression. I will first draw the Court's attention to an entry in Jodl's diary, which is the last document in the book, on the last page of the book, the entry dated 19th April:

"Renewed crisis. Envoy Brauer" - that is the German Minister to Norway - "is recalled: since Norway is at war with us, the task of the Foreign Office is finished. In the Fuehrer's opinion force has to be used. It is said that Gauleiter Terboven will be given a post. Field Marshal" - which, as the Court will see from the other entries, is presumably a reference to the defendant Goering - "is moving in the same direction. He criticises as defects that we did not take sufficiently energetic measures against the civilian population, that we could have seized electrical plant, that the Navy did not supply enough troops. The Air Force cannot do everything."
The Court will see from that entry and the reference to Gauleiter Terboven that already, by 19th April, rule by Gauleiters had replaced rule by Norwegians.

The final document is Document C-41, which will be Exhibit GB 96, which is a memorandum dated 3rd June, 1940, signed by Fricke, who, of course, has no connection with the defendant Frick. Fricke was, at that date, the head of the Operations Division of the German Naval War Staff, which was a key appointment in the very nerve centre of German naval operations. That is why, as the Tribunal noticed, he came to be initialling the important Naval documents.

That memorandum is, as I have said, dated 3rd June, 1940, and relates to questions of territorial expansion and bases.

"These problems are pre-eminently of a political character and comprise an abundance of questions of a political type, which it is not the Navy's province to answer, but they also materially affect the strategic possibilities open - according to the way in which this question is answered - for the subsequent use and operation of the Navy.

It is too well known to need further mention that Germany's present position in the narrows of the Heligoland Bight and in the Baltic - bordered as it is by a whole series of States and under their influence is an impossible one for the future of Greater Germany. If, over and above this, one extends these strategic possibilities to the point that Germany shall not continue to be cut off for all time from overseas by natural geographical facts, the demand is raised that somehow or other an end shall be put to this state of affairs at the end of the war.

The solution could perhaps be found among the following possibilities.

1. The territories of Denmark, Norway and Northern France acquired during the course of the war continue to be so occupied and organised that they can in future be considered as German possessions.

[Page 198]

This solution will recommend itself for areas where the severity of the decision tells, and should tell, on the enemy and where a gradual 'Germanising' of the territory appears practicable.
2. The taking over and holding of areas which have no direct connection with Germany's main body, and which, like the Russian solution in Hangoe, remain permanently as an enclave in the hostile State. Such areas might be considered possibly around Brest and Trondheim.

3. The power of Greater Germany in the strategic areas acquired in this war should result in the existing population of these areas feeling themselves politically, economically and militarily to be completely dependent on Germany. If the following results are achieved - that expansion is undertaken (on a scale I shall describe later) by means of the military measures for occupation taken during the war, that French powers of resistance (popular unity, mineral resources, industry, armed forces) are so broken that a revival must be considered out of the question, that the smaller States such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway are forced into a dependence on us which will enable us in any circumstances and at any time easily to occupy these countries again, then in practice the same, but psychologically much more, will be achieved."

Then Fricke recommends:-
"The solution given in 3, therefore, appears to be the proper one, that is, to crush France, to occupy Belgium, part of North and East France, and to allow the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway to exist on the basis indicated above."
Then, the culminating paragraph of this report of Fricke reads as follows:-
"Time will show how far the outcome of the war with England will make an extension of these demands possible."
The submission of the prosecution is that this and other documents which have been submitted to the Court tear apart the veil of the Nazi pretences. These documents reveal the menace behind the good will of Goering; they expose as fraudulent the diplomacy of Ribbentrop; they show the reality behind the ostensible political ideology of tradesmen in treason like Rosenberg, and finally, and above all, they render sordid the professional status of Keitel and of Raeder.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ROBERTS: May it please the Tribunal: it is my duty to present that part of Count 2 which relates to the allegations with regard to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In Charges 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 13, 14, 18, 19 and 23 there are charges of violating certain treaties and conventions and violating certain assurances. So far as the treaties are concerned, some of them have been put in evidence already, and I will indicate that when I come to them. May I, before I come to the detail, remind the Tribunal of the history of these unfortunate countries, the Netherlands and Belgium; Belgium especially, which for so many centuries was the cockpit of Europe.

The independence of Belgium was guaranteed, as the Tribunal wilt remember, in 1839 by the great European powers. That guarantee was

[Page 199]

observed for seventy-five years, until it was shamelessly broken by the Germans in 1914, who brought all the horrors of war to Belgium, and all the even greater horrors of a German occupation of Belgium. History was to repeat itself in a still more shocking fashion some twenty-five years after, in 1940, as the Tribunal already knows.

The first treaty which was mentioned in these charges is The Hague Conventions of 1907. That has been put in by my learned friend, Sir David, and I think I need say nothing about it.

The second treaty is the Locarno Convention, the Arbitration and Conciliation Convention of 1935. My Lord, that was between Germany and Belgium. That was put in by Sir David. It is Exhibit GB 15, and I think I need say nothing more about that either.

Belgium's independence and neutrality was guaranteed by Germany in that document.

My Lord, the next treaty is The Hague Arbitration Convention of May, 1926, between Germany and the Netherlands. That document I ought formally to put in. It is in the Reichsgesetzblatt, which perhaps I may call R.G.B. in the future, for brevity; and it, no doubt, will be treated as a public document. But in my bundle of documents, which goes in the order in which I propose to refer to them, I think it is more convenient for the presentation of my case. That is the second or third document, TC-16.

THE PRESIDENT: It is Book 4 is it?

MR. ROBERTS: It is Book 4, my Lord. This is the Convention of Arbitration and Conciliation between Germany and the Netherlands, signed at The Hague in May, 1926. Your Lordships have the document; perhaps I need only read Article 1:

"The contracting parties" - those are the Netherlands and the German Reich - "undertake to submit all disputes of any nature whatever, which may arise between them which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy and which have not been referred to the Permanent Court of International justice, to be dealt with by arbitration or conciliation as provided."
And then, my Lord, there follow all the clauses which deal merely with the machinery of conciliation, and which are unnecessary for me to read. May I just draw attention to the first article, Article 21, which provides that the Convention shall be valid for ten years, and then shall remain in force for successive periods of five years until denounced by either party. This treaty never was denounced by Germany at all.

The Treaty I put in is Document TC-16, which will be Exhibit GB 97; and a certified copy is put in and a translation for the Court.

As the Tribunal already knows, in 1928 the Kellogg-Briand Pact was made at Paris, by which all the powers renounced recourse to war. That is put in as Exhibit GB 18, and I need not, I think, put it in or refer to it again.

Then the last of these treaties, all of which, of course, belong to the days of the Weimar Republic, is the Arbitration Treaty between Germany and Luxembourg, executed in 1929. That is Document TC-20 in the bundle. It is two documents further on than the one the Tribunal has referred to last. This is the Treaty of Arbitration and Conciliation between Germany and Luxembourg, signed at Geneva in 1929. May I just read the first few words of Article I, which are familiar:

[Page 200]

"The Contracting parties undertake to settle by peaceful means all disputes of any nature whatever which may arise between them and which it may not be possible to settle by diplomacy."
And then there follow the clauses dealing with the machinery for peaceful settlement of disputes, which follow the common form.

My Lord, those were the treaty obligations. May I put in that last treaty, TC-20, which will be Exhibit GB 98.

My Lord, those were the treaty obligations between Germany and Belgium at the time when the Nazi Party came into power in 1933, and, as you have heard from my learned friend, Hitler adopted and ratified the obligations of Germany under the Weimar Republic with regard to the treaties which had been entered into. My Lord, nothing more occurred to alter the position of Belgium until in March, 1936, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland and announced, of course, the resumption of conscription and so on. And Hitler, on 7th March, 1936, purported, in a speech, to repudiate the obligations of the German Government under the Locarno Pact, the reason given being the execution of the Franco-Soviet Pact of 1935. Sir David has dealt with that and has pointed out that there was no legal foundation for this claim to be entitled to renounce obligations under the Locarno Pact. But Belgium was, of course, left in the air in the sense that she had entered into various obligations under the Locarno Pact in return for the liabilities which other nations acknowledged, and now one of those liabilities, namely, the liability of Germany to observe the Pact, had been renounced.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.