The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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4. ENSLAVEMENT AND PLUNDER OF POPULATIONS IN OCCUPIED COUNTRIES

The defendant Sauckel, Plenipotentiary General for the
Utilization of Labour (29), is authority for the statement
that "out of five million foreign workers who arrived in
Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily". (30.) It was
officially reported to defendant Rosenberg that in his
territory "recruiting methods were used which probably have
their origin in the blackest period of the slave trade".
(31.) Sauckel himself reported that male and female agents
went hunting for men, got them drunk, and "shanghaied" them
to Germany. (32.) These captives were shipped in trains
without heat, food, or sanitary facilities. The dead were
thrown out at stations, and the newborn were thrown out the
windows of moving trains. (33.)

Sauckel ordered that "all the men must be fed, sheltered and
treated in such a way as to exploit them to the highest
possible extent at the lowest conceivable degree of
expenditure". (34.) About two million of these were employed
directly in the manufacture of armaments and munitions.
(35.) The director of the Krupp locomotive factory in Essen
complained to the company that Russian forced labourers were
so underfed that they were too weakened to do their work
(36.), and the Krupp doctor confirmed their pitiable
condition. (37.) Soviet

                                                  [Page 387]

workers were put in camps under Gestapo guards, who were
allowed to punish disobedience by confinement in a
concentration camp or by hanging on the spot. (38.)

Populations of occupied countries were otherwise exploited
and oppressed unmercifully. Terrorism was the order of the
day. Civilians were arrested without charges, committed
without counsel, executed without hearing. Villages were
destroyed, the male inhabitants shot or sent to
concentration camps, the women sent to forced labour, and
the children scattered abroad. (39.) The extent of the
slaughter in Poland alone was indicated by Frank, who
reported:

  "If I wanted to have a poster put up for every seven
  Poles who were shot, the forests of Poland would not
  suffice for producing the paper for such posters." (40.)

Those who will enslave men cannot be expected to refrain
from plundering them. Boastful reports show how thoroughly
and scientifically the resources of occupied lands were
sucked into the German war economy, inflicting shortage,
hunger, and inflation upon the inhabitants. (41.) Besides
this grand plan to aid the German war effort there were the
sordid activities of the Rosenberg "Einsatzstab", which
pillaged art treasures for Goering and his fellow-bandits.
(42.) It is hard to say whether the spectacle of Germany's
No. 2 leader urging his people to give up every comfort and
strain every sinew on essential war work while he rushed
around confiscating art by the trainload should be cast as
tragedy or comedy. In either case it was a crime.

International Law at all times before and during this war
spoke with precision and authority respecting the protection
due to civilians of an occupied country (43.), and the slave
trade and plunder of occupied countries was at all times
flagrantly unlawful.

5. PERSECUTION AND EXTERMINATION OF JEWS AND CHRISTIANS

The Nazi movement will be of evil memory in history because
of its persecution of the Jews, the most far-flung and
terrible racial persecution of all time. Although the Nazi
Party neither invented nor monopolised anti-Semitism, its
leaders from the very beginning embraced it, incited it, and
exploited it. They used it as "the psychological spark that
ignites the mob". After seizure of power, it became an
official State policy. The persecution began in a series of
discriminatory laws eliminating the Jews from the civil
service, the professions, and economic life. As it became
more intense it included segregation of Jews in ghettoes,
and exile. Riots were organized by Party leaders to loot
Jewish business places and to burn synagogues. Jewish
property was confiscated and a collective fine of a billion
marks was imposed upon German Jewry. The programme
progressed in fury and irresponsibility to the "final
solution". This consisted of sending all Jews who were fit
to work to concentration camps as slave labourers, and all
who were not fit, which included children under 12 and
people over 50, as well as any others judged unfit by an SS
doctor, to concentration camps for extermination. (44.)

Adolf Eichmann, the sinister figure who had charge of the
extermination programme, has estimated that the anti-Jewish
activities resulted in the killing of six million Jews. Of
these, four million were killed in extermination
institutions, and two million were killed by Einsatzgruppen,
mobile units of the Security Police and SD which pursued
Jews in the ghettoes and in their homes and slaughtered them
in gas wagons, by mass shooting in anti-tank ditches and by
every device which Nazi ingenuity could conceive. So
thorough and uncompromising was this programme that the Jews
of Europe as a race no longer exist, thus fulfilling the
diabolic "prophecy" of Adolf Hitler at the beginning of the
war. (45.)

Of course, any such programme must reckon with the
opposition of the Christian Church. This was recognized from
the very beginning. Defendant

                                                  [Page 388]

Bormann wrote all Gauleiter in 1941 that "National Socialism
and Christian concepts are irreconcilable", and that the
people must be separated from the Churches, and the
influence of the Churches totally removed. (46.) Defendant
Rosenberg even wrote dreary treatises advocating a new and
weird. Nazi religion. (47.)

The Gestapo appointed "Church specialists" who were
instructed that the ultimate aim was "destruction of the
confessional Churches". (48.) The record is full of specific
instances of the persecution of clergymen (49.), the
confiscation of Church property (50.), interference with
religious publications (51.), disruption, of religious
education (52.), and suppression of religious organizations.
(53.)

The chief instrument for persecution and extermination was
the concentration camp, sired by the defendant Goering and
nurtured under the overall authority of defendants Frick and
Kaltenbrunner.

The horrors of these iniquitous places have been vividly
disclosed by documents (54) and testified to by witnesses.
(55.) The Tribunal must be satiated with ghastly verbal and
pictorial portrayals. From your records it is clear that the
concentration camps were the first and worst weapon of Nazi
oppression used by the National Socialist State, and that
they were the primary means utilised for the persecution of
the Christian Church and the extermination of the Jewish
race. This has been admitted to you by some of the
defendants from the witness stand. (56.) In the words of
defendant Frank:

  "A thousand years will pass and this guilt of Germany
  will still not be erased." (57.)

These, then, were the five great substantive crimes of the
Nazi regime. Their commission, which cannot be denied,
stands admitted. The defendant Keitel, who is in a position
to know the facts, has given the Tribunal what seems to be a
fair summation of the case on the facts:

"The defendant has declared that 'he admits the contents of
the general Indictment to be proved from the objective and
factual point of view' (that is to say, not every individual
case) 'and this in consideration of the law of procedure
governing the trial. It would be senseless, despite the
possibility of refuting several documents or individual
facts, to attempt to shake the Indictment as a whole.'"
(58.)

I pass now to the inquiry as to whether these groups of
criminal acts were integrated in a common plan or
conspiracy.

THE COMMON PLAN OR CONSPIRACY

The prosecution submits that these five categories of
premeditated crimes were not separate and independent
phenomena but that all were committed pursuant to a common
plan or conspiracy. The defence admits that these classes of
crimes were committed, but denies that they are connected
one with another as parts of a single programme.

The central crime in this pattern of crimes, the king-pin
which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive
wars. The chief reason for international cognizance of these
crimes lies in this fact. Have we established the plan or
conspiracy to make aggressive war?

Certain admitted or clearly proven facts help to answer that
question. First is the fact that such war of aggression did
take place. Second, it is admitted that from the moment the
Nazis came to power, every one of them and every one of the
defendants worked like beavers to prepare for some war. The
question therefore comes to this: Were they preparing for
the war which did occur, or were they preparing for some war
which never happened? It is probably true that in their
early days none of them had in mind what month of what year
war would begin, the exact dispute which would precipitate
it, or whether its first impact would be Austria,
Czechoslovakia, or Poland. But I submit that the defendants
either knew or were chargeable with knowledge that the war
for which

                                                  [Page 389]

they were making ready would be a war of German aggression.
This is partly because there was no real expectation that
any power or combination of powers would attack Germany. But
it is chiefly because the inherent nature of the German
plans was such that they were certain sooner or later to
meet resistance and that they could then be accomplished
only by aggression.

The plans of Adolf Hitler for aggression were just as secret
as Mein Kampf, of which over six million copies were
published in Germany. He not only openly advocated
overthrowing the Treaty of Versailles, but made demands
which went far beyond a mere rectification of its alleged
injustices. (59.) He avowed an intention to attack
neighbouring States and seize their lands (60), which he
said would have to be won with "the power of a triumphant
sword". (61.) Here, for every German to hearken to, were the
"ancestral voices prophesying war".

Goering has testified in this courtroom that at his first
meeting with Hitler, long before the seizure of power:

  "I noted that Hitler had a definite view of the impotency
  of protest and, as a second point, that he was of the
  opinion that Germany should be freed of the Peace of
  Versailles. 'We did not say we shall have to have a war
  and defeat our enemies'; this was the aim and the methods
  had to be adapted to the political situation." (62.)

When asked if this goal were to be accomplished by war if
necessary, Goering did not deny that eventuality but evaded
a direct answer by saying, "We did not debate about that at
all at that time." He went on to say that the aim to
overthrow the Treaty of Versailles was open and notorious
and that, I quote again, "Every German in my opinion was for
its modification, and there was no doubt that this was a
strong inducement for joining the party." (63.) Thus, there
can be no possible excuse for any person who aided Hitler to
get absolute power over the German people, or who took a
part in his regime, to fail to know the nature of the
demands he would make on Germany's neighbours.

Immediately after the seizure of power the Nazis went to
work to implement these aggressive intentions by preparing
for war. They first enlisted German industrialists in a
secret rearmament programme. Twenty days after the seizure
of power Schacht was host to Hitler, Goering and some twenty
leading industrialists. Among them were Krupp von Bohlen of
the great Krupp armament works and representatives of I. G.
Farben and other Ruhr heavy industries. Hitler and Goering
explained their programme to the industrialists, who became
so enthusiastic that they set about to raise three million
Reichsmarks to strengthen and confirm the Nazi Party in
power. (64.) Two months later Krupp was working to bring a
reorganised association of German industry into agreement
with the political aims of the Nazi Government. (65.) Krupp
later boasted of the success in keeping the German war
industries secretly alive and in readiness despite the
disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, and recalled
the industrialists' enthusiastic acceptance of "the great
intentions of the Fuehrer in the rearmament period of 1933-
1939". (66.)

Some two months after Schacht had sponsored his first
meeting to gain the support of the industrialists, the Nazis
moved to harness industrial labour to their aggressive
plans. In April, 1933, Hitler ordered Dr. Ley "to take over
the trade unions", numbering some 6 million members. By
Party directive Ley seized the unions, their property and
their funds. Union leaders, taken into "protective custody"
by the SS and SA, were put into concentration camps. (67.)
The free labour unions were then replaced by a Nazi
organization known as the German Labour Front, with Dr. Ley
at its head. It was expanded until it controlled over 23
million members. (68.) Collective bargaining was eliminated,
the voice of labour could no longer be heard as to working
conditions, and the labour contract was prescribed by
"trustees of labour" appointed by Hitler. (69.) The war
purpose of this labour programme was clearly acknowledged by
Robert Ley five days after war broke out, when he declared
in a speech that:

                                                  [Page 390]

  "We National Socialists have monopolised all resources
  and all our energies during the past seven years so as to
  be able to be equipped for the supreme effort of battle."
  (70.)

The Nazis also proceeded at once to adapt the Government to
the needs of war. In April, 1933, the Cabinet formed a
Defence Council, the working committee of which met
frequently thereafter. In the meeting of 22nd May, 1933, at
which defendant Keitel presided, the members were instructed
that:

"No document must be lost since otherwise the enemy
propaganda would make use of it. Matters communicated orally
cannot be proven; they can be denied by us in Geneva." (71.)

In February, 1934 - and, your Honours, dates in this
connection are important - with defendant Jodl present, the
Council planned a mobilization calendar and mobilization
order for some 240,000 industrial plants. Again it was
agreed that nothing should be in writing so that "the
military purpose may not be traceable". (72.)

On 21st May, 1935, the top secret Reich Defence Law was
enacted. Defendant Schacht was appointed Plenipotentiary
General for War Economy with the task of secretly preparing
all economic forces for war and, in the event of
mobilization, of financing the war. (73.)

Schacht's secret efforts were supplemented in October, 1936,
by the appointment of defendant Goering as Commissioner of
the Four-Year Plan, with the duty of putting the entire
economy in a state of readiness for war within four years.
(74.)

A secret programme for the accumulation of the raw materials
and foreign credits necessary for extensive rearmament was
also set on foot immediately upon seizure of power. In
September of 1934, the Minister of Economics was already
complaining that:

  "The task of stock-piling is being hampered by the lack
  of foreign currency; the need for secrecy and camouflage
  also is a retarding influence." (75.)

Foreign currency controls were at once established. (76.)
Financing was delegated to the wizard Schacht, who conjured
up the MEFO bill to serve the dual objectives of tapping the
short-term money market for rearmament purposes while
concealing the amount of these expenditures. (77.)

The spirit of the whole Nazi administration was summed up by
Goering at a meeting of the Council of Ministers, which
included Schacht, on 27th May, 1936, when he said:

  "All measures are to be considered from the standpoint of
  an assured waging of war." (78.)

The General Staff, of course, also had to be enlisted in the
war plan. Most of the generals, attracted by the prospect of
rebuilding their armies, became willing accomplices. The
Minister of War von Blomberg and the Chief of Staff General
von Fritsch, however, were not cordial to the increasingly
belligerent policy of the Hitler regime, and by vicious and
obscene plotting they were discredited and removed in
January, 1938. (79.) Thereupon, Hitler assumed for himself
supreme command of the armed forces and the positions of von
Blomberg and of von Fritsch were filled by others who
became, as Blomberg said of Keitel, "a willing tool in
Hitler's hands for every one of his decisions". (80.) The
generals did not confine their participation to merely
military matters. They participated in all major diplomatic
and political manoeuvres, such as the Obersalzberg meeting
where Hitler, flanked by Keitel and other top generals,
issued his virtual ultimatum to Schuschnigg. (81.)

As early as 5th November, 1937, the plan to attack had begun
to take definiteness as to time and victim. In a meeting
which included the defendants Raeder, Goering and von
Neurath, Hitler stated the cynical objective:

  "The question for Germany is where the greatest possible
  conquest could be made at the lowest possible cost."

                                                  [Page 391]

He discussed various plans for the invasion of Austria and
Czechoslovakia, indicating clearly that he was thinking of
these territories not as ends in themselves, but as means
for further conquest. He pointed out that considerable
military and political assistance could be afforded by
possession of these lands, and discussed the possibility of
constituting from them new armies up to a strength of about
12 divisions. The aim he stated boldly and baldly as the
acquisition of additional living-space in Europe, and
recognized that "The German question can be solved only by
way of force." (82.)

Six months later, emboldened by the bloodless Austrian
conquest, Hitler, in a secret directive to Keitel, stated
his "unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by
military action in the near future". (83.)


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