The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 118]

                       FIFTY-THIRD DAY
                THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 1946
M. MOUNIER: Mr. President, your Honours, before the
adjournment yesterday I had begun to explain to you very
briefly the relation which, in our eyes, exists between two
of the main themes in the Indictment, to wit, the accusation
of conspiracy brought against certain groups designated in
the Indictment and which I enumerated yesterday, on the one
hand; and, on the other hand, the various acts which enable
us to form our conclusions as to the criminal character of
the activity of the National Socialist conspirators.

I told you, to begin with, that what appeared to us to be at
the bottom of this criminal activity was the profound
mystery, the absolute mystery surrounding their meetings,
both official and unofficial, a fact which is corroborated
by statements made by certain of the defendants in their
interrogations from which it frequently emerged that orders
emanating from high places were to be suppressed in part or
in toto, so as to leave no trace.

We consider, likewise, that proof of the fraudulent
collaboration which existed among the conspirators is
afforded by the criminal character of the decisions made at
these secret councils, which aimed at the conquest of
neighboring countries through wars of aggression.

Finally, proof of this fraudulent collaboration is afforded
-- in our eyes -- by the way in which these criminal plans
were carried out by the employment of all kinds of means,
condemned both by international morality and by the letter
of the law. For example: in international and diplomatic
spheres the most cynical plots, the use in foreign countries
of what is known as the "Fifth Column," financial
camouflage, the exertion of improper pressure, backed by
demonstrations of violence, and finally, when these methods
no longer proved effective, the waging of a war of

As for those individuals who regularly and of their own free
will took part in meetings of groups and organisations, such
as those denounced in the Indictment, their voluntary
membership in these groups, or the live and deliberate part
which they took in their activities, suffice to show that
they had every intention of giving their active co-operation
to these groups in a way which admits of no possible doubt.
In view of the aims pursued and the means adopted, this
intention could only be a guilty one.

In the eyes of the Prosecution, engaged in seeking the
elements constituting the crime, it would appear that this
suffices to prove what we call the consilium fraudis, and to
enable us to verify the causal link between this will to
evil, on the one hand, and the criminal deed on the other,
and to make it possible to reassert the criminal character
of the understanding between the conspirators, and thereby
the criminal character of their individual acts.

Could the Trustee of the Four Year Plan, when he ordered the
Plenipotentiary for Manpower to recruit 1,000,000 foreign
workers for the Reich, forget that this act was contrary to
international conventions, and leave out of consideration
the tragic consequences which the execution of this
murderous action would entail -- and has in fact entailed --
for these people and for their families?

Could the Minister of Armaments who set up, in agreement
with or by order of the Chief of the Air Force, underground
aircraft factories in the internment camps -- could he, I
say, fail to be aware that using prisoners who were already
exhausted under such conditions was equivalent to causing
their premature death?

                                                  [Page 119]
Could the diplomat who, on various pretexts, treated
diplomatic instruments intended to assure the stability and
the peace of the world as scraps of paper -- could he lose
sight of the fact that these acts would plunge the civilized
world into catastrophe?

Whether their conscience was at that moment disturbed by the
feeling, more or less obscure, that they were infringing
human and divine laws is a question which need not be asked
on the juridical plane on which you will be working. But
even assuming that we should consider it our moral duty to
put this question to ourselves on the psychological plane,
we should then have to remember two essential concepts: The
first is that the German, as a French writer puts it, at
times combines in himself the identity of contraries.
Consequently, it is possible that in certain cases he may
consciously do evil while remaining convinced that his act
is irreproachable from the moral point of view. The second
concept is that, according to the law of National Socialist
ethics sometimes put into words by certain National
Socialist leaders, that which promotes the interests of the
Party is good; that which does not promote the interests is

And yet, our personal impression on the occasion of the
masterly speech given by M. Francois de Menthon, was that
some of his words, striking in their accent of deep
humanity, had stirred some consciences. Even to-day, after
so many accumulated proofs, we may wonder whether the
defendants admit their responsibility as chiefs, as men, as
representatives of the incriminated organisations. This will
perhaps be revealed in the course of the proceedings.

Mr. President, your Honours, with the permission of the
Tribunal we shall now take up the question of the defendant
Alfred Rosenberg.

Gentlemen, the young French student who in 1910 had the joy
of spending his vacation in Bavaria, then one of the
happiest of the German provinces, could hardly suspect that
thirty-five years later he would be called upon to apply
International Law against the masters of that country. When,
after stopping at the Bratwurstgloeckle, he climbed up to
the ramparts to look at the sunset from the heights of the
Burg, while the lines of a ballad by Uhland rang in his
memory, he did not think that evil masters and false
prophets would twice in a quarter of a century unchain the
lightning over Europe and the rest of the world, and that
through them so many treasures of art and beauty would be
destroyed, so many human lives sacrificed, so much suffering
brought about. Indeed, when one studies the genesis of this
unheard of drama, there can be no question of romanticism;
what we have to deal with rather is a perverted romanticism,
a morbid perversion of the sense of greatness, and the mind
is baffled by the true significance of the ideas of National
Socialism, ideas which I shall touch upon only in passing,
to show how they led the defendant Rosenberg -- since it is
he of whom I am speaking -- and his co-defendants to commit
the crimes which are held against them.

The concept of Race, to begin with, which we see arising in
a country which in other respects resembles any other, but
where the intermingling of ethnic types of every species
took place through the centuries on a gigantic scale; this
anti-scientific confusion which mixes the physiological
features of man with the concept of nations; this neo-
paganism which aims at abolishing the moral code, the
justice and charity which twenty centuries of Christianity
have brought to the world; this myth of Blood which attempts
to justify racial discrimination and its consequences:
slavery, massacre, looting, and the mutilation of living

I shall not dwell, Mr. President, on what we consider a
jumble of nonsense which claims to be philosophy, and in
which may be found to be the most heterogeneous fragments of
all kinds taken from every source, from the megalomaniac
concepts of Mussolini, Hindu legends and the Samurai of
Japan, the cradle of Fascism, which swept over the world
like a tidal wave. The previous

                                                  [Page 120]
presentations have already adequately dealt with these
conceptions. I shall simply stress to-day that these pseudo-
philosophic conceptions tended solely to set back humanity
thousands of years by reviving the clan conception, which
assumes the law of might as the supreme law, the
"Faustrecht," already formulated by the Iron Chancellor --
the right to cheat others, the right to take the property of
others, the right to reduce man to slavery, the right to
kill, the right to torture.

But homo sapiens refuses to return to the state of homo
lupus. International law is not morality without obligation
or sanction. The Charter of 8th August has recalled and
specified the obligation; it is for you, Gentlemen, to apply
the sanction.

One of the consequences of these theories of the superiority
of the so-called "Germanic Race" was to lead certain of the
conspirators, notably the defendant Rosenberg, of whom we
are speaking, to turn plunderer; and it is this aspect of
the activities of the defendant Rosenberg which I should
like very briefly to stress, for it concerns France and the
occupied countries of the West, and had deeply harmful
consequences for their artistic, intellectual and merely
utilitarian heritage.

I wish to speak of all the measures decreed or applied by Rosenberg
with the aim of removing from France and the Western
countries cultural treasures, works of art and property
belonging to groups or individuals, and transferring to
Germany all these riches.

Gentlemen, owing to the limited time which we have at our
disposal, I shall confine myself to-day to recalling how
certain organisations were made to collaborate in this
pillaging through orders from higher quarters. I shall
indicate, first of all, the part played by the Gestapo,
which was ordained by a decree issued by the defendant
Keitel, dated 5th July, 1940, which is Document 137-PS, and
which was submitted by the American delegation, under
Exhibit USA-379, on 18th December, 1945, and which I submit
as Exhibit RF 1400. I refer likewise to a second order dated
30th October, 1940, which strengthened and detailed the
orders given in regard to pillaging by what was known as the
"Einsatzstab Rosenberg." This is Exhibit Number RF 1304,
which was quoted by the Economic Section of the French

Thus, Keitel and Rosenberg went back to the conception of a
booty exacted by the triumphant German people from the
Jewish people, with regard to whom it was not bound by the
conditions of the Compiegne Armistice. This intervention by
the Chief of the Army, as indicated by the orders to which I
have just referred, suffices, in my opinion, to prove the
important part played by the German Army in this looting,
and the Tribunal will not fail to remember that, when it
makes its decision as to the guilt of the defendant Keitel
and the defendant Goering.

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