The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/11/06

THE PRESIDENT: Shouldn't that be 1942?

COLONEL SMIRNOV: 16 December, 1943, Mr. President. One
minute - I will check that.

THE PRESIDENT: It reads "1942" in our document.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Your Honour, evidently the translator put
the wrong date into the text before you. I repeat that, in
accordance with the text in my possession, this statement
was made by Frank on 16 December, 1943, at a Government
meeting in Cracow. If you will permit me I shall again
verify the text of the quotation.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, in our statement of the document itself
it is translated as 16 December, 1942. Evidently it is wrong
in one place or the other.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: In the testimony itself, in paragraph 1,
Korbonski mentions that in the beginning of December, 1943,
the Germans posted these lists on the walls of the houses.
If the Tribunal will refer to the original of the document
it will find "at the beginning of December, 1943".

THE PRESIDENT: I see, it is 1943 - It was wrongly translated
in the first place.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, 1943. May I continue?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: Thank you, Sir. I shall speak of the change
in the procedure of the executions. It was on the Polish
territory that the criminal code introducing special rights
for the "Master Race" and Draconic laws for the other
nations whom the fascist "masters" considered completely
vanquished, was put into practice for the first time.

The report of the Polish Government, which had already been
submitted to the International Military Tribunal by my
colleagues as irrefutable evidence in accordance with
Article 21 of the Charter, gives a brief description of the
regime of lawlessness and despotism which reigned in
occupied Poland under the guise of special legislation.

To characterise this legislation I shall take the liberty,
if your Honours please, to refer to two excerpts from the
report of the Government of the Polish Republic, which has
already been presented to the Tribunal by my colleagues as
Exhibit USSR 93.

I shall first read into the record a paragraph which will be
found on Page 110 in the document book in possession of the
Tribunal, the section dealing with "Germanisation of the
Polish Law". It is the fourth paragraph after the heading,
and I shall quote only two paragraphs of this section:

   "In the Government General the machinery of justice was
   changed in particular by the decree of 26 October, 1939,
   which bears Frank's signature.
   The Polish law courts were subordinated to German law
   courts, which had been established within the Government
   General. Their jurisdiction was
                                                   [Page 52]
   limited only to such cases which were outside the
   jurisdiction of the German law courts. New principles of
   law were introduced. Penalties could be imposed
   according to intuition; the defendant was deprived of
   the right to choose a defence counsel and of the right
   of appeal. German law was introduced and Polish law was

I omit the entire section of the report which deals with
this subject and continue the quotation on Page 51 of the
Russian text. The Tribunal will find it on Page 129 in the
document book in the third paragraph of the text under
"Murders". That is Page 129, the third paragraph of the

   "(a) On 4 December, 1941, Goering, Frick and Lammers
   signed a decree which virtually outlawed all Poles and
   Jews in the incorporated Polish territories. The decree
   made Poles and Jews a different and second-rate group of
   citizens. According to this decree, Poles and Jews were
   obliged to obey unconditionally the German Reich, but on
   the other hand, as second-rate citizens, they were not
   entitled to the protection of the law which was accorded
   to others."

I omit one paragraph and I continue the quotation of the
part which deals with the application of death sentences. It
begins this way:-

   "Death sentences can be imposed also in the following
   1. For removing or publicly damaging posters set up by
   the German authorities.
   2. For acts of violence committed against members of the
   German armed forces.
   3. For insulting the dignity of the Reich or harming its
   4. For damage to property belonging to German
   5. For damage to objects intended for public works.
   6. For causing disobedience to regulations and orders
   issued by German authorities."

And some other cases which could in fact only justify a
sentence of a short term imprisonment.

I shall omit one passage and I shall limit my quotation to
the following two paragraphs:-

   "(b) The Poles were forbidden, in accordance with the
   official directives of the Nazis, to have relations with
   German girls, in order not to stain the noble blood of
   the Herrenvolk. Whoever dared or attempted to do this
   inevitably risked his life. It was not only the court -
   the German law-court - which was called upon to pass
   sentence in these cases. It was considered unnecessary
   to have long proceedings, and a simple order by the
   police was sufficient to deprive people of their lives."

I conclude this quotation and pass on to a subject which, in
my opinion, is very correctly referred to as the "Judicial
Terror" of the German fascists in Czechoslovakia in the
report of the Czechoslovak Government.

In this country we can systematically follow the ever-
increasing destruction by the Hitlerites of all the accepted
moral and legal standards.

The report of the Czechoslovak Government, already submitted
to the Tribunal by my colleagues as Exhibit USSR 60,
describes this process in detail, beginning with the so-
called "people's courts", up to the organisation of the so-
called "Standgerichte". I do not know what would be a
correct translation of this term, so I shall use the term
"Standgerichte" throughout. They are already familiar to us
as organs of the Nazi arbitrary rule in Poland.

This process of the deterioration or rather collapse of the
entire juridical system under the fascist rule is described
in the report in great detail; I shall quote only a few
short excerpts. I shall begin my quotation on Page 162 of
the document book in the possession of the Tribunal, the
last paragraph:-

   "The power to proclaim a state of emergency was
   exercised not later than 28 September, 1941. In
   accordance with a decree issued on the same date
                                                   [Page 53]
   and signed by Heydrich a state of civil emergency was
   proclaimed in the 'Oberlandrat' district in Prague, and,
   a few days later, in the remaining, parts of the
   'Standgerichte,' which were set up immediately, were
   active during the entire period, and pronounced 778
   death sentences. All were executed, and 1,000 people
   were turned over to the Gestapo, that is, sent to
   concentration camps."

I omit the end of the paragraph, and I quote the following

   "The only directive as to the administration,
   organisation, personnel and rules of procedure at the
   'Standgerichte' is contained in the decree of 28
   September, 1941."

I omit the rest of the paragraph and I continue the
quotation on Page 163, fifth paragraph of the book of

   "The decree does not indicate who may fill the position
   of judge in
   'Standgerichte', whether the judges should be
   professional people or laymen, and whether the sentences
   are to be pronounced by a jury or by the judge alone.
   The decree merely states:-
   'Standgerichte' may be set up by the Reichsprotektor; he
   is competent to
   choose people who are to perform the duties of a judge."

I omit the rest and continue the quotation on Page 163 of
the book of documents, the last paragraph:-

   "On the basis of the information that we have at hand at
   present the judges at the 'Standgerichte' were
   professional judges only in exceptional cases. As a
   rule, the most important attribute was political
   reliability. This is the reason why the judges were, one
   could almost say without exception' members and
   executives of the N.S.D.A.P. or other National Socialist
   organisations, that is, people who in almost every case,
   possessed not the slightest knowledge of law, and had no
   experience in criminal trials."

I omit the following excerpts and continue the quotation on
Page 166 of the document book, at the beginning of the last
paragraph; from there I go on to Page 167:-

   "'Standgerichte' were never held publicly. Inasmuch as
   the public was excluded from the preliminary
   investigations of the 'Standgerichte' the very existence
   of this tribunal increased the feeling of insecurity
   under the existing law. There was no appeal against
   sentences passed by 'Standgerichte'. The records of the
   investigation of the 'Standgerichte' contain only a list
   of names of the judges, defendants and witnesses as well
   as a description of the crime and the date of the
   sentence (Section 4, paragraph 2 of the decree).
   Directives permitting and even encouraging such meagre
   records can have only one aim - to prevent any control
   and to keep secret everything that took place during the
   investigation, thus covering up all traces of what had
   been done.
   According to Section 4, paragraph 1 of the directive,
   the 'Standgerichte' could only pass death sentences or
   turn over the defendants to the Gestapo."

I omit the following paragraphs containing certain general
comments on the same matter and continue my quotation on
Page 169, the first paragraph:-

   "Sentences passed by the 'Standgerichte' must be carried
   out immediately.  (Section 4, paragraph 3 of the
   decree). Numerous examples demonstrate that this brutal
   Socialist legislation was never toned down.
   At the end of the so-called trial, it was left to the
   judges to decide whether the condemned should be shot or
   hanged (Section 4, paragraph 3, of the decree). The
   condemned person was not granted even a short respite to
   prepare for death. There was not even a question in the
   decree about a reprieve. In any case, the brutal haste
   with which the sentence was carried out made any
   reprieve impossible ..."

                                                   [Page 54]

I conclude this excerpt, as well as the entire section
devoted to the terrorist legislation of the Hitlerites in
Czechoslovakia, with a quotation from Page 169, the fourth
line from the top, and further. It is stated there:-

   "It is quite evident that the 'Standgerichte' did not
   possess the characteristics which, in accordance with
   the general opinion, are those of a tribunal, and that
   the trials of the 'Standgerichte' in reality violated
   all the principles which should be observed in the
   legislations of all civilised people. 'Standgerichte'
   cannot be called tribunals and their proceedings cannot
   be called a trial and a decision. I think the proper
   term would be 'verdict'.
   The executions being the result of the verdicts of the
   'Standgerichte' differ in no way from executions
   performed without trial. They should be classified as
   It is impossible to find in the regulations which
   determined the methods of procedure of the
   'Standgerichte' even a trace of humaneness. For
   instance, the rule which imposed immediate execution and
   accorded practically no time to the condemned to prepare
   for death, is a form of cruelty which, just as the
   entire institution of the 'Standgerichte', had as its
   aim the terrorisation of the population."

I shall conclude the quotation with this excerpt, and I
shall take the liberty of remarking that the institution of
the "Standgerichte" did not countermand or exclude simple
police sentences passed by means of a procedure similar to
the one which was established by Frank in Poland.

It seems to me that all the laws which were cited by me
above testify to the fact that the Hitlerites tried to turn
the legislation intended to punish crimes into one which
commits crimes. This is the sole reason why their "laws"
were created.

If your Honours please, I shall now turn to the terroristic
laws and directives of Hitlerite criminals which were issued
for the civilian population of the Soviet Union.

Having started the criminal war against the USSR, the German
fascist gang of bandits considered even these laws and
"legal" principles, especially created for the justification
of their crimes, insufficient.

Most of these documents have already been submitted to the
Tribunal and I shall commit myself to some very brief
quotations. With the Tribunal's permission I shall read only
three lines from a previously submitted document. I am
referring to Document L-221 submitted to the Tribunal by the
American prosecution. It contains a brusque reply made by
Hitler to Goering at a meeting on 16 July, 1941. The
Tribunal will find the place on Page 189 in the document
book in the first paragraph, first line.

THE PRESIDENT: That document has been read already.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: Yes, your Honour. I shall take the liberty
of quoting only three lines.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, go on, but I think that the rest of the
page which you are reading is all comment, and you could go
straight on to the next document. Read these three lines and
then I think you will find -

COLONEL SMIRNOV: This is not quite correct, but I shall now
quote those three lines.

Hitler said: "The gigantic territory must be pacified as
soon as possible." I am quoting from the next sentence,
where Hitler said: "The best way to attain this objective is
to shoot everyone, even those who only cast an ugly look."

I am citing these lines because they are the leitmotiv which
runs through all the directives and orders of the

THE PRESIDENT: Now, what I am suggesting to you is that the
rest of the page to which you are now passing in our
translation is quite unnecessary to read

                                                   [Page 55]

and you can go straight on, at any rate, to the directive of
Keitel of 16th September, 1941.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: All right, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Assuming that it hasn't been read already.

COLONEL SMIRNOV: May I continue?


COLONEL SMIRNOV: I quote a directive of Keitel. This
directive was submitted to the Tribunal by the American
prosecution as Document C-148. I quote, on Page 190 of your
document book, paragraph 3, line 4.

   "One must bear in mind that human life in the countries
   concerned is of no value whatever, and that deterrent
   effect can be obtained only by extraordinary cruelty."

I am further presenting to the Tribunal a photostat of the
document which was already submitted as 459-PS. I shall not
quote a single excerpt from it, but I shall take the liberty
to remind the Tribunal that point 6 of this document states:
"Any sort of resistance will be broken, not by means of
juridical punishment, but by instilling in the population a
fear which is the only thing capable," as it is said in the
directive, "of depriving the population of any will to

I take the liberty to confirm this by quoting very briefly
just two lines from the directive of the Commander of the
Sixth Army, General Field Marshal von Reichenau, which has
already been presented to the Tribunal by my colleague as
Exhibit USSR 12. The Tribunal will find it on Page 194 of
the document book, line 19 from the top. It is said there:-

   "The fear of German counter-measures must be stronger
   than the threats from Bolshevist stragglers."

I wanted to read into the record one document which bears
the seal of the pseudo-legal argumentation and which is so
characteristic of the ordinances and directives of Hans
Frank, but it has been pointed out that this document has
already been presented to the Tribunal. I am referring to
the circular order of the Main Office of the State Security
No. 567 (42-176), dated 5 November, 1942. It appears that
this document has already been presented by my American
colleagues as L-316. I just wish to remind the Tribunal that
it states that even the principles used for determining the
activities of non-Germans should be different and that any
actions of a non-German should be examined not from the
point of view of justice but exclusively from the point of
view of prevention. I think that this document is well known
to the Tribunal and I shall refrain from quoting it.

Thus in those territories of the occupied countries where
the S.S. followed in the footsteps of the aggressors'
troops, the peaceful population was abandoned to the
arbitrary will of the specially trained and fierce
representatives of the police forces of German fascism.

I shall take the liberty, while presenting the photostat of
the document previously submitted to the Tribunal as 447-PS,
to quote only one line of this document, which the Tribunal
will find on Page 197 of the document book, fifth paragraph,
after the heading, "The Region of the Operations". It deals
with the special powers of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and
indicates that "Within the scope of these assignments the
Reichsfuehrer S.S. shall act independently and under his own

It is well known what the Reichsfuehrer S.S. really was. Of
the many statements of Himmler, I shall limit myself to only
one quotation which is, however, rather characteristic as a
leading directive to the responsible officials of the S.S.
who were subordinate to him.

On 4 October, 1943, there was a conference of the S.S.
Gruppenfuehrer at Poznan. The relative document was
submitted to the Tribunal by the American prosecution as
1919-PS and was read into the record on 19 December, 1945,
and I shall quote

                                                   [Page 56]

six lines from Page 23 of the photostat thereof. The
Tribunal will find the document on Page 201 in the document
book. I now quote a statement made at that conference by

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