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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Eighty-Ninth Day: Monday, 29th July, 1946
(Part 3 of 12)


[Page 9]

The same theme was taken up and cynically proclaimed by the spokes men of the State.

This trial has brought you many echoes thereof.

In a speech by Himmler we find these words again:

"What the nations of good blood can offer us we shall take, if necessary by taking their children away from them and bringing them up among us."
From the same speech:
"Whether nations thrive or starve only interests me inasmuch as we can use them as slaves for our civilization."
Still from the same speech:
"That 10,000 Russian women should die of exhaustion in digging an anti- tank ditch only interests me as to whether or not the anti-tank ditch has been completed for Germany.

When somebody comes and says to me, 'I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children; it is inhuman, for it will kill them,' then I have to say: 'You are a murderer of your own kin, because if the anti- tank ditch is not dug, German soldiers will die and they are sons of German mothers.'"

And concerning the extermination of Jews:
"We have exterminated a microbe. We do not wish to be contaminated and die from it. We have fulfilled this duty for the sake of our people. Our spirit and character have not suffered from it."
The conquest of living-space, i.e., of territories emptied of their population by every means including extermination - that was the great idea of, the Party, the system, the State, and consequently of all those at the head of the main administration of both State and Party.

[Page 10]

That is the main idea, in the pursuit of which they united and for which they worked. They stopped at nothing in order to achieve their end: violation of treaties, invasion and enslavement in peace time of weak and peaceful neighbours, wars of aggression and total warfare, with all the atrocities which these words imply. Goering and Ribbentrop cynically admitted that they took both a spiritual and a material part in it; and the Generals and Admirals did their utmost to help matters forward.

Speer exploited to the point of exhaustion and death the manpower recruited for him by Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, the NSDAP Gauleiter and the Generals. Kaltenbrunner made use of the gas chambers, the victims for which were furnished by Frick, Schirach, Seyss-Inquart, Frank, Jodl, Keitel and the rest. But the existence of the gas chambers themselves was only made possible through the development of a political ideology favourable to such things; there, inextricably merged, we find the responsibility of all of them - Goering, Hess, Rosenberg, Streicher, Frick, Frank, Fritzsche, down to Schacht himself, the pro-Jewish Schacht. Did he not say to Hirschfeld:

"I want Germany to be great; to accomplish this I am prepared to ally myself with the very devil."
He did enter into this alliance with the devil and with hell....

We may include Papen, who saw his secretaries and his friends killed around him and still continued to accept official missions in Ankara and Vienna because he thought he could appease Hitler by serving him.

Some are not present; some are dead and some still living; as, for example, the industrialists who exploited the workers of the enslaved countries after putting Hitler and his system in power by providing the funds, without which no action could have been possible, and who put them in power as much for reasons of nationalistic fanaticism as because they expected from Nazism the guarantee of their privileges.

Everything was kept steady, everything was indissolubly united because totalitarian policy, total war, the preparation and direction of the campaign of extermination of peoples for the conquest of living-space, implied the closest co-ordination and liaison between all the parts of the machine: between police and Army foreign affairs and police and Army; justice and police; economics and justice universities and propaganda and police. And now we come to the second point which we have to present to you:

The co-ordination of the various departments, at the head of which these men stood, implies close co-operation between them.

The defence has tried to establish the existence of watertight partitions between the different elements of the German State.

The aim pursued by the Party was therefore the achievement of an increasingly complete union between the State and the Party. This is the reason of the legislation which makes it compulsory for the head of the Party Chancellery to be consulted on the appointment of high-ranking officials, which incorporates Party chiefs into municipal administration, integrates the SS into the Folice, and converts the SS to police officers; makes the direction of the Hitler Youth a State department, brings the direction of Party headquarters abroad under the Foreign Office and merges the military personnel of the Party to an ever- increasing degree with those of the Army. General von Brodowsky's War Diary, which we have submitted to the Tribunal, shows that this merger was a fact at the time of the landing in France. Hitler, however, continued to maintain the system of parallel State and Party administration, because it exercised mutual control and supervision. But he insisted on the closest co-operation by both parties in order to be certain that the control was effective.

All the defendants, moreover, with the exception of Hess, are representatives of State departments. They cannot plead the absolute power of the Party as an excuse, since Party and State shared the power. The doctrine preached by the

[Page 11]

Party must guide the actions of the State, but the actions of the State in turn modify and develop the doctrine of the Party. Many items of the Party programme of 24th February, 1920, never came into effect and were completely forgotten when the Party had been in power for some time. For instance, unearned income was not abolished (item 13); trusts were not nationalized (item 13); land reform was not carried out as provided for in item 17; interest on property and speculation in real estate remained.

In the end, every aspect of German life was affected by the combined influence of the State and Party forces. All the departments of the State and the Party combined to make the component parts.

Examples are plentiful and may be found in every State department.

Let us take the department of Foreign Affairs. Of all the administrative sections of the State, this, according to the orthodox conception, should be the farthest removed from political doctrine. Not so in Nazi Germany. With a view to the extermination of the Jews, headquarters abroad co-operated with RSHA through the Wilhelmstrasse, as is shown by Exhibits RF 1206, 1220, 1502, 1210 and USA 433. Wilhelmstrasse officials were called upon to advise the military police and Secret State Police (Exhibit RF io6i). It was Best, Ribbentrop's representative in Denmark, who transmitted the order for the deportation of the Jews to the Chief of the German Police Mildner (Exhibit RF 1503). Exhibit RF 1501 shows Ribbentrop defending anti-Semitism to Mussolini and asking for Italian co-operation.

Ribbentrop and Kaltenbrunner are implicated in all the terrorist measures taken against the 6lite. The SD and the Wilhelmstrasse are also involved in the organization of attacks of a provocative nature, such as that made on the broadcasting station at Gleiwitz in order to furnish the pretext of an attack by the Poles. The report made by the German military administration on the pillage of art treasures in France incriminates both the special staff Rosenberg and the German Embassy in Paris (Exhibit RF 1505). The Wilhelmstrasse and the Army are involved along with the police in the question of hostages, reprisals and deportations. Examples could be multiplied. We do not claim to exhaust the subject, but only to give illustrations in support of an opinion.

Let us now examine the activities of Rosenberg's organizations. Rosenberg, by virtue of his function, co-ordinated several branches of the German State. His function in foreign policy was incorporated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Moreover, he was the philosopher of the regime, Minister for the Eastern Territories and chief of the Special Staff in charge of art treasures. The SD and the Secret Police worked in liaison with him (Documents L 188 and 945-PS).

We note the same liaison and the same co-ordination within the machinery of the State in questions of forced labour. All the Ministers and higher functionaries, such as the Gauleiter, were involved, either by planning or preparing the operation, or simply enforcing it, or benefiting by it.

We remember the inter-ministerial meetings in Berlin to discuss this subject and the conference between Sauckel, Kaltenbrunner, Speer, Funk and the representatives of the OKW which forms the subject of Document PS-3819. We remember. the meeting in Paris presided over by Sauckel and attended by representatives of the Army, the police and the Embassy (Exhibit RF 1517).

Neither was economic life any more independent. During the war there existed under Funk a close co-operation between the economic and administrative services of the Army and those of economic affairs. (Exhibit RF 3 bis.) The Ministry of Economics appealed to the police to work out plans for economic Germanization. (Exhibits RF 803 and 84) The Ministry of Finance subsidized the SS to carry out scientific research under abominable conditions, using internees as involuntary subjects for experiment. (Document 002-PS.) Under Schacht and long before the war, politics, finance and economic affairs were linked with the Army, at first secretly, and then publicly, and by bands closer than in any

[Page 12]

other country in the world. Schacht, in a speech on 29th November, 1938, pronounced the following opinion on his achievement:
"It is possible that no other issuing bank has followed in peace time a credit policy so audacious as that of the Reiclisbank since the assumption of power by National Socialism. With the aid of this policy, however, Germany has created the finest armament in the world, and this armament has made possible the results of our policy ......"
Nor was the judicial system more independent. We find it associated with the police in highly criminal enterprises. Document PS-654 contains an account of a discussion between Thierack, Hiramler and others, at the end of which it was decided that anti-social elements and concentration camp prisoners-Jews, gipsies, Russians, Ukrainians, Poles-sentenced to more than three years' imprisonment should be turned over by the administration to Hiramler to be exterminated by hard labour, and that, in future, individuals belonging to these categories should not be judged by ordinary tribunals but handed over immediately to Himmler's department.

Finally, during the war, the terrorist activities of the Army and the German police and the activities of the State and the Party merged together. On occasion, the police were subordinated to the Army, though retaining a certain autonomy, on the orders of the RSHA. This was the case in Belgium. In France, although separate from the Army, the police maintained close co-operation with it. The Army participated with the Sipo (Security Police) and the SD in the persecution of the Jews, the administration of the internment camp of Compiegne and the selection of hostages (RF 1212 and 1212 his) and execution (RF 1244). As we have seen, the Army and the police were associated in the terrorist actions against the populations. The Navy and the police were also associated in the massacre of the commandos, and the police were responsible for the murder of certain categories of war prisoners, although all these prisoners without exception came under the authority of the OKW (PS- 1165).

One might multiply instances of the close association of Party machinery and State services and the co-ordination between them, which at times amounted to symbiosis. In one way or another, they all worked for the realization of the common political aim: the conquest of space by all possible means.

The co-operation of the defendants is an obvious consequence. Apart from the definite fact of co-operation alleged by us, all that we know of the general functioning of this totalitarian State, bound to the destiny of the Party, the vigorous measures taken by it against its opponents, for whom it prepared camps and gas chambers -- all this leads us to affirm that the defendants, whether ministers, dignitaries or high functionaries with State or Party powers, combined with others who are not present -- who are dead or held for trial in other Courts -- to form one whole. And this entity was the Government of the Reich, this was the State-Party or Party-State; an entity, perhaps, but a conscious and criminal entity which decreed the murder of inillions of human' beings in order to enlarge the Reich beyond all limits.

The acts of the defendants are not only those particular ones which we analysed a moment ago in the light of the national penal codes of their own or our countries respectively. They include also those members of the German State for whom they acted, of that German State to which they gave life, conscience, thought, will, and for which they must now assume responsibility and bear the consequences, even the most extreme consequences, because they could not dissociate individually from these crimes. And this brings us to our third point:

The defendants must be judged on the basis of that criminal policy of which they were promoters and instruments.

Was it not Dr. Seidl who, defending Frank, said (Page 55 of his text):

"This is an acknowledged principle, deriving from the penal code of all civilized nations, that a uniform and natural action must be appraised in its

[Page 13]

entirety, and that all circumstances which can be considered must be examined in order to form a basis for passing judgment."
All the crimes of the defendants lie in their political life. They are, as we know, the elements of a criminal State policy. To consider the defendants as offenders against common law, to forget that they have acted in the name of the German State and, on account of that State, to apply the same standard to them as that applied to hooligans or to murderers, would narrow the scope of the Trial and misrepresent the character of their crimes. The crimes ordinarily tried by the courts of our countries show the criminal as opposed to the social order. These are individual deeds; their range is limited and their consequences circumscribed. Their crimes never strike more than a very few victims, and there are no examples in the annals of our countries of murder methodically perpetrated by terror organizations whose victims number more than a few hundred people....

That is the highest cost of a criminal plot within our own national communities.

Organized as they are, extremely hierarchical, and possessed of armed forces and judicial institutions, our national communities can eliminate delinquents before they can do all the harm of which they are capable.

These defendants, on the contrary, developed their criminal activity within the community of world States, unorganized, just beginning to be conscious of their own existence and at that time possessing neither armed power nor judges

. These defendants seized the German State and turned it into a gangster State, pressing into the service of their criminal plans all the executive power of that State. They acted as chiefs or heads of political, diplomatic, juridical, military, economic and financial staffs. The activity of these staffs is normally co-ordinated in any country as they serve a common purpose deriving from a common political idea. But in National Socialist Germany, as we know, such co-ordination was reinforced by the overlapping of party and administrative departments. Individual crimes were crimes of the community when they became the crimes of the State. Indeed, they were fostered by the political conception of each individual:

"Conquest of space at any price."
State crimes committed by any one of those who controlled a major department were made possible only because all those who controlled every other major department contributed their share. If some of them and their departments defaulted, it meant the collapse of the State, the annihilation of its criminal power and with it the end of the gas chambers or the technical impossibility of creating them. But none had either the intention or the desire to default, for gas chambers and extermination, for the sake of gaining living-space, were the dominant idea of the system; were, indeed, themselves the system.

Is not evidence of this unity in crime furnished by the very statements made by the defendants, the unremitting efforts of themselves and their counsel to prove the autonomy of their departments and throw the responsibility of the Army on to the police, that of the Foreign Office on to the head of the Government, that of the Labour Department on t(y the Four-Year Plan, that of the Gauleiter on to the Generals; in short, by their attempt to persuade us that everything in Germany was organized in watertight compartments; whereas the interdependence of the administration and Party and the multiplicity of connecting and controlling links between the State and Party prove the contrary by their skilful dovetailing? All French people who have lived in occupied France remember having seen on the walls of local Kornmandanturs a poster depicting the bricks of a wall with the words " Teneo quia teneor " printed over the picture. It was the whole motto of the system. It only needed a few bricks to be taken away for the wall to collapse. None of those men did that. On the contrary, they all contributed their own brick to the edifice.

In this way, gentlemen, by presenting the facts, apart from any legal conception Of conspiracy or complicity which might be debatable according to the varying

[Page 14]

opinions of the jurists, we furnish proof of solidarity and of the equal culpability of all in the crime.

To prove that they perpetrated the crime, it suffices to show that they were chiefs or high officials of the Party or one of the main State departments and that they acted on behalf of the State; that, in order to extend German living-space by every means at their command, they conceived, willed, ordered or merely tolerated by their silence the violation of treaties guaranteeing the independence of other countries; prepared or declared wars of aggression; systematically carried out mass murder and other atrocities; and systematically committed demolition and looting without justification.

This is the crime of the German Reich, and all the defendants have conspired to commit it.

We will prove this in the case of each of the defendants by means of examples taken from the proceedings.

Concerning each of the defendants, the three main points of this presentation will be the following:

1. The defendant occupied within the machinery of the State and the Party a position of eminence which endowed him with authority over one entire office or several.

2. The defendant complied with, if he did not conceive, the doctrine of the regime: "Conquest of space by any means."

3. He personally played an active part in the political development of this doctrine.

As to Goering and Hess, the Tribunal will undoubtedly allow me to dispense with developing their case at length. They were the appointed successors of the Fuehrer. They belonged to the movement from the beginning. Hess assumed responsibility for the racial laws. Both played a part in formulating the political doctrine of the regime, of which they were the embodiment in the eyes of the masses. By their speeches, their lectures, they made this doctrine familiar to all classes.

Goering made an active and essential contribution to the military and economic preparations for wars of aggression.

Goering is the founder of the Gestapo and the concentration camps where millions of alleged enemies of the regime found their death, and where ultimately genocide was almost totally achieved.

The major part of his criminal activities concerns the putting into practice of the Four Year Plan, the sole' object of which, as has been proved, was the preparation for war. In common with others, he is responsible for the depurtation and brutal treatment of workers and for their allocation to spheres of production aimed against their own country. Further, he was party to the allocation of prisoners of war and political prisoners to labour directly connected with the war effort of the Reich. He organized the plunder of the occupied countries and the destruction of their economy.

Lastly, he organized, with the help of Einsatzstab, Rosenberg, the wholesale looting of works of art, often with the object of enrichirfg his own collections.

Hess, by a decree of the Fuehrer dated 21st April, 1933, was given full powers to decide all questions of Party management. He participated in the preparation of laws and decrees in general, and even in the preparation of the Fillirer's decrees. He took part in the appointment of Government officials and the chiefs of labour services. He strengthened the Party's hold on the internal life of Germany. He exerted a direct influence on the Army and on foreign policy, The part which he played in the growth of anti-Semitism implicates him in the criminal consequences of the movement and condemns him.

Ribbentrop was one of the mainsprings of the Party and State machine. Placed in the Wilhelmstrasse by Hitler, who distrusted "old-fashioned" diplomats, he worked with all his might to create diplomatic conditions which would favour a war of aggression, the essential means for realizing the conquest of space.

[Page 15]

We recall the document submitted by our British colleagues establishing the fact that Ribbentrop assured Ciano in August, 1939, that Germany would make war even if Danzig and the Corridor were ceded to her. As has already been shown, he and his office were involved in acts of terrorism and extermination in the occupied countries.

My comments on Keitel are equally brief. The conditions under which he consented to be placed by Hitler at the head of the High Command of the Army in the place of von Fritsch and von Blomberg, and brought into the councils of the Government, his political activities in these posts, as indicated by his presence at the Fuehrer's side in Godesberg and later during the interviews with Petain and Horthy - to say nothing of the orders which he signed, not the least notorious of which was the order for the implementation of the N.N. decree - all these facts reveal that we are dealing here not with an ordinary soldier, but with a general who was also a politician, under orders of the regime. The part he played in the arrest and murder of patriots condemns him. There is no doubt whatsoever that he participated in the work of extermination, if only by handing over to the police for special treatment certain classes of prisoners of war in defiance of military honour. Moreover, we remember connections between his office and the police services and armed forces of the Party.

(A recess was taken.)

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