The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06/tgmwc-06-53.12

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-06-53.12
Last-Modified: 1998/04/13

                                                  [Page 147]

M. QUATRE: I had reached, Gentlemen, Page 36 of my brief,
concerning the treatment of Allied airmen who were prisoners
of war.

This point had already been discussed at some length before
you ----

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps I ought to say that the Tribunal will
be willing to sit this evening until half-past five, in
order that the case against the defendant Hess may be
concluded, but it is very important that the case should be
concluded to-night, against the defendant Hess, because the
Soviet prosecution will require the whole day for their
presentation to-morrow.

M. QUATRE: Mr. President, I shall be very brief. I shall
pass straight on to my conclusion. I shall say nothing about
the treatment of Allied airmen. You know the circumstances,
as well as the treatment of Commando troops, and I once more
beg the Tribunal's pardon for having unintentionally spoken
at such length. I shall now conclude.

It is definitely the conception of criminal intention which
was present in the drafting of the orders and directives
which we have just examined. The reality of the acts
perpetrated as a result of these decisions cannot be denied,
nor should we overlook or underestimate this moral element,
qualified by French penal law, to use the formula of an
eminent jurist as "knowledge on the part of the agent" of
the illicit character of the acts performed by him. The two
defendants were fully cognisant of the illicit nature of
orders which they knew would be scrupulously carried out.

With Keitel and Jodl the systematic rejection of the laws
and customs that mitigate the horrors of war and the
restoration, as a matter of principle, of the most barbarous
practices are the reflection of the forms and precepts of
National Socialism and its leader, for whom any
International Law, any conventions, any ethical law
represented an intolerable restraint, an obstacle to the
goal to be attained, inasmuch as they interfered with the
higher interests of the German community.

It is not a matter of indifference to know whether Keitel
and Jodl were urged by personal ambition or whether, true to
the Pan-German tradition of the German General Staff, they
yielded to the National Socialist frenzy in the hope of one
day seeing the arrogant pretensions of Germany fully

The most important point, in our eyes, is the personal
contribution which they consciously and voluntarily made to
the enterprise of destruction carried out by the Third

For 10 years Keitel was the key man of the German Army, and
from 1936 onward, Jodl did not cease to be his collaborator.
Before the war they worked to promote the war, and during
the war they deliberately flouted the rules of law and
justice, the sole safeguards of fighting men, held the
dignity of mankind in utter contempt and thus failed to do
their duty as soldiers.

"Nacht und Nebel," the "Kugelaktion," the
"Sonderbehandlung," the destruction of our cities -- all
this will be forever associated with the names of these men,
and particularly with the name of Keitel, who dared to
proclaim that human life was less than nothing.

                                                  [Page 148]
And at this moment we cannot prevent our thoughts from
turning towards the countless absent ones, who for that
reason sacrificed their lives.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.