Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-rosenberg.04 Last-Modified: 1997/11/30 Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B Reason for Harsh Treatment of Eastern Peoples Testimony of Alfred Rosenberg, taken at Nurnberg, Germany, on 29 September 1945, 1022-1152, by Lt. Col. Thomas A. Hinkel, IGD. Also present: Bernard Reymon, Interpreter; S/Sgt. William A. Weigel, Court Reporter [Page 1347] Q. Why were the occupied countries of the West treated differently from the occupied countries of the East? A. Because those whom we considered as our adversaries or opponents from the point of view of our conception of the world are different in the West from what they are in the East. In the West there were certain Jewish organizations and Masonic lodges, and in the East there was nothing more than the Communist Party. Q. Well, I am not speaking now so much with reference to organizations, but to racial groups. Why was the treatment accorded the racial groups in the East different from that accorded the racial groups in the West? A. I don't understand your question. Q. Well, the question is very simple. You know and I know that the treatment accorded the peoples of the eastern occupied territories was quite different from that accorded the peoples of the Western occupied territories, and I want to know why. A. Inasmuch as I could in my capacity as Reichsminister for the East bring about a fairer treatment of the population compatible with a state of war, I did it. Q. You don't really mean that, do you? A. Well, I used to see those reports about those collisions and certain struggles between the mutineers and the police. As I already told you once, all the confidential people of those racial groups were represented in my department, so as to centralize in my department all of their claims and complaints, in order that they may be remedied as far as possible. Q. Well, wasn't there a policy in existence in the German Reich will called for much more harsh treatment of the peoples of the East than accorded the peoples of the West? A. Yes, that is indeed correct. Q. I am not speaking of that. I am speaking of the situation where people in the occupied territories of the West were treated in one way, and the people in the occupied territories of the East were treated in another way. Now, I want to know why the difference in treatment. A. Well, on the whole we had to face the actual Bolshevik [Page 1348] danger, and when large numbers of those eastern elements had been sent to Germany we had reason to believe that there may emanate from those masses a certain danger to Germany. Q. What about the situation of the Poles? You know and I know that the Poles were not favorable to the Russians, that they were anti-Bolshevik too. Why were they treated in the manner in which they were treated? A. Well, I have never had anything to do with the Polish question, but the persecution of the German Nationals in Poland for the last 20 years would certainly have been a reason for it. Q. Didn't you discuss that question with the Fuehrer on several occasions? A. I submitted to the Fuehrer the various instructions which I had issued to the commissars, and he approved of them. Q. I am not speaking of that. I am speaking of the Polish situation. Isn't it a fact that you held several discussions with the Fuehrer regarding your theories of racial superiority and racial inferiority? A. Well, of course, we spoke about these various peoples. Q. And isn't it a further fact that the Poles were decided to be one of the inferior peoples from your viewpoint and that of the Fuehrer? A. The Poles were considered in such a way that they had a certain layer of cultured, educated people, but that the masses had been left sadly behind and in a low state. Q. Wasn't it decided that the best way of dealing with the problem was to dispose of the masses of the Poles? A. Well, I didn't speak to the Fuehrer about the Polish policy. Q. You knew the Polish policy, didn't you? A. Well, I saw it on the exterior. Q. Yes, but you were familiar with what was happening, isn't that so? A. Well, yes. At the first Polish campaign I heard of the slaughter of 50,000 German Nationals. Q. I am not talking about the slaughter of German Nationals. I am talking about the treatment accorded the Polish population, and you know what I am talking about, so why don't you answer my questions? Now, my question is, did you not know of the policy regarding the treatment to be accorded the Polish people? A. Well, I did know that in the course of these rather difficult events, the Poles were treated in a harsher way. Q. Yes, not only a harsher way--- A. But as far as I know, the Governor General Frank was always endeavoring to bring about a better state of things. [Page 1349] Q. I am not talking about Governor General Frank. I am talking about the situation where the Polish people, whether in the General Gouvernement Poland or in occupied Poland, were accorded treatment along a particular line and with a particular aim in view, and my question is, did you not know of the policy regarding this treatment? A. Well, I did know that the policy there was rather harsh. Q. From whom did you learn that? A. Well, there was talk about it. Q. Talk by whom? A. No, I never meddled into this business. Q. It isn't a question of meddling. You stated you had talked about it, and I want to know from whom you heard that talk. A. No, I can't. I once made a speech in Poznan. Q. My question is, from whom did you hear regarding the treatment accorded the Poles? A. Well, I can't say. Q. As a matter of fact, it was a matter of common knowledge throughout Germany, wasn't it? A. Yes. Of course, there was quite a great deal of talk about it. Q. And the German people knew that Polish people were being killed, didn't they? A. Yes. Killed why? Q. I am asking you why. A. Well, what we did know what that in the course of the war, and those things had been found out after the war, a certain number of executions did take place. That much I do know. Q. You knew during the war that executions were taking place, didn't you? A. Well, I had no certain information. Q. Never mind about that. Just answer my questions. Did you or did you not know that these executions were taking place? A. Well, I can't give any specific answer to this question. Q. Why can't you? You know. A. Because I can't remember whether I received any reports on such things. Q. It is not a question of receiving reports, formal reports. You had all kinds of discussions with various people regarding this policy. A. Well, I didn't discuss the matter, but, of course, those were things about which people did hear. Q. Yes. As a matter of fact, the activities which were carried out were along the lines of your ideology, isn't that right? [Page 1350] A. Just a moment. An ideology has nothing in common with executions. Those are special cases of emergency which may arise in cases of war or revolution. Q. And didn't you also advocate the theory of racial superiority? A. I simply voiced the theory that certain peoples have certain superiorities for certain tasks, while other peoples are gifted for other tasks. Q. Isn't it a fact that in your discussion and even in your writings, you advocated an expansion of the German Reich to the East? A. That is correct. Q. And isn't the easiest way to expand, territorially speaking, to remove the people who are already occupying the land into which you wish to expand? A. Well, this is a matter which had been debated within the Party, and it was agreed upon that those territories which had been separated or torn away from Germany had to reenter the German realm. Q. Those weren't the only territories that were to be reincorporated or to be taken into the German Reich, were they? A. That is something which one could behold practically. All of the Polish revolutionary units of Upper Silesia --- Q. I wish you would just answer the questions that I ask. It seems to me that this morning every time I have asked you a question, you go off on a tangent and do not give a direct response. Now, my question is, wasn't it contemplated that territories other than those which have formerly been part of the German Reich be made a part thereof by conquest or by other means? A. Well, yes. Through the creation of the province of Wartheland, a certain portion of that territory was to be incorporated into Germany. Q. So, it didn't surprise you, did it, when you heard that Polish people were being killed, as that would be a very logical way to make room for Germans to move into that territory? A. Well, such a policy of murdering Poles, such a policy was not expected. Q. Not expected by whom? A. Well, in the previous 20 years, about one million Germans had also been expelled from Poland. Q. I am not asking about that. Why don't you answer the questions as I ask them? Will you read the question? (The question was read by the reporter as set forth above.) The question is: You stated that the policy of murdering Poles was not expressed and I want to know the people who would [Page 1351] make an expression thereof if they were going to. In other words, who created the policy? A. Well, if there was anybody at all who had to determine the German policy in Poland, then that was the Fuehrer himself. I can't intervene into things which officially don't concern me. Q. Do you recall conferring with Himmler regarding the policy in the East? A. In the occupied Eastern territories? Q. Yes. A. I had a conference with Himmler regarding the relations between the ministry and the police. Q. Do you recall any other conferences, particularly one on the 16th of November 1943, at which, among other things, questions concerning Estonia and Lithuania were discussed? A. Yes. The problem of an autonomy for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania was discussed in that year several times. Q. What about this conference that I just asked you about? Do you recall it? A. Yes. Now I remember the 16th and 17th of November `43. It was the last time when I was in the headquarters to report to Hitler, and there I met Himmler. Q. What was the subject of the conversation between you and Himmler? A. Well, the subject which brought us to the Fuehrer was to discuss the autonomy, whether in a larger measure or a smaller measure, of these countries. Q. That is not all you talked about either, is it? A. The outcome of this conference was a proclamation to be issued to those three peoples. Q. My question is: That is not all you talked about with Himmler, is it? A. I also discussed with him a rather ugly incident which had taken place between an official of the administration at Minsk and the organizations to fight the partisans, which belonged also to the police. Q. What was the nature of this incident? A. Apparently in a state of inebriety, a few officers, after threatening, eventually killed the Commissar. Q. That is not the incident I am concerned about. Think some more and see if you can't remember what else you talked to Himmler about. A. I cannot recollect. Q. Do you recall writing a memorandum regarding the meeting on 16-17 November 1943? [Document referred to did not form part of prosecution case as finally prepared and hence is not published in this series.] [Page 1352] A. I do not believe so. Q. Do you remember making a statement therein to the effect that you had had a heart-to-heart talk with Himmler? A. No. Q. Do you recall in the course of this conversation or this heart-to-heart talk that you impressed upon Himmler that it was quite impossible that he should repeat certain remarks of the Fuehrer? Do you recall that? A. No, I don't. Q. Now, these remarks were made in connection with the policy in the East and purportedly had been made to outsiders and to representatives of foreign nations. Does that help you to remember? A. With my best recollection I don't remember what it was. Q. Does it help you to remember if I tell you that these remarks had created what you described as an awful mess? A. It can only be that Hitler will have spoken to Himmler about a larger autonomy to be granted to Estonia, Latvia, and so on, and Himmler will have repeated such remarks, and this will have created a certain mess. It was not his duty to comment on any political matters. Q. What else could it have been besides the theory that you just advanced? A. Those two points were the actual kernel or the gist of those conferences. Q. Well, was it not a fact that Himmler had repeated certain remarks made by the Fuehrer with reference to the treatment to be accorded the peoples in the Eastern occupied territories, including Estonia and Lithuania, and that Himmler's repetition of these remarks had a bad impression? A. With my best will, I cannot recall this. Q. You think about it and I will ask you about it at some future time. A. Well, I usually jot down certain recollections of years past. Otherwise, they just fall into oblivion.
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