The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office

                                                   [Page 48]


Article 6 (b) of the Charter provides that "ill-treatment
..of civilian population of or in occupied territory..
killing of hostages ..wanton destruction of cities, towns,
or villages" shall be a war crime. In the main, these
provisions are merely declaratory of the existing laws of
war as expressed by the Hague Convention, Article 46, which

     "Family honor and rights, the lives of persons and
     private property, as well as religious convictions
     and practice must be respected."

The territories occupied by Germany were administered in
violation of the laws of war. The evidence is quite
overwhelming of a systematic rule of violence, brutality,
and terror. On 7th December, 1941 Hitler issued the
directive since known as the "Nacht und Nebel Erlass" (Night

                                                   [Page 49]

Fog Decree), under which persons who committed offenses
against the Reich or the German forces in occupied
territories, except where the death sentence was certain,
were to be taken secretly to Germany and handed over to the
SIPO and SD for trial for punishment in Germany. This decree
was signed by the defendant Keitel. After these civilians
arrived in Germany, no word of them was permitted to reach
the country from which they came, or their relatives; even
in cases when they died awaiting trial the families were not
informed, the purpose being to create anxiety in the minds
of the family of the arrested person. Hitler's purpose in
issuing this decree was stated by the defendant Keitel in a
covering letter, dated 12th December, 1941, to be as

     "Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be
     achieved either by capital punishment or by
     measures by which the relatives of the criminal
     and the population do not know the fate of the
     criminal. This aim is achieved when the criminal
     is transferred to Germany."

Even persons who were only suspected of opposing any of the
policies of the German occupation authorities were arrested,
and on arrest were interrogated by the Gestapo and the SD in
the most shameful manner. On 12th June, 1942 the Chief of
the SIPO and SD published, through Mueller, the Gestapo
Chief, an order authorising the use of "third degree"
methods of interrogation, where preliminary investigation
had indicated that the person could give information on
important matters, such as subversive activities, though not
for the purpose of extorting confessions of the prisoner's
own crimes. This order provided:

     "... Third degree may, under this supposition,
     only be employed against Communists, Marxists,
     Jehovah's Witnesses, saboteurs, terrorists,
     members of resistance movements, parachute agents,
     anti-social elements, Polish or Soviet Russian
     loafers or tramps; in all other cases my
     permission must first be obtained .... Third
     degree can, according to circumstances, consist
     amongst other methods of very simple diet (bread
     and water), hard bunk, dark cell, deprivation of
     sleep, exhaustive drilling, also in flogging (for
     more than twenty strokes a doctor must be

The brutal suppression of all opposition to the German
occupation was not confined to severe measures against
suspected members of resistance movements themselves, but
was also extended to their families. On 19th July, 1944 the
Commander of the SIPO and SD in the district of Radom, in
Poland, published an order, transmitted through the Higher
SS and Police Leaders, to the effect that in all cases of
assassination or attempted assassination of Germans, or
where saboteurs had destroyed vital installations, not only
the guilty person, but also all his or her male relatives
should be shot and female relatives over 16 years of age put
into a concentration camp.

In the summer of 1944 the Einsatz Commando of the SIPO and
SD at Luxembourg caused persons to be confined at
Sachsenhausen concentration camp because they were relatives
of deserters, and were therefore "expected to endanger the
interest of the German Reich if allowed to go free."

The practice of keeping hostages to prevent and to punish
any form of
civil disorder was resorted to by the Germans; an order
issued by the
defendant Keitel on the 16th September, 1941, spoke in terms
of fifty or a hundred lives from the occupied areas of the
Soviet Union for one German life taken. The order stated
that "it should be remembered that a human life in unsettled
countries frequently counts for nothing, and a deterrent
effect can be obtained only by unusual severity." The exact
number of persons killed as a result

                                                   [Page 50]

of this policy is not known, but large numbers were killed
in France and the other occupied territories in the West,
while in the East the slaughter was on an even more
extensive scale. In addition to the killing of hostages,
entire towns were destroyed in some cases; such massacres as
those of Oradour-sur-Glane in France and Lidice in
Czechoslovakia, both of which were described to the Tribunal
in detail, are examples of the organized use of terror by
the occupying forces to beat down and destroy all opposition
to their rule.

One of the most notorious means of terrorizing the people in
occupied territories was the use of concentration camps.
They were first established in Germany at the moment of the
seizure of power by the Nazi Government. Their original
purpose was to imprison without trial all those persons who
were opposed to the Government, or who were in any way
obnoxious to German authority. With the aid of a secret
police force, this practice was widely extended, and in
course of time concentration camps became places of
organized and systematic murder, where millions of people
were destroyed.

In the administration of the occupied territories the
concentration camps were used to destroy all opposition
groups. The persons arrested by the Gestapo were as a rule
sent to concentration camps. They were conveyed to the camps
in many cases without any care whatever being taken for
them, and great numbers died on the way. Those who arrived
at the camp were subject to systematic cruelty. They were
given hard physical labor, inadequate food, clothes and
shelter, and were subject at all times to the rigors of a
soulless regime, and the private whims of individual guards.
In the report of the war crimes Branch of the Judge
Advocate's Section of the Third US Army, under date the 21st
June, 1945, the conditions at the Flossenburg concentration
camp were investigated, and one passage may be quoted:

     "Flossenburg concentration camp can best be
     described as a factory dealing in death. Although
     this camp had in view the primary object of
     putting to work the mass slave labor, another of
     its primary objects was the elimination of human
     lives by the methods employed in handling the
     prisoners. Hunger and starvation rations, sadism,
     inadequate clothing, medical neglect, disease,
     beatings, hangings, freezing, forced suicides,
     shooting, etc. all played a major role in
     obtaining their object. Prisoners were murdered at
     random; spite killings against Jews were common,
     injections of poison and shooting in the neck were
     everyday occurrences; epidemics of typhus and
     spotted fever were permitted to run rampant as a
     means of eliminating prisoners; life in this camp
     meant nothing. Killing became a common thing, so
     common that a quick death was welcomed by the
     unfortunate ones."

A certain number of the concentration camps were equipped
with gas chambers for the wholesale destruction of the
inmates, and with furnaces for the burning of the bodies.
Some of them were in fact used for the extermination of Jews
as part of the "final solution" of the Jewish problem. Most
of the non-Jewish inmates were used for labor, although the
conditions under which they worked made labor and death
almost synonymous terms. Those inmates who became ill and
were unable to work were either destroyed in the gas
chambers or sent to special infirmaries, where they were
given entirely inadequate medical treatment, worse food if
possible than the working inmates, and left to die.

The murder and ill-treatment of civilian populations reached
its height in the treatment of the citizens of the Soviet
Union and Poland. Some four weeks before the invasion of
Russia began, special task forces of the SIPO

                                                   [Page 51]

and SD, called Einsatz Groups, were formed on the orders of
Himmler for the purpose of following the German Armies into
Russia, combating partisans and members of Resistance
Groups, and exterminating the Jews and communist leaders and
other sections of the population. In the beginning, four
such Einsatz Groups were formed, one operating in the Baltic
States, one towards Moscow, one towards Kiev, and one
operating in the south of Russia. Ohlendorf, former Chief of
Amt III of the RSHA, who led the fourth group, stated in his

     "When the German army invaded Russia, I was leader
     of Einsatzgruppe D, in the southern sector, and in
     the course of the year during which I was leader
     of the Einsatzgruppe D it liquidated approximately
     90,000 men, women, and children. The majority of
     those liquidated were Jews, but there were also
     among them some communist functionaries."

In an order issued by the defendant Keitel on the 23rd July,
1941, and drafted by
the defendant Jodl, it was stated that:

     "In view of the vast size of the occupied areas in
     the East, the forces available for establishing
     security in these areas will be sufficient only if
     all resistance is punished, not by legal
     prosecution of the guilty, but by the spreading of
     such terror by the Armed Forces as is alone
     appropriate to eradicate every inclination to
     resist among the population .... Commanders must
     find the means of keeping order by applying
     suitable Draconian measures."

The evidence has shown that this order was ruthlessly
carried out in the territory of the Soviet Union and in
Poland. A significant illustration of the measures actually
applied occurs in the document which was sent in 1943 to the
defendant Rosenberg by the Reich Commissar for Eastern
Territories, who wrote:

     "It should be possible to avoid atrocities and to
     bury those who have been liquidated. To lock men,
     women, and children into barns and set fire to
     them does not appear to be a suitable method of
     combating bands, even if it is desired to
     exterminate the population. This method is not
     worthy of the German cause, and hurts our
     reputation severely."

The Tribunal has before it an affidavit of one Hermann
Graebe, dated 10th November, 1945, describing the immense
mass murders which he witnessed. He was the manager and
engineer in charge of the branch of the Solingen firm of
Josef Jung in Spolbunow, Ukraine, from September,1941, to
January, 1944. He first of all described the attack upon the
Jewish ghetto at Rowno:

     ".. Then the electric floodlights which had been
     erected all around the ghetto were switched on. SS
     and militia details of four to six members entered
     or at least tried to enter the houses. Where the
     doors and windows were closed, and the inhabitants
     did not open upon the knocking, the SS men and
     militia broke the windows, forced the doors with
     beams and crowbars, and entered the dwelling. The
     owners were driven on to the street just as they
     were, regardless of whether they were dressed or
     whether they had been in bed.. Car after car was
     filled. Over it hung the screaming of women and
     children, the cracking of whips and rifle shots."

Graebe then described how a mass execution at Dubno, which
he witnessed
on the 5th October, 1942, was carried out:

                                                   [Page 52]

     ".. Now we heard shots in quick succession from
     behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had
     got off the trucks, men, women, and children of
     all ages, had to undress upon the orders of an SS
     man, who carried a riding or dog whip .... Without
     screaming or crying, these people undressed, stood
     around by families, kissed each other, said
     farewells, and waited for the command of another
     SS man, who stood near the excavation, also with a
     whip in his hand. .... At that moment the SS man
     at the excavation called something to his comrade.
     The latter counted off about 20 persons, and
     instructed them to walk behind the earth mound.
     ....I walked around the mound and stood in front
     of a tremendous grave; closely pressed together,
     the people were lying on top of each other so that
     only their heads were visible. The excavation was
     already two-thirds full; I estimated that it
     contained about a thousand people.. Now already
     the next group approached, descended into the
     excavation, lined themselves up against the
     previous victims and were shot."

The foregoing crimes against the civilian population are
sufficiently appalling, and yet the evidence shows that at
any rate in the East, the mass murders and cruelties were
not committed solely for the purpose of stamping out
opposition or resistance to the German occupying forces. In
Poland and the Soviet Union these crimes were part of a plan
to get rid of whole native populations by expulsion and
annihilation, in order that their territory could be used
for colonization by Germans. Hitler had written in Mein
Kampf on these lines, and the plan was clearly stated by
Himmler in July, 1942, when he wrote:

     "It is not our task to Germanize the East in the
     old sense, that is to teach the people there the
     German language and the German law, but to see to
     it that only people of purely Germanic blood live
     in the East."

In August, 1942, the policy for the Eastern Territories as
laid down by Bormann was summarized by a subordinate of
Rosenberg as follows:

     "The Slavs are to work for us. In so far as we do
     not need them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory
     vaccination and Germanic health services are
     superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is

It was Himmler again who stated in October, 1943:

     "What happens to a Russian, a Czech, does not
     interest me in the slightest. What the nations can
     offer in the way of good blood of our type, we
     will take. If necessary, by kidnapping their
     children and raising them here with us. Whether
     nations live in prosperity or starve to death
     interests me only in so far as we need them as
     slaves for our Kultur, otherwise it is of no
     interest to me."

In Poland the intelligentsia had been marked down for
extermination as early as September, 1939, and in May, 1940
the defendant Frank wrote in his diary of "taking advantage
of the focusing of world interest on the Western Front, by
wholesale liquidation of thousands of Poles, first leading
representatives of the Polish intelligentsia." Earlier,
Frank had been directed to reduce the "entire Polish economy
to an absolute minimum necessary for bare existence. The
Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German World
Empire." In January, 1940, he recorded in his diary that
"cheap. labor must be removed from the General Government by
hundreds of thousands.

                                                   [Page 53]

This will hamper the native biological propagation." So
successfully did the Germans carry out this policy in Poland
that by the end of the war one third of the population had
been killed, and the whole of the country devastated.

It was the same story in the occupied area of the Soviet
Union. At the time of the launching of the German attack in
June, 1941, Rosenberg told his collaborators:

     "The object of feeding the German People stands
     this year without a doubt at the top of the list
     of Germany's claims on the East, and there the
     southern territories and the northern Caucasus
     will have to serve as a balance for the feeding of
     the German People .... A very extensive evacuation
     will be necessary, without any doubt, and it is
     sure that the future will hold very hard years in
     store for the Russians."

Three or four weeks later Hitler discussed with Rosenberg,
Goering, Keitel, and others his plan for the exploitation of
the Soviet population and territory, which included among
other things the evacuation of the inhabitants of the Crimea
and its settlement by Germans.

A somewhat similar fate was planned for Czechoslovakia by
the defendant
von Neurath, in August, 1940; the intelligentsia were to be
"expelled", but
the rest of the population was to be Germanized rather than
expelled or
exterminated, since there was a shortage of Germans to
replace them.

In the West the population of Alsace were the victims of a
German "expulsion action." Between July and December, 1940,
105,000 Alsatians were either deported from their homes or
prevented from returning to them. A captured German report
dated the 7th August, 1942, with regard to Alsace states

     "The problem of race will be given first
     consideration, and this in such a manner that
     persons of racial value will be deported to
     Germany proper, and racially inferior persons to

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for ten minutes.

                    (A recess was taken)
THE PRESIDENT: I now ask General Nikitchenko to continue the
reading of the judgment.

GENERAL NIKITCHENKO: Article 49 of the Hague Convention
provides that an occupying Power may levy a contribution of
money from the occupied territory to pay for the needs of
the army of occupation, and for the administration of the
territory in question. Article 52 of the Hague Convention
provides that an occupying Power may make requisitions in
kind only for the needs of the army of occupation, and that
these requisitions shall be in proportion to the resources
of the country. These articles, together with Article 48,
dealing with the expenditure of money collected in taxes,
and Articles 53, 55, and 56, dealing with public property,
make it clear that under the rules of war, the economy of an
occupied country can only be required to bear the expense of
the occupation, and these should not be greater than the
economy of the country can reasonably expected to bear.
Article 56 reads as follows:

     "The property of municipalities, of religious,
     charitable, educational, artistic, and scientific
     institutions, although belonging to the State, is
     to be accorded the same standing as private
     property. All pre-meditated seizure, destruction,
     or damage of such institutions, historical
     monuments, works of art and science, is prohibited
     and should be prosecuted."

                                                   [Page 54]

The evidence in this case has established, however, that the
territories occupied by Germany were exploited for the
German war effort in the most ruthless way, without
consideration of the local economy, and in consequence of a
deliberate design and policy. There was in truth a
systematic "plunder of public or private property", which
was criminal under Article 6 (b) of the Charter. The German
occupation policy was clearly stated in a speech made by the
defendant Goering on the 6th August, 1942, to the various
German authorities in charge of occupied territories:

     "God knows, you are not sent out there to work for
     the welfare of the people in your charge, but to
     get the utmost out of them, so that the German
     People can live. That is what I expect of your
     exertions. This everlasting concern about foreign
     people must cease now, once and for all. I have
     here before me reports on what you are expected to
     deliver. It is nothing at all, when I consider
     your territories. It makes no difference to me in
     this connection if you say that your people will

The methods employed to exploit the resources of the
occupied territories to the full varied from country to
country. In some of the occupied countries in the East and
the West, this exploitation was carried out within the
framework of the existing economic structure. The local
industries were put under German supervision, and the
distribution of war materials was rigidly controlled. The
industries thought to be of value to the German war effort
were compelled to continue, and most of the rest were closed
down altogether. Raw materials and the finished products
alike were confiscated for the needs of the German industry.
As early as 19th October, 1939, the defendant Goering had
issued a directive giving detailed instructions for the
administration of the occupied territories; it provided:

     "The task for the economic treatment of the
     various administrative regions is different,
     depending on whether the country is involved which
     will be incorporated politically into the German
     Reich, or whether we will deal with the Government-
     General, which in all probability will not be made
     a part of Germany. In the first mentioned
     territories, the.. safeguarding of all their
     productive facilities and supplies must be aimed
     at, as well as a complete incorporation into the
     Greater German economic system, at the earliest
     possible time. On the other hand, there must be
     removed from the territories of the Government-
     General all raw materials scrap materials,
     machines, etc., which are of use for the German
     war economy. Enterprises which are not absolutely
     necessary for the meager maintenance of the naked
     existence of the population must be transferred to
     Germany, unless such transfer would require an
     unreasonably long period of time, and would make
     it more practicable to exploit those enterprises
     by giving them German orders, to be executed at
     their present location."

As a consequence of this order, agricultural products, raw
materials needed by German factories, machine tools,
transportation equipment, other finished products, and even
foreign securities and holdings of foreign exchange were all
requisitioned and sent to Germany. These resources were
requisitioned in a manner out of all proportion to the
economic resources of those countries, and resulted in
famine, inflation, and an active black market. At first the
German occupation authorities attempted to suppress the
black market, because it was a channel of distribution
keeping local products out of German hands. When attempts at
suppression failed, a German purchasing agency was organized
to make purchases for Germany on the black market, thus
carrying out the

                                                   [Page 55]

assurance made by the defendant Goering that it was
"necessary that all should know that if there is to be
famine anywhere, it shall in no case be in Germany."

In many of the occupied countries of the East and the West,
the authorities maintained the pretense of paying for all
the property which they seized. This elaborate pretense of
payment merely disguised the fact that the goods sent to
Germany from these occupied countries were paid for by the
occupied countries themselves, either by the device of
excessive occupation costs or by forced loans in return for
a credit balance on a "clearing account" which was an
account merely in name.

In most of the occupied countries of the East even this
pretense of legality was not maintained; economic
exploitation became deliberate plunder. This policy was
first put into effect in the administration of the
Government General in Poland. The main exploitation of the
raw materials in the East was centered on agricultural
products and very large amounts of food were shipped from
the Government General to Germany.

The evidence of the widespread starvation among the Polish
people in the Government General indicates the ruthlessness
and the severity with which the policy of exploitation was
carried out.

The occupation of the territories of the U.S.S.R. was
characterized by premeditated and systematic looting. Before
the attack on the U.S.S.R. an economic staff  -- Oldenburg -
- was organized to ensure the most efficient exploitation of
Soviet territories. The German Armies were to be fed out of
Soviet territory, even if "many millions of people will be
starved to death." An OKW directive issued before the attack

     "To obtain the greatest possible quantity of food
     and crude oil for Germany -- that is the main
     economic purpose of the campaign."

Similarly, a declaration by the defendant Rosenberg of the
20th June, 1941, had advocated the use of the produce from
Southern Russia and of the Northern Caucasus to feed the
German People, saying:

     "We see absolutely no reason for any obligation on
     our part to feed also the Russian People with the
     products of that surplus territory. We know that
     this is a harsh necessity, bare of any feelings."

When the Soviet territory was occupied, this policy was put
into effect; there was a large scale confiscation of
agricultural supplies, with complete disregard of the needs
of the inhabitants of the occupied territory.

In addition to the seizure of raw materials and manufactured
articles, a wholesale seizure was made of art treasures,
furniture, textiles, and similar articles in all the invaded

The defendant Rosenberg was designated by Hitler on the 29th
January, 1940, Head of the Center for National Socialist
Ideological and Educational Research, and thereafter the
organisation known as the "Einsatzstab Rosenberg" conducted
its operations on a very great scale. Originally designed
for the establishment of a research library, it developed
into a project for the seizure of cultural treasures. On the
1st March, 1942, Hitler issued a further decree, authorising
Rosenberg to search libraries, lodges, and cultural
establishments, to seize material from these establishments,
as well as cultural treasures owned by Jews. Similar
directions were given where the ownership could not be
clearly established. The decree directed the co-operation of
the Wehrmacht High Command, and indicated that Rosenberg's
activities in the West were to be conducted in his capacity
as Reichsleiter, and in the East in his capacity as
Reichsminister. Thereafter, Rosenberg's activities were
extended to the occupied countries. The report of Robert
Scholz, Chief of the special staff for Pictorial Art stated:

                                                   [Page 56]

     "During the period from March, 1941 to July, 1944,
     the special staff for Pictorial Art brought into
     the Reich 29 large shipments including 137 freight
     cars with 4,174 cases of art works."

The report of Scholz refers to 25 portfolios of pictures of
the most valuable works of the art collection seized in the
West, which portfolios were presented to the Fuehrer. Thirty-
nine volumes, prepared by the Einsatzstab, contained
photographs of paintings, textiles furniture, candelabra,
and numerous other objects of art, and illustrated the value
and magnitude of the collection which had been made. In many
of the occupied countries private collections were robbed,
libraries were plundered, and private houses were pillaged.

Museums, palaces, and libraries in the occupied territories
of the U.S.S.R. were systematically looted. Rosenberg's
Einsatzstab, Ribbentrop's special "Battalion", the
Reichscommissars and representatives of the Military Command
seized objects of cultural and historical value belonging to
the People of the Soviet Union, which were sent to Germany.
Thus the Reichscommissar of the Ukraine removed paintings
and objects of art from Kiev and Kharkov and sent them to
East Prussia. Rare volumes and objects of art from the
palaces of Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, and Pavlovsk were
shipped to Germany. In his letter to Rosenberg of 3rd
October, 1941, Reichscommissar Kube stated that the value of
the objects of art taken from Byelorussia ran into millions
of rubles. The scale of this plundering can also be seen in
the letter sent from Rosenberg s department to von Milde-
Schreden in which it is stated that during the month of
October, 1943 alone, about 40 box-cars loaded with objects
of cultural value were transported to the Reich.

With regard to the suggestion that the purpose of the
seizure of art treasures was protective and meant for their
preservation, it is necessary to say a few words. On 1st
December, 1939 Himmler, as the Reich Commissioner for the
"strengthening of Germanism", issued a decree to the
regional officers of the secret police in the annexed
eastern territories, and to the commanders of the security
service in Radom, Warsaw, and Lublin. This decree contained
administrative directions for carrying out the art seizure
program, and in Clause 1 it is stated:

     "To strengthen Germanism in the defense of the
     Reich, all articles mentioned in Section 2 of this
     decree are hereby confiscated .... They are
     confiscated for the benefit of the German Reich,
     and are at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner
     for the strengthening of Germanism."

The intention to enrich Germany by the seizures, rather than
to protect the seized objects, is indicated in an undated
report by Dr. Hans Posse, director of the Dresden State
Picture Gallery:

     "I was able to gain some knowledge on the public
     and private collections, as well as clerical
     property, in Cracow and Warsaw. It is true that we
     cannot hope too much to enrich ourselves from the
     acquisition of great art works of paintings and
     sculptures, with the exception of the Veit-Stoss
     altar, and the plates of Hans von Kulnback in the
     Church of Maria in Cracow .... and several other
     works from the National Museum in Warsaw."

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