The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/08/31

(c) Murder of prisoners of war. It is not surprising that
units of the Waffen SS, a branch which had thus been
employed for extermination actions and the execution of
civilians, also violated the laws of warfare when carrying
on ordinary combat activities. Proof of these violations is
contained in a supplementary report of the Supreme
Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Court of Inquiry
concerning the shooting of allied prisoners of war by the
12th SS Panzer-Division (Hitler Jugend) in Normandy, France,
on 7-21 June 1944 (2997-PS). The Court of Inquiry concluded
that there occurred in Normandy, between 7 and 17 June 1944,
seven cases of violations of the law of war, involving the
shooting of 64 unarmed allied prisoners of war in uniform,
many of whom had been previously wounded, and none of whom
had resisted or endeavored to escape; that the perpetrators
were members of the 12th SS Panzer Division, the so-called
Hitler Jugend Division; that enlisted men of the 15th
Company of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment of that
Division were given secret order to the effect that SS
troops should take no prisoners and that prisoners were to
be executed after having been interrogated; that similar
orders were given to men of the 3d Battalion of the 26th SS
Panzer Grenadier Regiment and to the 12th SS Engineering and
Reconnaissance Battalions; and that the conclusion was
irresistible that it was understood throughout the Division
that a policy of denying quarter or executing prisoners
after interrogation was openly approved. (2997-PS)

Other combatants met a similar fate at the hands of other
components of the SS. (The execution of allied fliers, of
commandos, and paratroopers, and of escaped prisoners of war
who were turned over to the SD to be destroyed, is discussed
in Section 6 on the Gestapo.)

Combatants who were taken prisoner of war encountered the SS
in another form. (Section 6 on the Gestapo discusses the
selection, by SS groups stationed in prisoner of war camps,
of prisoners for what the Nazis euphemistically called
"special treatment.") Finally, the entire control of
prisoners of war was turned over to the Reichsfuehrer SS,
pursuant to the circular letter from the Nazi Party
Chancellery placing Himmler in charge of all prisoner of war
camps. (058-PS)

(8) Functions and activities with respect to Germanization
of Conquered lands. The final phase of the conspiracy in
which the SS played a leading role comprehended the
colonization of conquered territories the destruction of
their national existence, and permanent extension of the
German frontier. These objectives

                                                  [Page 230]
were carried out through the forcible evacuation and
resettlement of inhabitants of conquered regions,
confiscation of their properties, "denationalization" and
"reeducation" of persons of German blood, and the
colonization of conquered territories by Germans. (See
Chapter X on the Slave Labor Program and Chapter XIII on
Germanization and Spoliation.)

The SS was the logical agency to formulate and carry out the
execution of this program. The numerous statements made by
Himmler as to SS training for its role as the aristocracy in
the "new Europe" leave that beyond doubt. Himmler
immediately proceeded to put these theories into practice
upon his appointment on 7 October 1939 as Reich Commissioner
for the Consolidation of German Folkdom. (686-PS)

To make and carry out plans for the program of evacuation
and resettlement, a new department of the SS Supreme
Command, the Staff Headquarters of the Reich Commissioner
for the Consolidation of German Folkdom, was created. The
functions of this office are thus described in the
Organizations Book of the NSDAP for 1943:

     "The Main Office of the Staff of the Reichs Commissar
     for the Consolidation of German Nationality is
     entrusted with the whole settlement and constructive
     planning and with its execution in the Reich and all
     those territories within the authority of the Reich,
     including all administrative and economic questions in
     connection with settlement, especially the deployment
     of manpower for this purpose." (2640-PS)

The colonization program had two principal objectives: the
first phase was the destruction of the conquered peoples, by
exterminating them, deporting them, and confiscating their
property; the second phase was the bringing back of racial
Germans to settle in the newly acquired land and to live
from the wealth of those who had been eliminated.

(a) Elimination and deportation of conquered people. The
extermination actions contributed in part to clearing the
conquered territories of persons deemed dangerous to the
Nazi plan, But not every undesirable could be liquidated.
Moreover, manpower was needed for the Nazi war effort. Mass
deportation thus accomplished the twin purpose of providing
labor and of freeing the land for German colonists. The
participation of SS agencies in deporting persons from the
conquered territories to meet the increased demands of the
Nazi war machine for manpower has already been shown. The
evacuation and resettlement program, however, required the
use of additional SS agencies to-deport persons occupying
the desired living space. For this purpose im-

                                                  [Page 231]
migration centers were set up under the direction of RSHA,
as is stated in the National Socialist Yearbook for 1941:

     "For some time now the Reichsfuehrer-SS has had at his
     disposal an office under the management of SS-
     Obergruppenfuehrer Lorenz, the Volksdeutsche
     Mittelstelle. This office has the task of dealing with
     National German questions and the raising of required
     "In addition to the VM the Immigration Center Offices
     with the Chief of the Security Police and the Security
     Service of the S (under the management of SS-
     Obersturmbannfuehrer -Dr. Sandberger) and the
     Settlement Staff of the Reich-Commissioner were
     created, which, in cooperation with the NSV [National
     Socialist Welfare Organization] and the Reich Railroad
     Agency, took charge of the Migration of National
     Germans." (2163-PS)

Further evidence is contained in the affidavit of Otto
Hoffman, SS Obergruppenfuehrer and General of the Waffen SS
and Police, who was chief in the Main Office for Race and
Settlement in the SS Supreme Command until 1943. This
affidavit, taken at Freising, Germany, on 4 August 1945
reads as follows:

     "*** 2. The executive power, in other words the
     carrying out of all so-called resettlement actions,
     that is to say, ending away of Polish and Jewish
     settlers and those of non-German blood from a territory
     in Poland destined for Germanization, was in the hands
     of the Chief of the RSHA (Heydrich and later
     Kaltenbrunner, since the end of 1942). The Chief of the
     RSHA also supervised and issued orders to the so-called
     immigration center (EWZ) which classified the Germans,
     living abroad who returned to Germany and directed them
     to the individual farms, already freed. The latter was
     done in agreement with the chief office of the
     Reichsfuehrer SS." (L-49)

Other SS agencies also were included. The report, dated 22
May 19 relating to confiscation of Polish agricultural
enterprises and deportation of the Polish owners to Germany,
shows that the following SS agencies were involved in this

     "Means of transportation to the railroad can be
     provided by the enterprise of the East German
     Corporation of Agricultural Development, (2)by the SS
     NCO School in Lublinitz and the concentration camp of
     "These two latter places will also detail the necessary
     SS men for the day of the confiscation, etc." (1352-PS)

The extent to which departments of the Supreme Command of
the SS were concerned with the evacuation program is shown

                                                  [Page 232]
by the minutes of a meeting on 4 August 1942 dealing with
the treatment of deported Alsatians (R-114). The minutes
list those present at the meeting as follows:

    "SS.-'Hauptsturmfuehrer' Dr. Stier                 |
     SS.-'Hauptsturmfuehrer' Petri                     | Staff
    'RR' Hoffmann                                      |  Headquarters
     SS.-'Untersturmfuehrer' Foerster                  |
     SS.-'Obersturmfuehrer' Dr. Hinrichs, Chief of Estate Office
          and Settlement Staff, Strasbourg [Leiter des
          Bodenamtes und Ansiedlungsstabes Strasburg]
     SS.-'Sturmbannfuehrer' Bruckner, Intermediate Office for
          Racial Germans (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle)
     SS.-'Hauptsturmfuehrer' Hummisch, Main Office Reich Security
     SS.-'Untersturmfuehrer' Dr. Sieder, Main office for race and 
          settling [Rus-Hauptamt]
     Dr. Labes, D.U.T." (R-114)
The minutes read in part as follows:
     "1. State of deportation in Alsace.
     "The starting point of the conference was a report on
     the deportation effected so far and further plans for
     resettlement in Alsace."


     "The representatives of the SS Main Offices present
     were united in this opinion:
     "II. 1. The Gauleiter's plans for evacuation can be
     approved in principle, since they confine themselves in
     fact to a class of persons, whose presence in the Reich
     would be insupportable for racial and political
     reasons." (R-114)

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