The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The situation was the same in all the other provinces of
Yugoslavia, and only the methods of plundering varied
according to local conditions.

(c) Confiscations:

Confiscations were one of the most widespread and effective
means of plundering Yugoslavia.

Before the occupation of Yugoslavia was completed in 1941, a
decree on confiscation was issued by the Germans in the
combat zone. Pursuant to this decree the Germans confiscated
enormous quantities of agricultural produce, raw materials
semi-manufactured and other goods.

I submit to the Tribunal a certified copy of the above-
mentioned decree as Exhibit USSR 206.

Immediately after the occupation of the country, the German
occupation authorities introduced, by means of numerous
decrees, the system of confiscation of private and public

In order to save time, I omit a part of this section of the
document, which quotes concrete examples of the confiscation
of property belonging to the Yugoslav

                                                  [Page 146]

population, and I pass on to the next count, which is
entitled "Other Methods of Plunder." The members of the
Tribunal will find this section on Page 52.

Together with the aforesaid methods of plunder, which were
carried out on the basis of various decrees, laws and
regulations, more primitive methods of looting were
practised throughout the Yugoslav territory. They were not
sporadic incidents, but constituted a part of the German
system for enslavement and exploitation.

The Germans plundered everything from industrial and
economic undertakings, down to cattle, food and even the
simplest objects for personal use.

I will cite a few examples:-

1. Immediately after their entry into Yugoslavia, the
Germans looted all the bigger firms and storehouses. They
generally engaged in this form of looting at night, after
the so-called "curfew hours".

2. The order of Major General Kabler, which has already been
submitted to the Tribunal by the Soviet Prosecution as
Exhibit USSR 132 contains the following passage:-

   "Troops must treat those members of the population who
   maintain an unfriendly attitude towards the occupation
   forces in a brutal and ruthless manner, depriving the
   enemy of every means of existence by the destruction of
   localities which have been abandoned and by seizing all
   available stocks."

On the basis of this and similar orders, the Germans
ceaselessly looted the country under the pretext of so-
called "control of existing stocks", using the opportunities
afforded by the "destruction of localities which had been

3. Punitive expeditions, which became an everyday event
during the occupation, were, naturally, always accompanied
by the looting of the victims' property. In the same way
they robbed their prisoners and the bodies of those who had
fallen fighting in the Free National Army, as well as the
hundreds of thousands of internees in the concentration

4. Not even churches were spared. Thus, for example, the
German unit "Konrad-Einheit," which operated in the vicinity
of Sibenik, looted the Church of St. Ivan in Zablantz. There
are numerous examples of the same kind.

During the four years of occupation, the whole of Yugoslavia
was systematically looted. This looting was carried out
either through numerous so-called "legal measures", or
through mass looting on the part of the Germans. The Nazi
occupation forces showed great inventive ability and applied
to Yugoslavia the experience which they had gained in other
occupied countries.

These criminal measures damaged the Yugoslav State economy
to such an extent that one can consider them simply as
economic destruction of the country.

From this, your Honours may see that the plunder of public
and private property in Yugoslavia was carried out by the
Hitlerites according to a preconceived plan, that it
affected every class and every branch of the country's
economy, and caused enormous material loss to the Yugoslav
State and to its citizens.

THE PRESIDENT: I believe this would be a convenient time to
break off.

(A recess was taken.)

L. R. SHENIN: The plunder of Greece.

After the invasion of Greece, the Hitlerite conspirators
pursued their policy of merciless despoliation of the
occupied countries and immediately began to plunder her
national property. The official report of the Greek
Government on the crimes committed by the Hitlerites has
already been submitted to the Tribunal.

The appropriate section of this report entitled
"Exploitation," gives the concrete facts of the plunder of
public and private property in Greece. I quote the

                                                  [Page 147]

following excerpts from the part "Exploitation" from the
report of the Greek Government, which will be found on Page
59 of the document book:-

   "Owing to her geographical position, Greece was used by
   the Germans as a base of operations for the war in North
   Africa. They also used Greece as a rest centre for
   thousands of their troops from the North African and
   Eastern fronts. Thus, they concentrated in Greece much
   larger forces than were actually necessary for
   occupation purposes.
   A large part of the local supplies of fruit, vegetables,
   potatoes, olive oil, meat and dairy products were
   confiscated to supply these forces. As current
   production was not sufficient for these needs, they
   resorted to the requisitioning of livestock on a large
   scale, with the result that the country's livestock
   became seriously depleted."

In addition to requisitioning supplies for their armies, the
Hitlerite conspirators exacted enormous sums of money from
Greece to cover the so-called cost of occupation. In the
report of the Greek Government, the following remark is made
on the subject:

This is on Page 60 in the document book.

   "Between August, 1941, and December, 1941, the sum of
   2,206,085,000 drachmas was paid to the Germans,
   representing a sum of 6o per cent. more than the
   estimated national income during the same period. In
   fact, according to the estimates of two Axis experts,
   Dr. Barberine from Germany and Dr. Bertoni, an Italian,
   the national income for that year amounted to only
   23,000,000,000 drachmas. In the following year, as the
   national income decreased, this money was taken from
   national funds."

Other methods of plundering Greece, which the Hitlerites
applied on a vast scale, were the requisitions and
confiscations. In order to save time, I shall, with the
permission of the Tribunal, merely read into the record a
brief excerpt from the Greek report dealing with this

   "One of the enemy's first measures on occupying Greece
   was to seize all the existing stocks in the country by
   requisitioning or open confiscation. Among other goods,
   they requisitioned from the wholesale and retail trade
   71,000 tons of currants and 10,000 tons of olive oil;
   they confiscated 1435 tons of coffee, 1,143  tons of
   sugar, 2,520 tons of rice, and a whole shipload of wheat
   to the value of $530,000."

As the country was divided among three occupying powers, the
Hitlerites blockaded that part of Greece which was occupied
by their own troops and forbade the export of food supplies
from that zone. The Hitlerites began to confiscate all
existing stocks of food and other goods, a measure which
reduced the population to a state of extreme misery and
starvation. This plundering had such catastrophic
consequences for the Greek nation that finally even the
Germans themselves were forced to realise that they had gone
too far. The practical result of this was that towards the
end of 1942 the German authorities promised the
International Commission of the Red Cross that they would
return to the population all the local products confiscated
and exported by the armies of occupation. The Germans also
undertook to replace them by the importation of products of
the same calorific value. This pledge was not fulfilled.

As in all the occupied countries, the Germans issued and put
into circulation an unlimited amount of currency. It should
be noted that this currency represented the so-called
occupation marks without any security. I quote an excerpt
from this report, which the members of the Tribunal will
find on Page 63 in the document book.

   "From the very first the Germans put into circulation
   ten billion occupation marks, a sum equal to half the
   money in circulation at that date. By April, 1944, the
   monetary circulation had reached 14 million drachmas,
   that is, it had increased 700 per cent. since the
   beginning of the occupation."

                                                  [Page 148]

The Germans, after causing great inflation in that way,
purchased all goods at prices fixed before the occupation.
All goods purchased, as well as valuables, articles of gold,
furniture, and so forth, were shipped by the Germans to

Finally, as in every country they occupied, the Hitlerites
put into operation in Greece also the so-called "clearing
system". Under this system, all goods earmarked for export
were first confiscated or put under embargo by the military
authorities. Then they were "bought up" by German firms at
arbitrarily fixed prices. The price of the goods established
in this one-sided way was then credited to Greece. The
prices for merchandise imported from Germany were fixed at
from 200 to 500 per cent. higher than their normal value.
Finally, Greece was also debited with the price of
merchandise imported from Germany for the needs of the
occupation forces.

The Germans called this cynical method of plundering

I quote a short excerpt from the report of the Greek
Government which the members of the Tribunal will find on
Page 64 of the document book.

   "In consequence, notwithstanding the fact that Greece
   exported the whole of her available resources to
   Germany, the clearing account showed a credit balance of
   264 billion marks in favour of Germany when the Germans
   left. At the time of their arrival the credit balance in
   favour of Greece was 4,353,44000 marks."

In this way, your Honours, the Hitlerites plundered the
Greek people.


May it please your Honours, I pass on to the statement of
the facts of the monstrous plunder and pillage to which
private, public and State property was subjected by the
Hitlerite usurpers in the temporarily occupied territories
of the Soviet Union. The irrefutable original documents
which I shall have the honour to present for your
consideration will prove that long before their attack on
the USSR, the fascist conspirators had conceived and
prepared their criminal plans for the plunder and spoliation
of its riches and of its national wealth.

Like all other crimes committed by the Hitlerites in
countries occupied by them, the plunder and pillage of these
territories was planned and organised beforehand by the
major war criminals, whom the determination and valour of
the Allied Nations have brought to justice.

The crimes committed by those who carried out the
conspirators' criminal plans over wide areas of the Soviet
land, on the fertile steppes of the Ukraine, in the fields
and forests of Bielorussia, in the rich cornfields of the
Kuban and the Don, in the snowy expanses of the North, in
the blossoming gardens of the Crimea, in the approaches to
Leningrad and to the Soviet Baltic States-all these
monstrous crimes, all this mass plunder and wholesale
pillage of the sacred wealth created by the peaceable and
honest work of the Soviet peoples, Russian, Ukrainian,
Bielorussian and others, all these crimes, were directly
planned, designed, prepared and organised by the criminal
Hitlerite Government and the Supreme Command of the German
Army - the major war criminals, now occupying the dock.

I shall begin with evidence as to the premeditated nature of
the crimes committed on USSR territory. I shall prove that
the wholesale indiscriminate pillage of private, public and
State property committed by the German Fascist usurpers was
not an isolated occurrence, not a local phenomenon. It was
not the result of the disintegration or the thefts of
individual army units but was, on the contrary, an essential
and indissoluble part of the general plan of attack on the
USSR, and represented, moreover, the fundamental purpose,
the chief motive underlying this criminal

May I beg the indulgence of the Tribunal if, in stating the
facts connected with the preparations for these types of
crimes, I am obliged to refer very briefly also to the
several of the documents already submitted to the Tribunal
by my American

                                                  [Page 149]

colleagues. I shall try, however, to avoid repetitions, and
will mainly quote such extracts from these documents as have
not been previously read into the record.

It is known that simultaneously with the elaboration of Plan
"Barbarossa," which provided for all strategic questions
connected with the attack on the USSR, purely economic
problems arising from the plan were elaborated.

In the document known under the title "Conference of 29
April, 1941, with Branches of the Armed Forces" and
presented to the Tribunal by the American prosecution on
10th December as Exhibit USA 141, we read:-

"Purpose of the conference: Explanation of the
administrative organisation of the economic section of
undertaking 'Barbarossa-Oldenburg'..."

Further on in this document, it is indicated that "the
Fuehrer", contrary to previous practice in the preparatory
measures envisaged, ordered that all economic questions were
to be worked out by one centre and that this centre was to
be "The special Purpose Economic Staff 'Oldenburg' under the
direction of Lt.-General Schubert," and that it was to be
under the Reich Marshal, i.e., Goering.

Thus, as early as April, 1941, the defendant Goering was in
charge of all preparations for plundering the USSR.

To finish with this document, I should like to recall that
provision is made in it, even at that early date, for the
organisation of special economic inspectorates and commands
at Leningrad, Murmansk, Riga, Minsk, Moscow, Tula, Gorki,
Kiev, Baku, Yaroslavl, and many other Soviet industrial

The document points out that the tasks of these
inspectorates and commands included "the economic
utilisation of suitable territory", i.e., as is explained
below, "all questions of food supply and agriculture,
industry, including raw materials and manufacture forestry,
finance and banking, museums, commerce and trade and man-

As your Honours can see, the tasks were extremely wide and
extraordinarily definite.

The plan "Barbarossa-Oldenburg" was further developed in the
so-called "Directives for Economic Management of the Newly
Occupied Eastern Territories" (the Green File), which were
also elaborated and issued secretly before the attack on the
USSR. Before passing on to the "Green File", I would like to
present to the Tribunal and read out in part another
document-the so-called "File of the District Agricultural
Leader", which was submitted to the Tribunal by my colleague
Colonel Smirnov as Exhibit USSR 89.

These very detailed instructions for future "district
agricultural leaders" which were also worked out and
published in advance bore the title of "District
Agricultural Leaders' File" and was dated 1 June, 1941.
Naturally this document too is marked "Most Secret".

Instructions begin: "Twelve Commandments for the Behaviour
of Germans in the East and Their Attitude Towards Russians".
My colleague, Colonel Smirnov, read into the record only one
of those commandments, and I, with the Tribunal's
permission, will read into the record the others. The first
"commandment" reads: (the members of the Tribunal will find
it on Page 69 of the document book):-

   "Those of you who are sent to work in the East must
   adopt as your guiding principle the rule that output
   alone is decisive. I must ask you to devote your best
   and most unsparing efforts to this end".

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