The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Gunther, the prison warden at Minsk, in a letter dated 31st
May, 1943, addressed to the General Commissioner for White
Ruthenia, subject: "Action Against Jews", was critical by
implication. With the Court's permission I would like to
read this entire letter, part of Document R-135, Page 5,
subject: "Action Against Jews".

   "On 13th April, 1943, the former German dentist Ernst
   Israel Tichauer and his wife, Elisa Sara Tichauer, nee
   Rosenthal, were committed to the court prison by the
   Security Service. Since that time all German and Russian
   Jews who were turned over to us had their golden
   bridgework, crowns, and fillings pulled or broken out.
   This happens always one to two hours before the
   respective action.
   
   Since 13th April, 1943, 516 German and Russian Jews have
   been finished off. On the basis of a definite
   investigation gold was taken in only two actions - on
   14th April, 1943, from 172, and on 27th April, 1943,
   from 164 Jews. About 50 per cent. of the Jews had gold
   teeth, bridgework, or fillings. Hauptscharfuehrer Rube
   of the Security Service was always personally present,
   and he took the gold along, too.
   
   Before 13th April, 1943, this was not done. Signed
   Gunther, Prison Warden."

This letter was forwarded to the defendant Rosenberg as
Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories on 1st
June, 1943. I will read the covering letter, part of
Document R-135, Page 4, to the Reich Minister of the
Occupied Eastern Territories, Berlin, through the Reich
Commissioner for the Eastland, Riga.
Subject: "Actions Against Jews in the Prison of Minsk."

   "The enclosed official report from the warden of the
   prison in Minsk is submitted to the Reich Minister and
   the Reich Commissar for Information. Signed, The General
   Commissar in Minsk."

THE PRESIDENT: Does "respective action", as indicated in the
letter dated 31st May, 1943, mean execution?

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, sir; we interpret it as such. The Court
will recall that the ridding of the Jews via gas vans ties
in very closely with the second letter of the transport of
Jews arriving for that purpose.

                                                  [Page 413]

THE PRESIDENT: Was this document found in Rosenberg's file?

MAJOR WALSH: I am so informed, sir. A further complaint is
contained in a secret letter addressed to the General of the
Infantry Thomas, Chief of the Industrial Armament
Department, dated 2nd December, 1941. It might be noted with
interest that the apprehensive writer of this letter stated
that he did not forward the communication through official
channels. I offer in evidence captured Document 3257-PS, and
I quote from the first paragraph, - this is Exhibit USA 290.

   "For the personal information of the Chief of the
   Industrial Armament Department I am forwarding a
   complete account of the present situation in the
   Reichskommissariat Ukraine in which the difficulties and
   tensions encountered so far, and the problems which give
   rise to serious anxiety, are stated with unmistakable
   clarity.
   
   I have intentionally refrained from submitting such a
   report through official channels or from making it known
   to other departments interested in it because I do not
   expect any results that way, but on the contrary, I am
   apprehensive that the difficulties and tensions and also
   the divergent opinions might only be increased because
   of the peculiarity of the situation."

"Jewish problem" (Paragraph 7, Page 1):-

   "Regulation of the Jewish question in the Ukraine was a
   difficult problem because the Jews constituted a large
   part of the urban population. We therefore have to deal
   - just as in the Government General - with a mass
   problem of policy concerning the population. Many cities
   had a percentage of Jews exceeding 50 per cent. Only the
   rich Jews had fled from the German troops. The majority
   of Jews remained under German administration. The latter
   found the problem more complicated through the fact that
   these Jews represented almost the entire trade and even
   a part of the manpower in small and medium industries,
   besides businesses, which had in part become superfluous
   as a direct or indirect result of the war. The
   elimination therefore necessarily had far-reaching
   economic consequences and even direct consequences for
   the armament industry (production for supplying the
   troops)."

Paragraph 1 on Page 2:

   "The attitude of the Jewish population was anxiously
   obliging from the beginning. They tried to avoid
   everything that might displease the German
   administration. That they hated the German
   administration and army inwardly, goes without saying
   and cannot be surprising. However, there is no proof
   that Jewry as a whole or even to a greater part was
   implicated in acts of sabotage. Naturally there were
   some terrorists or saboteurs among them, just as among
   the Ukrainians. But it cannot be said that the Jews, as
   such, represented a danger to the German Armed Forces.
   The output produced by Jews who, of course, were
   prompted by nothing but the feeling of fear, was
   satisfactory to the troops and the German
   administration.
   
   The Jewish population remained temporarily unmolested
   shortly after the fighting. Only weeks, sometimes months
   later, specially detached formations of the police
   executed a planned shooting of Jews. This action as a
   rule proceeded from East to West. It was done entirely
   in public with the use of the Ukrainian militia, and,
   unfortunately, in
   
                                                  [Page 414]
   
   many instances also with members of the Armed Forces
   taking part voluntarily. The way these actions, which
   included old men, women, and children of all ages, were
   carried out was horrible. The great masses executed made
   this action more gigantic than any similar measure taken
   so far in the Soviet Union. So far about 150,000 to
   200,000 Jews may have been executed in the part of the
   Ukraine belonging to the Reichskommissariat; no
   consideration was given to the interests of economy.
   
   Summarising, it can be said that the kind of solution of
   the Jewish problem applied to the Ukraine, which
   obviously was based on ideological theories as a matter
   of principle, had the following results:
   
      (a) Elimination of a part of partly superfluous
      caters in the cities.
      
      (b) Elimination of a part of the population which
      undoubtedly hated us.
      
      (c) Elimination of badly needed tradesmen who were in
      many instances indispensable even in the interests of
      the Armed Forces.
      
      (d) Consequences as to foreign policy propaganda
      which are obvious.
      
      (e)Bad effect on the troops which in any case get
      indirect contact with the execution."
      
      (f) Brutalising effect on the formations which carry
      out the execution regular police."

Lest the Court be persuaded to the belief that these
conditions related existed only in the East, I invite
attention to the official Netherlands Government report by
the Commissioner for Repatriation as indicative of the
treatment of the Jews in the West.

This document is a recital of the German measures taken in
the Netherlands against the Dutch Jews. The decrees, the
anti-Semitic demonstrations, the burning of synagogues, the
purging of Jews from the economic life of their country, the
food restrictions against them, forced labour, concentration
camp confinement, deportation, and death - all follow the
same pattern that was effected throughout Nazi-occupied
Europe.

I now refer to Document 1726-PS, Exhibit USA 195, already in
evidence. It is not intended to read this document in
evidence, but it is deemed important to invite the Court's
attention to that portion of the report relating to the
deportation of Dutch Jews, shown on Page 5 of the
translation. There the Court will note that full Jews being
liable to deportation number 140,000, The Court will also
note that the total number of deportees was 117,000,
representing more than 83 per cent. of all the Jews in the
Netherlands. Of these 115,000 were deported to Poland for
slave labour, according to the Netherlands report, and after
departure all trace of them was lost. Regardless of victory
or defeat to Germany, the Jew was doomed. It was the
expressed intent of the Nazi State that, whatever the German
fate might be, the Jew would not survive.

I offer in evidence Document L-53, stamped "Top Secret",
Exhibit USA 291. This message is from the Commandant of the
Sipo and S.D. for the Radom District, addressed to S.S.
Hauptsturmfuehrer Thiel on the subject: "Clearance of
Prisons". I read the body of this message.

   "I again stress the fact that the number of inmates of
   the Sipo and S.D. prisons must be kept as low as
   possible. In the present situation particularly those
   suspects handed over by the Civil Police, need only be
   subjected to a short, formal interrogation, provided
   there are no serious

                                                  [Page 415]

   grounds for suspicion. They are then to be sent by the
   quickest route to a concentration camp, should no court
   martial proceeding be necessary or should there be no
   question of discharge. Please keep the number of
   discharges very low. Should the situation at the front
   necessitate it, early preparations are to be made for
   the total clearance of prisons. Should the situation
   develop suddenly in such a way that it is impossible to
   evacuate the prisoners, the prison inmates are to be
   liquidated and their bodies disposed of as far as
   possible (burning, blowing up the building, etc.). If
   necessary, Jews still employed in the armament industry
   or on other work are to be dealt with in the same way.
   
   The liberation of prisoners or Jews by the enemy, be it
   the W.B. or the Red Army, must be avoided under all
   circumstances, nor may they fall into their hands
   alive."

THE PRESIDENT: What is the W.B.?

MAJOR WALSH: I have inquired about the W.B., your Honour,
from several sources and have not found an understanding or
a statement of it. Perhaps before the afternoon session I
may be able to enlighten the Court. I have not yet been able
to find out.

THE PRESIDENT: Where was the document found?

MAJOR WALSH: It is a captured document, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Does it relate to prisoners of war, did you
say?

MAJOR WALSH:  No, sir; though it includes, of course,
prisoners of war as well as all Jews. The history of the
document, sir, I will try to gather for the Court's
information.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Did you tell us what the Sipo were ?

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, sir; I furnished the Court with that
information, they are the Security Police, sir. This
presentation, if the Court please, would be incomplete
without including a reference to the concentration camps in
so far as they relate to the hundreds of thousands -
millions - of Jews who died by mass shooting, gas, poison,
starvation, and other means. The subject of concentration
camps and all its horrors was shown to this Tribunal not
only in the motion picture film but by the most able
presentation of Mr. Dodd yesterday, and it is not intended,
at this time, to refer to the camps except in so far as they
relate to the part they played in the annihilation of the
Jewish people. For example, in the Camp Auschwitz, during
July, 1944, Jews were killed at the rate of 12,000 daily.
This information is contained in Document L-161, Exhibit USA
292. The Document L-161 is an official Polish report on
Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It is dated 31st May, 1945. I
have taken a short excerpt from this report on the original
marked -

THE PRESIDENT: I think you made a mistake, did you not? It
is not a Polish report; it is a British report.

MAJOR WALSH: I understand, sir, it was compiled originally
by the Polish Government and perhaps distributed from
London.

THE PRESIDENT: I see. Very well.

MAJOR WALSH: I quote:-

   "During July, 1944, they were being liquidated at the
   rate Of 12,000 Hungarian Jews daily, and, as the
   crematorium could not deal with such numbers, many
   bodies were thrown into large pits and covered with
   quicklime."

                                                  [Page 416]

I offer in evidence Document 3311-PS, Exhibit USA 293. This
is an official Polish Government Commission report on the
investigation of German crimes in Poland. The document
described the concentration camp at Treblinka, and from Page
1, Paragraphs 3 and 4, I read as follows:-

   "In March, 1942, the Germans began to erect another
   camp, Treblinka B, in the neighbourhood of Treblinka A,
   intended to become a place of torment for Jews.
   
   The erection of this camp was closely connected with the
   German plans aimed at the complete destruction of the
   Jewish population in Poland which necessitated the
   creation of machinery by means of which the Polish Jews
   could be killed in large numbers. Late in April, 1942,
   the erection of the first chambers, in which these
   general massacres were to be performed by means of
   steam, was finished. Somewhat later, the erection of the
   real death building, which contained ten death chambers,
   was finished. It was opened for wholesale murders in
   early autumn 1942."

And on Page 3 of this report, beginning with the second
paragraph, the Polish Commission describes graphically the
procedure for the extermination within the camp:-

   "The average number of Jews dealt with at the Camp in
   the summer of 1942 was about two railway transports
   daily, but there were days of much higher efficiency.
   From autumn, 1942, this number fell off.
   
   After unloading in the siding, all victims were
   assembled in one place, where men were separated from
   women and children. In the first days of the existence
   of the camp the victims were made to believe that after
   a short stay in the camp, necessary for bathing and
   disinfection, they would be sent farther East, for work.
   Explanations of this sort were given by S.S. men who
   assisted at the unloading of the transports, and further
   explanations could be read in notices stuck up on the
   walls of the barracks. But later, when more transports
   had to be dealt with, the Germans dropped all pretences
   and only tried to accelerate the procedure.
   
   All victims had to strip off their clothes and shoes,
   which were collected afterwards, whereupon all of them,
   women and children first, were driven into the death
   chambers. Those too slow or too weak to move quickly
   were driven in by rifle butts, by whipping and kicking,
   often by Sauer himself. Many slipped and fell; the next
   victims pressed forward and stumbled over them. Small
   children were simply thrown inside. After being filled
   up to capacity, the chambers were hermetically closed
   and steam was let in. In a few minutes all was over. The
   Jewish menial workers had to remove the bodies from the
   platform and to bury them in mass graves. By and by, as
   new transports arrived, the cemetery grew, extending in
   the Eastern direction.
   
   From reports received it may be assumed that several
   hundred thousand Jews were exterminated in Treblinka."

I now offer in evidence the document identified by L-22,
Exhibit USA 294. This is an official United States
Government report issued by the Executive Office of the
President of the United States, War Refugee Board, on the
German camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, dated 1944. On Page
33 of this report is set forth the number of Jews gassed in
Birkenau in the two-year

                                                  [Page 417]

period between April, 1942 and April, 1944. I have been
assured that the figure printed in this report is not a
typographical error. The number shown is 1,765,000.

I would now like to turn to the German book-keeping and
statistics for enlightenment on the extermination of Jews in
Poland. Referring again to the diary of Hans Frank, already
in evidence, Document 2233-PS, Exhibit USA 231, I read
briefly from the beginning of the fourth paragraph on Page
1:-

   "For us the Jews also represent extraordinarily
   malignant gluttons. We have now approximately 2,500,000
   of them in the Government General -"

THE PRESIDENT: Major Walsh, you have read this already
yourself.

MAJOR WALSH: Yes, Sir, that is true. I just want to make
reference to it again, Sir, for comparison with other
figures.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well.

MAJOR WALSH: " . perhaps with the Jewish mixtures, and
everything that goes with it,
3,500,000 Jews."

Now this figure, if the Court please, was as of 16th
December, 1941 I now wish to turn to 25th January, 1944,
three years and one month later, and make reference to
another excerpt from Frank's diary, Document 2233-PS, loose-
leaf volume, Exhibit USA 295. This volume covers the period
from 1st January, 1944 to 28th February, 1944, and Page 5 of
the original reads:-

   "At the present time we still have in the Government
   General perhaps 100,000 Jews."

In this period of three years, according to the records of
the then Governor General of Occupied Poland, between
2,400,000 and 3,400,000 Jews had been eliminated.



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