The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/21

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COLONEL WHEELER: The Nazis did not overlook other sects or
denominations in their efforts to suppress Christian
religion in Germany. They persecuted the "Bibelforscher" or
Bible research workers as well. There has already been
introduced and read into evidence Document D-84, Exhibit USA
236, showing that members of this sect were not only
prosecuted in the courts, but also seized and sent to
concentration camps, even after serving or remitting of
their judicial sentences.

In Document 2928-PS, Exhibit USA 239, included in U.S.A.
Document Book A, further evidence of persecution of
"Bibelforscher" appears.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you are going a little bit fast. We
are not going to refer to D-84?

COLONEL WHEELER: I am not going to read from it, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Then you go to 2928-PS?

COLONEL WHEELER: 2928-PS; it is in the document book, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to read from there?

COLONEL WHEELER: I was going to read a few lines from that.


COLONEL WHEELER: This document is an affidavit by Matthias
Lex, Vice-President of the National Union of Shoemakers. In
describing his experience in Dachau concentration camp he
says, and I quote from the third page of his affidavit: ...
"I include in the political prisoners the Bible-researchers
(Bibelforscher) whose
number I estimate at over 150."

I want to read further from the last line of that page and
the next few lines of the next page:

   "The following groups were kept entirely isolated: The
   members of the so-called 'Punishment-Companies'
   (Strafkompanien) who were in a concentration camp for a
   second time, and after about 1937 also the
   'Bibelforscher.' Members of the 'Punishment-Companies'
   were such prisoners as had committed disciplinary or
   slight offences against the camp regulations. The
   following groups lived separately but could mix with the
   other groups during the day, either while working or
   while strolling through the camp: Political prisoners,
   Jews, Anti-Socials, Gypsies, Felons, Homosexuals, and,
   before 1937, also the Bible-researchers."

I refer also to Document 1531-PS - this is not in the
document book - Exhibit USA 248, which is already in
evidence. This was an order by the R.S.H.A., in 1942,
authorising third-degree methods against Jehovah's
Witnesses. That was read by Colonel Storey.

I now turn to acts of suppression in the annexed and
occupied territories. In Austria, Bishop Rusch of Innsbruck
has written an illuminating report on this subject. I offer
this sworn statement in evidence-Document 3278-PS, Exhibit
USA 569. This is a report on the fighting of National
Socialism in the Apostolic Administration of Innsbruck-
Feldkirch, of Tyrol and Vorarlberg. In this the Bishop
declares, and I start on the first page of the English text
and of the German translation:

   "After having seized power, National Socialism
   immediately showed a tendency to exclude the Church from

                                                   [Page 46]

The expression "Publicity" - this was written in English by
the Bishop - evidently means "public activities." I continue
to quote:

   "At Corpus Christi, in 1939, the customary solemn
   procession was forbidden. In the summer of the same year
   all ecclesiastical schools and kindergartens were
   disbanded. Daily newspaper and weekly reviews of
   "Christian Thinking" were likewise removed. In the same
   years all kinds of ecclesiastical organisations,
   especially youth organisations, such as Boy Scouts, were
   disbanded, and all activity forbidden.
   The effect of these prohibitions came soon: the clergy
   took opposition against them, they could not do
   otherwise. Then a great wave of priest arresting
   followed. About a fifth of them were eventually
   arrested. Reasons for arrests were:
   1. The "Pulpit prohibition' - when Party actions were
   mentioned or criticised even in the humblest manner.
   2. The practice of taking care of young people. A
   specially heavy prohibition was instituted in November,
   1939. Children's or youth's mass or services were
   forbidden. Religion or faith lessons were not allowed to
   be given in the Church except lessons of preparing for
   first communion or confirmation. Teaching of religion at
   school was very often forbidden without any reason.
   Priests, because of their conscience, could not fall in
   with this public proscription and this explained the
   great number of their arrests. Finally, they were
   arrested on account of their charitable work. It was,
   for instance, forbidden to give anything to foreigners
   or prisoners. A priest was arrested because he gave a
   cup of coffee and some bread to two hungry Dutchmen.
   This charitable act was seen to favour elements foreign
   to the race.
   In 1939 and 1940 a new activity began. Cloisters and
   abbeys were seized and disbanded, and many churches
   belonging to them closed. Among these, two nunneries
   were disbanded: the cloister of the Dominican Sisters of
   Kludenz and that of the 'Perpetual Adoration' of
   Innsbruck. In the latter the Sisters were dragged, one
   by one, out of the cloister by the Gestapo. In the same
   way ecclesiastical property such as Association-Houses,
   Parish and Youth Homes were seized. A list of these
   closed churches, disbanded cloisters and ecclesiastical
   institutions is attached.
   Despite all these measures the results were not
   satisfactory, and so priests were then not only
   arrested, but also deported to concentration camps.
   Eight priests of Tyrol and Vorarlberg have been
   imprisoned, among them the Provicar Monsignore Dr.
   Charles Lampert. One died there on account of the ill-
   treatment, the others returned. Provicar Lampert was
   released but required to remain in Stettin, where later
   he was re-arrested, and was executed in November, 1944,
   after having been condemned to death by secret

There is attached to this report a three-and-a-half page
list entitled: "List of churches, nunneries, monasteries and
ecclesiastical objects of Tyrol and Vorarlberg, seized, that
is, confiscated, and of the institutions, confessional
schools, etc., disbanded." Unless the Tribunal requires it,
I shall not read these names.

I offer in evidence Document 3274-PS, Exhibit USA 570,
received from Cardinal Innitzer of Vienna and authenticated
by him. This is the first joint Pastoral Letter of the
Archbishops and Bishops of Austria after liberation, dated
17th October, 1945. I quote from Page 1, second paragraph of
the English and German texts, which sums up the Nazi
conspirators' campaign in Austria:

   "A war which has raged terribly and horribly, like none
   other in past epochs of the history of humanity, is at
   an end. At an end also is an
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   intellectual battle, the goal of which was the
   destruction of Christianity and the church among our
   people; a campaign of lies and treachery against truth
   and love, against divine and human rights, and against
   International Law."

I quote further from the fourth and following paragraphs:

   "Direct hostility to the church was revealed in
   regulations against orders and monasteries, Catholic
   schools and institutions, against religious foundations
   and activities, against the buildings of ecclesiastical
   houses and institutions; without the least rights to
   defend themselves they were declared enemies of both
   people and State and their existence destroyed.
   Religious instruction and education of children and
   youth were purposely limited, frequently entirely
   prevented. They encouraged in every manner all efforts
   hostile to religion and the church and thus sought to
   rob the children and youth of our people of their most
   valuable treasure of holy faith and of true morality
   born of the Spirit of God. Unfortunately, the attempt
   succeeded in innumerable cases to the permanent damage
   of young people.
   Spiritual care of souls in churches and ecclesiastical
   houses, in hospitals and other institutions was
   seriously obstructed. It was made ineffectual in the
   Armed Forces and in the Labour Service, in the sending
   of youth to the country and, beyond that, even in
   individual families and among numerous persons, to say
   nothing of the prohibition of spiritual ministration to
   people of another nationality and of other races.
   How often was the divine service as such, also sermons,
   folk missions, communion days, retreats, processions,
   pilgrimages, limited for the most impossible reasons and
   made entirely impossible.
   Catholic literature, newspapers, periodicals, church
   papers, religious writings were stopped, books and
   libraries destroyed.
   What an injustice occurred in the dissolution of many
   Catholic societies, in the destruction of numerous
   church activities.
   Individual Catholic and Christian believers, whose
   religious confession was allegedly free, were spied
   upon, criticised on account of their belief, and scorned
   on account of their Christian activity. How many local
   officials, teachers, public and private employees,
   labourers, businessmen and artisans, indeed, even
   peasants were put under pressure and terror. Many lost
   their jobs, some were pensioned off, others dismissed
   without pension, demoted, deprived of their real
   professional activity. Often enough such people as
   remained loyal to their convictions were discriminated
   against, condemned to hunger or tortured in
   concentration camps. Christianity and the Church were
   continually scorned and exposed to hatred.
   The apostasy movement found every assistance. Every
   opportunity was used to induce many to withdraw from the

In assessing responsibility for these acts of suppression in
Austria, the Court will recall that the defendant, von
Schirach, was Gauleiter of Vienna from 1940 to 1945.

I now come to the acts of suppression in Czechoslovakia,
where, the Court will recollect, the defendant, von Neurath,
was Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia from 1939 to
1943 and was succeeded by the defendant Frick. These acts
have been summarised in an official Czech Government report.
I refer to Document 998-PS, Exhibit USA 91, already in
evidence. These are excerpts not previously read or referred
to from the "Czech Official Report for the Prosecution and
Trial of the German Major War Criminals by the International
Military Tribunal established according to the Agreement of
the Four Great Powers of 8th August, 1945."  Since this is
an official Government document or report of one of the
United Nations, I ask that the Tribunal take

                                                   [Page 48]

judicial notice of it under Article 21 of the Charter and I
suggest that I be permitted to summarise rather than read

It describes the maltreatment of Catholic priests-four
hundred and eighty-seven of whom were sent to concentration
camps as hostages-dissolution of religious orders,
suppression of religious instruction in Czech schools,
suppression of Catholic weekly and monthly publications,
dissolution of the Catholic gymnastic organisation of
800,000 members, and seizure of Catholic Church property. It
describes the entire prohibition of the Czechoslovak
National Church and confiscation of all its property in
Slovakia and its crippling in Bohemia. The report describes
the severe restriction on freedom of preaching b the
Protestants, and the persecution and imprisonment and
execution of ministers, and the suppression of Protestant
Church youth organisations and theological schools, and
shows the complete subordination and, later, the dissolution
of the Greek Orthodox Church. It states that all Evangelical
education was handed over to the civil authorities, and that
many Evangelical teachers lost their employment.

The repressive measures adopted by the Nazi conspirators in
Poland against the Christian Church were even more drastic
and sweeping.

The Vatican documents now to be introduced describe
persecutions of the Catholic Church in Poland in three
areas: first, the Incorporated Territories, especially the
Warthegau; second, the Government General; and third, the
Incorporated Eastern Territories.

The Court will recall that the incorporated territories
comprised territories adjacent to the old Reich, chiefly the
Reich District Wartheland or Warthegau, which included
particularly the cities of Poznan and Lodz and the Reich
district Danzig, West Prussia.

The occupied Polish territories which were organised into
the Government General comprised the remainder of Poland,
seized by the German forces in 1939 and extending to the new
boundary with the Soviets, formed at that time. This
included Warsaw and Cracow. After the Nazis attacked the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in June, 1941, the parts
of old Poland lying farther to the East, and then overrun,
were included in the so-called Occupied Eastern Territories.

For the purpose of tying in the defendants' responsibility
for the persecutions occurring in their respective areas,
the Court will bear in mind that the defendant Frick was the
official chiefly responsible for the reorganisation of the
Eastern territories. The defendant Frank was head of the
Government General from 1939 to 1945. The defendant Seyss-
Inquart was Deputy Governor General there from 1939 to 1940,
and the defendant Rosenberg was Reich Minister for the
Occupied Eastern Territories from 17th July, 1941, to the

I now offer in evidence Document 3263-PS, Exhibit USA 571,
headed "Memorandum of the Secretariat of State to the German
Embassy regarding the Religious Situation in the
'Warthegau,' 8th October, 1942." This document bears a
certificate of authenticity from the Vatican signed by the
Papal Secretary of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs
corresponding to that accompanying Document 3261-PS, read in
evidence a few minutes ago. Unless, the Court requires
otherwise, I suggest that it is not necessary to read each
of these certificates, which are all similar. I quote from
Document 3263-PS, the first paragraph:

   "For quite a long time the religious situation in the
   region called 'Warthegau' has given cause for very grave
   and ever-increasing anxiety. There, in fact, the
   Episcopate has been little by little almost completely
   eliminated; the secular and regular clergy have been
   reduced to proportions that are absolutely inadequate,
   because they have been in large part deported and
   exiled; the education of clerics has been forbidden; the
   Catholic education of youth is meeting with the greatest
   opposition; the
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   nuns have been dispersed; insurmountable obstacles have
   been put in the way of affording people the help of
   religion; very many churches have been closed; Catholic
   intellectual and charitable institutions have been
   destroyed; ecclesiastical property has been seized."

On 2nd March, 1943, the Cardinal Secretary of State
addressed to the defendant von Ribbentrop, Foreign Minister
of the Reich, a note setting forth in detail the persecution
of bishops, priests and other ecclesiastics and the
suppression of the exercise of religion in the occupied
Polish provinces. This document is so explicit and so
authoritative that it deserves extensive quotation. I
accordingly offer it in evidence, Document 3264-PS, Exhibit
USA 572. It is headed: "A Note of His Eminence the Cardinal
Secretary of State to the Foreign Minister of the Reich
about the Religious Situation in the 'Warthegau' and in the
Other Polish Provinces Subject to Germany." It bears a
Vatican certificate of authenticity like that of Document
3261-PS. It is signed "L. Card. Maglione," meaning "Luigi
Cardinal." I quote from
this note, starting with Page 1, the third paragraph of the
English mimeographed text and of the German translation:

   "The place where, above all, the religious situation,
   because of its unusual gravity, calls for special
   consideration is the territory called the 'Reichsgau
   Six bishops resided in that region in August, 1939; now
   there is left but one. In fact, the Bishop of Lodz
   (Litzmannstadt) and his Auxiliary were, in the course of
   the year 1941, first confined in a small district of the
   diocese and then expelled and exiled in the Government
   Another bishop, Mgr. Michael Kozal, Auxiliary and Vicar
   General of Wladislavia, was arrested in the autumn of
   1939, detained for some time in a prison in the city and
   later in a religious house in Lad, and finally was
   transferred to the concentration camp
   at Dachau.
   Since His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Gniezno
   and Poznan and the Bishop of Wladislavia, who had gone
   away during the period of military operations, were not
   allowed to return to their sees, the only bishop who now
   remains in the 'Warthegau' is His Excellency Mgr.
   Valentina Dymck, Auxiliary of Poznan; and he, at least
   up to November, 1942, was interned in his own house."

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