The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/15

                                                  [Page 136]


GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, with the permission of the
Tribunal, evidence on the count "Despoliation and Plunder of
Private, Public and National Property" will be presented by
the State Counsellor of Justice, Second Class, L. R. Shenin.

L. R. SHENIN: May it please your Honours:

My task consists in presenting to the Tribunal evidence of
the criminal and predatory motives of Hitlerite aggression,
and of the monstrous plundering of the peoples of
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece and the USSR.

My colleagues have already proved that the attack on the
USSR, as well as on other European countries, was planned
and prepared beforehand by the criminal Hitlerite

I will submit to the Tribunal a number of the conspirators'
original documents, statements and speeches, which, in the
aggregate, will prove that the despoliation and plunder of
private, public and national property in the occupied
territories was also premeditated, planned and prepared on a
large scale, and that thus, simultaneously with the
development of their purely military and strategic plans of
attack, the Hitlerites, with the cold-blooded deliberateness
of professional robbers and murderers, also developed and
prepared beforehand the plan of organised plunder and
marauding, after having minutely and accurately calculated
their future profits, their criminal gains, their robbers'


The official report of the Czechoslovak Government on the
crimes committed by the Hitlerites on the territory of
Czechoslovakia, the first victim of German aggression, has
already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 60.

In the third section of this report there is a short extract
from an article by Ley, published on 30th January, 1940, in
the Angriff.

   "It is our destiny to belong to a superior race. An
   inferior race needs less space, less clothing, less food
   and less culture than a superior race".

This premise, this programme of action, found its concrete
expression in the fact that the Hitlerite conspirators
subjected all territories occupied by them to unrestrained
plunder, highly varied in form and method, and entirely
shameless in its devastating results.

The report of the Czechoslovak Government contains a large
number of examples corroborating the corresponding counts of
the indictment.

I shall read this section into the record, starting with the
first paragraph on Page 72 of the Russian translation.

The German plan of campaign against Czechoslovakia was aimed
not only against the Republic as a political and military
unit, but also against the very existence of the
Czechoslovak people, who were to be robbed not only of all
political rights arid cultural life, but of their wealth and
their financial and industrial resources. I quote:

"After Munich. Immediate Plunder".

Immediately after Munich the Germans seized all the
industrial and commercial concerns belonging to the Czechs
and Jews in the seized areas of the Republic; this was done
without any compensation. Czechs and Jews were robbed of
their property and of their office and plant equipment,
usually by violence and bloodshed.

The following characteristic fact is mentioned in the
report, namely, the way in which Hitler became acquainted
with Czechoslovakia, which he had just seized. I shall read
into the record sub-paragraph "b" of this section, entitled:-

                                                  [Page 138]

"After the Invasion of March 15th, 1939". The Tribunal will
find this excerpt on Pages 3 and 4 of the document book:-

   "Hitler entered Prague at nightfall on March 15, 1939,
   and spent the night there in the famous castle of
   Hradcany. He left on the following day, taking with him
   a number of valuable tapestries. We mention this robbery
   not because of the value of the stolen objects, but as
   an example set by the head of the Party and of the
   German State on the very first day of invasion.
   The German troops who invaded Prague brought with them a
   staff of German economic experts, i.e., experts in
   economic looting.
   Everything that could be of some value to Germany was
   seized, especially large stocks of raw materials, such
   as copper, tin, iron, cotton wool, great stocks of food,
   Rolling stock, carriages, engines and so on were removed
   to the Reich. All the rails in the Protectorate which
   were in good condition were lifted and sent to Germany;
   later they were replaced by old rails brought from
   Germany. New cars which were on order for the Prague
   municipal tramways and had just been completed were
   deflected from their purpose and sent to the Reich.
   The vessels belonging to the Czechoslovak Danube Steam
   Navigation Company (the majority of shares belong to the
   Czechoslovak State) were divided between the Reich and
   Valuable pieces of art and furniture disappeared from
   public buildings, without even an attempt at any legal
   justification of such robbery; pictures, statues,
   tapestries were taken to Germany. The Czech National
   Museum, the Modern Art Gallery and public and private
   collections were plundered.
   The German Reich Commissar of the Czechoslovak National
   Bank stopped all payments of currency abroad and seized
   all the gold reserve and foreign currency in the
   Protectorate. Thus the Germans took 23,000 kilogrammes
   of gold of a nominal value of 737,000 million crowns
   (L5,265,000) and transferred the gold from the Bank of
   International Settlement to the Reichsbank."

One of the methods of thorough, I should say total, plunder
was the so-called economic Germanisation. I submit to the
Tribunal as evidence of these crimes the following extract
from the official Czechoslovak report. This extract the
Tribunal will find on Pages 4 and 5 of the document book.

   In the areas occupied by the Germany army in October,
   1938, Germany began to settle her nationals on all the
   farms formerly belonging to Czechs or Jews who had fled
   for political or racial reasons.
   The Czechoslovak Land Reform Act of 1919 in so far as it
   benefited Czech nationals, was declared invalid; Czech
   farmers were expelled from their land and compelled to
   abandon their cattle, agricultural implements, and
   On paper, the Czechs received compensation, in fact,
   however, they were burdened with taxes in order to make
   good the so-called 'deliberate damage' which they were
   alleged to have caused by their flight. These taxes far
   exceeded the compensation.
   The large agricultural and government estates of the
   Czechoslovak Republic automatically became Reich
   property and came under the jurisdiction of the Reich
   Ministries concerned."
   After the invasion, German managers, supervisors and
   foremen replaced Czech nationals in State-owned
   enterprises of the Czechoslovak Republic.
   Germanisation of private property began, of course,
   under the slogan "Aryanisation".
                                                  [Page 139]
   The Germanisation of rural Bohemia and Moravia was
   entrusted to a special body called 'Deutsche
   Siedlungsgesellschaft' (German Settlement Society),
   located in Prague.
   Czech peasants were offered compensation for their food
   products but at entirely inadequate prices.
   Rural Germanisation, apart from Germanisation pure and
   simple, aimed at pauperising as many well-to-do Czech
   nationals as possible.
   The Nazis did their utmost to squeeze as much as
   possible out of Czech agriculture. Here, too, their aim
   was twofold: on the one hand to obtain as much foodstuff
   as possible, and on the other, to carry the process of
   Germanisation as far as possible.
   Farmers were turned out of their farms to make way for
   German Settlers - entire agricultural districts were in
   this way cleared of Czechs. Agricultural co-operative
   societies in control of production were transformed into
   auxiliary organisations and were gradually Germanised.
   The looting of property and wealth was followed by the
   pillaging of agricultural produce. Heavy fines and
   frequently even the death penalty were imposed on Czech
   peasants for intentional failure to comply with orders
   regarding production, delivery and rationing.
   In Czechoslovakia, industrial undertakings were directly
   financed by the banks, which often owned or controlled
   the majority of shares. Having obtained control over the
   banks, the Nazis thus secured control of industry.
   After Munich, two important German banks, the Dresdner
   Bank and the Deutsche Bank, took over the branches of
   Prague banks, situated in the ceded territory. Thus
   among the enterprises taken over by the Dresdner Bank
   were thirty-two branches of the Bohemian Discount Bank
   and among those taken over by the Deutsche Bank were
   twenty-five branches of the Bohemian Union Bank.
   As soon as these two German banks obtained control of
   the branch banks in the Sudetenland they also
   endeavoured to gain influence over the respective head
   offices of these banks in Prague.
   The Czechoslovak banks were joint stock companies. Every
   Joint Stock Company with even one Jewish director was
   considered to be Jewish. In this manner the non-Jewish
   property was also taken over.
   After the invasion several Czechoslovak banks in
   Bohemia, in consequence of their Aryanisation became the
   property of the Dresdner Bank. Among other enterprises,
   this German bank took over the Union Bank of Bohemia. In
   this way all the financial interests which these banks
   had in Czech industry, as well as the entire share-
   capital, fell into German hands.
   From that time on German capital began to infiltrate
   into the Czech banks their expropriation and
   incorporation into the German bank system began. The
   Dresdner Bank (the establishment which administered the
   funds of the National Socialist Party) and the Deutsche
   Bank were officially entrusted with the task of
   expropriating the funds belonging to the Czechoslovak
   banking concerns.
   By means of various 'transactions', by gaining influence
   through the branch banks in the Sudetenland over their
   respective head offices in Prague, by reducing the share
   capital, which was later increased with German
   assistance by appropriating industrial holdings and in
   this way acquiring influence over the controlling banks
                                                  [Page 140]
   which were thus deprived of their industrial interests,
   etc., the two Berlin banks achieved complete control of
   the banks of the Protectorate. Gestapo terror helped

I omit one paragraph of this report and pass on to the next

   "Destruction of National Industry. Compulsory
   After the invasion the Germans introduced into the
   Protectorate the compulsory Organisation of Czech
   industry on the German model They appointed committees
   for every new association and all the industrial
   'groups' with at least one Nazi as chairman or vice-
   chairman or just as an ordinary member.

However, all the Czech members actually were mere puppets.

   Armament Factories.
   The Dresdner Bank acquired the most important armament
   factories in Czechoslovakia, i.e., the Skoda Works in
   Pilsen and the Czechoslovak 'Zbrojovka' in Brno. The
   private shareholders were forced to surrender their
   shares at prices far below their actual value; the bank
   paid for these shares with coupons which had been
   withdrawn from circulation, and confiscated by the
   Germans in the districts previously ceded in accordance
   with the Munich agreement.
   The 'Hermann Goering' Concern.
   The seizure by the Germans of the Czechoslovak banks and
   thus of the industry, through the big Berlin banks, was
   accomplished with the help of the gigantic 'Hermann
   Goering' concern, which seized the greatest Czechoslovak
   industries, one by one, at the smallest financial cost,
   that is to say, under the pretext of Aryanisation, by
   pressure from the Reich, by financial 'measures,' and
   finally by the threat of the Gestapo and concentration
   Finally, all the large Czechoslovak enterprises,
   factories and armament plants and the coal and iron
   industries fell into German hands. The huge chemical
   industry was seized by the German concern, 'I. G. Farben

I omit the paragraph concerning the same methods adopted in
the case of the light industry and pass on to the next count
of the report:

   "Financial Spoliation".
   "After the occupation of the territory ceded in
   accordance with the Munich agreement, the Germans
   refused to take over part of the Czechoslovak National
   Debt, although they acquired very valuable State
   property in the districts taken away from
   Czechoslovakia. Government bonds of low denominations
   amounting to a total of 1,600 million crowns were in
   circulation in the occupied territory. The Germans
   reserved the light to use these obligations in
   Czechoslovakia as legal tender."

Gentlemen, further on in this report we find a detailed
account of the Hitlerite campaign of spoliation directed
against the financial economy of the Czechoslovak Republic.
With a view to saving time I shall refrain from quoting this
excerpt and shall merely submit a few yearly balances of the
Czechoslovak National Bank.

The balance sheet of the Czechoslovak National Bank showed
the following figures for "other assets" in millions of

   31st December, 1938 . . .845
   31st December, 1939 . .3,576
   31st December, 1942 . 17,366

I now quote an excerpt from the section entitled "Taxes."

   "When war broke out the Nazis fixed the 'war
   contribution of the Protectorate' at an annual sum of
   2,000 million crowns (L14,200,000). The Nazis claimed
   that they were entitled to this on the grounds that 'the
   Czechs did not have to fight, because the Germans fought
   for them'.
   Immediately after the occupation the Germans seized the
   proceeds of various indirect taxes and diverted them
   into the Reich Treasury."

                                                  [Page 141]

Gentlemen, the excerpt which I just read from the report of
the Czechoslovak Government gives an adequate picture of the
manner in which, after having seized Czechoslovakia, the
Hitlerites subjected it to wanton plunder in every field of
its economic life - agriculture, industry and finance.

Having seized the entire economic resources of the
Czechoslovak Republic, the Hitlerite Government forced this
economy to serve their criminal interests, extracting
everything possible in order to prepare for further
aggression against the peoples of Europe and for new
military attacks, with the monstrous aim of achieving world
domination by the so-called German "master race."

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