The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06/tgmwc-06-52.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06-52.04
Last-Modified: 1998/04/20

M. GERTHOFFER: "Stab Rosenberg" was not only interested in
paintings and objects of art, but in books as well. Thus it
appears, in a document

                                                  [Page 109]
discovered by the United States Army and registered under
No. 171-PS, of which I submit a copy as Exhibit RF 1324,
that 550,000 volumes were seized in France.

Holland provided an equally heavy contribution in books.
Libraries rich in early prints of books and manuscripts were
pillaged. It appears from Document 176-PS, discovered by the
United States Army, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit RF
1325, that the value of the books amounted to about
30,000,000 or 40,000,000 Reichsmark.

It  must also be noted, as proved by Documents 178 and  171-
PS,  which I submit as Exhibit RF 1326, that archives of the
Rothschild  Bank were taken away in the month  of  February,

"Stab Rosenberg" likewise pillaged furniture. This is quite
evident from a note addressed by the defendant Rosenberg to
the Fuehrer, dated 3rd October, 1942, submitted as Exhibit
RF 1327. I read the following passage:

     "For carrying out action 'M' the Office West was
     created in Paris with special branches
     (`Einsatzleitungen') in Belgium, France and the
     Netherlands. This service has to date sent about 40,000
     tons of furniture to the Reich, utilizing all available
     transport facilities (ship and railroad).
     ...the Reich Ministry has placed a considerable part of
     this furniture (over 19,500 tons) at the disposal of
     bombed-out people in the Reich...."
A copy of a Rosenberg report, dated 4th November, 1943,
Document 1737-PS, a copy of which I submit as Exhibit RF
1328, tells us:

     "52,828 Jewish lodgings were seized and sealed in
     favour of the bombed out victims. In accordance with
     special orders, furniture has been removed from 47,569
     dwellings for shipment to the bombed cities."
Document L-118, found by the American 7th Army, a report
issued by the offices of the defendant Rosenberg, a copy of
which I submit as Exhibit RF 1329, shows that over 69,619
Jewish lodgings were looted, that the furniture occupied
over 1,000,000 cubic meters, and that it took 26,984 freight
cars, i.e., 874 trains, to remove it.

In the same file there is a document which I submit as
Exhibit RF 1330 which indicates that in Paris alone 38,000
Jewish lodgings were stripped of their contents.

Document 1772-PS, already submitted as Exhibit RF 1325,
indicates that in Holland, from March, 1942, to July, 1943,
inclusive, 22,623 lodgings were stripped of their contents
and that it took 586 barges and 178 freight cars to move
this. These few figures undeniably suffice to support the
accusation of economic pillage levied against "Stab
Rosenberg" on behalf of the Western European countries.

As has already been stated, although the material elements
of the breach of the law are the same, there can be no
comparison between the pillaging typical of the history of
this or that conqueror and practised throughout the
centuries, and the pillaging as conceived by the defendants.

What prevents any comparison between the looting of the past
and that practiced by "Stab Rosenberg" or the National
Socialist chiefs is the difference in purpose, however
difficult and delicate a matter it may be to analyse it. The
looting in the past of works of art may primarily be traced
to the vanity of the conqueror, in which his egoism, his
taste, and his love of glory played the determining part. It
is of course possible to identify the same feeling as
underlying the criminal activities of one or the other of
the defendants. But -- and here we find the fundamental
difference -- the National Socialist leaders, when
estimating the value of this and that painting or of this or
that work of art, wittingly took into account both the
standard of aesthetic wealth -- that is, the value of the
object to the individual -- and the standard of material
wealth -- that is, its exchange value, an exchange value in
which it is a matter of retaining a pawn if not to
facilitate, at least to bring pressure to bear when

                                                  [Page 110]
negotiating future peace treaties, as is evident from the
documents submitted to the Tribunal.

Whatever were the pretexts or excuses submitted by the
National Socialist leaders when seizing the artistic
heritage of Western Europe -- whether by theft, by so-called
preservative confiscations, or by direct purchase from the
owners or on the art markets -- the criminal intention is
always the same.

The German motive was undeniably the establishment of a
reserve of securities, if not for the satisfaction of the
individual desire, then for the satisfaction of a collective
need in conformity with the myth of the "Greater Germany."

This reserve of securities would have a triple advantage:

A cultural advantage, that is, the advantage of the "Hohe

Secondly -- an economic advantage: A basis for financial
speculation and a reserve of securities easily negotiable in
the world markets. Above all -- a reserve of fixed value
entirely unaffected by the fluctuations in the cost of raw
materials and unaffected either by the depreciation or the
manipulation of the currency. Lastly, reserves of securities
of political importance in the hands of those negotiating
the peace treaties.

The defence will perhaps object that exchanges and purchases
on free markets cannot be held against the defendants,
because they were in the nature of contracts and agreements,
and because equivalents were given. But the facts presented
to the Tribunal render it possible to declare that these
operations merely appeared to be regular, if we remember the
conditions under which the contracts were drawn up, that the
transactions were made under duress, or if we consider the
rights over the equivalents given -- equivalents of
exchange, represented by stolen objects or works of art, or
consisting in money paid in national currency, and derived
from war contributions of a questionable nature especially
from occupation costs or clearing operations.

Most of these particulars, from the point of view of the
general principles of common law, are doubly tainted: on the
one hand they were paid in stolen currency since the work of
art forming the object of the sale could never,
legitimately, have become the property of the purchaser. On
the other hand, fraud and deceit tainted a considerable part
of the negotiations, as proved by numerous statements, such
as the extract from the minutes of M. Rochlitz's statement
of 8th January, 1946, which I have just read to the Tribunal
as Exhibit RF 1317, and which the Tribunal will allow me to
recall to its notice by a brief reading of a few more
passages. Rochlitz, picture dealer in Paris, states:

     "Lohse came to see me in February, 1941. He told me
     that he was looking for pictures for certain highly
     placed persons, chiefly for Goering. I showed to him a
     picture by Wennix of which I was the owner and a
     `Portrait of a Man,' by Titian, of which two-thirds
     belonged to Birchentski and one-third to me.
     Lohse bought them. Then eight to ten days later he
     offered me some pictures in exchange, instead of money.
     Incidentally, he considered that I had sold them at too
     high a price. The price was about two million. He added
     that Goering had seen them; that he did not want to pay
     for them at the price agreed, but that he had given an
     order to exchange them for modern ones brought from
     Germany. He showed me a certain number of pictures and
     offered me eleven of them in exchange for the two
     paintings. He prevented me from looking at their
Further on, the same witness states:

     "I thought at that time that the pictures came from
     Germany. I found out shortly after that these pictures
     and those subsequently exchanged
                                                  [Page 111]
     with Lohse had been confiscated from Jews. When I saw
     that these pictures had been confiscated I protested
     and Lohse answered: 'I am acting under Goering's
     orders, you have nothing to fear. These confiscations
     have been sanctioned by the Armistice Convention and
     the exchanges are regular.' As I still protested, he
     called me an enemy of the people."

Never -- and this is the last remark I shall make on the
subject -- has history furnished an example of wholesale
pillaging organised on so completely scientific a basis. The
pillaging, together with the "Einsatzstab", became a
recognized institution in the sphere of culture, just as it
became a recognized institution in the "Economic
Detachments" of the R.O.G.E.S., whose activities have been
exposed before the Tribunal.

The pillaging of works of art was organised by the highest
leaders of the Reich. My colleague of the prosecution, who
has been entrusted with the individual accusations, will
return to this matter. I shall content myself with
submitting a few more documents and making a few more
quotations on this point.

Alfred Rosenberg was the responsible Chief of the
"Einsatzstab." The orders emanated from him, as is shown in
the course of the interrogation; he was heard by Colonel
Hinkel, and I submit a copy of the interrogatory of 28th
September, 1945, as Exhibit RF 1332.

The defendant Goering was the official protector of "Stab
Rosenberg." He himself wrote to Rosenberg on 21st November,
1940 -- Document 1651-PS, a copy of which I submit as
Exhibit RF 1335 -- as follows:

     "I have done what is necessary to support energetically
     the work of your staff and to place at its disposal
     that which you otherwise could not obtain, namely,
     means of transport and personal guard. The Air Force
     has received the order to give you every facility."
There was discovered, in France, a sheet of gilt-edged paper
containing, in an unknown writing, instructions issued by
Goering in
Paris on 11th February, 1941. I submit the original document
to the Tribunal, as well as the translation, as Exhibit RF

     "All paintings marked 'H' are for the Fuehrer."
THE PRESIDENT: I think this has been read already by the
United States. Has this been read already?

M. GERTHOFFER: It has never as yet been read, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Then please proceed.

M. GERTHOFFER: "---- One case marked 'AH' for me. Everything
that is marked 'G'..."

THE PRESIDENT: Is this identified as a captured document?

M. GERTHOFFER: It was captured by the French authorities,
who transmitted it to us.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the identification to show this is
the document captured by the French authorities?

M. GERTHOFFER: This document was transmitted to me as it is,
with a series of other documents, of which I have only
produced a certain number. If the Tribunal wishes, I can let
them have a special authentication for this document.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I suppose there is probably a report of
the French authorities which sufficiently refers to this

M. GERTHOFFER: The document was sent to me with a series of
other documents; since they were extremely numerous, we took
those that seemed to be the most important in order to
present them to the Tribunal, but if the Tribunal wishes, I
can obtain an affidavit indicating under what conditions the
documents were discovered a by the French authorities.

THE PRESIDENT: You see, the document hasn't anything on it
to indicate that the French Government really found it, nor
that they have ever seen it;

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.