The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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(b) THE DIRECT PARTICIPATION OF THE GERMAN GENERAL STAFF IN
THIS CRIME

 A specific structure actually did exist in the military
machinery of Hitlerite Germany. Alongside the OKW functioned
the General Staff of the Army, as well as the Staffs of the
Air Force and the Navy.

The staffs of the individual branches of the services, each
in their own sphere of competence, elaborated the
corresponding parts of the plans of aggression of Hitlerite
Germany. The OKW coordinated and combined this work.

Inasmuch as the decisive part in the realization of the
plans of aggression lay on the Army with its numerous and
powerfully armoured forces, the outstanding position in the
preparation of aggressive measures by the Hitlerite
Government was naturally held by the German General Staff.

Therefore, the existing structure of the military machine of
Hitlerite Germany by no means excluded, but on the contrary
determined, in the elaboration,

                                                  [Page 371]

preparation and execution of the criminal aggressive plans
of the Hitlerite Government - the most active role for the
General Staff.

In order to define the practical role of the German General
Staff in the elaboration and preparation of the plans of
aggression of Hitlerite Germany, I shall refer to a few
facts:

I shall recall, your Honours, the statement of the former
Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus, which he confirmed in this
Tribunal.

Paulus stated: "When on 3rd September, 1940, I took office
in the OKH, I found there among other plans a still
uncompleted preliminary plan of the attack on the Soviet
Union, known under the code name of 'Barbarossa.'

The working out of the preliminary 'Barbarossa' plan began
in August, 1940, and ended by the carrying out of two
military maneouvres (Kriegsspiele) at the Headquarters of
the OKH at Zossen, and under my directions the result of
these manoeuvres, which served as a basis for the
elaborating of directives for the strategical deployment of
the troops of the 'Barbarossa' plan, showed that the
foreseen disposition on the line Astrakhan-Archangel would
lead to the complete defeat of the Soviet State."

Can it possibly not be clear to everybody now that the
German General Staff, as well as the OKW, was the creator of
the criminal "Barbarossa" plan?

A role no less active was the part played by the German
General Staff in the preparation of other plans of
aggression of Hitlerite Germany.

Walter Warlimont, a former German general and successor to
the defendant Jodl, in his testimony of November, 1945,
declared:

  "This instruction (concerning 'Barbarossa') was
  established in the same way as other similar
  instructions. First a report was made to Hitler by the
  Commander-in-Chief of the Army, on the operational
  plans."

There can be no doubt that in the elaboration of criminal
and aggressive plans, the German General Staff, as well as
the OKW, played a decisive role.

(C) WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

 The German armed forces and their military leaders
perpetrated innumerable crimes in the occupied territories,
either independently or in co-operation with the German
police agencies.
 
 A simple enumeration of documentary evidence disclosing
crimes perpetrated by the German Fascist usurpers in the
occupied territories would take too much time.

I shall therefore only refer to individual evidence proving
that the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity were
systematically perpetrated by the German armed forces on a
mass scale, and were organized beforehand and involved all
ranks of the German war machine - from the field-marshal to
the private.

It is sufficient to recall the instruction of the defendant
Keitel of 13th May, 1941, "of the application of military
jurisdiction in the 'Barbarossa' region and the special
actions of the troops," who received orders to apply "the
most drastic measures" on the strength of which German
officers had the right to execute without trial, and which
established impunity for crimes committed by German military
personnel against the peaceful population.

Or the instruction of the same defendant Keitel, of 16th
September, 1941, by which he ordered the German troops "to
bear in mind that in the countries which are concerned,
human life is absolutely of no value and that intimidating
action is only effective by resorting to unusual cruelty."

Reference may also be made to the following orders of the
OKW: concerning the extermination of Soviet Kommissars taken
as prisoners of war; the branding of Soviet prisoners of
war; the orders of the defendant Goering concerning the
murder of captured Allied pilots; the plundering of occupied
territories and the deportation into slavery in Germany of
the peaceful population; the order of the
 
                                                  [Page 372]

defendant Donitz forbidding the saving of men from sinking
vessels; the order of the former Field-Marshal Reichenau on
the conduct of troops in the East, an many others.

All of these have now acquired a common meaning.

These criminal orders, did not as some of the witnesses -
such as von Brauchitsch and von Manstein - tried to
establish here, remain on paper only. They were put into
practice with German punctiliousness.

Hitler's totalitarian State resorted widely to the
interaction of its separate offices.

The Tribunal has listened to the testimony of the witness,
the former Major General of the Medical Service of the
German Army, Walter Schreiber.

Schreiber, who is a bacteriological specialist, told of the
plans of the Hitlerite conspirators to use the death-dealing
plague bacilli as a weapon in the war. He informed us how
this crime, inspired by the German High Command, the General
Staff and by the defendants Hermann Goering and Wilhelm
Keitel, was conceived and realized.

Only the advance of the Red Army troops towards the
frontiers of Germany prevented this criminal plan of the
Hitlerite clique, the realization of which would have
threatened the whole of Europe with new and dire calamities
and devastation.

And it was not by accident in this case that special
attention was given to the establishment of a connection
between the military machine of Hitlerite Germany and other
German State organizations.

The OKW was represented in many German ministries by so-
called "liaison officers," and at the same time many
ministries had their representatives in the OKW.

Such a connection was utilized especially widely between the
activities of the German military and civil authorities in
the occupied territories.

But when, confronted by the weight of evidence, the
Hitlerite military leaders were obliged to acknowledge their
connections with, for instance, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs or the Ministry of the Occupied Territories in the
East, they still flatly refused to admit their connections
with the German State Police and the SS. This is easy to
understand. The existence alone of such a connection would,
per se, disclose their participation in numerous crimes in
the occupied territories.

Therefore I consider myself obliged to prove the existence
of a criminal connection between the German military
command and the German Secret State Police and other police
organizations.

This connection arose long before the attack on the Soviet
Union by Hitlerite Germany.

In the instruction on "special regions" issued by the OKW on
13th March, 1941, and signed by the defendant Keitel, the
necessity was foreseen of coordinating the activities of the
SS Reichsfuehrer and the Army Command in occupied
territories.

The witnesses Walter Schellenberg and Otto Ohlendorf, former
chiefs of the Reich Security Main Office, stated in their
evidence at this Trial that as early as in May, 1941, an
agreement was concluded between Quartermaster-General
Wagner, representative of the OKH, and Heydrich, chief of
the Security Police and of the SD, for the execution of
instructions of the OKW, which foresaw, in the German armed
forces, the organization and form of activities of the
Special Security Police "Einsatzgruppen" and the SD.

During the cross-examination of the witness von Brauchitsch,
the latter confirmed that he knew of such an agreement
between Wagner and Heydrich.

The presence and character of the activities of the Security
Police Einsatzgruppen and the SD in the German armed forces
are confirmed by documentary evidence.

In the report of 15th October, 1941, of Security Police
Einsatzgruppe A," it is stated:

                                                  [Page 373]

  "Our task was to establish personal contact with the
  commanders of the armies and with the commander of the
  army of the rear area. It must be stressed from the
  beginning that co-operation with the armed forces was
  generally good; in some cases, for instance with Panzer
  Group 4 under Col.-Gen. Hoeppner, it was very close,
  almost cordial." And further:
  
  "At the start of the Eastern campaign it became obvious
  with regard to the Security Police that its special work
  had to be done not only in the rear but also in the front
  areas."

>From a letter dated 1st November, 1941, written by the
General Commissar for Byelorussia, the butcher Kube, in
which even he expresses indignation against the criminal
activities of the police organizations in the town of Sluzk,
it is apparent that the 2nd Police Battalion, which had
carried out mass shooting of Jews in this town, was directly
subordinate to the military command.

A trail of blood leads from the orders of Goering, Donitz,
Jodl and Keitel, from the criminal agreements of Wagner and
Heydrich, from the orders of Reichenau and Mannstein, to the
innumerable crimes of the German troops and the
"Einsatzgruppen" of the Security Police in the occupied
territories.

The blood of millions of innocent victims stains not only
the hands of the German soldier Knittel and Obergefreiter
Kurt, but also those of the field-marshals of the German
Army.

The Hitlerite war machine, headed by the High Command of the
Armed Forces and the German General Staff, proved to be the
decisive force, with whose aid were plotted and carried out
all the criminal plans of aggression of the Hitlerite
Government, all the War Crimes and all the Crimes Against
Humanity.

The German High Command and the German General Staff were
therefore one of the most important organizations for the
execution of the criminal conspiracy of the Hitlerite
clique, while the higher military authorities of the German
armed forces were. active participants of this conspiracy.

As a result of the present proceedings, I consider that the
criminal character of this military organization has been
fully established.

THE GOVERNMENT (REICHSKABINETT)

I proceed to the last organization indicted as criminal, to
the Reich Cabinet, which occupied a particularly prominent
position in the system of the Fascist dictatorship.

Appendix "C" to the Indictment includes a detailed
enumeration of the persons who constituted the Government
and who, for this reason, are held responsible for the
perpetration of the Hitlerite crimes which are specified in
Counts One, Two, Three, and Four of the Indictment.

For nine months the Tribunal has examined the evidence in
regard to the monstrous crimes of the Nazis. We have heard
here of the crimes of the police and of the Wehrmacht, of
the SS and of the Gestapo, of the Reichsgauleiter and of the
Reich Commissioners in the occupied territories, of various
Fuehrer and Leiter. And we can most emphatically declare
that the homogeneity and systematic development of the
crimes, the uniformity of the means and methods employed in
their perpetration, testify to the fact that these crimes
were directed by and carried out on the directives of one
single centre. The threads of these various innumerable
crimes all lead to the gang of Fascist conspirators and to
the criminal Hitlerite Government.

Viewed in this light, the declarations of the counsel for
the defence and of the defendants themselves to the effect
that, under Hitler, the Council of Ministers was a mere
technical machine deprived of any real power, are completely
unconvincing. Actually not only did the ministers themselves
decide all questions coming within their jurisdiction but
they were at the same time the executors of Hitler's will.
True it is that it was Hitler who made the final decisions

                                                  [Page 374]

pertaining to all official and unofficial discussions and
meetings. At the same time, however, one cannot overlook the
fact that every single one of Hitler's ministers was a
Fuehrer in his own particular department, and by his advice,
by the materials presented, by drafts of laws and
directives, exercised a very important influence over all
decisions taken by Hitler in questions connected with the
activities of various departments. Then again, it is
impossible to discount the fact that Hitler's will fully
harmonized with the personal viewpoints and convictions of
his ministers. They were necessary to Hitler just as much as
he was necessary to them. Goering, Frick, Rosenberg,
Neurath, Speer, Funk and others are unthinkable without
Hitler just as Hitler is unthinkable without them. Under
Hitler's leadership they actively participated in the
planning of the Fascist conspiracy, and every one of them,
enacting the role allotted to him in the general criminal
plan defining the activities of literally all the
departments, wittingly and actively carried out that plan.

Since they were the leaders of all the corresponding central
departments of Hitlerite Germany - Finance, Economy,
Justice, Transport, etc. - they held in their hands, from
1933 to 1945, full legislative, executive, administrative
and political power. And they used this power in order to
realize the criminal plans for seizing foreign territories,
for annihilating races and peoples and for establishing
world domination. And in order to facilitate the execution
of these criminal plans, they first of all seized the power
over the German people and the German State, and supported
this power by draconian measures.

The wave of Fascist terror swept over the whole of Germany
even before Hitler's accession to power. It stiffened
conspicuously after Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 and
when the defendants Frick, Papen and Neurath became
ministers in the Government of the Reich. Taking advantage
of their presence in the Government, these Fascist ministers
fully legalized the terror wrought by the shock units of the
Nazi Party and prepared the coming seizure of power,
achieving this aim by burning down the Reichstag, as
organized by the defendant Goering.

Immediately after the seizure of power by the Fascists - on
24th March 1933 - a law was issued "On the Defence of the
People and the State," giving legislative power to the
Government of the Reich over the head of the Reichstag.

On 26th May, 1933, the Reich Government issued a decree on
the confiscation of the property of the Communist
organizations, and as from 14th June of the same year of the
property of the Social-Democratic organizations as well. On
1st December, 1933, the criminal Government of the Reich
promulgated the law "On Safeguarding the Unity of the Party
and the Government," which bore the signature of Hitler and
of the defendant Frick.

Continuing the liquidation of the democratic institutions,
the Reich Government in 1933, by virtue of the law "Upon the
Reconstruction of the Reich," cancelled democratic elections
for all central and local representative institutions. The
Reichstag was changed by the Fascists into an institution
void of all real meaning.

By virtue of the law of 7th April, 1933, and others, all
civil servants, including judges, who had at any time been
noted for their anti-Fascist inclinations, or who belonged
to leftist organizations, together with the Jews, were
dismissed from their offices and replaced by Fascists.
Pursuant to "the basic principle of German law on civil
officials" of 26th January, 1937, "the moral bond between
the civil servant and the Party is a prerequisite to his
being appointed ... the civil servant should be the executor
of the will of the National Socialist Government, led by the
NSDAP."

The complete submergence in Fascism of the Government
machine in Germany enabled the Hitlerite conspirators to
utilize it at a later period as an obedient tool for the
perpetration of all their criminal plans.

The Hitlerite Government introduced a number of measures
designed to implant the ideology of Fascism and mislead the
people of Germany.

                                                  [Page 375]


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