The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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With your permission, your Honours, I shall read two more
excerpts into the record from a letter of the "Reich
Minister for the Occupied Territories", dated 7 April, 1942,
and signed on the order of the Minister, Laibrandt, closest
assistant of the defendant Rosenberg.

This letter, your Honours, is in your document book, on
Pages 12 and 13, and is submitted as Exhibit USSR 408.

This document is very revealing in that it betrays the scale
of the projected pillage, and disguises this pillage which,
in the document, is shamelessly referred to as "the
preservation of objects of culture, research material and of
scientific institutions in the occupied Eastern

                                                  [Page 178]

This document is also characteristic in that Rosenberg,
fearing that he might miss some of the booty, established
his own monopoly to plunder and only made concessions to the
Quartermaster General of the Army, in conjunction with whom
- as the letter reveals - Operational Staff Rosenberg
carried on its "work". I read the first excerpt of this
letter. I quote:
  " . . . I have entrusted the 'Einsatzstab' with the
  listing and detailed handling of all cultural valuables,
  research materials, and scientific work in libraries,
  archives, research institutions, museums, etc., found in
  public and religious establishments, as well as in
  private houses. . . . The Einsatzstab, instructed once
  again by the Fuehrer's Order of 1st March, 1942, begins
  its work jointly with the Quartermaster General of the
  Army immediately after the occupation of the territories
  by combat troops, and executes this work after the civil
  government has been established, in co-operation with the
  competent Reichskommissar until such time as the task is
  completed. I request all the authorities of my Department
  to support as far as possible, the representatives of the
  'Einsatzstab' in the execution of these measures, and to
  supply them with all essential information, especially in
  connection with the registration of objects in the
  occupied territories, whether or not they have been
  removed and, if so, where this material is located at the
  present time."

As you see, your Honours, the looting of libraries,
archives, scientific research institutes, museums - both
public and private - and even of church treasures, was
already being planned.

The fact that this is not a question of preserving cultural
treasures, but of plunder, is revealed by the following
excerpt from the letter mentioned. You will find it on Page
12 of your document book:

  " . . . In so far as seizures or transports have already
  taken place contrary to these provisions, Reichsleiter
  Rosenberg's Einsatzstab, Berlin, Charlottenburg 2,
  Bismarckstrasse 1, must be informed without delay."

I shall not burden you by enumerating the many addresses to
whom copies of this letter were sent. I shall merely name
some of them: The O.K.W., the Minister for Economy, the
Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan, the Reich Commissars
for the Baltic Regions, the Ukraine, etc.

Thus this document reconfirms that both Goering and Funk, as
well as the representatives of the O.K.W., actively
participated in this pillage.

The priceless works of art plundered in the occupied
countries were removed to Germany, now transformed by the
Hitlerites into a robber's den.

The Extraordinary State Commission established that, in
January, 1943, the Commander of the First Tank Army, Cavalry
General Mackensen, in the presence of the Head of the
Propaganda Department of the First Tank Army, Miller,
removed from the Rostov Museum of Pictorial and Plastic Art,
which had been evacuated to the town of Pyatigorsk and which
was then on the premises of the Lermontov Museum, the most
valuable canvases of Riberio, Rubens, Murillo, Jordans,
Vereshiagin, Korovine, Kramskey, Polenov, Repin, Lagorio,
Aivasovsky and Shishkin, sculptures by Donatello and other

This statement, your Honours, has already been presented to
the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 37. With your permission I
should like to read into the record only one paragraph on
Page 5 of this document. The quotation is on Page 18 of your
document book. I quote:

"The Rostov Museum of Pictorial and Plastic Art had been
looted and its contents carried off to Germany by the
Commander of the First Tank Army, General Mackensen, and by
the Chief of the Propaganda Section of the First Tank Army,

                                                  [Page 179]

From the affidavit of the Plenipotentiary of the Polish
Government, Stefan Kurovsky, it has been established that
the defendant Frank, in looting the cultural treasures of
the Polish State, was also striving after his own personal

Pictures, porcelain and other works of art from the
plundered museums of Warsaw and Cracow, particularly from
the Varel Castle, were transferred to the estate of the
defendant Frank.

The affidavit, to which I referred, is an appendix to the
report of the Polish Government and is presented to the
Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 302. This document, your Honours,
is to be found on Pages 19-20 of your document book.

In this document, registered as Document 055 PS, which is a
letter from the "Head of the Fourth Political Leadership
Group of the Reich Ministry for the Eastern Occupied
Territories," dated 14 September, 1944, there are
indications as to where the looted treasures were taken and

This letter, addressed to the "Reich Minister, with a copy
to the Head of the Political Leadership Staff", is headed
"Works of Art evacuated from the Ukraine". This letter is to
be found in your document book on Page 21. I present this
letter as documentary evidence and submit it as Exhibit USSR
372, and I quote the text. I read:-
  "The Reichskommissar for the Ukraine has stored the works
  of art and pictures evacuated from Kiev and Kharkov in
  the following shelters in East Prussia:
    1. The Richau family estate, near Behlau.
    2. Wildenhoff Manor (owner Count Schwerin)."

I read further from the text of this letter:

  "There are sixty-five cases, the exact contents of which
  are enumerated on the attached list. As to the other
  twenty cases, fifty-seven portfolios and one roll of
  engravings, their inventory has not been taken to date.
  Among the pictures there are a great number of very
  ancient icons, works by famous masters of the German,
  Italian and Dutch schools of the sixteenth, seventeenth
  and eighteenth centuries, as well as the works of the
  best Russian masters of the eighteenth and nineteenth
  On the whole, this property consists of extremely
  valuable works of art, which have been removed from the
  Ukrainian Public Museum and whose value, even at a rough
  estimate, amounts to a sum of many millions. In addition,
  this is the sole collection of such international worth
  on German territory."

I omit the last paragraph of this letter since it has no
material bearing on the subject, and will continue by
quoting an excerpt from Page 2 of Rosenberg's letter, of
which I have already read one quotation earlier in the day.
(You will, your Honours, find it on Page 5 of the document
book.) I quote:-

Rosenberg wrote:-

"In the process of these confiscations we have, of course,
found also many other works of art. Among them there are
some of great value and, in order to preserve them, the
Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces, at my request
and in accordance with the Fuehrer's directives, ordered me
to draw up a catalogue of these works of art and to keep
them for the Fuehrer."

You have heard, your Honours, of Hitler's attitude towards
the property of the people and the works of art in the
countries seized by the Germans.

This episode is to be found in the Czechoslovak Government
report, presented to the Tribunal; excerpts from this report
were read into the record yesterday. Therefore, I consider
there is no necessity for reading it into the record once
more. However, it is necessary to note that not only Hitler
but Goering was an ardent adherent of this policy of
"acquisitions". You also heard, your Honours, yesterday, how
Goering acquired valuable Gobelin tapestries in France.

                                                  [Page 180]

Goering did not acquire Gobelin tapestries only. He wrote in
one of his letters to Rosenberg - I refer to document 1985
PS, which I submit to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 373, and
which is in your document book on Pages 156 and 158 -
Goering wrote that he "by means of purchases, presents,
bequests and barter, owns perhaps the most important private
collection, at least in Germany, if not in Europe". The
document presented is a copy of a typewritten letter and
includes a series of corrections and notes in ink, evidently
in Goering's own hand. This copy was captured, together with
Goering's other correspondence, by units of the American
Army, a fact which was confirmed and in due time presented
to the Tribunal by our American colleagues.

This document, your Honours, reveals, to a remarkable
extent, the nature of the acquisitions effected by Goering,
and also confirms Ribbentrop's part in the preservation of
cultural treasures in the occupied territories.

For this reason, I shall, with your permission, read a few
extracts from this document.

I read the extract from the first page of this letter. I

  "After prolonged search," wrote Goering to Rosenberg, "I
  was much gratified that a place was at last selected for
  the collection, although I want to point out that other
  departments are also claiming the authority of the
  Fuehrer. First of these was the Reichsminister for
  Foreign Affairs, who, several months ago, sent a circular
  to all departments, in which he, inter alia, stated that
  he had received full authority for the preservation of
  cultural works in occupied territories".

I now read an extract from page two of the letter, the last

  " . . . In order to avoid misconceptions regarding these
  articles some of which I want to claim for myself, some
  of which I have purchased, and some of which I wish to
  acquire, I want to inform you as follows :
    1. I have now obtained by means of purchase, presents,
    bequests and barter, perhaps the greatest private
    collection in Germany at least, if not in Europe."

I omit one paragraph and I refer to sub-paragraphs 2 and 3
of the next one. Sub-paragraph 2 enumerates the objects
which Goering would like to acquire. It refers to a very
extensive and highly valued collection of Dutch artists of
the seventeenth century, while sub-paragraph 3 mentions a
comparatively small, though very good, collection of French
artists from the eighteenth century, and finally, a
collection of Italian masters.

You have heard, your Honours, what was meant, in practice,
by "the personal material interest of soldiers in the war".
All this established irrevocably that the Hitlerites engaged
in pillage and brigandage, and that everybody, from the
privates to the criminal leaders of Hitlerite Germany,
participated in the plunder.

The same must be said regarding the destruction of cultural

Decrees and directives concerning the destruction of
cultural treasures came from the leaders of Hitlerite
Germany and from the highest ranks of the Military Command.

I shall refer, as evidence, to the order of the Commander of
the German Sixth Army, signed by Field Marshal von
Reichenau, approved by Hitler and entitled "On the behaviour
of the troops in the East".

This order was presented to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 12,
and, contrary to the usual Hitlerite custom, contains direct
and entirely undisguised instructions for the destruction
and suppression of culture in the occupied territories.

With your permission, I shall quote just one paragraph of
this decree. It is on Page 161 of your document book. I

  "The Army is interested in extinguishing fires only in
  such buildings as may be used for army billets . . . all
  the rest must be destroyed. No historical or artistic
  buildings in the East are of any value whatsoever."

                                                  [Page 181]

I shall quote one more document which establishes that the
destruction and pillage of cultural treasures, universally
carried out by the Hitlerites in the territories occupied by
them, was inspired and directed by the Hitlerite Government.
I refer to the diary of the defendant Frank, extracts of
which have already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit
USSR 223. In the first volume of Frank's diary, on Page 38
(Page 169 in your document book) there appears an entry
dated 4th October, 1939, which reads as follows:-

  "Berlin. Conference with the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer.
  discussed the general situation with the Governor-General
  and approved the activity of the Governor-General in
  Poland, particularly in the destruction of the Warsaw
  Palace, the non-restoration of this city, and the
  evacuation of its art treasures."

I consider that the documents now submitted and read into
the record are fully sufficient to enable
us to draw the following conclusions :

  (a) The pillage and destruction of the cultural treasures
  of the peoples in the German occupied territories were
  carried out in accordance with previously elaborated and
  carefully prepared plans.
  (b) The Fascist Government and German High Command
  directed the pillage and destruction of cultural
  (c) The most active role in the Organisation of the
  pillage and destruction of cultural treasures was taken
  by the participants in the conspiracy: the defendants
  Rosenberg, Ribbentrop, Frank and Goering.

I pass on to the next section of my presentation, entitled:-

Destruction and Pillage of Cultural Treasures in
Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia.

I reported to the Tribunal on the general plans of the
Hitlerite conspirators for strangling national cultural life
in the countries occupied by them.

I now pass on to report on the actual materialisation of the
criminal plans of the Hitlerite conspirators in
Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia.

I will refer only to such irrefutable proofs as the official
reports of the Governments of Czechoslovakia, Poland and
Yugoslavia already submitted to the Tribunal by the Soviet

I shall read into the record a few parts of the relevant
sections of these reports directly concerning the theme
expounded by me, which have not been quoted by my

I begin by quoting extracts from the Czechoslovak Government
reports. These excerpts, your Honours, are to be found in
your document book, on Pages 81 to 88. I quote from Page 81:-

  "Destruction Of Czech Cultural Life
  Eradication of the Czech Intelligentsia.
  K. H. Frank, who was appointed Secretary of State and
  Deputy to Reich Protector Neurath in March, 1939, and in
  August, 1943, became Minister of State and Head of the
  German Executive in the Protectorate, said: 'The Czechs
  are only fit to be used as workers or farm labourers '.
  K. H. Frank replied to a Czech delegation which, in 1942,
  requested the Czech universities and colleges to be
  reopened: 'If the war is won by England, you will open
  your schools yourselves; if Germany wins, an elementary
  school with five grades will be enough for you'.
  The Germans seized all colleges and students' hostels".

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