The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 173]



THE MARSHAL: The defendant Hess will be absent from to-day's
session on account of illness.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I would like to inform your Honour that in
accordance with the plan of the Soviet Prosecution,
presented to the Tribunal, and with the permission of the
Tribunal, we shall start presenting evidence on that section

The Destruction and Plunder of Cultural and Scientific
Treasures, Cultural and Social Institutions, Monasteries,
Churches and other Religious Institutions, as well as the
Destruction of Cities and Villages.

The evidence on this section will be presented by State
Counsellor of Justice (Second Class) Lieutenant- General

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL RAGINSKY: May it please your Honours,
among the numerous and grievous War Crimes committed by the
Hitlerite conspirators - crimes enumerated in detail in the
third Count of the Indictment-crimes against culture occupy
a definite place of their own. These crimes epitomised all
the abomination and vandalism of German Fascism.

The Hitlerite conspirators considered culture of the mind
and of humanity as an obstacle to the fulfilment of their
monstrous designs against mankind, and they removed this
obstacle with their own typical cruelty. In working out
their insane plans for world domination, the Hitlerite
conspirators, simultaneously with the initiation and
prosecution of predatory wars, prepared a campaign against
world culture. They dreamt of turning Europe back to the
days of her domination by the Huns and Teutons. They tried
to set mankind back.

It is unnecessary to quote the numerous pronouncements of
the Fascist ringleaders on this subject. I shall merely
permit myself to refer to one pronouncement of Hitler's,
quoted on Page 80 of Rauschning's book, and already
presented to the Tribunal by the Soviet Prosecution.

"We," said Hitler, "are barbarians and we wish to be
barbarians. It is an honourable calling."

On behalf of the Soviet prosecution, I shall present to the
Tribunal evidence of how the defendants put into practice
these orders of Hitler, which found concrete expression in
the wrecking of cultural institutions, the looting and
destruction of cultural treasures and the suffocation of the
national cultural life of the peoples in the territories
temporarily occupied by the German armies, i.e. the
territories of the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia and
Yugoslavia.I shall present to the Tribunal evidence of the
Hitlerites' preparations and planning for the looting of
cultural treasures; how, long before the treacherous attack
on the USSR, the so-called "Einsatzstab Rosenberg" prepared
for pillage; how the predatory activity of the defendant
Rosenberg was co-ordinated with Goering, Heydrich and the
Supreme Command, and how this pillage was disguised.

It is now generally known to what monstrous lies and
prevarications the Hitlerites resorted in the camouflaging
of their crimes.

While annihilating millions of people in the extermination
camps they had set up, they spoke, in their orders, of
"filtration" and "cleansing".While destroying and plundering
cultural treasures, the fascist vandals sheltered behind the
terms: "collection of materials" and the " study of
problems", and shamelessly referred to themselves as
"bearers of culture".
                                                  [Page 174]
The Hitlerite conspirators endeavoured to change into serfs,
bereft of all their rights, the peoples of the territories
seized, and, for this purpose, they destroyed the national
culture of these peoples.The destruction of the national
culture of the Slav peoples and particularly of the Russian,
Ukrainian and Bielorussian cultures; the destruction of
national monuments, schools, literature, and the compulsory
Germanisation of the population, followed the German
occupation everywhere, in obedience to the same criminal
principle which governed the ensuing pillage, rape, arson
and mass murders.I omit, Mr. President, the end of Page 3
and Page 4 of my report, and I proceed to the presentation
of Section 2, Page 5.

As I have already indicated, the destruction of the national
culture of the peoples in the occupied territories was a
fundamental part of the general plan for world domination
established by Hitler's conspirators.It is difficult to
determine whether destruction or plunder was the prevalent
factor in these plans. But there is no disputing the fact
that both plunder and destruction were aimed at one goal
only - extermination; and this extermination was carried out
everywhere, in all the territories occupied by the Germans,
and on an enormous scale.

Article 56 of the 1907 Hague Convention laid down, as I

"The property of municipalities, of Church institutions and
establishments dedicated to charity and education, arts and
sciences, even when belonging to the State, shall be
considered as private property. All premeditated seizure of,
and destruction or damage to, institutions of this
character, or historic monuments, works of art and science,
is forbidden and should be made the subject of legal
proceedings."The Hitlerites consciously and systematically
scoffed at the principles and demands laid down in Article
56.All the conspirators are guilty of this, and the
defendant Rosenberg in the first place.Rosenberg had an
organisation with widespread ramifications, for the plunder
of cultural treasures, with numerous staffs and

The "Einsatzstab Rosenberg" and Rosenberg's Chief of Staff,
Utikal, were the focal point of the network co-ordinating
the criminal activities of many predatory organisations,
inspired and directed by the Hitlerite Government, together
with the German Supreme Command.Rosenberg was officially
placed in charge of the plundering of cultural treasures in
the occupied territories, by a decree of Hitler of 1 March,
1942. I  have in mind Document 149 PS, presented to the
Tribunal on 18 December of last year, by the American
Delegation, and accepted by the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 369.
With your permission, Mr. President, I shall quote only two
paragraphs of this document. You will find this document on
Page 3 of your document book. I quote:"His (Rosenberg's)
'Einsatzstab' for the occupied territories has the right to
inspect libraries, archives and every other kind of cultural
establishment and to confiscate their contents for the
realisation of the aims of the National Socialist Party."I
omit one paragraph and quote the last paragraph of this

  "The regulations for the execution of this task, in co-
  operation with the Armed Forces, are issued by the Chief
  of the High Command of the Armed Forces, in agreement
  with Reichsleiter Rosenberg. The necessary measures for
  the Eastern Territories under German administration will
  be taken by Reichsleiter Rosenberg in his capacity as
  Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories."

This decree of Hitler's was issued, as is clear from the
document quoted, to all departments of the Armed Forces, the
Party and the Government.

                                                  [Page 175]

But it is not 1 March, 1942, which should be considered as
the beginning of Rosenberg's predatory activities.

I shall submit several excerpts from a letter of Rosenberg
to Reichsleiter Bormann in confirmation. The letter is dated
23 April, 1941. This document was presented to the Tribunal
on 18 December, 1945, by the American Delegation, and it was
accepted by the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 371.

This document - which your Honours will find on Page 4 of
your document book - is interesting also for the fact that
the plunder, referred to as "confiscation" in the letter,
was carried out by the defendant Rosenberg in close
collaboration and contact, based on a written agreement,
between the departments of Rosenberg and Himmler.

I cite extracts from Page 1 of the Russian translation of
this letter:-

"I have," wrote Rosenberg, "transmitted to you a photostatic
copy of my agreement with the Security Police, S.D.,
concluded with the express approval of Gruppenfuehrer

And further (you will find this on Page 5 in your document

"Questions bearing on works of art - as stated in this
letter - were considered of secondary importance. Of primary
importance was the Fuehrer's directive regarding the twice-
issued order from the Chief of the Supreme Command of the
Armed Forces, for the occupied territories of the West, to
the effect that all archives and all scientific property
belonging to our ideological opponents be placed at my
disposal. This, too, was carried out on a wide scale and in
close co-operation with the S.D. and the military leaders."

The importance attached by the Hitlerite conspirators to
Rosenberg's predatory staffs is shown in Goering's special
circular of 1 May, 1941, addressed to all Party, Government
and Military Institutions, which had been ordered to co-
operate with the "Rosenberg Einsatzstab".

This document was . presented by our American colleagues on
18 December of last year and accepted by the Tribunal as
Exhibit USA 384.

Even at that time the scale on which the pillage was
conducted was already enormous. As Rosenberg stated, in his
letter of 23 April, 1941, at that time, i.e., in April,
1941, 7,000 cases of looted works of art had already been
despatched to Germany.

To conclude with this document I shall, with your
permission, read one further brief quotation into the
record. It consists of one paragraph only. You will find
this paragraph on Page 6 of the document book:

  "And thus," wrote Rosenberg, "these problems practically
  solved themselves and the work has followed its own
  course. Here I would like to ask for a confirmation that
  these decisions, already adopted in the West, should, in
  the present circumstances, be rendered valid in the other
  occupied territories."

This document, in which pillage is referred to as "work,"
proves that Rosenberg's criminal activities were carried out
in close contact with the S.D. and the Supreme Command of
the Armed Forces, and, finally, that as early as April,
1941, plans were being made for plundering the territories
about to be reoccupied.

The speech of the Chief Prosecutor for the USSR, General
Rudenko, and the speech of the representative of the United
States prosecution, Mr. Alderman, defined what Rosenberg
meant in his letter by "territories about to be reoccupied"
at that time. That was the period of the practical
realisation of the evil Hitlerite schemes, planned in the so-
called "Case Barbarossa," the period when the German fascist
-hordes were hurled against the frontiers of the Soviet
Union, the period of the attack on the USSR.

                                                  [Page 176]

Lastly, it is necessary to point out that in April, 1941,
the defendant Rosenberg placed Utikal at the head of all
operational staffs , "the creation of which may become
necessary during the course of this war". In this connection
Rosenberg referred to the "successful work", and to the
"experience gained" by his operational. staff in the Western
occupied territories and in the Netherlands.

This fact is confirmed by a certificate issued to Utikal,
dated 1 April, 1941, and signed by Rosenberg.

The authenticity of this document - which is Document 143-PS
- was confirmed by Rosenberg at his interrogation on 26
September, 1945. I present this document to the Tribunal as
Exhibit USSR 371.

In reporting on the organisation for the looting and
destruction of cultural treasures, it is necessary to
indicate yet another department which combined diplomacy
with pillage.

I have in mind the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Chief Prosecutor for the USSR, General Rudenko, in his
opening speech, pointed out that the general pillage in the
occupied regions of the USSR, carried out on the direct
orders of the German Government, was directed not only by
the defendants Goering and Rosenberg and by the various
"staffs" and "commandos" subordinated to them. The Ministry
for Foreign Affairs, headed by the defendant Ribbentrop,
also participated through a "special formation".

The creation of such a formation, the so-called "Ribbentrop
Battalion" and its practical activities in the looting of
cultural treasures in the territory of the USSR are
testified to, in an affidavit of 10 November, 1942, by
Obersturmfuehrer Dr. Forster, who was captured by Red Army
Units in the region of Mosdok.

In this affidavit Forster likewise indicated the task of
Rosenberg's staff in the plunder or, as he expressed it, in
the "withdrawal" of museum treasures and antiques.

A certified photostat of this affidavit I present to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 157.

It is stated in Forster's affidavit, I read

  "In August, 1941, while in Berlin, I, with the assistance
  of my old acquaintance from the University of Berlin, Dr.
  Focke, then employed in the Press Section of the Foreign
  Office, was transferred from the 87th Tank Destroyer
  Division, to the Special Purpose Battalion attached to
  the Foreign Office. This battalion had been created on
  the initiative of the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs,
  Ribbentrop, and was under his direction.
  The officer commanding the Battalion is Major of the
  Waffen S.S., von Kuensberg.
  The task of the Special Purpose Battalion was to seize,
  immediately after the fall of large cities, their
  historic and cultural treasures, the libraries of
  scientific institutions, to confiscate valuable editions
  and films, and finally to despatch them all to Germany.
  The Special Purpose Battalion consists of four companies.
  The first company is attached to the German Expeditionary
  Corps in Africa, the second company to the Army Group
  'North', the third to the Army Group 'Centre', and the
  fourth to the Army Group 'South'. The first company is
  located at present in Italy, in Naples, awaiting possible
  deployment to Africa.
  Battalion Staff Headquarters are in Berlin, Hermann
  Goeringstrasse, No. 6.
  The confiscated material is stored in the premises of the
  Adler firm, in the Hardenbergstrasse.
  Prior to our departure for Russia, Major von Kunsberg
  transmitted to us
                                                  [Page 177]
  Ribbentrop's order, thoroughly to 'comb out' all
  scientific establishments, institutions, libraries and
  all the palaces, to search all the archives, and to lay
  our hands on anything of a definite value.
  I heard from my comrades that the second company of my
  battalion had removed valuable objects from the palaces
  in the Leningrad suburbs. I myself was not there at the
  time. At Zarskoje Selo the company seized and carried off
  property belong to the Palace Museum of the Empress
  Katherine. The Chinese silk draperies and the carved gilt
  ornaments were torn from the walls. The mosaic floor of
  complicated design was dismantled and taken away. From
  the Palace of the Emperor Alexander, antique furniture
  and a large library containing some six to seven thousand
  volumes in French and over five thousand volumes and
  manuscripts in Russian, were removed.
  The fourth company, to which I was attached, confiscated
  the Kiev laboratory of the Medical and Scientific
  Research Institute. The entire equipment, as well as
  scientific material, documentation and books, were
  shipped to Germany. We reaped a rich harvest in the
  library of the Ukrainian Academy of Science, treasuring
  the rarest manuscripts of Persian, Abyssinian and Chinese
  literature, Russian and Ukrainian chronicles, the first
  edition books printed by the first Russian printer, Ivan
  Fiodorov, and rare editions of the works of Schevtchenko,
  Mickiewicz and Ivan Franko.
  From the Kiev Museums, Ukrainian art, Russian art,
  Western and Eastern art, and from the Central
  Schevtchenko Museum numerous exhibits which still
  remained there, including paintings, sketches and
  portraits by Repin, canvases by Vereschiagin, Fedotoff,
  Goe, sculptures by Antokolsky and other masterpieces of
  Russian and Ukrainian painting and sculpture were
  despatched to Berlin.
  In Kharkov several thousand valuable books in 'de luxe'
  editions were seized from the 'Korolenko' library and
  sent to Berlin. The remaining books were destroyed. From
  the Kharkov picture gallery several hundred pictures were
  removed, including 14 pictures by Aivasovsky, works by
  Repin and many paintings by Polienov, Schishkin and
  others. All sculptures and the entire scientific archives
  of the museum were also taken away. Embroideries,
  carpets, Gobelin tapestries and other exhibits were
  appropriated by the German soldiers.
  I also knew that the staff of Alfred Rosenberg used
  special commandos for the confiscation of valuable
  antiques and museum pieces in the occupied countries of
  Europe and in the territories of the East, Civilian
  experts were in charge of these commandos.
  Immediately after the occupation of any big city, the
  leaders of these commandos arrive, accompanied by various
  art experts. They inspect museums, picture galleries,
  exhibitions and institutions of art and culture, they
  determine their condition and confiscate everything of

I omit the last paragraph of this affidavit.

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