The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/05/30

Attorney General: Were these called the  "Incorporated

Witness Baron: Yes. The remaining part of Poland which
remained under German control was called the
Generalgouvernment - as early as September 1939. Thereafter
the war passed from the east to the north. In April 1940 the
German forces entered Denmark for the first time and
subsequently Norway. These two countries were occupied in
the month of April 1940 and came under the control of the
German army. At the beginning of May 1940 the German forces
entered Holland, Belgium and France. This was in the months
of May-June 1940. After the surrender of King Leopold to the
German forces, a ruling clique remained in Belgium with
independent status, while Holland was under the authority of
a German governor.

France was divided into three parts: the northern part was
ruled by the German army; the southern part was dominated by
the forces of Italy, which entered the war in May 1940; and
the rest remained under the control of Marshall Philippe
Petain, and was called the Vichy Republic. This situation
continued until the year 1942, until November 1942, when the
German forces occupied the whole of France.

In April 1941 the war moved to the Balkans. And here the
German and Italian forces took over domination of the
Balkans with the aid of Bulgaria and in particular occupied
Yugoslavia and Greece.

Yugoslavia was divided up: Croatia became a separate
republic, parts of Thrace were given to Bulgaria and the
other part came under the dominion of Germany. The same
thing happened to Albania and Greece. Albania was occupied
first by the Italians, and they also received  the southern
portion of Greece, Athens and the Peloponnese. The main area
in which there were Jews was Salonika - the city where three-
quarters of all the Jews of Greece lived - and it came
directly under German rule. Part of Thrace was given to
Bulgaria which had been an ally of Germany. Rumania also
became an ally of Germany. And here there were important
changes when the war  between Germany and the Soviet Union
began. Even prior to this, in a dispute between Rumania and
Hungary, in terms of the agreement - Diktat  the arbitration
award - of Vienna between Ribbentrop and Mussolini, northern
Transylvania was given to Hungary, there were minor changes
here. After the war with Soviet Russia, the following were
the arrangements for ruling the occupied areas: The major
portion was occupied by the German army. Of this part,
namely in the north, they created "Ostland" which went by
the name of "Ukraine." The southern portion, Galicia and so
forth, was added to the Generalgouvernment. And all these
vast areas, to the extent that they were subject to the
German forces, remained under their rule until the Soviet
forces returned and overcame the German armies. There is
hardly anything to add to this.

Presiding Judge: We are talking only of Europe, and not of
North Africa?

Attorney General: Which of these countries were directly
under German rule and which were satellites? Let us start in
the north-west. Was Norway under military rule?

Witness Baron: Yes.

Q. Denmark was at first a "Muster Protektorat" (Exemplary
Protectorate) and then occupied?

A. Correct.

Q. And France?

A. The northern portion was directly under German rule, and
from November 1942 - all of France.

Q. Was Belgium a country of occupation?

A. Belgium was a country of occupation, although it remained
with a King. King Leopold was a prisoner.

Q. And Holland?

A. Holland was under direct occupation.

Q. When Italy dropped out of the War did the Germans take
over northern Italy?

A. Correct. The Allied Armies reached Naples. When Mussolini
was deposed in Summer 1943, the Germans seized the country.

Q. Were Austria and the Protectorate regarded as parts of
the "Gross-Reich"?

A. The Protectorate was regarded so, more or less; Austria
and the Sudetenland were completely part of the "Gross-
Reich," as was this part of Poland.

Q. The Generalgouvernment at first was under military rule.
And after that who was the Governor General there?

A. Hans Frank was head of the Generalgouvernment.

Q. The Ostgebiet  - the Ostland and the Ukraine  - what were

A. They were given essentially to Alfred Rosenberg, but
under him there were Lohse and Koch, the two dictators of
Ostland and Ukraine.

Q. Directly under German rule?

A. Under German military rule.

Q. Was Rumania a satellite?

A. In fact it was an ally until it left the War, and then
the German forces occupied it once again; but in their stead
came the forces of Soviet Russia.

Q. Slovakia was a so-called independent country, a satellite

A. A small portion of Czechoslovakia, particularly
Carpathorussia, was given to Hungary.

Q. Was Hungary an independent country?

A. Hungary was an independent country until they deposed
Horthy, and Szalasi became Prime Minister, and the German
forces themselves entered and occupied the country.

Q. You are talking of a later date in the year 1944. The
German's first entry was on  March 10 1944, while Horthy was
still in office.

A. Yes. After Horthy visited Hitler at Klessheim, all was

Q. And Croatia?

A. Croatia was regarded as a separate republic and remained
so until the arrival of the Allied armies.

Q. And was Serbia under full occupation?

A. Serbia was under occupation until the arrival of the
armies of Michaelovich and Tito. The Bachka region was
transferred to Hungary.

Q. Was Greece under direct German rule?

A. Only the northern part. Most of the country was handed
over to Italy, but a certain portion also to Bulgaria and
Eastern Thrace.

Q. And was Bulgaria satellite country?

A. Bulgaria was a satellite state until it withdrew from the

Q. And now I think that there is only Luxembourg left. Was
it annexed to the Reich?

A. Luxembourg was annexed to the Reich in 1942. Before that
it had only been occupied, but then it became a direct part
of the Reich.

Attorney General: Thank you.

Presiding Judge: Was not Alsace-Lorraine also annexed to the

Witness Baron: Of course.

Presiding Judge: Dr. Servatius, do you have any questions to
the witness?

Dr. Servatius:  Professor, you surveyed the history of the
Jewish people throughout the past 150 years. You referred to
the persecution to which the Jewish people was subjected
from time to time and in the end you dealt with the question
why all these evils befell it, if throughout these times it
had only done good. Can you, Professor, detail the reasons
for this negative attitude, for this struggle against the
Jewish people?

Witness Baron: Your  Honours. Many theories have been
offered as to the source of anti-Semitism and its
development. The most outstanding feature was usually the
hatred of the Jewish religion. The religion of the Jews was
distinct from the other religions and they were hated simply
for being "unbelievers," as being "heretics," people who did
not believe in what the majority in the country believed,
whether Christian, Moslem  or otherwise. In recent times
this changed somewhat; that is to say it was realized,
especially because of the wars between the Protestants and
the Catholics, the Thirty Years' War, that it was impossible
to perpetuate a state of affairs where a religious majority
forced a religious minority to accept its religion.
Consequently, religious freedom became a fundamental
principle in western countries, at least in Europe, America
and so forth. Instead of the former hatred, came the hatred
of the Jews as being of a different kind, that is to say
what is occasionally called in English - the "dislike of the
unlike"; the strange was something that was not liked. For
this they also found many different intellectual
explanations: for example the Jews were too dominant in
economics, they lent money on interest, they took control of
cultural affairs, etc. All kinds of justifications. But this
was the basic factor, that evidently the hatred arose solely
because of this difference between the majority and the
minority, and they wanted to justify it somehow. They
justified it by using one argument or another. But there was
another distinction: occasionally this hatred expressed
itself in bloodshed. But in more recent times this had
almost completely disappeared; only in Eastern Europe they
still attacked the Jews physically - in the Ukraine, in
White Russia. It could be said that this period had already
passed, and the difference between the Jews and the
Christians or the Moslems or any other religious group would
remain in force - possibly there would be a struggle, but it
would not lead to bloodshed. This is what was believed. As a
historian I can say that when the comparatively minor
pogroms took place in Russia in 1881, the whole world was
aroused, for nothing like that had happened for a hundred
years or more, and it was believed that human progress had
been such that the shedding of blood on account of the
hatred of the Jews had vanished from the world. But all
these things were minute compared with what took place in
the nineteen-forties, and as I mentioned previously there
had been nothing like it in Jewish history. I can sum up by
saying that if there had been anti-Semitism or opposition to
the Jews almost throughout all the generations, whether in
the Greek world, in the Persian world - according to the
Book of Esther - in the Christian world and in the Moslem
world of the Middle Ages, it is worth while remembering one
fundamental fact, that there was practically no violence
with bloodshed, not under the Persians and not under the
Greeks. With the Romans there were minor disturbances in the
times of Philo in Alexandria. There were hardly any
disturbances under the Moslems over a period of 1,300 years.

Presiding Judge: Pardon me, Professor. I think the question
was: what were the motivations of anti-Semitism.

Witness Baron: The answer is: The dislike of the unlike.
There were also special factors in each country. This was
economic jealousy, people who did not like their competitors
who were Jews, whether in the professions or in business.
Similarly there were also other special reasons of all
kinds. But the fundamental difference - and this I stress -
was that hatred of the Jews did not necessarily lead to
bloodshed and violence, whereas here this  tragic  thing

Dr. Servatius:  Don't you think that irrational motives are
at  the root of the fate of this people, something beyond
the understanding of a human being?

Witness Baron: In a certain sense this leads us into the
field of theology - philosophical or religious theology. If
we start with this question, we are virtually starting with
matters which are beyond human understanding. I am a
historian, and according to my professional beliefs I have
to find rational reasons, intelligible ones, for all
historical development. Nevertheless it seems to me that we
should not deny that a difference of religion alone is
sufficient to explain much of the opposition to the Jewish
people. Even the pious men of Jewry believed the Dispersion
itself was at the root of something beyond human
understanding, which had come as a punishment from the
Almighty for the sins of the early Jews in their own country
and that this Dispersion atones for the transgressions of
Man. All this, in a theological sense, can be correct, but
does not justify any person or group of persons in being
willingly, of their own volition and free choice, the
instrument for punishing the Jewish people.

Q. Professor, I did not want the argument to enter into a
philosophical question, but only into a historical question.
You, Professor, certainly know that there is a school of
thought regarding historical philosophy of historical
jurisprudence, from Hegel to Spengler. Hegel and Spengler
both say that there is a spiritual quality in history which
impels it onwards. Hegel believes that the directing force
is the spirit of history, Spengler - the spirit of culture,
without the influence of Man.

A. Your Honours, we are entering here into profound
questions of the philosophy of history. As it happens I am
not one of the historical determinists, not one of this
group of Hegel and Spengler which may be called the
determinist -    idealistic, and not of the Marxist school,
that is to say economic determinism. Even if each of these
has some basis and if they can presume that such a thing
exists, I have never felt that this approach is a
justifiable one. In my opinion, history develops from
elements and changes in society, many of which cannot be
foreseen in any way - they are fortuitous. Chance is of
great importance in history. Personality is of great
importance in history. All these things, together, create

Obviously there are also fundamental movements, there is the
ancestral heritage, but all these factors develop together.
I have said that history does not jump forward on one leg,
but progresses, perhaps on a hundred legs. Each single leg
is part of the historic process. As far as our question is
concerned, I am certain that even those who are
determinists, even those who believe that everything coming
to pass in history must essentially come to pass, as Hegel
said, will nevertheless believe, as our forefathers
believed, that, in fact, everything is determined in advance
by the Almighty or by other determinist forces, but even
then a choice is open to Man. In other words, each
individual has to determine whether he will do such and
such, and he is responsible for his actions. Even the most
religious predestination of Calvin does not grant
justification to any man to sin and commit evil in any way.
If he is a criminal he will stand judgment before man and
not only before God.

Dr. Servatius  This last question on which you touched,
Professor, the question whether a choice is open to man is a
question of religious philosophy. I wanted us to return to
the sphere of the school of historical jurisprudence. As far
as the school of historical jurisprudence is concerned, can
one not say that what the leaders do does not always achieve
the object at which they aimed? On the contrary, time and
again it may lead towards the opposite result. Here they
wanted to destroy and annihilate the Jewish people and the
purpose of those plotting to do so came to nought. A
prosperous state arose instead of this evil plan of theirs.

aA. The outcome of any of the deeds of man is not always in
accordance with the intention. This is a known fact. We see
this every day. But with regard to the historical school of
jurisprudence, I was always amongst the disciples of Savigny
and Einhorn and all those, and I greatly believe that they
were right in this - that the law of history is only the
outcome of the forces of ancestral heritage, possibly over
centuries. I go even further; I myself once tried to show
how far the forces within society have an influence on the
development of religion and vice versa. My book, which I was
privileged to mention this morning, was called A Social and
Religious History of the Jews. Several of my lectures bore
the special title "Social and Religious Inter-relations." I
believe that society influences religion and religion has an
influence on society and also on law. There are without
doubt fundamental matters beyond the will of man. But all
that is known thereof,  all that has been acknowledged, is
that history sometimes develops autonomously, that is to
say, it is not manifested only in the will of such and such
persons - every individual person in his own way - and every
human grouping, in my opinion, is responsible for its
actions and cannot say that it merely executes the demands
of history. Because, if so, anyone could interpret history
specially for himself and the world would be chaotic.

Q. This is my last question to this witness, your Honours.
The witness is certainly aware that Hitler often used to
rely on what was termed historical Providence, and
notwithstanding this, his efforts were in vain. If a leader
of nations cannot exert the influence desired by him, how
much more so would the effort of one individual out of
several, one in a crowd, on being asked to wield influence,
be of no value at all?
A. In reply to this question - this is not a historical
question, but more a legal question. To what extent an
individual person who is not a leader is also responsible in
the historical sense - there is no doubt that sometimes
insignificant people have much more influence on the course
of history than their importance to the state warrants.
There are cases as I have said - someone said, for example,
that we do not know what the history of Europe would have
been if  on the day of Waterloo Napoleon had not had a
headache. There are such fortuitous cases. They are
fortuitous for individuals,  for a few people. But I do not
see any logical connection here between the fundamental
historical outlook and the personal responsibility of a
leader or of the most insignificant of men - the personal
responsibility in respect of basic morality, in respect of
good and evil - this does not concern historical matters but
religious matters, moral questions in the life of man on
earth, in society, in religion.

Presiding Judge: Why do you refer to this as a legal
problem? This is not clear to  me.

Witness Baron: I thought that here there was a question
whether there is a distinction between a leader and an
ordinary person as to whether he is responsible for changes
in history or not.

Presiding Judge: Let us perhaps leave that to the jurists.

Witness Baron: Quite right.

Dr. Servatius:  I have no further questions.

Attorney General: I have no questions.

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