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 8 of 12)

[GENERAL RUDENKO continues.]

[Page 37]


The defendant Rudolf Hess occupied a leading position among the conspirators from the very beginnings of the Fascist State.

It was Hess who had been the leader of the Fascist organization of the University of Munich. It was he who had participated in the Munich Putsch. It was he who, together with Hitler, had worked at the Fascist Bible Mein Kampf, carrying out the duties of Hitler's private secretary. It was he who had been president of the Central Political Commission of the Fascist Party, and it was he who had carried into effect the bestial policy of the Fascist cut-throats as "Deputy-Fuehrer" after the seizure of power.

It was precisely Hess to whom, according to Hitler's decree of the 21st April, 1933, "full rights were granted to take decisions on Hitler's behalf in all questions concerning the leadership of the Party."

Later on Hess continued to seize one new post after the other in Hitler's Government. As from the 1st December, 1933, he was Reich Minister without portfolio "to ensure close collaboration between the Party and shock troops with the civil authorities"; on the 4th February, 1938, he was appointed. member of the Secret Council; on the 30th August, 1939, member of the Cabinet for the Defence of the Reich, and on 1st September, 1939, Hitler declared Hess his successor after Goering. Hess was also appointed Obergruppenfuehrer SS and SA.

By a decree of the 27th July, 1934, Hitler compelled the leaders of all the departments and ministries in Germany to present drafts of laws to Hess for preliminary sanction.

Hess had to select and allocate the leading staff of the Fascist cadres. This is testified by Hitler's decree of the 24th September, 1935, and by other documents submitted to the Tribunal by the prosecution.

Special note should be taken of the active part played by Hess in planning and carrying out aggressive wars. All the aggressive actions of Hitler's Germany had been planned and prepared with the, direct assistance of Hess and the Party machinery of the Nazis was subordinated to him.

On the 12th October, 1936, in his speeches in Bavaria, Hess appealed to the Germans "to use a little less fat, a little less pork, fewer eggs..." "We know," said Hess, "that the foreign currency that is saved in this way goes for armaments. And the slogan of the day is 'Cannons instead of butter.'"

Hess spoke about this on the eve of his flight to England on the 1st May, 1941, speaking at the Messerschmitt factory where he made an appeal for the continuation of the aggressive war.

Together with Hitler, Goering and other leaders of the Nazi conspiracy, Hess signed the decrees concerning the annexation of other territories seized by the Germans.

The man-hating Nuremberg laws, for the publishing of which the defendant is also responsible, contain a special proviso authorizing Frick and Hess to issue the necessary decrees-for carrying these laws into effect. Hess signed the law on the " protection of race and honour," the decree of 14th September, 1935, depriving the Jews of their right to vote, and of their right to employment in Government offices, and also the decree Of 20th May, 1938, extending the Nuremberg laws to Austria. The question of the part played by Hess in organizing a network for espionage and terroristic units abroad, in creating the SD (Security Service) and in the recruitment of SS units has been sufficiently elucidated at this trial.

The very position occupied by Hess in the Fascist Party and Hitler's Government shows the active and leading participation of the defendant in the preparation and realization of the common criminal plan of the Fascist conspirators, and consequently the enormous share of his guilt and responsibility for the Crimes against Peace, for the War Crimes and the Crimes against Humanity.

Your Honours, in order to evaluate more correctly the importance of the criminal activity of the defendant Hess as one of the more notorious leaders of the Nazi

[Page 38]

Party and Hitler's Government, I shall remind you of the article in the newspaper Nationale Zeitung, of 24th April, 1941, dedicated to Hess.
"Many years ago - it was before the beginning of the war - Rudolf Hess was called the Conscience of the Party. It is not difficult to answer the question why this honourable name was given to the Fuehrer's Deputy. There is not an event in our public life that is not connected with the name of the Deputy Fuehrer. He is so versatile and original in his work and in his sphere of activity, that they cannot be described in a few words ... many measures carried out by the Government, especially in the field of war economy and in the Party, were realized entirely by the Deputy Fuehrer."
Hess refused to offer explanations to the Tribunal. His counsel, Seidl, declared with false pathos that Hess considered the present Tribunal incompetent to judge the German war criminals ... and immediately afterwards, without a pause, he presented proofs in his defence. Hess even tried to declare himself insane to avoid the punishment he deserved. But when he was convinced that such a manoeuvre would not help him, he was forced to tell the Tribunal that he had simulated loss of memory, that it had been a trick on his part, and he had to admit that he bore full responsibility for all that he had done and signed, together with the others. Thus, this clumsy attempt of Hess to avoid responsibility was fully exposed at the trial and he should suffer the full extent of his punishment for his participation in the common plan or conspiracy for committing Crimes against Peace, War Crimes and the most grievous Crimes against Humanity, crimes perpetrated by him together with the other defendants.


The name of Martin Bormann is closely connected with the creation of Hitler's regime. He was one of those who committed the most outrageous crimes, directed at the annihilation of many hundreds of thousands.

Together with.the defendant Rosenberg, Bormann carried on with cruel per severance a propaganda of racial theories together with the persecution of the Jews.

He issued numerous instructions aiming at discrimination against the Jews in Hitler's Germany, which discrimination later on had such fatal effects and resulted in the annihilation of the Jews. By this activity, he won Hitler's confidence. He was " authorized to represent the Party in the sphere of Government activities" (Regulations and Orders of the Party Chancellery, Vol. II, Page 228) and represent it he did. Thus, as Chief of the Party Chancellery, he directly participated in the annihilation of Jews, gipsies, Russians, Ukrainians, Poles and Czechoslovaks.

Under his leadership the NSDAP became a police organization, closely co- operating with the German Secret Police and the SS.

Bormann not only knew of all the aggressive plans of Hitler's Government, but he also took an active part in their realization.

He made full use of the entire Party machinery of the NSDAP to realize the agkressive plans of Hitler's Government, and he appointed the Party Gauleiter as Plenipotentiaries for the Defence of the Reich in the regions where they operated.

The NSDAP Party machinery, and Bormann personally, participated actively in all measures taken by the German military and civil authorities for the inhuman exploitation of prisoners of war.

This is proved by the numerous instructions and directives issued by Bormann.

The materials of the prosecution and the legal proceedings have now established the extent of mass annihilation resulting from the savage ill-treatment of the prisoners of war.

The Party machinery and the defendant Bormann personally participated directly in the measures adopted by Hitler's Government in connection with the deportation of the peoples of the occupied territories for slave labour.

The secret deportation of Ukrainian girls to Germany for enforced Germanization was carried out with Bormann's approval.

[Page 39]

By Hitler's order of 18th October, 1944, Bormann and Himmler were entrusted with the leadership of the "Volkssturm," consisting of all men from 16 to 6o years of age capable of carrying arms.

On the eve of the collapse of Hitler's Germany, Bormann headed the "Were- wolf " underground organization for divertionist and subversive activities behind the Allied lines.

Bormann participated directly in the plunder of historical and cultural treasures and works of art in the occupied territories. In 1943 he made suggestions for the intensification of the economic plunder in the occupied territories.

Such are the crimes of the defendant Bormann, Hitler's closest collaborator, sharing the full responsibility for the numerous crimes of Hitler's Government and the Nazi Party.


Joachim von Ribbentrop was not only one of the principal instigators and leaders of the foreign policy of Hitlerite Germany, but he was also one of the most active participants in the criminal conspiracy.

Having officially entered the Nazi Party in 1932, the defendant, however, contributed to the seizure of power by the Nazis long before this actually occurred, and he rapidly became the official adviser of the Party, inasmuch as he was the "collaborator of the Fuehrer on matters of foreign policy."

Ribbentrop's promotion is indissolubly connected with the development of the activities of the Nazi conspirators, activities directed against the interests of peace.

In his testimony Ribbentrop declared: "He (Hitler) knew that I was his loyal collaborator." That is why on the 4th February, 1938, Hitler appointed the convinced and faithful Nazi, Ribbentrop, as official leader of foreign policy, a post which was one of the most important forces in the realization of the entire Nazi conspiracy.

Ribbentrop, however, did not limit his activities to the scope of foreign policy. As member of the Hitlerite Government, the Reich Defence Council and the Secret Council, he participated in the solution of all the innumerable problems connected with the preparation of aggressive wars. That is why he, Ribbentrop, although he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, participated in the solution and realization of problems only faintly relevant to foreign policy, such as the exploitation of manpower in war time, the organization of the concentration camps, and so forth. In this connection it should be noted that Ribbentrop signed a special, large-scale agreement with Hirmnler on the organization of joint intelligence service.

Ribbentrop became Reich Foreign Minister exactly at the beginning of the realization of the plans of aggression, which reckoned on the submission of Europe to Germany. This coincidence is no accident. Ribbentrop was considered, not without reason, as the most adequate person for the realization of this criminal conspiracy. He was preferred even to such an expert in foreign provocation as Rosenberg, upon which the latter then made an official complaint, not without reason. And Hitler was not mistaken in his choice, for Ribbentrop fully justified his confidence.

As early as 12th February, 1938, a week after his appointment, Ribbentrop, together with Hitler and the defendant Papen, who for a long time before this date had been directing the diversionist activities of the Nazi agency in Austria, participated in a conference at the Obersalzberg.

At this meeting he addressed an ultimatum, punctuated by threats, to the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg and the latter's Foreign Minister, Schmidt, demanding their agreement to the sacrifice of Austria's independence, and this object was attained.

As Minister, Ribbentrop was present at the conference of 28th May, 1938, during which a decision was made for the execution of plan "Gruen" - the plan for aggression against Czechoslovakia.

[Page 40]

In conformity with the Nazi tactics of weakening their future victim from inside, Ribbentrop constantly kept a close contact with and gave material assistance first to the German Sudeten Party, and then to the Slovak nationalists, with the object of attaining an internal split and fratricidal war in Czechoslovakia.

Having seized Czechoslovakia, the Nazi conspirators, and Ribbentrop amongst them, began to prepare for and to realize the next aggressive act, which had already been outlined by them in their criminal plan against peace-the attack on Poland.

Being forced by reason of the recently realized annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia to temporarily conceal Germany's further intentions, Ribbentrop personally and through the agency of his diplomats endeavoured to allay the vigilance of the European States by hypocritical declarations to the effect that Germany had no further territorial demands.

On 26th January, 1939, in Warsaw, the Foreign Minister of Fascist Germany, Ribbentrop, declared:

" . . . that the consolidation of friendly relations between Germany and Poland on the basis of existing agreements constituted the most important factor of Germany's foreign policy."
A very short time elapsed, and Poland experienced the full value of these assurances of Ribbentrop.

I will not dwell here on the perfidious part played by the defendant Ribbentrop in the German aggression against Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, for my colleagues have already dealt with this matter convincingly enough....

The defendant Ribbentrop personally participated in carrying out the aggression against Yugoslavia and Greece.

Reverting to his favourite method of giving false guarantees in order to conceal future aggressions, defendant Ribbentrop assured Yugoslavia, on 20th April, 1938, that after the Anschluss, Germany's frontiers with Yugoslavia were considered both final and unalterable.

At that time, manifold preparations for aggression were carried out with the assistance of the defendant Ribbentrop. On the 12th and 13th of August, 1939, at the conference held by Hitler and Ribbentrop with Clano at Salzburg, an agreement was reached concerning the liquidation of the neutrals one by one.

With the direct and immediate assistance of the defendant Ribbentrop, the Nazi conspirators planned, prepared and executed the treacherous attack on the USSR of the 22nd June, 1941.

The defendant Ribbentrop himself admitted in this courtroom that at the end of August and the beginning of September, 1940, i.e., at the time when the work on plan "Barbarossa" was being carried out (as is evident from the depositions of General Warlimont, General Mueller and Field- Marshal Paulus) the defendant Keitel was discussing with him the question of attacking the USSR.

The activities of the defendant and the ministry directed by him played a primary part in the organization of war against the USSR with the participation of Finland, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.

Already after the beginning of the aggression of Germany against the Soviet Union, the defendant Ribbentrop continued to apply his efforts to lure new accomplices to the side of Germany. Thus in a telegram to the German Ambassador in Tokio on ioth July, 1941, he said:

"I beg you to try all the means at your disposal to influence Matsuoka in order to force japan to enter into war with Russia as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. The final aim should be that Japan and ourselves shake hands on the Siberian railway before winter comes."
As has been established at the trial, Ribbentrop, together with the other defendants, was preparing a policy of extermination and plunder, planned by the Hitlerites, and then carried it out in the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union. The defendant Rosenberg, who was elaborating the plans for the

[Page 41]

exploitation of the occupied territories in Eastern Europe, held a conference on this question with OKW, the Ministry of Economics, the Ministry of the Interior, and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his " Report about preparatory work on the Eastern European question " he wrote:
"As a result of negotiations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the latter appointed Consul General Braeutigam as their representative to Roseriberg."
It is therefore indisputable that Ribbentrop not only knew about the preparations for the military attack on the USSR, but that he, together with the other conspirators, had planned beforehand the colonization of the territory of the Soviet Union, the enslavement and extermination of the Soviet citizens.

The defendant was compelled to admit that he had known of the notes issued by the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V. M. Molotov concerning the atrocities of the Hitlerites in the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union. He, as well as the other conspirators, had also known the other declarations of the Chiefs of the Allied Governments concerning the responsibility imposed upon the Nazi Government for the perpetration of the monstrous atrocities in the occupied countries.

Ribbentrop, as the witness for the defence, Steingracht, former Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, has confirmed, had been one of the initial organizers and was to be appointed honorary member of the International Anti-Jewish Congress which the Germans hoped to convene in July, 1944, in Cracow.

Ribbentrop himself admitted at the Trial that he had negotiated with the Governments of European countries about the banishment of the Jews.

According to the record of Ribbentrop's conversation with Horthy:

"The Minister of Foreign Affairs declared to Horthy that the Jews should either be exterminated or sent to concentration camps. There can be no other decision."
This statement amply confirms the fact that Ribbentrop was aware of the existence of the concentration camps although he tried hard to prove the reverse here.

Ribbentrop lent his support to other Nazi leaders and above all to the defendant Sauckel in deporting the population of the occupied countries for forced labour in Germany.

Moreover, the defendant Ribbentrop, when carrying out the common plan of conspiracy which included the destruction of the national culture of the peoples of the occupied territories, took a most active part in plundering cultural treasures which are the common property of all nations.

To carry out this task, and on Ribbentrop's instructions, a "Special Service Battalion" had been created at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which during the entire war followed the advance units, and requisitioned and deported to Germany all kinds of cultural treasures from the occupied territories in the East, in accordance with Ribbentrop's directions.

Thus the defendant Ribbentrop had participated in the seizure of power by the Nazis, playing a leading role in planning, preparing and waging aggressive and predatory wars; together with the other conspirators he participated, in accordance with the Fascist plans, in the leadership, committing grievous crimes against the nations whose territories had been temporarily occupied by the Hitlerite invaders.

[ 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.