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

Sixteenth Day: Monday, 10th December, 1945
(Part 3 of 9)

[MR. ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 244]

Hamann, who signed the report, is listed among those attending as a Captain and apparently the junior officer present, so presumably it fell naturally enough to Hamann to prepare the notes on the conference.

The authority and mission of this organisation which Thomas was, organising at the direction of Goering was clearly recognised by Keitel in his operational order of 13th March, 1941. This order is Number 447-PS, and I have already offered it in evidence earlier as Exhibit USA 135. At that time I quoted the paragraph in the order in which it was stated that the Fuehrer had entrusted the uniform direction of the administration of economy in the areas of operation and political administration to the Reich Marshal who, in turn, had delegated his authority to the Chief of the Wi. Rue Amt.

[Page 245]

The organisational work called for by General Thomas at the meeting on 28th February apparently proceeded apace, and on 29th April, 1941, a conference was held with various branches of the Armed Forces to explain the organisational set-up of the Economic Staff "Oldenburg". "Oldenburg" was the code name given to this economic counterpart of plan "Barbarossa". A report of this conference is captured Document 1157-PS, and I now offer it in evidence as Exhibit USA 141. Section 1 of this memorandum deals with the general organisation of Economic Staff Oldenburg as it had developed by this time, and I should like to read most of that section into the record. The report begins:-
"Conference with the Branches of the Armed Forces at 10.00 hours on 29th April, 1941.


Purpose of meeting: Introduction to the organisational structure of the economic section of this action. "Barbarossa" - "Oldenburg".

As already known, the Fuehrer, contrary to previous procedure, has ordered for this drive the uniform concentration in one hand of all economic operations and has entrusted the Reich Marshal with the overall direction of the economic administration in the area of operations and in the areas under political administration.

The Reich Marshal has delegated this function to an Economic General Staff working under the director of the Industrial Armament Office (Chief Wi. Rue Amt).

Under the Reich Marshal and the Economic General Staff, the supreme central authority in the area of the drive itself is the" - and then a heading - "Economic Staff 'Oldenburg' for special duties under the command of Major General Schubert. His subordinate authorities, geographically subdivided, are:- 5 economic inspectorates 23 economic commands and 12 sub-offices, which are distributed among important places within the area of the economic command.

These offices are used in the military rear area. The idea is that in the territory of each army group an economic inspectorate is to be established at the seat of the commander of the military rear area, and that this inspectorate will supervise the economic exploitation of the territory.

A distinction must be made between the military rear area on the one hand, and the battle area proper, and the rear area of the army on the other hand. In the last, economic matters are dealt with by the IV Econ (IV Wi) of the Army Headquarters Command, that is the liaison officer of the Industrial Armament Office within the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces at the Army Headquarters Command. For the battle area, he has attached to him technical battalions, reconnaissance and recovery troops for raw materials, mineral oil, agricultural machinery, in particular tractors and means of production.

In the territory between the battle and the military rear area, the rear area of the army, Group IV Econs at the various field commands,

[Page 246]

are placed at the disposal of the liaison officer of the Industrial Armaments Office in order to support the army headquarters commands' specialists, responsible for supplying the troops from the country's resources, and preparing the subsequent general economic exploitation.

While these units move with the troops, economic inspectorates, economic commands and their sub-offices remain established in the locality.

The new feature inherent in the organisation under the command of the Economic Staff 'Oldenburg' is that it does not only deal with military industry, but comprises the entire economic field. Consequently, all offices are no longer to be designated as offices of the military industries or armaments, but quite generally as economic inspectorates, economic commands, etc.

This also corresponds with the internal organisation of the individual offices which, from the Economic Staff 'Oldenburg' down to the economic commands, requires a standard subdivision into three large groups, i.e.

Group M, dealing with troop requirements, armaments, industrial transport organisation

Group L, which concerns itself with all questions of feeding and agriculture, and

Group W, which is in charge of the entire field of trade and industry, including raw materials and supplies; further, questions of forestry, finance and banking, enemy property, commerce and exchange of commodities, and manpower allocation.

Secretary of State Backe is appointed Commissioner for Food and Agriculture in the General Staff; the problems falling within the field of activities of Group W are dealt with by General von Hanneken."

The remainder of the document deals with local subdivisions, personnel and planning problems, and similar details, which I think it unnecessary to put into the record.

These documents portray vividly the coldly calculated method with which those Nazis prepared months in advance to rob and loot their intended victim. They show that the conspirators not only planned to stage a wanton attack on a neighbour they had pledged to security, but that they also intended to strip that neighbour of his food, his factories, and all his means of livelihood.

As I shall point out more fully later, when I discuss the question of motive, these men made their plans for plunder while fully aware that to carry them out would necessarily involve ruin and starvation for millions of the inhabitants of the Soviet Union.

THE PRESIDENT: This would be a good time to adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May the Tribunal please, I have been informed by the interpreters that I have been speaking at a great speed this morning, so I shall try to temper the speed.

Next, the politics of destruction, preparation for the political phase of the aggression. As I have already indicated and as I shall develop more fully later in this discussion, there were both economic and political reasons

[Page 247]

motivating the action of the conspirators in invading the Soviet Union. I have already discussed the extent of the planning and preparations for the economic side of the aggression. Equally elaborate planning and preparation was engaged in by the conspirators to ensure the effective carrying out of the political aims of their aggression. It is, I believe, sufficient at this point to describe that political aim as the elimination of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a powerful political factor in Europe, and the acquisition of "Lebensraum.".

For the accomplishment of this purpose, the Nazi conspirators selected as their agent the defendant Rosenberg. As early as 2nd April, 1941, Rosenberg, or a member of his staff, prepared a memorandum on the U.S.S.R. This memorandum speculates on the possibility of a disagreement with the U.S.S.R., which would result in a quick occupation of an important part of that country. This memorandum then considers what the political goal of such occupation should be, and suggests ways for reaching such a goal.

The memorandum is Number 1017-PS in our series, and I offer it in evidence now as Exhibit USA 142.

Beginning with the second paragraph, it reads, under the subject, "The U.S.S.R.":

"A military conflict with the U.S.S.R. will result in an extraordinarily rapid occupation of an important and large section of their territory. It is very probable that military action on our part will very soon be followed by the military collapse of the Soviet Union. The occupation of these areas would then present not so many military as administrative and economic difficulties. Thus arises the first question:

Is the occupation to be determined by purely military and/or economic needs, or is the laying of political foundations for a future organisation of the area also a factor in determining how far the occupation shall be extended? If so, it is a matter of urgency to fix the political goal which is to be attained, for it will, without doubt, also have an effect on military operations.

If the political overthrow of the Eastern Empire, in the weak condition it would be at the time, is set as the goal of military operations, one may conclude that:

(1) The occupation must comprise areas of vast proportions.

(2) From the very beginning, the treatment of individual sections of territory should, as regards administration, as well as economics and ideology, be adapted to the political ends we are striving to attain.

(3) Again, extraordinary questions concerning these vast areas, such as, in particular, the ensuring of essential supplies for the continuation of war against England, the maintenance of production which this necessitates and the great directives for the completely separate areas, should best be dealt with all together in one place.

It should again be stressed here that, in addition, all the arguments which follow, of course, only hold good once the supplies from the area to be occupied, which are essential to Greater Germany for the continuance of the war, have been assured.

[Page 248]

Anyone who knows the East, sees in a map of Russia's population the following national or geographical units:
(a) Greater Russia, with Moscow as its centre.

(b) White Russia, with Minsk or Smolensk as its capital.

(c) Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

(d) The Ukraine, and the Crimea, with Kiev as its centre.

(e) The Don area, with Rostov as its capital.

(f) The area of the Caucasus.

(g) Russian Central Asia or Russian Turkestan."

The memorandum then proceeds to discuss each of the areas or geographical units in some detail, and I shall not read those pages. At the end of the paper, however, the writer sums up and briefly outlines his plan. I should like to read that portion into the record. It is at the bottom of Page 4 of the English translation under the heading "Summary":-
"The following systematic constructional plan is evolved from the points briefly outlined here:-

(1) The creation of a Central Department for the Occupied Areas of the U.S.S.R., to be confined more or less to the war's duration.

Working in agreement with the higher and supreme Reich authorities, it would be the task of this department :

(a) To issue binding political instructions to the separate administration areas, having in mind the situation existing at the time and the goal which is to be achieved.

(b) To secure for the Reich supplies essential to the war from all the occupied areas.

(c) To make preparations for, and to supervise the carrying out, in outline, of the primarily important questions for all areas as, for instance, those of finance and funds, transport, and the production of oil, coal and food.

(2) The carrying out of sharply defined decentralisation in the separate administration areas, grouped together by race or by reason of political economy, for the performance of the totally dissimilar tasks assigned to them.

As against this, an administrative department, regulating matters in principle, and to be set up on a purely economic basis, as is at present envisaged, might very soon prove to be inadequate, and fail in its purpose. Such a central office would be compelled to carry out a common policy for all areas, dictated only by economic considerations, and this might impede the carrying out of the political task and, in view of its being run on purely bureaucratic lines, might possibly even prevent it.

The question therefore arises, whether the opinions which have been set forth should not, purely for reasons of expediency, be taken into consideration from the very beginning, when organising the administration of the territory on a basis of war economy. In view of the vast spaces and the difficulties of administration which arise from that alone, and also in view of the living conditions created by Bolshevism, which are totally different from those of Western Europe, the whole question of the U.S.S.R. would require different treatment from that which has been applied in the individual countries of Western Europe."

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Is that signed?

[Page 249]

MR. ALDERMAN: It is not signed. No, Sir.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Is it in the defendant Rosenberg's handwriting?

MR. ALDERMAN: It was in the Rosenberg file.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Is there anything to indicate that he wrote it?

MR. ALDERMAN: No. I said it was evidently prepared by Rosenberg or under his authority. We captured the whole set of Rosenberg files, which constitutes really a large library.

It is evident that the "presently envisaged administration operating on a purely economic basis" to which this memorandum objects, was the Economic Staff "Oldenburg", which I have already described as having been set up under Goering and General Thomas.

Rosenberg's statement, if this be his statement, of the political purpose of the invasion and his analysis of the achieving of it, apparently did not fall on deaf ears. By a Fuehrer order, dated 20th April, 1941, Rosenberg was named Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions connected with the East European Region. This order is part of the correspondence file regarding Rosenberg's appointment, which has been given the Number 865-PS in our series. I ask that this file, all relating to the same subject, and consisting of four letters, all of which I shall read or refer to, be admitted in evidence as Exhibit USA 143.

The order itself reads as follows; it is the first item on the English translation of 865- PS:-

"I name Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg as my Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions connected with the East European Region.

An office, which is to be established in accordance with his orders, is at the disposal of Reichsleiter Rosenberg for the carrying out of the duties thereby entrusted to him.

The necessary money for this office is to be taken out of the Reich Chancellery Treasury in a lump sum.

Fuehrer's Headquarters, 20th April, 1941. The Fuehrer (signed), ADOLF HITLER.
Reich Minister and Head of Reich Chancellery (signed), DR. LAMMERS."

This particular copy of the Fuehrer's order was enclosed in a letter which Dr. Lammers wrote to the defendant Keitel requesting his co-operation for Rosenberg, and asking that Keitel appoint a deputy to work with Rosenberg. This letter reads as follows: it is on the stationery of the Reich Minister and the Head of the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, 21st April, 1941. I omit the salutation:
"Herewith I am sending you a copy of the Fuehrer's Decree by which the Fuehrer appointed Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg as his Commissioner for the Central Control connected with the East European Region. In this capacity Reichsleiter Rosenberg is to make the necessary preparations for the probable emergency with all speed. The Fuehrer wishes that Rosenberg shall be authorised for this purpose to obtain the closest co- operation of the highest Reich authorities, receive information from them, and summon the representatives of the highest Reich authorities to conferences. In order to guarantee the necessary secrecy of the commission and the measures to be undertaken, for the time being only those of the highest Reich authorities should be informed on whose

[Page 250]

co-operation Reichsleiter Rosenberg will primarily depend. They are: The Commissioner for the Four Year Plan" - that is Goering - "the Reich Minister of Economics and you yourself" - that is Keitel.

"Therefore, may I ask you, in accordance with the Fuehrer's wishes, to place your co-operation at the disposal of Reichsleiter Rosenberg in the carrying out of the task imposed upon him.

It is recommended, in the interests of secrecy, that you name a representative in your office with whom the office of the Reichsleiter can communicate and who in addition to your usual deputy should be the only one to whom you should communicate the contents of this letter.

I should be obliged if you would acknowledge the receipt of this letter.

Heil Hitler,
Yours very sincerely (signed), DR. LAMMERS."

[ 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.