The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 178]
              (b) The Preparation of War Crimes

While undertaking strategic and diplomatic measures to
prepare for its predatory attack against the U.S.S.R., the
Hitlerite Government conceived and planned beforehand the
commission of war crimes on the territory of the U.S.S.R.
The so-called "Case Barbarossa" was a strategic plan. But
this plan was supplemented by a number of instructions and
orders, designed to embrace all the measures relative to the
problems which would arise on the invasion of the Soviet
Union. Among these measures we must mention, in the very
first place, the instruction issued on 13th March, 1941, by
the Headquarters of the German High Command.

This instruction deals with a series of organisational
problems of a civilian nature and, in particular, with the
problems relative to the organisation of administrative
authorities. It is of importance to note that this
instruction placed German troops stationed in East Prussia
and the so-called Government General (that is to say,
Poland) under the laws and regulations which were to be put
in force in the zone of operations, at least four weeks
prior to the opening of the campaign.

                                                  [Page 179]
By this instruction, the High Command of the German Armed
Forces was authorised to assume executive power and to
delegate it to the Commanding Generals of the Army Groups
and Armies. Also one cannot overlook in this instruction sub-
paragraph "B" which characterizes the tasks and objectives
pursued by the conspirators.

In this sub-paragraph it states:

     "In the theatre of army operations, in connection with
     the preparation of political administration, the
     Reichsfuehrer of the S.S., by order of the Fuehrer, has
     been given special tasks for the preparation of
     political administration, arising from the conclusive
     and decisive struggle between two opposing political
     systems. Within the limits of the set tasks, the
     Reichsfuehrer of the S.S. acts independently, upon his
     own responsibility."
Mankind is now well aware of the meaning of these "special
tasks," the execution of which was exclusively entrusted to
the S.S. General and officers, who made full use of this
right to act "independently" and "upon their own
responsibility." It meant unheard of terror, plundering,
violence, and killing of prisoners of war and peaceful

This instruction deals, further, in a very specific way with
such problems as the plundering and predatory exploitation
of the areas occupied by the German troops. The directive is
signed by the Defendant Keitel. In another instruction,
issued in June, 1941, as a supplement to the "Plan
Barbarossa," orders are issued which, in the guise of
propaganda directives, prescribe the ruthless treatment of
all those who oppose the German aggressors. As to actual
propaganda, the directives frankly mention the usual dirty
Hitlerite methods of  calumny, lies and provocation, which
were to be used by the so-called "propaganda companies."

Finally one cannot overlook another instruction, known under
the name of "Orders Concerning Military Jurisdiction in the
Barbarossa Area and special measures to be taken by the
troops." These orders, while sanctioning a completely
arbitrary action on the part of the German authorities and
troops in regard to the civilian population in the
territories seized by the German Armed Forces, begin with a
demand made to the German troops to "protect" themselves
ruthlessly against hostile actions of the civilian

In the rules prescribing the adoption of Draconian measures
against peaceful populations and partisans, we find
indications as to the brutal punishment to be imposed upon
persons defined in those orders as "suspected elements."

With the permission of the Tribunal, I will read only two
sub-paragraphs of these rules, Sub-paragraphs 4 and 5:

     "4. In those places where it is too late to adopt these
     measures or where it had not been possible to do so
     immediately, suspected elements must be handed over to
     an officer without delay; he will decide whether or not
     they should be shot.
     5. It is absolutely prohibited to hold these suspects
     for trial by courts, which at a later date will be
     instituted for the local population."
Thus, according to these so-called "rules," the fate and
life of every apprehended person depended exclusively on the
officer, and it was prohibited, as the order stressed, "to
hold the suspects for trial." In other words, it was a
definite order to exterminate the "suspects." Moreover, in
the case of attacks against the German Armed Forces, the
order prescribed "mass measures of repression," that is to
say, the wholesale extermination of absolutely innocent

What heights of cynicism were reached by the German High
Command in the application of sanguinary terror can be seen
from the fact that this "order" freed the German soldiers,
officers, and officials of any responsibility for the

                                                  [Page 180]
commission of crimes against the peaceful Soviet population.
According to these "orders," the German troop commanders
were entitled to confirm only those "sentences" which, as
the said document states, were in accordance with the
"political objectives of the leaders."

Consequently, long before 22nd June, 1941, the Hitlerite
Government and the German High Command, whose
representatives are now in the dock, planned and prepared in
detail those war crimes which were subsequently committed in
the territory of the U.S.S.R. These plans inexorably
disclose that the defendants premeditated the monstrous
crimes which were organised by them.

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