The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-First Day: Monday, 17th December, 1945
(Part 14 of 16)

[COLONEL STOREY continues]

[Page 38]

Now I turn to illustrate the crimes against the Allied airmen. The members of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated in and shared the responsibility for the murder, beating, and ill-treatment of Allied airmen who landed in German or German- controlled territory. Many Allied airmen who bailed out of disabled planes over Germany were not treated as prisoners of war, but were beaten and murdered by German civilians with the active condonation, indeed at the instigation, of some of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party. Such a course of conduct by the Leadership Corps represented a flagrant and deliberate violation by the German Government of its obligations under the Geneva Convention to protect prisoners of war against acts of violence and ill-treatment.

As shown by Document 2473-PS -- it is necessary to turn to that -- which is a list of the Reichsleiter of the Nazi Party appearing in the National Socialist Yearbook of 1943, and by Document 2903, which is this large chart, Heinrich Himmler was the Reichsleiter of the Nazi Party and thus a top official in the Leadership Corps by virtue of his positions as Reichsfuehrer of the S.S. and Delegate for German Folkdom. I now offer in evidence an original order Signed by Himmler, Document R-110, as Exhibit USA 333.

[Page 39]

It is dated 10th August, 1943, and I quote:
"It is not the task of the police to interfere in clashes between Germans and English and American terror fliers who have bailed out."
This order was transmitted in writing to all senior executive S.S. and police officers, and orally to their subordinate officers and to all Gauleiter. As shown in Document 2473-PS and by the chart, Joseph Goebbels----

THE PRESIDENT: I was only thinking that the police are not part of the Leadership Corps; are they?

COLONEL STOREY: But Himmler, if your Honour pleases, combined offices himself of the Reichsfuehrer of the S.S. and leader of the German police. He was an officer of the State; he was an officer of the Party; and he issued this to officials of the Leadership Corps.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): And your point is, this order of Himmler's would be proof against the 600,000 members that you have spoken of?

COLONEL STOREY: Not against the members, but I said against the organisation as a criminal organisation, because from the top it disseminated orders of this type through the channels of the Leadership Corps.

THE PRESIDENT: But that is what I was putting to you, that it was not through the channels of the Leadership Corps, but through the channels of the police.

COLONEL STOREY: But the police, if your Honour pleases, were connected with the Leadership Corps, and Himmler stood at the top of both. It does not show on that chart but it shows on the other big chart, if your Honour pleases, with reference to Goebbels who was a very senior official in the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, by virtue of his position as propaganda leader of the Party.

In the issue of the 'Voelkischer Beobachter' of 29th May, 1944, there appeared an article written by Goebbels, the Reichsleiter for Party propaganda, in which he openly invited the German civilian population to punish Allied fliers shot down over Germany. I refer to Document 1676-PS, Exhibit USA 334, which is the issue of the `Voelkischer Beobachter' containing this article inciting the people to the commission of war crimes. I now quote:---

"It is possible only with the aid of arms to secure the lives of enemy pilots who were shot down during such attacks, for they would otherwise be killed by the sorely tried population. Who is right here? The murderers who, after their cowardly misdeeds, await a humane treatment on the part of their victims, or the victims who wish to defend themselves according to the principle: 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'? This question is not hard to answer."
Reichsleiter Goebbels then proceeds to answer this question in the following language, and still quoting:--
"It seems to us hardly possible and tolerable to use German police and soldiers against the German people when it treats murderers of children as they deserve."
On the 30th May, 1944, the defendant Bormann, Reichsleiter and Chief of the Party Chancellery, issued a circular letter on the subject which furnishes indisputable proof that British and American fliers, who were shot down, were lynched by the German population. I offer this circular letter of the defendant Bormann into evidence, Document 057- PS, it is up towards the top in the original book

[Page 40]

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got the original book?

COLONEL STOREY: Just a moment, your Honour.

After alleging that in recent weeks English and American fliers had repeatedly shot children, women, peasants, and vehicles on the highways, Bormann then states as follows in the second paragraph of the English translation. I quote:--

"Several instances have occurred where members of the crews of such aircraft, who have bailed out or who have made forced landings, were lynched on the spot immediately after capture by the populace, which was incensed to the highest degree. No police measures or criminal proceedings were invoked against the German civilians who participated in these incidents."
The attention of the Tribunal is particularly invited to the fact that this letter of the defendant Bormann is distributed through the chain of command of the Nazi Party, expressly mentioning on the distribution list Reichsleiter, Gauleiter, Kreisleiter, and leaders of the incorporated and affiliated organisations of the Party. The defendant Bormann requested in the first paragraph of the second page, which is found in the English translation, that the local group leaders (Ortsgruppenleiter) be informed of the contents. of his circular letter orally -- only by oral means.

The effect of Reichsleiter Bormann's circular letter may be seen in an order dated 25th February, 1945, which I now offer in evidence. It is Document L-154, Exhibit USA 335. It is an order from Albert Hoffmann, an important member of the Leadership Corps by virtue of his position as Gauleiter and National Defence Commissioner of the Gau Westfalen-South. It is addressed to all county councillors, mayors, police officials, and to county leaders and county chiefs of the Volkssturm.

"Fighter bomber pilots who are shot down are in principle not to be protected against the fury of the people. I expect from all police officers that they will refuse to lend their protection to these gangster types. Authorities acting in contradiction to the popular sentiment will have to account to me. All police and gendarmerie officials are to be informed immediately of this, my attitude."
The obligations----

THE PRESIDENT: Who is Hoffmann?

COLONEL STOREY: Albert Hoffmann was a member of the Leadership Corps by virtue of his position as Gauleiter and National Defence Commissar of the Gau Westfalen-South. In this connection, if your Honour pleases, I quote the provisions of the Geneva Convention, 27th July, 1929, Article 2, which provides -- and I simply ask the Court to take judicial notice:--

"Prisoners of war are in the power of the hostile power, but not of the individuals or corps who have captured them.

They must at all times be humanely treated and protected, particularly against acts of violence, insults, and public curiosity.

Measures of reprisal against them are prohibited."

THE PRESIDENT: Is that the 1907----

COLONEL STOREY: 1929, the Geneva Convention dated 27th July, 1929, and is Article 2, and it was also ratified by Germany and the United States. It is clear from the foregoing quoted provisions that the Geneva Prisoners of War convention imposes upon its signatories the strictest obligations to

[Page 41]

protect its prisoners of war from violence. The evidence just presented shows that the German State violated this provision. The evidence also proves that members of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated in the conspiracy to incite the German civilian population to take part in these atrocities.

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