The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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That is the end of the prologue, as it were, to the dramatic

and sinister story that will be developed by the prosecution

in the course of this trial. Let it be noted here, however,

and remembered, as the story of the misdeeds and crimes of

these defendants and their fellow conspirators are exposed,

that at no time in the course of their alleged "legal"

efforts to gain possession of the State, did the

conspirators represent a majority of the people.

Now it is commonly said that the Nazi conspirators "seized

control" when Hitler became Chancellor of the German

Republic on 3oth January, 1933. It may be more truly said

that they seized control upon securing the passage of the

law for the Protection of the People and the State on 24th

March, 1933. The steps leading to this actual seizure of

power are worthy of recital. The Nazi conspirators were

fully cognisant of their lack of control over the

legislative powers of the republic. They needed, if they

were to carry out the first steps of their grand conspiracy

under the cloak of law, an enabling act which would vest

supreme legislative power in Hitler's Cabinet, free from all

restraints of the Weimar Constitution. Such an enabling act,

however, required a change in the Constitution which, in

turn, required two-thirds of the regular members of the

Reichstag to be present, and at least two-thirds of the

votes of those present.

The time-table of events leading up to the passage of this

enabling act, known as the law for the Protection of the

People and the State, is as follows:-

1. On 30th January, 1933, Hitler held his first Cabinet

meeting, and we have the original minutes of that meeting,

which will be offered in evidence. The defendants von Papen,

von Neurath, Frick, Goering, and Funk were present.

According to the minutes of this meeting, Hitler pointed out

that the adjournment of the Reichstag would be impossible

without the collaboration of the Centre Party. He went on to


    "We might, however, consider suppressing the Communist

    Party to eliminate its votes in the Reichstag and by

    this measure achieve a majority in the Reichstag."

  He expressed the fear, however, that this might result in

a general strike. The Reich Minister of Economy, according

to their official minutes, stated that in his opinion, it

was impossible to avoid the suppression of the Communist

Party of Germany, for, if that were not done they could not

achieve a majority in the Reichstag, certainly not a

majority of two-thirds but that, after the suppression of

the Communist Party, the passage of an enabling act through

the Reichstag would be possible. The defendant Frick

suggested that it would be best initially

                                                  [Page 108]

to request an enabling law from the Reichstag. At this

meeting Hitler agreed to contact representatives of the

Centre Party the next morning to see what could be done by

way of making a deal with them.

2. The next event on this time-table was the Reichstag fire

on the 28th of February, 1933.

3. Taking advantage ot the uncertainty and unrest created by

the Reichstag fire, and the disturbances being created by

the S.A., the provisions of the Weimar Constitution

guaranteeing personal freedom, and other personal liberties

were suspended by a decree of the Reich President on

February 28th, 1933.

Then on 5th March, 1933, elections to the Reichstag were

held. The Nazis acquired 288 seats out of a total of 647.

On the 15th March, 1933, another meeting of the Reich

Cabinet was held, and we also have the original official

minutes of that meeting which bears the initials, opposite

their names, of the defendants who were present at that

meeting, signifying that they have read - I contend that it

is a reasonable inference to state that it signifies that

they read these minutes and approved them. The following

defendants were present at this meeting: von Papen, von

Neurath, Frick, Goering, and Funk. At this meeting,

according to these official minutes, Hitler stated that the

putting over of the enabling act in the Reichstag by a two-

thirds majority would, in his opinion, meet with no

opposition. The defendant Frick pointed out that the

Reichstag had to ratify the enabling act with a

constitutional majority within three days, and that the

Centre Party had not expressed itself negatively. He went on

to say the enabling act would have to be broadly conceived

in a manner to allow for deviation from the provisions of

the Constitution of the Reich. He further stated that as far

as the constitutional requirements of a two-thirds majority

was concerned, a total Of 432 delegates would have to be

present for the ratification of the enabling act. The

defendant Goering expressed his conviction at this meeting

that the enabling act would be ratified with the required

two-thirds vote for, if necessary, the majority could be

obtained by refusing admittance to the Reichstag of some

Social Democrats. Now on the 20th March another Cabinet

meeting was held, and we also have the official, original

records of this meeting which will be offered in evidence.

The defendants Frick, von Papen, von Neurath, Goering and

Funk were present. The proposed enabling act was again the

subject of a discussion. Hitler reported on the conference

he had completed with the representatives of the Centre

Party, The defendant Neurath proposed a note concerning the

arrangement to be agreed to by the representatives of the

Centre Party. The defendant Frick expounded to the meeting

the contents of the draft of the proposed law, and further

stated that changes in the standing orders or rules of the

Reichstag were also necessary, that an explicit rule must be

made that unexcused absent delegates be considered present,

and if that was done it would probably be possible to ratify

the enabling act on the following Thursday in all three


It is interesting to note that, among the things recorded in

the official minutes of this Cabinet meeting, was the

defendant Goering's announcement that he had ordered SA

troops on the Polish border to be cautious and not to show

themselves in uniform, and that the defendant Neurath

recommended also that the SA be cautious, especially in

Danzig. In addition, the defendant Neurath pointed out that

Communists in SA uniforms were being caught continuously.

These stool pigeons had to be banned. justice had to find

means and wavs to make possible such punishment for

Communist stool pigeons, according to the defendant Neurath.

On 14th March, 1933, the defendant Frick announced:

    "When the Reichstag meets on the 21st March the

    Communists will be prevented by urgent labour elsewhere

    from participation in the session. In concentration

    camps they will be re-educated for productive work. We

    will know how to render harmless permanently, sub-

    humans who don't want to be re-educated."

                                                  [Page 109]


During this period, taking advantage of the decree

suspending constitutional guarantees of freedom, a large

number of Communists, including party officials and

Reichstag deputies, and a smaller number of Social Democrat

officials and deputies, were placed in protective custody.

On 23rd March, 1933, in urging the passage of the enabling

act, Hitler stated before the Reichstag:

   "It is up to you, Gentlemen, to make the decision now.

   It will be for peace or war."

On 24th March, 1933, only 535 out of the regular 747

deputies of the Reichstag were present. The absence of some

was unexcused; they were in protective custody in

concentration camps. Subject to the full weight of the Nazi

pressure and terror, the Reichstag passed an enabling act

known as the "Law for the Protection of the People and

State", with a vote of 441 in favour. This law marks the

real seizure of political control by the conspirators.

Article 1 provided: that the Reich laws can be enacted by

the Reich Cabinet. Article 2: provided the National laws

enacted by the Reich Cabinet may deviate from the

Constitution. Article 3: provided: National Laws enacted by

the Reich Cabinet are prepared by the Chancellor and

published in the Reichsgesetzblatt. Article 4 provided:

Treaties of the Reich with foreign states, which concern

matters of national legislation, do not require the consent

of the parties participating in legislation. The Reich

Cabinet is empowered to issue the necessary provisions for

the execution of these treaties.

Thus the Nazis acquired full political control, completely

unrestrained by any provision of the Weimar Constitution.

I now offer the documents which establish the facts which I

have just stated, and I also present, for the assistance of

the Court and the defence counsel, the briefs covering this

portion of the case.

THE PRESIDENT: I wish to speak to Major Wallis. Would it be

possible for the prosecution to let defendants' counsel have

at least one copy between each two of them here in court ?

If not to-day, then to-morrow ?

COL. STOREY: If the Tribunal please, there has been some

misunderstanding and the briefs were delivered to the

defendants' document room. We have sent for some of them and

they should be here shortly. However, Sir, in all fairness

the briefs themselves are not in the German language,

because we had intended to take the trial brief and let the

lawyers follow it over the translating system and thus, when

it was finished, it would be translated into all languages.

However, in order to shorten the proceeding, Major Wallis

has made a summary, and he is giving the summary and will

offer the documents in evidence and later the briefs, as

needed, to the Tribunal, and to defence counsel, and,

unfortunately, in the rush of time, they have been put down

in the defendants' document room and we have sent for some

of them. We understand, also, if the Tribunal please, that

Dr. Kempner approached some of the distinguished counsel for

the defence, and learned that a great many of them not only

speak English, but understand it when they read it, and to

save the tremendous physical burden on facilities, the

briefs have not, as yet, been translated into German. If

there is objection, the only thing we can do is to withhold

them at this time, but we understood it would be agreeable

to pass them to them in English, and that is what we propose

to do at the present moment, and have German-speaking

officers in the document room who will translate for any of

them who may not be able to read German. Pardon me, to read


THE PRESIDENT: Did you hear what Col. Storey said, Dr. Dix ?

DR. DIX: I have one request. We are here, as German defence

counsel, and in face of great difficulties. These

proceedings are conducted according to Anglo-American

customs. We are doing our best to make our way through these

principles, and would be very grateful if the President

would take into consideration our difficult situation.

I have heard - I am not quite sure if it was right-that

according to these

                                                  [Page 110]

Anglo-American principles, it is necessary to prepare

objections immediately, if one has any objections to the

contents of a document, and that this is not possible unless

one does it at once. This is a point on which I would like

to make my request. I am convinced that both the trial brief

and the documents will be made available to us, and we will

see if we can have a German translation of one or the other.

If this trouble can be spared, if the defence counsel needs

a translation, we shall have it, but I should like-I have

one request-that we have leisure to raise an objection later

when we have had a chance of discussing it.

I think in that way we shall easily overcome the

difficulties raised by the present situation, and we are

trying to cooperate in order to overcome any difficulties.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is glad that defendants' counsel

are making efforts to co-operate in the trial. After the

adjournment, the Tribunal will consider the best method of

providing defendants' counsel with as many translations as

possible, and you are right in thinking that you will be

able to make objections to any document after you have had

time to consider it.

DR. DIX: Thank you, Sir.

PRESIDENT: Yes, Major Wallis ?

MAJOR WALLIS: Having acquired full political control, the

Nazi conspirators now proceeded to consolidate their power,

and at this point I would like to impress upon the Tribunal

once again that with the exception of a very few documents,

the subject matter of my remarks is within the purview of

Judicial notice of the court, a matter of history well known

to these defendants and their counsel. Their first step was

ruthlessly to purge their political opponents by confining

them to concentration camps or by murder. Concentration

camps made their first appearance in 1933, and were first

used as means of putting political opponents out of

circulation by confining them to a so-called "protective

custody." This system of concentration camps grew and

expanded within Germany. At a subsequent stage in these

proceedings full and complete evidence of the concentration

camp system and the atrocities committed therein will be

presented to the Court, both by documents and films.

Illustrative documentary evidence of the arrest,

mistreatment and murder by the Nazi conspirators of their

political opponents is contained in the documentary evidence

offered by the United States.

As an illustration, affidavit of Raymond H. Geist, former

American Consul and First Secretary of the Embassy in Berlin

from 1929 to 1938, states (which will be offered):

   "Immediately in 1933, the concentration camps were

   established and put under charge of the Gestapo. Only

   political prisoners were held in concentration camps.


   The first wave of terroristic acts began in March, 1933,

   more particularly from March 6th to 13th, 1933,

   accompanied by unusual mob violence. When the Nazi Party

   won the elections in March, 1933, the accumulated

   passion blew off in wholesale attacks on the Communists,

   Jews and others suspected of being either. Mobs of SA

   men roamed the streets, beating up, looting and even

   killing persons.


   For Germans taken into custody by the Gestapo there was

   a regular pattern of brutality and terror. All over

   Germany victims were numbered by the hundred thousand."

On the 30th of June and 1st and 2nd July, 1934, the

conspirators proceeded to destroy opposition within their

own ranks by wholesale murder. In discussing this purge, the

defendant Frick stated, in an affidavit under oath, signed

on the i19th day of November, 1945, in the presence of his

defence counsel, as follows: This is document 2950-PS, It

has not yet been introduced in evidence, Sir:

    "Himmler, in June of 1934, was able to convince Hitler

    that Roehm wanted to start a putsch. The Fuehrer

    ordered Himmler to suppress the putsch, which was

    supposed to take place at the Tegernsee, where all the

    SA leaders were coming


                                                  [Page 111]


    together. For Northern Germany, the Fuehrer gave the

    order to suppress the putsch to Goering."

Frick goes on to say:

    " Pursuant to this order, a great many people -

    something like a hundred, and possibly more-accused of

    high treason, were arrested and even put to death. They

    were just killed on the spot. Many people were killed -

    I don't know how many -w ho actually did not have

    anything to do with the putsch. People who just weren't

    liked very well as, for instance, Schleicher, the

    former Reich Chancellor, were killed. Schleicher's wife

    was also killed. Also Gregor Strasser, who had been the

    Reich Organisation Leader and second man in the Party

    after Hitler. Strasser, at the time he was murdered,

    was not active in political affairs any more; he had

    however separated himself from the Fuehrer in November

    or December of 1932."

Frick goes on to say: "The S.S. was used by Himmler for the

execution of these orders to suppress the putsch."

During this period the conspirators created, by a series of

decrees of the Reich Cabinet, a number of new political

crimes. Any act or statement contrary to the Nazi Party was

deemed to be treason and punished accordingly. The

formations of the Party, the S.A., S.S., as well as the S.D.

and the Gestapo, were the vicious tools used in the

extermination of all opposition, real or potential. As the

defendant Goering said on 24th July, 1933 (I refer to

document 2494-PS, which will be introduced in evidence):

    "Whoever in the future raises a hand against a

    representative of the National Socialist movement or of

    the State, must know that he will lose his life in a

    very short while. Furthermore, it will be entirely

    sufficient, if he is proven to have intended the act,

    or, if the act results not in a death, but only in an


The defendant Frick stated, in a magazine of the Academy for

German Law, 1936, which will be introduced as document 2533-

PS, as follows:

   "By the world we are blamed again and again because of

   the concentration camps. We are asked, 'Why do you

   arrest without a warrant of arrest?' I say, 'Put

   yourself into the position of our nation'. Don't forget

   that the very great and still untouched world of

   Bolshevism cannot forget that we have made final victory

   for them impossible in Europe, right here on German soil


And Raymond Geist, whose affidavit I previously referred to,

being document 1759-PS, states:

   "The German people were well acquainted with what was

   happening in concentration camps, and it was well known

   that the fate of anyone too actively opposed to any part

   of the Nazi programme was liable to be one of great

   suffering. Indeed, before the Hitler regime was many

   months old, almost every family in Germany had received

   first-hand accounts of the brutalities inflicted in the

   concentration camps from someone, either in the family

   circle or in the circle of friends who had served a

   sentence, and consequently the fear of such camps was a

   very effective brake on any possible opposition."

And as the defendant Goering said in 1934 (and I refer to

document 2344-PS, which will be offered in evidence)

   "Against the enemies of the State we must proceed

   ruthlessly ... therefore the concentration camps have

   been created, where we have first confined thousands of

   Communist and Socialist Democrat functionaries.

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