The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Such were the plans for the Soviet Union, for Poland and for
Czechoslovakia. Genocide was not restricted to extermination
of the Jewish people or of the gipsies. It was applied in
different forms to Yugoslavia, to the non-German inhabitants
of Alsace-Lorraine, to the people of the Low Countries and
of Norway. The

                                                  [Page 450]

technique varied from nation to nation, from people to
people. The long-term aim was the same in all cases.

The methods followed a similar pattern: first a deliberate
programme of murder, of outright annihilation. This was the
method applied to the Polish intelligentsia, to gipsies and
to Jews. The killing of millions, even by the gas chambers
and mass shootings, was no easy matter. The defendants and
their confederates also used methods of protracted
annihilation, the favourite being to work their victims to
death, hence Himmler's bond with the Minister of Justice in
September, 1942, under which anti-social elements were
handed over to the SS "to be worked to death". On the 14th
of the same month Goebbels was recommending this method in
terms:

  "With regard to the destruction of social life Dr.
  Goebbels has the opinion that the following groups should
  be exterminated: Jews and gipsies unconditionally, Poles
  who have to serve three or four years of penal servitude,
  and Czechs and Germans who are sentenced to death or
  penal servitude for life or to security custody for life.
  The idea of exterminating them by labour is the best."

Another favourite technique of extermination was by
starvation. Rosenberg, the great architect of this policy of
national murder, told his collaborators in June, 1941:

  "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. 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. 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."

The method applied in Alsace was deportation. A captured
report reads:

  "The first expulsion action was carried out in Alsace in
  the period from July to December, 1940: in the course of
  it, 105,000 persons were either; expelled or prevented
  from returning. They were in the main Jews, gipsies and
  other foreign racial elements, criminals, anti-social and
  incurably insane persons, and in addition Frenchmen, and
  Francophiles. The patois-speaking population was combed
  out by these series of deportations in the same way as
  the other Alsatians.

The report goes on to state that new deportations are being
prepared and after reciting the categories affected, sums up
the measures being taken:

  "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 France."

The Nazis also used various biological devices, as they have
been called, to achieve genocide. They deliberately
decreased the birth-rate in the occupied countries by
sterilisation, castration and abortion, by separating
husband from wife and men from women and obstructing
marriage. I quote:

  "We are obliged to depopulate," said Hitler to
  Rauschning, "as part of our mission of preserving the
  German population. We shall have to develop a technique
  of depopulation. If you ask me what I mean by
  depopulation, I mean the removal of entire racial units.
  And that is what I intend to carry out - that, roughly,
  is my task. Nature is cruel: therefore, we, too, must be
  cruel. If I can send the flower of the German nation into
  the hell of war without the smallest pity for the
  spilling of precious German blood, then surely I have the
  right to remove millions of an inferior race that breeds
  like vermin."

You have seen Neurath's use of this biological device in his
plan for Czechoslovakia. Listen to Bormann's directives for
the Eastern Territory summarised by one of Rosenberg's
subordinates. I quote:

                                                  [Page 451]

  "The Slavs are to work for us. In so far as we don't need
  them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory vaccination and
  German Health Services are superfluous. The fertility of
  the Slavs is undesirable. They may use contraceptives or
  practise abortion; the more the better. Education is
  dangerous. It is enough if they can count up to a
  hundred. At best an education which produces useful
  stooges for us is admissible."

Himmler speaks with the same voice:

  "We must be honest, decent, loyal and comradely to
  members of our own blood, to nobody else. 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."

The converse to methods designed to decrease the birth-rate
in occupied territories was the artificial increase in the
birth-rate of Germans. In February, 1941, the defendant
Seyss-Inquart organized a system of giving away Dutch girls
to German soldiers. In violation of Article 43 of the Hague
Convention, he ordered changes in the law of the Netherlands
so that he could assume parental and guardianship rights
over girls, substituting himself for their parents if the
parents refused their daughters permission to marry German
soldiers.

This policy of Seyss-Inquart's was later confirmed by the
supreme authorities of the German Reich, Hitler, Keitel and
Lammers, on 28th July, 1942. A decree was issued granting
subsidies and employment privileges for Dutch and Norwegian
women bearing children to members of the German armed
forces. And they have the impudence to talk now about the
holiness of the individual. This was simply a plan to
transfer, as if it were some mercantile commodity, the
biological resources of Holland and Norway to the use of the
German people. Himmler was one of the advocates of stealing
children: as he said on the 14th October, 1943:

  "Obviously in such a mixture of peoples there will always
  be some racially good types. Therefore I think that it is
  our duty to take their children with us, to remove them
  from their environment, if necessary by robbing, or
  stealing them. Either we win over any good blood that we
  can use for ourselves and give it a place in our people
  or we destroy this blood."

In the case of Russia, Keitel, who had learned the phrase
"Shrewdness and severity" as the maxim for the exploitation
of Poland, paved the way by his orders of the 13th May and
23rd July, 1941. I quote from the latter, drafted on his own
admission by Jodl:

  "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
  appropriate to eradicate every inclination to resist
  among the population. Commanders must find the means of
  keeping order - not by demanding more security forces but
  by applying suitable draconic methods."

The immediate needs of the war machine no doubt saved the
western territories from similar destruction but the
Tribunal have ample evidence of the plunder of France, the
Low Countries and the other territories which these men
exploited to the utmost possible extent. In view of the
nature of their murderous policy, it is not surprising that
the men charged by the defendants to carry it out were
brutes. In Rosenberg's domain, for instance, there was Koch,
who was recommended by Rosenberg for the post of Commissar
in Moscow because of the very fact of his "absolute
ruthlessness". It was Koch who caused the slaughter of
several hundred innocent human beings in the Zuman wood area
so that he

                                                  [Page 452]

could have a private hunting reserve. Another of Rosenberg's
agents was Kube, who wrote:

  "We have liquidated in the last ten weeks about 55,000
  Jews in White Ruthenia. In the territory Minskland,
  Jewry, has been eliminated without endangering the
  manpower demands; in the pre-eminently Polish territory
  Lida 16,000 Jews, in Klin 8,000 Jews and so forth have
  been liquidated."

As to Poland, the orders given to Frank were as follows:

  "Ruthless expansion - reduction of entire Polish economy
  to absolute minimum necessary for bare existence. The
  Poles shall be the slaves of the greater German World
  Empire."

And we know how he carried it out. In January, 1940, he
records:

  "Cheap labour must be removed from the Government General
  by hundreds of thousands. This will hamper the native
  biological propagation."

In May he speaks of:

  "Taking advantage of the focusing of world interest on
  the Western Front by wholesale liquidations of thousands
  of the Poles, first the leading representatives of the
  Polish intelligentsia."

And in December:

  "Poles must feel they have only one duty; to work and to
  behave. We must carry out all measures ruthlessly; rely
  on me -"

We who try to understand the problems of Eastern Europe must
try to understand this: The details of the martyrdom of
Poland simply cannot be described: A third of the people
murdered; millions left impoverished, sick, maimed and
helpless; liberation was just in time to save this ancient
people from the terrible fulfilment of the programme which
these men had plotted.

Would this be a convenient moment to -

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.

(A recess was taken.)

There is one group to which the method of annihilation was
applied on a scale so immense that it is my duty to refer
separately to the evidence. I mean the extermination of the
Jews. If there were no other crime against these men, this
one alone, in which all of them were implicated, would
suffice. History holds no parallel to these horrors.

As soon as the prospect of a Second World War became a
certainty, Streicher, who had preached this infamous
doctrine as far back as 1925, began in earnest to advocate
annihilation. As he, on his own admission, had been
instrumental in effecting the Nuremberg Decrees by years of
propaganda in favour of racial laws, so now, in January,
1939, anticipating the war which was to come, he began, in
articles published in Der Sturmer with "the full support of
the highest Reich authority", to demand with all vehemence
the physical extinction of the Jewish race. Unless words
have completely lost their meaning, what do these words mean
but murder:

  "They must be exterminated root and branch."
  
  "Then will the criminal race be for ever eradicated."
  
  "Then will they slay the Jews in masses."
  
  "Prepare a grave from which there can be no
  resurrection."

Almost immediately after the war had started the organized
extermination of the Jewish race began: Hoess has told you:

  "The final solution of the Jewish question means the
  complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was
  ordered to establish extermination facilities in
  Auschwitz in June, 1941. At that time there were already
  in the General Government three other extermination
  camps, Belzec, Treblinka and Wolzek."

                                                  [Page 453]

Already the Jews in Germany and Poland had been concentrated
in the ghettoes of the Government General. Over dinner in
the Fuehrer's apartment in October, 1940, Frank had
explained and I quote:

  "The activities in the Government General could be termed
  very successful. The Jews in Warsaw and other cities were
  now locked up in ghettoes, Cracow very shortly would be
  cleared of them. Reichsleiter von Schirach remarked that
  he still had more than 50,000 Jews in Vienna whom Dr.
  Frank would have to take over from him."

When the order actually came, therefore, the preparatory
measures, so far as they affected Poland and Germany, had
already been taken. Of the destruction of the ghettoes and
the slaughter of their populations General Stroop's report
on the Warsaw action is eloquent evidence. But the fate of
the Jews in Warsaw was only typical of the fate of the Jews
in every other ghetto in Poland.

When they were not slaughtered in the ghettoes themselves
they were transported to the gas chambers. Hoess, Commandant
of Auschwitz, described the procedure:

  "I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out
  their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka
  told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of
  one half-year. He was primarily concerned with the
  liquidation of the Jews from the Warsaw ghetto."

Hoess describes the improvements that he made at Auschwitz.
He introduced the new gas, Cyclone B, which:

  "Took from three to fifteen minutes to kill the people in
  the death chamber, dependent upon climatic conditions. We
  knew when the people were dead because their screaming
  stopped .... Another improvement we made over Treblinka
  was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000
  people at a time, whereas at Treblinka their ten gas
  chambers only accommodated 200 people each."

And he describes the selection of the victims from the daily
transports that arrived:

  "Those who were fit for work were sent into the camp.
  Others were sent immediately to the extermination plant.
  Children of tender years were invariably exterminated
  since, by reason of their youth, they were unable to
  work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka
  was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew they
  were to be exterminated, and at Auschwitz we endeavoured
  to fool the victims into thinking that they were going
  through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they
  realised our true intentions. Very frequently the women
  would hide their children under their clothes but of
  course when we found them we would send the children in
  to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these
  exterminations in great secrecy, but of course the foul
  and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of
  bodies permeated the entire area and all the people
  living in the surrounding communities knew that
  exterminations were going on at Auschwitz."

So also must they have known in the districts surrounding
Belzec, Treblinka, Wolzek, Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen,
Flossenburg, Neuengamme, Gusen, Natzweiler, Lublin,
Buchenwald and Dachau.

I do not repeat these things in order to make the blood run
cold. It is right that a few of these typical matters should
be extracted from the great mass of the evidence which is
accumulated here so that one may see this thing in its true
perspective and appreciate the cumulative effect of what has
been proved.

Whilst the German armies surged into Russia and the Baltic
States, the Einsatz Commandos followed in their wake. Their
dreadful work had been planned and prepared in advance. In
the file describing the operations of the Task Force A there
is a map of the Baltic countries showing the number of Jews
that were living in each State who were to be hounded out
and killed. Another map shows the

                                                  [Page 454]

results achieved after those two or three months' work - a
total of 135,567 Jews destroyed. In another report on their
operations during October, 1941, it is proudly stated that
they continued "on the march with the advancing troops into
the sectors which have been assigned to them".


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