The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-05/tgmwc-05-48.06


Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-05/tgmwc-05-48.06
Last-Modified: 1999/10/05

I shall not go into details regarding these German
procedures for voluntary recruitment. I should like simply
to give, by way of example, the subject matter of Exhibit RF
733. It is an appeal posted in Alsace on the 15 of January
1942 and constitutes one of the appendices of the
governmental report, which was submitted under Document UK
72. In this document, I shall read only the first sentence
of the second paragraph:

  "Alsatians: Since the beginning of the campaign in the
  East, hundreds of Alsatians have freely decided to march
  as volunteers, side by side with the men of the other
  German regions against the enemy of civilisation and
  European culture," etc.

For anyone who knows German propaganda and its technique of
exaggeration, the term "Hundreds" which is used in this
document immediately betrays the failure of the Nazi
recruiters. "Hundreds " may obviously be translated by
"tens," and it must be admitted that this was a very poor
supply for the Wehrmacht.

During the period that I am speaking of, the Nazis
practised, in regard to nationality, a policy similar to
their policy in recruiting military forces, i.e. a policy of
nationalisation by choice. They appealed for volunteers for
German nationality. It is desirable to quote in this regard
an ordinance of 20 January 1942, a general ordinance of the
Reich, not a special one for the annexed territories.

This ordinance, in its first article, increases the
possibilities of naturalisation which until then had been
extremely limited, in accordance with the Reich statute
book. In Article 3 it gives the following provision: (This
ordinance is not produced in the document book, for it is an
ordinance of the German Reich, and, therefore, a public
document.)

   "The Reich Minister of the Interior may, by means of a
   general regulation, grant German nationality to
   categories of foreigners established on a territory
   placed under the sovereign power of Germany or having
   their origin in such territory."

In connection with this earlier period, it is necessary to
stress that natives of Alsace-Lorraine who did not become
German citizens did not retain their French nationality
either. They are all considered as German subjects. They are
qualified in the documents of the period as "members of the
German community (Volksdeutsch)" and are consequently liable
for German labour service. I submit Exhibit RF 734 in this
connection, "Regulation of 27 August 1932, on compulsory
military service and on labour service in Alsace." I shall
return to this document presently with regard to military
service, but I would like to quote now the passage relating
to service in the Hitler Youth - one of which bears an
earlier date - the ordinance of 2 January 1942 for Alsace,
and ordinance of 4 August 1942 for Lorraine.

The German policy regarding nationality and military
recruiting reaches its turning point in the month of August
1942. At this moment, on account of military difficulties
and the need for extensive recruiting, the Germans
instituted compulsory military service in Lorraine by an
ordinance of 19 August, 1942, and in Alsace by an ordinance
of 25 August 1942. These two ordinances, relative to the
introduction of compulsory military service, constitute
Exhibit RF 735, ordinance for Lorraine, and Exhibit RF 736,
ordinance for Alsace.

At the same time, the Germans promulgated an ordinance of 23
August

                                                  [Page 362]

1942 on German nationality in Alsace, Lorraine and
Luxembourg. This text is the subject of a circular issued by
the Reich Minister of the Interior, which constitutes
Exhibit RF 737. I should like simply to summarise for the
Tribunal the provisions of the various texts, which it would
take too long to read. These provisions are the following:

Full rights of nationality are acquired by natives of Alsace
and Lorraine and Luxembourgers in the following cases:

Firstly, when they have been or will be called upon to serve
in the armed forces of the Reich or in SS armed formations;
secondly, when they are recognised as having acted as good
Germans.

As concerns the expression "of German origin," which is used
in these texts, this concerns Alsatians and Lorrainians who
have become French either through the Treaty of Versailles
or subsequently, on condition of having previously been
German nationals, or having transferred their domicile from
Alsace or Lorraine to the territory of the Reich after 1st
September 1939; and finally, children, grandchildren, and
wives of the preceding categories of persons are likewise
considered as of German origin.

Lastly, it was anticipated that the Alsatians, Lorrainians
and Luxembourgers who did not acquire German nationality
absolutely could obtain it provisionally.

I should like to mention, to complete this question of
nationality, that an ordinance of the 2 February 1943 gave
details as to the German nationality laws applicable in
Alsace, and that an ordinance of the 2 November 1943
likewise conferred German nationality upon persons who had
been in concentration camps during the war.

The German texts indicate that, on the one hand, German
nationality was imposed upon a great number of persons; and,
on the other hand, that Alsatian and Lothringians who were
French were forced to comply with the exorbitant and truly
criminal requirements of military service in the German Army
against their own country. These military obligations were
constantly extended by the calling-up of successive classes,
as far as the 1908 class.

These German exigencies provoked a solemn protest on the
part of the French National Committee, which in London
represented the Free French government authority. I should
like to read to the Tribunal the text of this protest, which
is dated 16 September 1942, and which I submit as Exhibit RF
739. I shall merely read the three paragraphs of the
official protest, which constitute the beginning of this
document of the Information Agency in London.

   "After having proclaimed, in the course of the war, the
   annexation of Alsace and Lorraine, banished and robbed a
   great number of the inhabitants and enforced the most
   rigorous measures of Germanisation, the Reich now
   constrains Alsatians and Lothringians, declared German
   by the Reich, to serve in the German Armies against
   their own compatriots and against the allies of France.
   
   The National Committee, defender of the integrity and of
   the unity of France, and trustee of the principle of the
   rights of peoples, protests, in the face of the
   civilised world, against these new crimes committed in
   contempt of international conventions against the will
   of populations ardently attached to France. It proclaims
   as inviolable the right of Alsatians and of Lorrainians
   to remain members of the French family."
   
   This protest could not have been unknown to the Germans,
   for it was read and commented on over the radio by the
   French National Commissioner of Justice, Professor Fene
   Cassin, on a number of occasions.

In regard to this solemn protest on the part of France, I
shall allow myself to quote the "justification," if one may
use this term, which was furnished in a speech by Gauleiter
Wagner delivered in Colmar on 20 June, 1943.

                                                  [Page 363]

This quotation is drawn from the Muehlhaeuser Tageblatt of
21 June 1943. In view of its importance I shall not deal
with it simply as a quotation, but I produce it as a
document and submit it as Exhibit RF 740. The clerk has been
given this paper. I read the "explanations" of Gauleiter
Wagner, as they are reproduced in this newspaper under the
title " Alsace will not Stand Aloof":

   "The decisive event for Alsace in 1942 was thus the
   introduction of compulsory military service. It cannot
   be my intention to justify from the juridical point of
   view, a measure which strikes so deeply at the life of
   Alsace. There is no need for such a justification. Every
   decision which here touches the Greater German Reich has
   a motive and cannot be attacked as to its juridical and
   its defacto form."

Naturally, the Alsatians and Lorrainians refused to accept
the criminal orders of the German authorities, and they
undertook to avoid these by every means. The Nazis then
decided to compel them by means of merciless measures. The
frontiers were strictly guarded, and the guards had orders
to fire on the numerous recalcitrants who attempted to
escape across the border. I should like to quote in this
connection a sentence from a newspaper article which
appeared in the Dernieres Nouvelles de Strasbourg of 28
August 1942. This will become Exhibit RF 741. This article
deals with the death of one of these men who refused to
serve in the German Army, and it concludes with the
following sentence: "We insist most particularly on the fact
that it is suicidal to attempt to cross the frontier
illegally."

Naturally, judicial penalties were applied with great
severity in a large number of cases. I do not consider that
I should bring to the Tribunal instances of all these cases,
for that would take too long, but I should like just to
insist on the principle that governed this form of
repression.

I shall quote first of all a document which is entirely
characteristic of the conception which the German
administration had of justice and of the independence of
judicial power. This is submitted as Exhibit RF 742. It is a
part of a series of documents discovered in the files of the
Gauleitung, It is a teletype message dated Strasbourg, June
1944, addressed by Gauleiter Wagner to the Chief of the
Court of Appeals in Karlsruhe. I shall read paragraph 2,
Page 1:

   "It is particularly necessary in Alsace that the
   penalties pronounced against those who refuse to do
   military service shall produce the effect of
   intimidation, but the effect of intimidation upon those
   who are recalcitrant through the fear of personal danger
   can only be achieved by the death penalty. All the more
   so, as an Alsatian who emigrates with the intention of
   escaping military service generally counts on an early
   coming victory for the enemy powers and, in the case of
   conviction and consequent loss of freedom, on the very
   early cancellation of the penalty. Consequently, in the
   case of all attempts at illegal emigration to escape
   military service after 6 June 1944, apart from any other
   judicial proceeding in force in the old Reich, the death
   penalty must be applied as the only penalty provided."

But I wish to indicate that the consideration of personal
risk, however great, even that of being killed at the
frontier or condemned to death, was not sufficient to make
the people of Alsace and Lorraine acknowledge the obligation
for military service. Thus the Nazis decided to have
recourse to the only threat which could be effective - the
threat of reprisals against families. On 4 September 1942,
there appeared in the Dernieres Nouvelles de Strasbourg a
notice entitled "Severe Sanctions against those who fail to
Appear before the Revision Council" An extract from this
notice will be submitted as Exhibit RF 743. I shall read
from it:

   "In the cases mentioned above it has been shown that
   parents have not given proof of authority in this
   regard. They have thus proved that they
   
                                                  [Page 364]
   
   do not yet understand the requirements of the present
   time, which can tolerate in Alsace only reliable
   persons. The parents of the above named young men will
   therefore shortly be deported to the Altreich in order
   to re-acquire in a National Socialist atmosphere an
   attitude in conformity with the German spirit."

Thus the deportation of families was decreed, not to punish
a definite insubordination, but to punish failure to appear
before the recruiting board.

In order to avoid repeated readings, I shall now present to
the Tribunal as Exhibit RF 744, the ordinance of 1st October
1943, to check failure to perform military service (Official
Bulletin for 1943, Page 152). I shall read the first two
articles:

  "Article 1: The chief of the civil administration in
  Alsace may refuse the right of residence in Alsace to
  deserters and to persons who fail to fulfil their
  military obligations or those of the compulsory labour
  service, as well as to members of their families. This
  prohibition entails, for persons of German origin whom it
  may effect, transplantation to Reich territory by the
  delegate of the Reichsfuehrer of the SS, Reich
  commissioner for the strengthening of Germanism. Measures
  to be taken in regard to property, seizure, indemnity,
  etc. are prescribed in the ordinance of 2 February 1943,
  concerning property measures to be applied in the case of
  persons of German origin transferred from Alsace to Reich
  territory.
  
  Article 2. Independently of the preceding measures,
  proceedings may be instituted under the penal code for
  violation of the provisions of the penal laws."

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly what did "German origin" mean? How
far did it go?

M. FAURE: The term "Souche Allemande", German origin,
applies, as indicated in connection with the preceding text,
to the following categories of persons: In the first place,
persons who were in Alsace and Lorraine before the Treaty of
Versailles and who became French through the Treaty. In the
second place, persons whose nationality before 1919 was
German, are considered as of German origin, as well as their
children, their grandchildren, and their spouses. This
affects the great majority of the population of the three
departments.

I continue reading paragraph 2 of Article 1:

   "Independently of the foregoing measures, penal
   prosecutions may be brought for violation of the
   provisions of the penal laws."

According to Article 52, paragraph 2, of the Reich Penal
Code, members of the family who bring proof of their genuine
efforts to prevent or dissuade the fugitive from committing
his act, or avoiding the necessity of flight, shall not be
punishable.

These abominable measures - compulsory denunciation,
punishment inflicted upon families - permitted the German
authorities to carry out the enlistment of Alsatians and
Lorrainians, which for many of them had fatal consequences,
and which was for all of them a particularly tragic ordeal.

I must finally indicate, to conclude this part, that the
Germans proceeded to the mobilisation of women for war work.
I produce as Exhibit RF 745 the ordinance of the 26 January
1942, completing the war organisation of labour service for
the young women of Lorraine.

Then we find an ordinance of the 2 February 1943 - which
will become Exhibit RF 746 concerning the declaration of men
and women for the accomplishment of tasks pertaining to
national defence. This is taken from the German official
bulletin, 1943, Page 26. This ordinance concerns Alsace.

The following Exhibit RF 747, deals with Lorraine. This is
an ordinance of 8 February 1943, concerning the enrolment of
men and women for tasks

                                                  [Page 365]

relating to the organisation of labour. The Tribunal will
note that the ordinance concerning Alsace used the
expression " tasks of interest to national defence", whereas
the ordinance relative to Lorraine specifies simply "tasks
concerning the organisation of labour", but in principle
these are the same. Article 1 of this second ordinance,
refers to the ordinance of the General Delegate for the
Organisation of Labour, relative to the declaration of men
and women for tasks of interest to national defence, etc. It
is thus a case of making not only men, but also women, work
for the German war effort. I shall read for the Tribunal an
extract from a newspaper article which comments on this
legislation and likewise on the measures which Gauleiter
Wagner proposed to undertake in this connection. This
constitutes Exhibit RF 748, taken from the newspaper
Dernieres Nouvelles de Strasbourg, dated 23rd February 1943.

   "In his Karlsruhe speech Gauleiter Robert Wagner
   stressed that measures of total mobilisation would be
   applied to Alsace, and that the authorities would
   abstain from any bureaucratic working method. The
   Alsatian labour offices have already invited the first
   category of mobilisable young women to fill out the
   enlistment."

Here is the second passage of the same article.

   "In principle, all women who until the present have
   worked only at home, who have had to care only for their
   husbands and who have no other relatives, shall work a
   full day, Many married men who until now had never
   offered to help their wives with the household work will
   be obliged to put their shoulder to the wheel. They will
   work in the household and do errands. With a little
   goodwill, everything will work out. Women who have
   received a professional education will be put, if
   possible, to tasks related to their professions, on
   condition that they have an important bearing on the war
   effort. This prescription applies only to all feminine
   professions which imply care given to other persons."

Here again a rather comical or clumsily worded presentation
should not prevent one from perceiving the odious character
of these measures, which obliged French women to work for
the German war effort.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.