The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1998/01/11

If I mention the defendant Goering, it is because a third
document proves that this defendant gave the operation his
full support, inviting all the organisations of the Party,
the State and the Army to afford the fullest possible
support and assistance to Reichsleiter Rosenberg and his
collaborator Utikal, whom Rosenberg himself appointed Chief
of the "Einsatzstab" on 1st April, 1941. This is the order
of 1st May, 1941, which we submitted as Exhibit RF 1406. If
we examine the text of this decree carefully we cannot fail
to be struck by the first paragraph. the Tribunal will
surely allow me to re-read it rapidly:

     "The struggle against the Jews, the Free Masons and
     their allies, and against the various powers which
     uphold a philosophy of life different from ours or
     opposed to ours, is a pressing task for National
     Socialism in the course of the war."
Thus, it was enough for one to have a philosophy of life
different from that described as "Weltanschauung," to be
exposed to the danger of seeing one's cultural property
seized and transferred to Germany. But the Tribunal will

                                                  [Page 121]
surely remember, from the documents already presented to it,
that not only cultural property was involved, but that
anything with any kind of value was taken away.

The defendant Rosenberg tried to claim -- without much
conviction it seems to me --  in the course of an
interrogation by the superior officers in charge of the
preliminary investigations, that the cultural property in
question was intended solely to adorn the collections of the
National Socialist "Hohen Schulen." We shall see presently,
in presenting the text of this interrogation, how we may
judge this. But it is a fact which I wish to present now
that, from the documents which we possess, at least it does
not seem that the defendant Rosenberg appropriated works of
art, precious stones, or other objects of value for himself,
so that as far as the proceedings hitherto are concerned no
accusation of this kind can be brought against him. We shall
not say as much of the defendant Hermann Goering, of whom we
shall speak a little later and who, according to the
documents that we possess, may be convicted of having
appropriated to his own use part of the objects of art taken
from the countries of the West.

I shall not dwell on the discussion which might arise about these
appropriations. I shall go straight on to the interrogatory
of the defendant Rosenberg. This is the document that was
introduced yesterday by the Economic Section of the French
Prosecution, which is Document 1330-RF, and which we submit
to-day as Exhibit RF 1403. In this interrogation Colonel
Hinkel asked the defendant Rosenberg to tell him on what
legal grounds such looting could be justified. The defendant
Rosenberg first answered that these seizures were justified
by the hostility which certain groups had manifested toward
the National Socialism ideology.

But a little further on, on Page 4, the defendant Rosenberg
made the following verbatim statement:

     "I considered them" -- he is referring to the measures
     which he himself had taken -- "a necessity caused by
     the war and by the reasons which caused the war."

A few moments later, pressed by Colonel Hinkel, the
defendant Rosenberg invoked the necessity of putting into
safe-keeping property thus seized -- a necessity which will
certainly constitute one of the main points of his defence.

But Colonel Hinkel replied to the defendant Rosenberg:

     "You meant to put these into safe-keeping? If that is
     true, why did you not put everything into safe-keeping?
     Why did you put into safe-keeping only what you thought
     should be kept, and abandon the rest?"
On the other hand, with regard to the safe-keeping of the
works, there were others at least equal in value to those
which had been removed, but to which no one paid any

Finally, the defendant Rosenberg admitted that he had very
often given no receipt to those concerned, which in itself
precluded any idea of eventually returning the property to
the legitimate owners.

The truth of the matter is that these were treasures of very
considerable value; and the defendant Rosenberg in the end
admitted that he regarded these acquisitions as an
accomplished fact. We consider that the fact of having thus
removed works of art and objects of value is purely and
simply what is known in civil law as theft.

These thefts were made on a vast scale with the extensive
means which the Third Reich had at its disposal, means which
were further facilitated by the intervention of the Army and
the Luftwaffe. But it is none the less true that the
criminal character of these appropriations remains, and we
urge the Tribunal, when it delivers judgment, to declare
that it was by fraudulent

                                                  [Page 122]
seizure that the defendant Rosenberg and his co-defendants
robbed France and the Western countries of all the objects
of value and all the art treasures and cultural treasures.

As to details, Mr. President and your Honours, I would
respectfully refer the Tribunal to the report submitted by
the Economic Section yesterday, which was made by Dr.
Scholz. This report was submitted by the Economic Section as
Exhibit RF 1323, and in it the Tribunal will find enumerated
everything that the "Einsatzstab" took out of France. In
this connection I shall make an incidental remark in answer
to the question that the President asked my colleague
yesterday about the Rothschild collections. The President
asked my colleague, "Have you proof that certain works of
art and other objects of value were taken from the
Rothschild collection?"

Mr. President, I would like to point out that there are two
proofs of this. The first is the immediate result of the
Rosenberg interrogation of 23rd September, 1945. I have just
spoken to the Tribunal of the all-important questions put to
the defendant Rosenberg as to the legitimacy and legal basis
of these removals. I beg the Tribunal to refer to Page 5 of
these minutes. I read from the text the question asked by
the American officer in charge of the interrogation, my
eminent friend, Colonel Hinkel.

Question: "How do you justify the confiscation of art
treasures belonging to the Rothschild family?" A very
precise question. It concerned the art treasures taken from
the Rothschild family by Rosenberg's organisation.

Answer: "Still from the same general point of view," which
means that the defendant Rosenberg claimed to justify the
confiscations made to the detriment of the Rothschild by the
reasons which I had the honour of analysing to the Tribunal
a few moments ago.

A second consequence: The defendant Rosenberg thus admitted
with his own lips that the Rothschild family was among those
despoiled. That confession, Mr. President, your Honours, can
be considered as one of the proofs, one of the main proofs.

This is the first answer, then, to the question that the
President asked yesterday.

The second proof which I wish to present to the Tribunal is
the following. I beg the Tribunal to refer to the report by
Dr. Scholz produced yesterday in the document book of the
Economic Section. This is Exhibit RF 1323.

If the Tribunal will kindly refer to this document, that is
to say the report by Dr. Scholz, the second paragraph of
Page 1, it will find the following:

     "The special staff not only seized a very considerable
     part of the collection..."
THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): As I said the other day, we
cannot keep all the books before us, but it seems to me
that, as you have shown that the defendant Rosenberg agreed
that this collection had been taken, that is quite

M. MOUNIER: Mr. President, I understand perfectly your point
of view. I should like respectfully to point out to you that
I was to speak immediately after my colleague, and if I had
done so you would have had this document book before you.
The transmission broke down and we had a delay of one day,
and I apologize for not having thought of asking you to
bring this document again this morning.

However, I respectfully ask the Tribunal to be good enough
to note this reference which it will easily find. It is a
very short passage, which I should like to read to the
Tribunal. It will not take very much time. This declaration
is simply as follows:

     "The special staff" -- that is to say, the "Einsatzstab
     Rosenberg" -- not only seized a very considerable
     portion of the collection which the Rothschilds had
     left behind in their Paris mansion..."

I shall not read the rest.

                                                  [Page 123]

Here then, Gentlemen, is an official report which cannot be
disputed, and which demonstrates, like the previous proof,
that the Rothschild collection was among those pillaged.

I do not enlarge on these facts, which are known to you. It
seems to me that the two points on which I have just
referred suffice to make it clear that illegal seizures,
fraudulent seizures, were really made by the defendant
Rosenberg to the detriment of France and to the detriment,
likewise, of the Western countries.

As for their importance, I do not want to abuse the patience
of the Tribunal by quoting statistics. I respectfully ask
the Tribunal to refer to the Scholz report which I have
twice mentioned in the course of my previous statements.

I would not, however, wish to leave the case of Rosenberg
for the time being without quoting to the Tribunal a passage
from an article by the French writer Francois Mauriac of the
French Academy. Francois Mauriac was present on 7th
November, 1945, at the inaugural session of the National
Constituent Assembly at the Palais Bourbon (Page 9 of the
report). On this occasion Francois Mauriac invoked a memory,
which was recalled in "Le Figaro" of 6th November, 1945, in
the following terms:

     "Five years ago almost to a day, from the height of
     this rostrum, the most illustrious in Europe, a man
     spoke to other men dressed in field grey. His name was
     Alfred Rosenberg. I can testify to the exact date. It
     was 25th November, 1940.
     Rosenberg leaned his elbows on this rostrum, where the
     voices of Jaures and of Albert de Mun were once heard,
     and where, on 11th November, 1918, Clemenceau nearly
     died of joy. Here are his words:

     `In one gigantic revolutionary burst' -- he said --
     'the German nation has reaped such a harvest as never
     before in its history. The French will admit one day,
     if they are honest, that Germany has freed them from
     the parasites of which they could not rid themselves
And the Nazi philosopher," continues Mauriac, "then
proclaimed the victory of Blood. He meant" -- said Mauriac -
- "the victory of Race; but it happens that a man may utter
prophetic words unwittingly and without realizing the full
import of the words which God places upon his lips. As
Rosenberg predicted at the Palais Bourbon on 28th November,
1940, it was indeed blood that won the victory. It was the
blood of the martyrs which in the end choked the

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