The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The document which I am going to cite concerns one of many cases, where
the German authorities compelled private citizens and firms to transfer
their assets and the control of their businesses to Germans. That was
called colonisation, and consisted in putting German nationals into the
businesses with large assets and economic functions. The Reich Minister
of Economy himself devised these illicit methods, by which it was
intended to plunder private citizens and to Germanise the economy of the
country. The document that I am going to read to the Tribunal will be
Exhibit RF 813. It is offered as a document by the Luxembourg
Government, and it is an original document with signature. It bears the
heading "The Reich Minister of Economy," Berlin, 5th January, 1943, and
is signed "By order of Dr. Saagor." He is a subordinate who is acting
administratively, on the order of his Minister. This letter is marked
"Secret," and concerns "Accumulateurs Tudor, S.A., Brussels," and is
addressed to the battery factory, for the attention of Herr von
Holtzendorf of Berlin, Place Askanienne No. 3. The tribunal will
understand that the Minister of Economy is writing to the German firm
which is going to benefit by the pressure to be exercised on the
Luxembourg firm:

     "Referring to our repeated conversations, I confirm that it is in
     the interest of the Reich and is considered very desirable that
     your company should obtain a majority of shares in the capital of
     Tudor Batteries. The interest of the Reich is based in no small
     degree on economic requirements of national defence.
     In order to obtain this majority, the shares belonging to M. Leon
     Laval, formerly of Luxembourg and now in Bad Mergentheim, are of
     first importance. It concerns not only the shares which M. Laval
     possesses personally, but also the 3,000 shares which are in the
     hands of Sogeco."

                                                                [Page 6]

I now come to a very important paragraph:

     "I therefore request that the necessary negotiations be started
     immediately. I would point out that, first of all, you will have to
     apply to the Gestapo for the authorisation of the State Police to
     negotiate with M. Laval, and then request them to give their
     agreement to the transfer of these shares to your Company, if M.
     Laval should be willing. I have informed the Gestapo of the matter.
     If the result of your negotiations should make it necessary I am
     prepared to point out once again to the Gestapo how urgent your
     mission is."

Now I would like to read to the Tribunal the sequel to this, Exhibit RF
814, which shows the further stage of the manceuvre by which the Reich
Minister of Economy, in conjunction with the Gestapo, sought to plunder
a private citizen. This is a letter addressed to a private citizen, who
was going to be compelled to sell his shares, Dr. Engineer Leon Laval.
Here is the text of this letter, which is dated Luxembourg, 14th
January, 1942, and which bears the heading of the Einsatzkommando of the
Security Police and the S.D. in Luxembourg:

     "On the 19th January, 1942, and the following days you must remain
     at your residence, at the disposal of the representative of the
     Akkumulatoren Fabrik, A.G., Berlin. Director von Holtzendorf."

I break off the quotation. The Tribunal will recognise the name of von
Holtzendorf, who was the recipient of the letter from the Reich Minister
of Economy. I continue the quotation:

     "Herr von Holtzendorf, who is in possession of a special
     authorisation from the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, will discuss
     business matters with you. Heil Hitler. Signed, Hartmann."

The Tribunal will understand, I am sure, that if I have read these two
documents it is not because I think it very important in the scope of
this trial that the Tudor Battery firm was despoiled, an illicit act
which was to their prejudice, but I want especially, and I think it is
very important in the trial, to emphasise, and I shall do it each time
when the document gives me the opportunity, the co-ordination which
existed between the different German services of which the defendants
were the leaders. Certain persons are sometimes inclined to believe that
all the German crimes must be imputed to the Gestapo, and it is true
that the Gestapo was a characteristic criminal organisation; but the
Gestapo did not function all by itself. The Gestapo acted on the order
of and in conjunction with the civil administration and with the
military command. We heard yesterday, in connection with the pontificals
of the Bishopric of Strasbourg and also in connection with the
University of Strasbourg, of the scheme which allowed the civil minister
or his representative to have recourse to the police agents for the
enforcement of orders. We also noted this fact when just now I read
documents which dealt with economic matters.

I now conclude the first chapter of my brief. I should like to mention
that the work on the documentation and the preparation of this chapter
was carried out with the aid of my assistant, M. Albert Lentin.

I should like now to hand to the Tribunal the first part of the second
chapter, concerning the seizure of sovereignty. This first part includes
general ideas which I think I should expound to the Tribunal before
supporting them by documents. Consequently, the Tribunal has before them
a file entitled "Expose' and for which there is no corresponding
document book.

The Germans occupied the territories of five Powers, without counting
Luxembourg, which was annexed, and of which I spoke just now. Of these
five countries, three kept governmental authority. These were Denmark,

                                                                [Page 7]

Norway and France, but even in these three countries the government was
entirely different. The Government of Denmark was a legitimate
Government; the Government of France was a de facto Government, which at
the beginning exercised real authority over non-occupied territories;
the Government of Norway was also a defacto Government, and was a
typical example of a puppet Government. The two other Powers, Belgium
and Holland, retained no governmental authority, but only administrative
authorities, of which the highest were the general secretariats of the
ministerial departments.

In view of these situations, the Germans, as I said previously, varied
their methods of domination. On the other hand, they did not establish a
specific form of government corresponding to the internal organisation
of each country; therefore, looking at it as a whole, it would at first
sight seem to be somewhat complex. The usurpation of sovereignty by the
occupying Power assumed three different forms. We are speaking here of
the external procedure.

First form: Direct exercise of power to legislate or issue regulations.
By this we mean the exercise of power above and beyond the limited power
to issue regulations accorded to occupation armies by International Law.

Second form: The indirect exercise of power to legislate or issue
regulations through local authorities. This was also done in two ways:

(1) By injunction, pure and simple, which is the case when the local
authorities are the administrative authorities.

(2) By pressure, which is the case when the local authorities are
authorities of a governmental character, either de facto or de jure. It
should be noted, moreover, that the pressure is sometimes such that it
bears a complete resemblance to an injunction pure and simple. We also
understand such pressure to include recourse to the complicity of

Third form: The third form is purely and simply that of force. We do not
mean physical force used in individual cases, for this does not concern
us here, but physical force used as a result of the order of a competent
occupation authority, which consequently entails the responsibility of a

If we now consider the question of determining who or what the
instruments of usurpation were, we observe that these instruments fall
into five categories:

(1) In the first place, we have the Reichskormnissar, who was appointed
in Norway and Holland only, that is to say, in the one case in a country
which retained governmental authority, at least in appearance and for a
certain length of time, and in the other, in a country which retained
administrative authority only.

(2) In the second place, we have the military administration. In all
countries the military authorities exercised powers absolutely
disproportionate to those which belonged to them lawfully.

I must note here that only these two instruments, the Reichskommissar
and the military authority, were able to carry out usurpation by issuing
direct legislative or regulatory decrees. In the two countries where
there was a Reichskommissar, the powers conferred were naturally shared
by the Reichskommissar and the military authority.

(3) A third instrument of usurpation took the form of diplomatic
administration which depended on the Foreign Office. Diplomatic
representation existed only in countries which had governmental
authorities and where there was no Reichskommissar. We refer to Denmark
and France.

These diplomatic representatives of the Reich -- unlike the
Reichskommissar and the military authority -- did not have illicit
power, but formal power to legislate or issue regulations. However, this
does not mean that their role in the usurpation of sovereignty was a
secondary one. On the contrary, it was an important one. Their principal
activity consisted, naturally, in bringing pressure to bear on the local
authorities to whom they were accredited.

                                                                [Page 8]

I should like to bring out two points here. It might be thought, from a
logical point of view, that in an occupied country such as France, the
intervention by the occupying Power in the administration of the local
authorities would be the exclusive right of the diplomatic
representatives. That is not the case. The military authority also
intervened on frequent occasions through direct contact with the French
authorities. In their turn, the diplomatic representatives did not limit
themselves to the powers conferred by their functions. One of the
characteristics of the Nazi method is this exceeding of powers
conferred. It is, moreover, when one thinks of it, a necessary result of
that method.

In view of the fact that the usurpation of sovereignty in a country
which is militarily occupied is an illegal and abnormal thing, it does
not come within the normal competency of the categories of public
functions as understood by civilised nations. Thus the diplomats, as
well as the military authorities, exceeded their powers, and there was
also an overlapping of functions. The diplomats and the military
authorities dealt with the same things. We see this in regard to
propaganda, for instance, and in regard to the persecution of the Jews.
Generally speaking, the military authority acted in a more obvious way;
the diplomatic administration preferred to act in domains where
publicity could be evaded, but there was a constant liaison between them
on all questions concerning the occupied country.

(4) The fourth instrument of usurpation was the police administration.
The German police were installed in all occupied countries, often under
several distinct administrations, and according to the principles which
were presented to the Tribunal when the American prosecution revealed
the inner workings of the immense, complex and terrible police organism
of the Nazis. The police did not have limited or exclusive functions,
but acted in close and constant liaison with the other instruments we
have defined.

(5) The fifth instrument which we must mention consisted of the local
branches of the National Socialist Party and similar organisations which
sought to group nationals of the occupied country. These organisations
served as auxiliaries to the German authorities, and in a specific case,
that of Norway, they provided the foundation of a so-called Government.

I have thought fit to outline this picture, as it seems that the
Prosecution may draw from it a conclusion which is of interest in regard
to the points I have already touched upon in my statement on Luxembourg.

We have seen in effect that the German line of policy for the usurping
of sovereignty was carried out by means of various organs which were
associated with this action. In the occupied countries, and we must not
forget that this usurpation provided the method for the commission of
crimes, this usurpation was not the exclusive work of one official, or
of one ambassador, or of one military commander. In countries which had
a Reichskommissar there also existed a military administration. A
country placed under the sole regulating authority of the Army had also
diplomatic agents. In all countries there were police authorities.

In all these occupied countries, as a result of the occupation and the
usurpation of sovereignty, there were systematic abuses and crimes. Many
of them are already known to the Tribunal. Others have still to be

From what I have just said, we see that the responsibility for these
abuses does not lie only with one or other of these administrations
which we have mentioned, it lies with all of them. It may be true that
in Belgium, for instance, there was no diplomatic representation, but
there was such representation in France and in Denmark. It therefore
follows that the Department of Foreign Affairs and its head could not
help being aware of the conditions under the occupation which, as far as
the principal features are concerned, were similar in the different

                                                                [Page 9]

Moreover, as I have just said, these co-existing administrations had no
fixed division of functions. Even if this division of functions had
existed, it must be pointed out that the responsibility and the
complicity of each in the action of the others would have been
sufficiently proved by their knowledge and their approval -- which was
at least implicit with regard to this action. However, this division did
not exist, and we shall show that all were associated with and accessory
to a common action.

Now, this very fact involves a more far-reaching consequence. The
association and complicity of these various departments involves all the
leaders and all the organisations here accused in a general

I will explain this point by giving an example. If, for instance, all
the abuses and all the crimes had been committed only by the Army, and
no other groups or organisations had participated, perhaps it would be
possible for one person or one organisation, with no military functions,
to claim that it had no knowledge of these abuses and of these crimes.
Even in this case I think this claim would be difficult to uphold,
because the vast scope of the organisations which we denounce made it
impossible for anyone who exercised a higher authority not to know of
these things. However, since several administrations are jointly
responsible, it necessarily follows that the other authorities are also
responsible, because now no longer is one administration involved or
even three, but all the administrations; it involves the consubstantial
element of all the authorities of the State.

I shall speak later on of the order concerning the deporting of Jews,
and I shall show that this order was the result of a common action of
the military administration, the diplomatic administration, and the
Security Police in the case of France. It follows that in the first
place the Chief of the High Command, in the second place the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, and in the third place the Chief of the Security Police
and the Reich Security Service were all necessarily informed and
necessarily approved this action, for it is clear that their offices did
not keep them in ignorance of such plans concerning important affairs,
and that, moreover, decisions were agreed upon on the same level in the
three different administrations.

Therefore these three personages are responsible and guilty. But is it
possible that by an extraordinary chance, among the persons who directed
the affairs of the Reich as Ministers or as persons holding equivalent
offices, these three persons turned out to be criminals and the only
ones to be criminals, and that they had conspired among themselves to
hide from the others their criminal actions? This idea is manifestly
absurd. In view of the interpenetration of all the executive departments
in a modern State, all the leaders of the Reich were necessarily aware
of and agreed with the usurpation of sovereignty in the occupied
countries, as well as the criminal abuses resulting therefrom.

In this chapter I shall go on to speak first of Denmark, which is a
special case. Then I shall speak of the civil administration which
existed in Norway and in Holland, and finally I shall speak of the
military administration which was the r~gime in Belgium and in France.

I think it would be a suitable time now for the Tribunal to have a
recess, or if the Tribunal prefers, I can continue my brief.

THE'PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

M. FAURE: After the recess I should like to call the witness of whom I
spoke to the Tribunal yesterday. I would like to mention one fact,
however. Yesterday the lawyer for Seyss-Inquart requested that he be
allowed to cross-examine this witness on Monday. Senator Vorrink, who is
my witness. is absolutely obliged to leave Nuremburg this evening. I
think, therefore, that the lawyer for Seyss-Inquart might cross-examine
him to-day. In any case I should like to notify him of the modification
of the request which I made yesterday.

                                                               [Page 10]

THE PRESIDENT:  Would it not be possible, if the counsel for Seyss-
Inquart wants to cross-examine the witness, for the witness to be
brought back at some other date?

M. FAURE: My witness can of course be brought back at another date, if
it should be necessary.

THE PRESIDENT: That is what I meant. Let him go this evening in
accordance with arrangements that he has made, and then at some date
convenient to him he could be brought back if the defendant's counsel
wants to cross-examine him.

                    (A recess was taken.)

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