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 11 of 12)

[GENERAL RUDENKO continues.]

[Page 51]


A lawyer by training, the defendant Hans Frank was one of those who liked to talk about revising the "ancient German" law for Germans, about "Principles of Justice" for the "select," about the "right of the chosen people" to annihilate nations and countries.

In 1939, he was that man who, for a long time past, had been corrupting the German legal concept, and to whom Hitler entrusted the fate of subjugated Poland. Frank arrived in Poland to realize practically his entire programme for the enslavement and extermination of the people on the territory of a country with an age-old history and with a high and original standard of culture.

I should like to remind the Tribunal of some of Frank's views expressed during the first months of his stay in Poland, taken from his so-called "diary." It is hardly worth while to discuss with the defence counsel the probative value of this document.

Frank himself declared to the magistrate that "this document was of historical importance," and to the question "whether all his statements contained in the diary were true," he replied, "They fully correspond to what I know."

On 19th January, 1940, Frank declared with cynical frankness, at a conference of the Departmental Leaders:

"On 15th September, 1939, I was entrusted with the task of governing the conquered Eastern territories, and received a special order to ruin this territory ruthlessly as a war territory and a war trophy, and to turn it into a heap of rubble from the viewpoint of the social, economic, cultural and political structure."
On 31st October, 1939, in the presence of Goebbels, at a conference uniting the leading officials of the Government General, he declared:
"A perfectly clear differentiation must be made between the German people -- the master race -- and the Poles."
He then remembered that Polish culture which Frank, as defence counsel Dr. Seidl has said here, cared for so greatly. He stated:
"The Poles can be allowed only those possibilities for educating themselves which would prove the hopelessness of the destiny of their nation. Bad films alone or films demonstrating the might and greatness of the Germans can be taken into consideration for this purpose."
One of Frank's first instructions was the order to shoot hostages. Later on similar orders were to be counted by the hundred and by the thousand until they finally culminated in the edition of "regulations " dated 2nd October, 1943.

[Page 52]

On 10th November, 1939, Frank was informed that the day of Polish independence was approaching, and that posters were to be hung up on certain houses to remind the Poles of their national holiday. The following entry then appeared in Frank's "diary": "The Governor General decrees that one inhabitant of the male sex is to be taken from every house on which a poster of this kind is hung up and is to be shot. The Pole must feel that we do not intend building a lawful State for him." The short extract we are quoting from the speech Frank made at the conference of the Chiefs of Departments of the Government General characterizes this Hitlerite "lawyer" far better than any lengthy excerpts taken from his full-dress speeches which we were obliged to listen to here....

Frank's criminal activities in Poland were so very manifold that there is no possibility, in a short speech, to reconstruct for the Tribunal the innumerable proofs of his guilt which have been submitted in this courtroom and which are evidently still fresh in the memory of the judges.

But from Frank's criminal activities in Poland we must segregate that pre-dominant trait which is Frank's connivance at the murder of millions of people.

Of course he looted, he was Goering's Plenipotentiary for the Four-Year Plan and he looted, so to say, "be it merely in this capacity."

He sent over two million Poles to Germany for forced labour. The attempt of the defence to represent Frank as "the enemy of coercive methods of recruitment " can be based only on the assumption that nobody excepting counsel had studied Frank's diaries. For Frank never can escape documents such as the minutes of the meeting of the Departmental Leaders, dated 12th April, 1940, or the notes of Gauleiter Sauckel of the 18th August, 1942, or the transcript of the meeting with Buehler, Krueger and others of the 21st April, 1940.

But he sent people to forced labour in order to wring them dry in the interests of the "Reich" before sending them to their doom. The regime established by Hans Frank throughout Poland during all the stages of the temporary German domination in this country was a regime for the inhuman destruction of millions of people by varied but invariably criminal methods.

It is not merely incidental that the German-Fascist assassins who annihilated eleven thousand Polish prisoners of war in Katyn Forest should refer to the regime which Frank instituted in Poland as an example of his own activities (as the Tribunal has been able to ascertain not so very long ago in this courtroom from the evidence presented by the former deputy to the Mayor of Smolensk -- Professor Basilevski).

I consider it to be particularly important, at this point, to emphasize the concept Frank had of the relations with the Polish population after the war:

"I insistently draw your attention," said Frank, " to the fact that, should peace be concluded, nothing would change in our treatment. This peace will signify that we, as a world power, will conduct more firmly than hitherto our general line of policy. This peace would signify that we will have to carry out colonization on a grandiose scale, but the principle will not have changed."
This was stated in 1940 when Frank was contemplating the first mass murder of the Polish "intelligentsia," the so-called "AB" action.

In 1944, at the meeting of the agricultural leaders at Zakopane, Frank said:

"If we win the war, then, in my opinion, we could make mincemeat of the Poles and Ukrainians and of all those who are idling around the Government General. If only we keep them in subordination during war time ... come what may."
It was not Frank's fault that as far back as 1944, dreaming to make " mince-meat " of Poles and Ukrainians, he was compelled to add: "If we win the war." At this time he could not be so emphatic in his utterings as on 2nd August, 1943, when at the reception of the Party speakers in the Royal Palace in Cracow he spoke about the exterminated Polish Jews.

[Page 53]

"Here.we started out with 3,500,000 Jews, now but a few workers remain of this number. All the others, we shall some day say, emigrated."
Both Frank and his counsel attempted to prove that the defendant had known nothing about the happenings in the concentration camps of the Government General. However, in this very "secret report," addressed by Frank to Hitler, which defence counsel tried to utilize on Frank's behalf, we may find a confirmation of the fact that Frank was well informed about what was occurring in the camps. It is said there:
"The majority of the Polish intellectuals have not reacted to the news from Katyn and quote in answer similar atrocities in Auschwitz."
Frank then quotes a highly characteristic passage describing the reaction of the Polish workers to the provocative communications of the Germans about Katyn:
"There are concentration camps in Auschwitz and Maidanek, where mass murder of the Poles was carried out on chain-production lines."
And further:
"Today, unfortunately, Polish public opinion, and not the intellectuals alone, compares Katyn to the mass death rate in the German concentration camps, as well as to the shooting of men, women, and even of children and old people, during the infliction of collective punishment in the districts."
After the "secret report" addressed to Hitler, no other "new course" was adopted by Frank. On the contrary, Frank published his regulation of 2nd October, 1943, which the defendant himself termed as "dreadful" when questioned by his counsel. After his "regulation" had been carried into effect, many thousands of innocent people became the victims of this decision. The number of executions increased steadily till it amounted to 200 persons executed at one time in Warsaw.

The same happened in the streets of all the Polish towns where the so-called "police courts" carried out executions, as stated in the text of the regulation itself, immediately following the verdict. The people doomed to die were brought to the execution grounds, bled white in the prisons, wearing paper clothing, their lips glued together with adhesive tape, their mouths stuffed with plaster. At the State conference held in Cracow on 16th December, 1943, where Frank stated, with great satisfaction, that the executions had had "favourable consequences," another question was simultaneously discussed. In the records of this conference it is stated:

"One must perhaps also consider whether special places of execution should not be created for this, for it had been ascertained that the Polish population streamed to places of execution which were accessible to all, in order to put the blood-soaked earth into containers and take these to the church."
Defence counsel tried to speak here about the interminable dissensions of Frank with the police; he had allegedly disagreed with their action. Let us see what kind of dissensions these were.

The first "Sonderaktion" carried out in Poland, namely Operation AB the extermination of several thousands of Polish intellectuals - had not been initiated by the police, but by Frank himself. According to Hitler's decree of 2nd May, 1942, the Chief of Police was subordinated to the Governor General. When some dissensions between Frank and the Chief of Police did arise, it was Krueger who had to leave his post of Police Chief, whereas Frank remained Governor General of Poland. As for "Obergruppenfuehrer" Koppe, who took over from Krueger, who else but Frank expressed his thanks to him on 16th December, 1943, for shooting the hostages, his "gratitude for his fruitful work," and noted with satisfaction "a great specialist is at the head of the police in the Government General." It is incomprehensible what dissensions with the police Counsel Seidl was talking about.

The defence even tried to represent Frank as "a kind of peaceful anti-Semite," who, while entertaining a negative attitude towards the Jewish people, never

[Page 54]

initiated massacres of the Jews or even instigated them. It is incomprehensible in this case how the following words of Frank would be interpreted by counsel:
"The Jews are a race that should be exterminated. Wherever we catch even one ... we shall do away with him."
Or his declaration at the Government session of i 2th August, 1942, when he said:
"The fact that we have condemned one to two million Jews to starvation is quite comprehensible. It stands to reason that if these Jews do not die of starvation, it will precipitate active measures against the Jews."
The criminal activity of this henchman of the Polish nation led to the extermination of millions.

"You see how the State organs are working, you see that they do not shrink before anything, and people by the dozen are put up against the wall." This is the manner in which Frank himself, at a conference of the Standartenfuehrers held on the 18th March, 1942, characterized the bloody regime of terror set up throughout Poland.

"I did not hesitate to declare that for one German killed, up to a hundred Poles would be shot."
These words were pronounced by Frank on the 15th January, 1944, at a meeting of the political leaders of the NSDAP.
"Had I gone to the Fuehrer and told him: 'My Fuehrer, I report that I have destroyed another 150,000 Poles,' he would have said: 'Fine, if it was necessary.'"
Frank stated this on the 18th March, 1944, whilst making a speech at the Reichshof, that same Frank who now tries to convince the Tribunal that he had some " differences of opinion on matters of principle " with Hitler and Himmler.

Those declarations that Frank made during the first months of his stay in Poland constituted a genuine murder programme perpetrated by the defendant methodically, ruthlessly and according to plan.

Frank, of course, was fully aware of the fact that should war not lead to victory, he would have to bear the full responsibility for the crimes committed in Poland, as well as for his participation in the Fascist conspiracy.

As far back as 1943, Frank spoke about this at a meeting with his accomplices. We must give credit where it is due: as a lawyer, he was far more correct in his depiction and formulation of the concepts of a criminal conspiracy than certain lawyers at this trial who, basing themselves on obsolete ideas, endeavour to dispute the foundation for a conspiracy put forward by the prosecution.

It was at this Government meeting, held jointly with the police on the 25th January, 1943, that the then Governor General declared to Himmler's hyenas:

"... I should like to state one thing: we must not be squeamish when we learn that a total of 17,000 people have been shot. After all, these people who were shot are also war victims.... We must remember that all of us who are gathered together here figure on Mr. Roosevelt's list of war criminals. I have the honour of being Number One. We have therefore become, so to speak, accomplices in the sense of world history. For this very reason we must keep together, we must share the same general ideas, and it would be ridiculous if we were to let ourselves get involved in any squabbles over methods."
This appeal to murder is very far from the "interminable quarrels with the police" which defendant Frank has mentioned here.

The defendant made a mistake . about one thing: he was incorrect in defining his place in the dock. But he was not mistaken about the fundamental facts: he took his place in the dock as a "criminal in an historical sense on a world-wide scale."


The history of the development of the Nazi movement in Germany and the numerous crimes of the Hitlerites are indissolubly connected with the name of the defendant Wilhelm Frick.

As Minister of the Interior of the Hitlerite Government, Frick participated in the promulgation of numerous laws, decrees and other acts directed at the destruction of democracy in Germany, the persecution of the Church, the discrimination against the Jews, etc.

In this capacity, the defendant Frick contributed very actively to the creation in Germany of the Hitlerite totalitarian State.

Over a period of many years, the German Secret State Police (Gestapo), which was to acquire agrim reputation, was subordinated to the defendant Frick.

The directive concerning the extermination of old people and of the insane was issued in 1940 by none other than the defendant Frick.

In his function of Minister of the Interior in Hitlerite Germany, as testified by the witness Gisevius in this Court, Frick was fully cognizant of the vast system of concentration camps spread throughout the Reich, as well as of the existence in these camps of an inhuman regime.

The part played by the defendant Frick in the preparation and realization of the Hitlerite Government's aggressive plans was very considerable. He was a member of the State Defence Council as well as Plenipotentiary for General Administration.

All the documents by which the Hitlerite conspirators legalized the incorporation by Germany of the territories seized were signed, among others, by the defendant Frick.

In his capacity of Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, the defendant Frick bears personal responsibility for all the crimes committed on that territory by the Hitlerites.

After the treacherous attack of Hitlerite Germany on the Soviet Union, the defendant Frick's Ministry of the Interior participated extremely actively in creating the administration of the territories seized in the USSR. The machinery of the German occupational authorities in the East was mainly staffed by officials of the Ministry of the Interior.

There is no need to dwell once again on the part played by this machinery, which had been created with the active co-operation of the defendant Frick, for the extermination, the driving into slavery and the other inhuman actions carried out against the civilian population of the occupied territories.

Frick bears full and direct responsibility for all these crimes, inasmuch as he was an active participant in the Nazi conspiracy.

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