The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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THE PRESIDENT: In view of the motion which was made
yesterday by Counsel for the defendant Hess, the Tribunal
will postpone the presentation of the individual case
against Hess, and will proceed with the presentation of the
case by counsel for France.

M. DUBOST (Counsel for France): When exposing the charges
which now weigh upon the defendants, my British and American
colleagues put forward the evidence that these man conceived
and executed a plan and plot for the domination of Europe.
They have shown you the Crimes against Peace of which these
men became guilty by launching unjust wars. They have shown

                                                  [Page 123]

you that, as leaders of Nazi Germany, they had all
premeditated unjust wars, and had participated in the

Then my friends and colleagues of the French Delegation, M.
Herzog, M. Faure and M. Gerthoffer submitted documents
establishing that the defendants who, in various positions
all counted among the leaders of Nazi Germany, are
responsible for the repeated violations of the laws and
customs of war committed by the representatives of the Reich
in the course of military operations. However, it still
remains for us to show the atrocities of which men, women
and children of the occupied countries of the West were

We intend at this point to prove that the defendants, in
their capacity as leaders of Hitlerite Germany,
systematically pursued a policy of extermination the cruelty
of which increased from day to day until the final defeat of
Germany that the defendants conceived and prescribed these
atrocities as part and parcel of a system which was to
enable them to achieve a political aim. This political aim
is the net which closely binds all the facts we intend to
present to you. The crimes perpetrated against people and
property, as presented so far by my colleagues of the French
Prosecution, were in close connection with the war.
Therefore they clearly featured as war crimes stricte sensu.
Those which I shall present to you surpass them both in
meaning and scope. They form part of the plans of a policy
of domination, of expansion beyond war itself. It is Hitler
himself who gave the best definition of this policy in one
of his speeches in Munich on 16 May 1927. He was deceiving
his listeners about the danger that France, an agricultural
country of only 40 million inhabitants, might represent for
Germany, which was already a highly-industrialised country
with a population of nearly 70 millions.

That day Hitler said "There is only one way for Germany to
escape encirclement, and it is by the destruction of the
Country, which, by the natural order of things, will always
be her mortal enemy: France. When a nation is aware that its
whole existence is endangered by an enemy it must aim at one
thing only: the annihilation of that enemy."

During the first months that followed their victory, the
Germans seemed to have abandoned their plan of annihilation,
but this was only a tactical pretence. They hoped to draw
into their war against England and the Union of the Soviet
Socialist Republics the Western nations they had enslaved.
By doses of treachery and violence, they attempted to make
these Western nations go the way of collaboration. The
latter resisted, and the defendants then abandoned their
tactics and came back to their big game, the annihilation of
conquered peoples, in order to secure in Europe the space
necessary for the 250 million Germans whom they hoped to
settle there in generations to come.

This  destruction, this annihilation - I repeat the very
words used by Hitler in his speech - was undertaken under
various pretences: the elimination of inferior, or negroid
races, the extermination of Bolshevism, and the destruction
of Judeo-Masonic influences hostile to the founding of the
pseudo "New European Order."

In fact, this extermination, this elimination, tended to the
assassination of the elite and vital forces opposed to
Nazism; it also tended to the reduction of the means of
livelihood of the enslaved nations.

All of this was done, as I shall prove to you, in execution
of a deliberate plan, the existence of which is confirmed
among other things by the repetition and the constancy of
the same facts in all the occupied countries.

Faced with this repetition and this constancy, it is no
longer possible to claim that only the one who committed the
crime was guilty. This repetition and this constancy prove
that the same criminal will united all the members of the
German Government, all the leaders of the German Reich.

It is from this common will that the official policy of
terrorism and extermination which directed the strokes of
the executioners, was born and it is for

                                                  [Page 124]

having participated in the creation of this common will that
each of the defendants here present has been placed in the
ranks of major war criminals.

I shall come back to this point when, having finished my
presentation of the facts, I shall have to qualify the
crime, in accordance with the legal tradition of my country.

Allow me to give you now some indications as to how, with
your kind permission, I intend to make my presentation.

The facts I am to prove here are the results of many
testimonies. We could have called innumerable witnesses to
this stand. Their statements have been collected by the
French Office for Research on War Crimes. It seemed to us
that it would simplify and shorten the procedure if we were
to give you extracts only from the testimony that we have
received in writing.

With your permission, therefore, I shall limit myself to
reading excerpts from the written testimonies collected in
France by official organisations qualified to investigate
War Crimes. However, if in the course of this presentation
it appears necessary to call certain witnesses, we shall
proceed to do so, but with constant care not to slow down
the sessions in any way and to bring them speedily to the
only possible conclusion; the one our people expect.

The whole question of atrocities is ruled by the German
terrorist policy. Under this aspect it is not without
precedent in the Germanic practice of war. We all remember
the execution of hostages at Dinand during the war of 1914,
the execution of hostages in the citadel of Laon and of
hostages at Senlis. But Nazism perfected this terrorist
policy; for Nazism, terror is a means of subjugating. We all
remember the propaganda picture about the war in Poland,
shown in Oslo on the eve of the invasion of Norway.

For Nazism, terror is a means of subjugating all enslaved
people, in order to submit them to the aims of its policy.

The first signs of this terrorist policy during the
occupation are fresh in the memory of all Frenchmen. Only a
few months after the signing of the armistice they saw red
posters edged with black appear on the walls of Paris' as
well as in the smallest villages of France, proclaiming the
execution of hostages. We know mothers who were first
informed of the execution of their sons in this way. These
executions were carried out by the occupant after anti-
German incidents. These incidents were the answer of the
French people to the official policy of collaboration.
Resistance to this policy stiffened, became organised, and
with it the repressive measures increased in intensity until
1944, the climax of German terrorism in France and in the
countries of the West. At that time, the Army and the SS
Police no longer spoke of the execution of hostages; they
organised real reprisal expeditions during which whole
villages were set on fire, and thousands of civilians
killed, arrested and deported; but before reaching this
stage, the Germans attempted to justify their criminal
actions in the eyes of a susceptible public opinion. They
published, as we shall prove, a real code of hostages, and
merely pretended to comply with law every time they
proceeded to carry out reprisal executions.

The taking of hostages, as you know, is prohibited by
Article 50 of the Hague Convention. I shall read this text
to you. It is to be found in the Fourth Convention:
Article 50.

   "No collective penalty, pecuniary or other, can be
   decreed against populations for individual acts for
   which they cannot be held jointly and severally

And yet, supreme perfidy! The German General Staff, the
German Government, will endeavour to turn this regulation
into a dead letter, and to set up as law the systematic
violation of the Hague Convention.

I shall describe to you how the General Staff formed its
pseudo-law on hostages, a pseudo-law, which in France found
its final expression in the hostage

                                                  [Page 125]

code of Stulpnagel. I shall show you, in passing, which of
these defendants are the most guilty of this crime.

On 15 February 1940, in a secret report, addressed to the
defendant Goering, the OKW justifies the taking of hostages,
as proved by the excerpt from Document 1585-PS, which I
propose to read to you. This document is dated Berlin, 15
February 1940. It bears the heading: "Supreme Command of the
Armed Forces. Secret." To the Reich Minister for Aviation;
Supreme Command of the Air Force.

  Subject: Arrest of Hostages.
  "According to the opinion of the OKW, the arrest of
  hostages is justified in all cases in which the security
  of the troops and the carrying out of their orders
  demands it. In most cases it will be necessary to have
  recourse to it in case of resistance or an uncertain
  attitude on the part of the population of an occupied
  territory, should the troops be engaged in fighting or
  that a situation exists which renders other means of
  restoring security insufficient."
  Further, paragraph 4: In selecting hostages, it must be
  borne in mind that their arrest should take place only if
  the refractory sections of the population are anxious
  that they should not be executed. The hostages shall
  therefore be chosen from sections of the population from
  which a hostile attitude may be expected. The arrest of
  hostages shall be carried out among persons whose fate,
  we may suppose, will influence the insurgents."

This document is filed by the French Delegation as Exhibit
RF 267.

To my knowledge, Goering never opposed any objection to this
thesis. Here is one more paragraph from an order, Document
508-F, from the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces in
France, administrative section, signed "Stroccius," 12
September 1940, three months after the beginning of the
occupation. The hostages are defined therein as follows. I
quote from Page two,:

  "Hostages are inhabitants of a country who guarantee with
  their lives the faultless attitude of the population. The
  responsibility for their fate is thus placed in the hands
  of their compatriots. Therefore, the population must be
  publicly threatened that the hostages will be held
  responsible for the unfriendly acts of individuals. Only
  French citizens may be taken as hostages. The hostages
  can be held responsible only for actions committed after
  their arrest and after the public proclamation."

This order cancels 5 directives prior to 12 September 1940.
This question was the subject of numerous texts, and two
General Staff orders, dated, as indicated at the head of
Document 510F, 2 November and 13 February, Page two:

   "If acts of violence are committed by the inhabitants of
   the country against members of the occupation forces, if
   offices and installations of the Armed Forces are
   damaged or destroyed, or if any other attacks are
   directed against the security of German units and
   service establishments, and if, under the circumstances,
   the population of the place of the crime or the
   immediate neighbourhood can be considered as co-
   responsible for those acts of sabotage, measures of
   prevention and expiation may be ordered, by which the
   civil population is to be deterred in future from
   committing, encouraging or tolerating acts of that kind.
   The population is to be treated as co-responsible for
   individual acts of sabotage if, by its attitude, in
   general, towards the German Armed Forces it has favoured
   hostile or unfriendly acts of individuals; if, by its
   passive resistance against the investigation of previous
   acts of sabotage, it has encouraged hostile elements to
   similar acts, or otherwise created a favourable at-
                                                  [Page 126]
   mosphere for opposition to the German occupation. All
   plans must be made in such a way that it is possible to
   carry them out. Threats without execution give the
   impression of weakness."

These last two lines are at the top of Page three of the
French text. I submit these two documents as Exhibits RF 268
and 269.

Until now we have not found any trace in these German texts
of an affirmation which might lead one to think that the
taking of hostages and their execution constitutes a right
of the occupying power; but here is a German text which
explicitly formulates this idea. It is quoted in your
document book as 507-F, dated Brussels, 18 April 1944. It is
issued by the Chief Judge to the military Commander-in-Chief
in Belgium and the North of France, and it is addressed to
the German Armistice Commission in Wiesbaden. It reads in
the margin: "Most Secret." Subject: Execution of 8
terrorists in Lille on 22 December 1943. Reference: Your
letter of 16 March 1944." You will read in the middle of
paragraph 2 of the text:

   "Moreover, I maintain my point of view that the legal
   foundations for the measures taken by the
   Oberfeldkommandantur of Lille in compliance with the
   letter of my police group of 2 March, 1943, are,
   regardless of the opinion of the Armistice Commission,
   sufficiently justified, and further explanations are
   superfluous. The Armistice Commission is in a position
   to declare to the French if it wishes to go into the
   question in detail, that the executions have been
   carried out in conformity with the general principles of
   the law concerning hostages."

It is, therefore, quite obviously a State doctrine which is
involved. Innocent people become forfeit. They answer with
their lives for the attitude of their fellow-citizens
towards the German Army. If an offence is committed of which
they are completely ignorant, they are the object of a
collective penalty, possibly entailing death. This is the
official German thesis imposed by the German Armistice
Commission in Wiesbaden. I repeat, it is a thesis imposed by
the German High Command, and I will produce the evidence.

Keitel, on 16 September 1941, signed a general order which
has already been read, and filed by my American colleagues
under Document 389-PS, and on which I shall begin my
comments. This order concerns all the occupied territories
of the East and the West, as established by the list of
addressees which includes all the military commanders of the
countries then occupied by Germany: France, Belgium, Norway,
Denmark, Eastern Territories, Ukraine, Serbia, Salonica,
Southern Greece, Crete. This order was in effect for the
duration of the war. We have a text of 1944 which refers to
it. This order of Keitel, Chief of the OKW, is dictated in a
violent spirit of anti-Communist repression. It aims at all
kinds of repression of the civilian population.

This order, which concerns even the commanders whose troops
are stationed in the West, points out to them that in all
cases in which attacks are made against the German Army it
is necessary to establish - I read the second paragraph of
the text -

   "that we are dealing with a mass movement uniformly
   controlled by Moscow, to which may also be imputed the
   seemingly unimportant sporadic incidents which may occur
   in regions which otherwise have remained quiet until

Consequently Keitel orders, among other things, that fifty
to a hundred Communists are to be put to death for each
German soldier killed. This is a political conception which
we constantly meet in all manifestations of German
terrorism; as far as Hitlerite propaganda is concerned, all
resistance to Germany is of Communist inspiration, if not in
essence Communist. The Germans thereby hoped to eliminate
from the resistance the nationalists whom they thought
hostile to Communism. But the Nazis also pursued another
aim: they still hoped above all to divide France and the
other conquered

                                                  [Page 127]

countries of the West into two hostile factions, and to put
one of these factions at their service under the pretext of

(A recess was taken)

M. DUBOST: We had stopped at this order of 16 September
1941, signed by the defendant Keitel, which governs, as I
explained to you, the whole question of hostages. Keitel
confirmed this order on 24 September 1941. We submit it as
Exhibit RF 271 and you will find it in your document book as
RF-554. I shall read you the first paragraph:

   "Following directives of the Fuehrer, the Supreme
   Command of the Armed Forces issued on 16th September
   1941, an order concerning the Communist revolutionary
   movement in the occupied territories. The order was
   addressed to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for the
   attention of Ambassador Ritter. It also deals with the
   question of capital punishment in military tribunals.
   According to the order, in future, most stringent
   measures must be taken in the occupied territories."

The choice of hostages is also indicated thus in Document
877-PS, which has already been read to you and which is
previous to the aggression of Germany against Russia. It is
necessary to remind the Tribunal of this document because it
shows the premeditation of the German Command and the Nazi
Government to divide the occupied countries, to take away
from the partisan resistance all its patriotic character,
and to substitute a political character which it never had.
You will find on Page 2, paragraph 4 of Document 877-PS
filed under Exhibit RF 273, the following sentence:

   "In this connection it must be borne in mind that, apart
   from other adversaries with whom our troops have to
   contend, a particularly dangerous element of the
   civilian population, destructive of all order, the
   propagator of Judeo-Bolshevist philosophy, opposes them.
   There is no doubt that, wherever he possibly can, he
   uses this weapon of disintegration maliciously and in
   ambush against the German Armed Forces, whether in
   combat or liberating the country."

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