The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Now, armed with the information thus secured, the Nazi
conspirators were fully prepared to take the next step. The
killing of von Rath, a German Legation Secretary, in Paris
on 9th November, 1938, was made the pretext for widespread
"spontaneous" riots, which included the looting and burning
of many Jewish synagogues, homes and shops, all carefully
organised and supervised by the Nazi conspirators. The
defendant Goering was fully informed of the measures taken.
The teletype orders of 10th November, 1938, given by
Heydrich are already in evidence (Page 364, Part 2). A
letter which Heydrich wrote to Goering on the following day
has also been read. It is our Document 3058-PS, Exhibit USA
508. In it Himmler summarises the so-called "spontaneous"
riots that had taken place. He reported the day after the
riot that, in so far as the official reports from the
district police were concerned, he was able to state that
815 shops were destroyed, 171 dwelling houses set on fire or
destroyed, and that all this indicated only a fraction of
the actual damage caused, as far as arson is concerned. He
also said that:

  "Due to the urgency of the reporting, the reports
  received to date are entirely limited to general
  statements such as 'numerous' or 'most shops destroyed.'"

Therefore the figures given must have been exceeded
considerably.

  "191 synagogues were set on fire and another 76
  completely destroyed. In addition, 11 parish halls,
  cemetery chapels and similar buildings were set on fire
  and 3 more completely destroyed.
  
  20,000 Jews were arrested."

36 deaths were reported, and those seriously injured
numbered a further 36. Immediately after these so-called
"spontaneous" riots of 9th November, Goering acted as
chairman at the Reich Ministry of Air of a meeting devoted
to the Jewish question, which meeting was also attended by
the defendant Funk and other conspirators. The stenographic
report on that meeting is an extraordinary document, and it
does not make pretty reading. It is our Document 1816-PS,
already offered as Exhibit USA 261. I should like to read
certain passages that have not as yet been read into the
Record. I read from the top of the first page, the first two
paragraphs of Page 1 of the German original; Goering speaks:

  "Gentlemen, to-day's meeting is of a decisive nature. I
  have received a letter written on the Fuehrer's order by
  the Stabsleiter of the Fuehrer's Deputy Bormann,
  requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for
  all, co-ordinated and solved one way or another. And
  yesterday once again the Fuehrer requested me by phone to
  take co-ordinated action in the matter.
  
                                                   [Page 78]
  
  Since the problem is mainly an economic one, it is from
  the economic angle that it will have to be tackled.
  Naturally a number of legal measures will have to be
  taken, which fall into the sphere of the Minister of
  Justice, and into that of the Minister of the Interior;
  and certain propaganda measures will be taken care of by
  the office of the Minister of Propaganda. The Minister of
  Finance and the Minister of Economic Affairs will take
  care of problems falling into their respective
  departments."

Specific measures to effect the Aryanisation of Jewish
business were then discussed. A representative of German
insurance companies was called in to assist in the solving
of the difficulties created by the fact that most of the
Jewish stores and other property destroyed in the rioting
were, in fact, insured, in some cases, ultimately by foreign
insurance companies. All present were agreed that it would
be unfortunate to pass a law which would have the effect of
allowing foreign insurance companies to escape liability.
The defendant Goering then suggested a characteristic
solution, and I pass to Page 10. In German it is the third
full paragraph on Page 311. Goering said:

  "No, I do not even dream of refunding the insurance
  companies the money. The companies are liable. No, the
  money belongs to the State. That is quite clear. That
  would indeed be a present for the insurance companies.
  You make a wonderful petitum there. You will fulfil your
  obligations; you may count on that."

It is superfluous to quote further from the extensive
discussion of all phases of persecution of the Jews that
took place at this meeting. It is sufficient to point out
that on the same day the defendant Goering, over his own
signature, promulgated three decrees, putting into effect
the most important matters decided at this meeting. In the
first of these decrees a collective fine of one billion
Reichsmark was placed on all German Jews. I ask the Tribunal
to take judicial notice of that decree, which is our
Document 1412-PS and appears in 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part
1, Page 1579.

The second decree, entitled "A Decree on Elimination of Jews
from German Economic Life" barred Jews from trades and
crafts. I ask the Tribunal to notice judicially that decree,
which is our Document 2875-PS, cited in 1939
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 1580.

The third decree, entitled "Decree for the Restoration of
the Appearance of the Streets of Jewish Economic Enterprise"
took care of the insurance question raised in the morning's
meeting by providing that insurance due to the Jews for
various losses sustained by them was to be collected by the
State.

I ask the Court to notice judicially that decree also. It is
our Document 2694-PS and appears in 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt,
Part 1, Page 1591.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we break off for ten minutes there?

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Albrecht, the Tribunal thinks that these
methods, which are really methods which we have already had
under consideration, might be presented in a more summary
way than you have given them, and if you can possibly
shorten the matters with which you are dealing now by
summarising more than you are, it will be more useful to the
Tribunal and will save time.

MR. ALBRECHT: My Lord, I think I am practically through with
this point with which I am dealing, and I think I shall not
have to take more than five or ten minutes.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, but I may say that the same
observation will apply to those who follow.

MR. ALBRECHT: May it please the Tribunal, the material I
alluded to before the recess is, we feel, merely
illustrative of the energetic manner in which Goering took
part in driving the Jews from economic life at this period.
Two other documents would seem to be pertinent on this
point.

                                                   [Page 79]

I would like to offer our Document 069-PS as Exhibit USA
589, which is a circular letter dated 17th January, 1939,
signed by the defendant Bormann, distributing a directive of
the defendant Goering with respect to certain
discriminations to be applied in the housing of the Jews. I
will be content with the summarisation, if the Court please,
and I do not intend to read further from that document.

The second document I desire to offer is 1208-PS, which I
offer as Exhibit USA 590. That is an order of the defendant
Goering as Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, dated 10th
December, 1938, prescribing the manner in which exploitation
of Jewish property is to be undertaken and warning that any
profit resulting from the elimination of Jews from economic
activity is to go to the Reich.

There is no need, I believe, to read excerpts from the
document, except that I do wish to call the attention of the
Tribunal to the fact that the Goering letter is addressed to
all the chief agencies of the Reich, to all the political
leaders and leaders of the affiliated organisations of the
Party, to all Gauleiter, to all Reichsstatthalter, or
Governors, and to the various local heads of the German
Lander and subdivisions thereof.

As the German armies moved into other countries, the anti-
Jewish laws were extended, often in a more stringent form,
to the occupied territories. Many of the decrees were not
signed by the defendant Goering himself, but were issued on
the basis of decrees signed by him.

Nevertheless, in his capacity as Commissioner for the Four
Year Plan or as Chairman of the Ministerial Council for
National Defence, Goering did himself sign a number of anti-
Jewish decrees for occupied territories, including the
decrees enumerated on Pages 47 and 48 of our brief, of which
I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice.

During the later years of the war the programme of the Nazi
conspirators for the complete physical annihilation of all
Jews in Europe achieved its full fury. While the execution
of this anti-Jewish programme was for the most part handled
by the S.S. and the Security Police, the defendant Goering
remains implicated to the last in the final efforts to
achieve a Nazi "solution" of the Jewish problem.

On 31st July, 1941, he wrote a letter to the conspirator
Heydrich, which is the final document to which I wish to
draw the Tribunal's attention. It is a fitting climax to our
presentation on this defendant, your Honour. The reason why
it was addressed to the notorious Heydrich, the predecessor
of the defendant Kaltenbrunner, need not strain our
imagination. This Document, 710-PS, which has already been
admitted as Exhibit USA 509, in connection with the case on
the Gestapo. While it has already been read into evidence, I
would like, with the Court's permission, to close my
presentation with the reading of that letter. Goering writes
to Heydrich:

  "Complementing the task that was assigned to you on 24th
  January, 1939, which dealt with arriving at a thorough
  furtherance of emigration and evacuation, a solution of
  the Jewish problem as advantageous as possible, I hereby
  charge you with making all necessary preparations in
  regard to organisational and financial matters for
  bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish question
  in the German sphere of influence in Europe. Wherever
  other governmental agencies are involved, these are to
  cooperate with you.
  
  I charge you furthermore to send me, before long, an
  overall plan concerning the organisational, factual and
  material measures necessary for the accomplishment of the
  desired solution of the Jewish question."

The presentation made to the Tribunal on the individual
responsibility of the defendant Goering has been intended to
be merely illustrative of the mass of documentary evidence
which reveals the leading part played by this conspirator

                                                   [Page 80]

in every phase of the Nazi conspiracy. Thus, we submit that
his responsibility for the crimes with which he has been
charged under Count One of the Indictment has been
established.

May it please the Tribunal, this completes the presentation
of the responsibility of the defendant Goering. We will now
proceed with the arrangement made with the British
delegation on the presentation showing the individual
responsibility of the defendant von Ribbentrop, by Sir David
Maxwell Fyfe.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, if the
Tribunal would be good enough to look at Appendix A of the
Indictment on page 28 of the English Text, they will find
the particulars relating to the defendant, this defendant,
and they will find that the allegations regarding him fall
into three divisions.

After reciting the offices which he held, the appendix of
the Indictment goes on to say that the defendant Ribbentrop
used the foregoing positions, his personal influence, and
his intimate connection with the Fuehrer in such a manner
that he promoted the accession to power of the Nazi
conspirators as set forth in Count One of the Indictment,
and permitted preparation for war as set forth in Count One
of the Indictment.

In the second section he participated in the political
planning and preparation of the Nazi conspirators for Wars
of Aggression and Wars in Violation of International
Treaties, Agreements and Assurances as set forth in Count
One and Count Two of the Indictment.

In accordance with the Fuehrer's principle, he executed and
assumed responsibility for the execution of the foreign
policy plans of the Nazi conspirators, as set forth in Count
One of the Indictment.

Then the third section: he authorised, directed and
participated in War Crimes, as set forth in Count Three of
the Indictment, and Crimes against Humanity, set forth in
Count Four of the Indictment, including, moreover, the
crimes against persons and property in occupied territories.
I hope it might be useful to the Tribunal if I follow that
order. In regard to these allegations in the Indictment we
collected the evidence for each of them in turn, and I
therefore proceed to put in first the allegation that this
defendant promoted the accession to power of the Nazi
conspirators.

The Tribunal notes already that the defendant held various
offices and these are listed in his own certified statement,
which has already been put in as Exhibit USA 5, Document
2829-PS. And I think it would be convenient if I very
briefly explained the different activities and offices of
the defendant which are dealt with in that list. It will be
seen that he became a member of the Nazi Party in 1932, but,
according to the semi-official statement in the archives, he
had begun to work for that Party before that time. That semi-
official statement goes on and says that he succeeded in
extending his business connections to political circles.
Having joined in 1930 the service of the Party, at the time
of the final struggle for power in the Reich, Ribbentrop
played an important, if not strikingly obvious, part in the
bringing about of the decisive meetings between the
representatives of the President of the Reich and the heads
of the Party, who had prepared the entry of the Nazis into
power on 30th January, 1933. Those meetings, as well as
those between Hitler and von Papen, took place in
Ribbentrop's house in Berlin-Dahlem.

This defendant was therefore present and active at the
inception of the Nazi securing of power after that. For a
short period he was adviser to the Party on questions of
foreign affairs. His title was first "Collaborator to the
Fuehrer on matters of Foreign Policy" and he later became
representative in matters of foreign policies of the Staff
of the Deputy. This was followed by membership in the Nazi
Reichstag in November, 1933, and in the Party organisations
be became an Oberfuehrer in the S.S. and was subsequently
promoted to Gruppenft1hrer and to Obergruppenfuehrer.
Thereafter he obtained the official governmental positions.

                                                   [Page 81]

On the 24th April he was appointed Delegate of the Reich
Government on matters of Disarmament. It was after Germany
had left the disarmament conference. In this capacity he
visited foreign capitals. He was then given a more
important, and certainly a more designing, title: the German
Minister Plenipotentiary at Large; and it was in that
capacity that he negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Agreement
of 1935.

In March, 1936, after the Nazi Government had reoccupied the
Rhineland, which had been demilitarised in accordance with
the terms of the Versailles and Locarno Treaties, and the
matter was brought before the Council of the League of
Nations, the defendant addressed the Council in defence of
the action of Germany. His next position began on 11th
August, 1936, when he was appointed Ambassador in London. He
occupied that position for a period of some eighteen months,
and his activities there, while having their own interest,
are not highly relevant to the matters now before the
Tribunal. In his capacity as German Minister Plenipotentiary
at Large - an office still held by him - he signed the
original Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan in November, 1936,
and also the additional pact by which Italy joined it in
1937.

Finally, so far as this part of these cases is concerned, in
February, 1938, this defendant was appointed Foreign
Minister in place of the defendant von Neurath and
simultaneously was made a member of the Secret Cabinet
Council (Geheimer Kabinettsrat) established by decree of
Hitler of that date. That takes us up to the period of his
holding the office of Foreign Minister, and his action in
that capacity will be dealt with in detail later on.

I refer the Tribunal, without reading further, because I
have already summarised it, to the extract from "Das
Archiv," Document D-472, which I now put in as Exhibit GB
130; also to the membership extract of the S.S., which
consists in the examination of the descent of S.S. leaders -
D-636 - and which I insert as Exhibit GB 131. Again I shall
not trouble the Tribunal with the details which show his
rank, which I have already mentioned. There is no question
of any honorary rank. It stated the rank of Gruppenfuehrer,
and, of course, it gives his ancestry in detail, in order to
deal with the law relating to that subject. It also deals
with the adoption of the "von," but the defendant's evidence
is now to deal with much more serious matters than barren
controversies with the Almanach de Gotha.


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