The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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On 16th July, 1941, the day before Rosenberg's appointment
as Minister of the Occupied East, he attended a conference
at the Fuehrer's headquarters, the minutes of which have
been introduced as Document L-221, Exhibit USA 317. At that
time Hitler stated: "The Crimea has to be evacuated by all
foreigners and to be settled by Germans alone."

He further stated that Germany's objectives in the East were
threefold, first, to dominate it; second, to administer it;
third, to exploit it.

Thus, the character of the administration which was
contemplated for the Occupied East was well established
before Rosenberg took office as Minister. He knew of these
plans and was in accord with them. Persecution of the Jews,
forced labour of prisoners of war, Germanisation and
exploitation, were all basic points of policy, which
Rosenberg knew of at the time he assumed office.

On 17th July, 1941, Rosenberg was appointed Reichminister
for the Occupied Eastern Territories. The decree by which he
was appointed is in evidence as document 1997-PS, Exhibit
USA 319.

I would like now to examine the organisational structure and
the chain of responsibility which existed within the
Ministry for the Occupied East.

The organisational structure was such as will show that
Rosenberg was not merely a straw man. He was the supreme
authority with full control.

Document 1056-PS is a mimeographed treatise, entitled "The
Organisation of The Administration of the Occupied Eastern
Territories." It is undated and unsigned, but we can obtain
further information regarding it by reference to EC-347,
which is Goering's "Green Folder," already in evidence as
Exhibit USA 320.

It is noted that Part II, sub-section A of Document EC-347,
is entitled, and I quote:

   "Excerpts from the Directives of the Reich Minister for
   the Occupied Eastern Territories for the Civil
   Administration," and then in parentheses, "Brown Folder,
   Part 1, Pages 25 to 30."

The two paragraphs which follow are identical to two
paragraphs found at the top of Page 9 of the translation of
Document 1056-PS. Thus Document 1056-PS is identified as
being a mimeograph of Part I of the Brown Folder which was
mentioned in the Green Folder, and was issued by the Reich
Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories.

I now offer Document 1056-PS as Exhibit USA 605. I offer
this document for the purpose of proving, from the
directives issued by the Rosenberg Ministry itself, the
extent of Rosenberg's authority; that he was the supreme
civilian authority in the Eastern Territories. The document
will show that there was a continuous chain of command from
Rosenberg down to the regional administrative officials, a
chain of command which extended even to the local prison

                                                  [Page 131]

The document also will show the relationship which existed
between the Rosenberg Ministry and other German agencies, a
relationship which varied from full control by Rosenberg to
full co-operation with them, made mandatory by his
directives and by Hitler's orders.

Finally, the document will show that the various
subdivisions of the Ministry were required to submit
periodic reports of the situation within their jurisdiction,
so that the numerous reports of unspeakable brutality which
Rosenberg received, and which are already in the record,
were submitted to him pursuant to his orders.

The first paragraph of this significant document states as

   "The newly-occupied Eastern Territories are subordinated
   to the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern
   Territories. By directive of the Fuehrer he established
   a civil administration there, upon withdrawal of the
   military administration. He heads and supervises the
   entire administration of this area and represents the
   sovereignty of the Reich in the Occupied Eastern

At the top of Page 2 of the translation is stated, and I

   "To the Reich Ministry is assigned a deputy of the Reich
   Leader S.S. and Chief of the German Police in the Reich
   Ministry of the Interior."

Part III on Page 2 of the translation defines the
responsibility of the Reich Commissars as, and I quote:

   "In the Reich Commissariats, Reich Commissars are
   responsible for the entire civil administration under
   the supreme authority of the Reich Ministry for the
   Occupied Eastern Territories. According to the
   instructions of the Reich Minister for the Occupied
   Eastern Territories, the Reich Commissar, as a
   functionary of the Reich, heads and supervises, within
   his precincts, the entire civil administration. Within
   the scope of these instructions he acts on his own

And then the chain of command is outlined: Subordinate
offices, General Commissariats, Main Commissariats, District
Commissariats, etc.

In the second last paragraph on Page 3 of the translation it
is stated

   "The Higher S. S. and Police Leader is directly
   subordinated to the Reich Commissar. However, the Chief
   of Staff has the general right to secure information
   from him also.
   Great stress is to be placed on close co-operation
   between him, the Chief of Staff, and the other main
   department head of the Office of the Reich Commissar,
   particularly with the one for policies."

To digress from this document a moment, I ask that the Court
take judicial notice of the decree signed by Rosenberg,
dated 17th July, 1941, and found in the "Verordnungsblatt"
of the Reich Minister for the Occupied East, 1942, number 2,
Pages 7 and 8.

"This decree provides for the creation of Summary courts for
decisions on crimes committed by non-Germans in the East.
The courts are to be presided over by a police officer or an
S.S. Leader, who have authority to order the death sentence
or confiscation of property, and those decisions are not
subject to appeal.

The general commissar is given the right to reject a

Thus, the determination of the S.S., of these Summary
courts, is made subordinate to the authority of a
representative of the Rosenberg Ministry.

At Page 4 of the translation of Document 1056-PS, the
position of the General Commissar is defined. It is stated
here that:

   "The General Commissar forms the administrative office
   of intermediate appeal."

                                                  [Page 132]

Three paragraphs down it is stated, and I quote:

   "The S.S. and Police Leader assigned to the General
   Commissar is directly subordinated to him. However, the
   Chief of Staff has the general right of requiring
   information from him."

The document goes on to describe the function of the various
subdivisions of the Ministry, concluding with Regional
Commissars who preside over the local administrative
districts. They, too, have police units assigned to them and
directly subordinated to them.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mr. Brudno, surely that could have been
stated in a sentence without referring us to all these
passages in this document. I mean, Rosenberg was the
Minister for the Eastern Territories. He had under him Reich
Commissars and S.S. units, who had the full administration -
civil administration - of the Eastern Territories.

If you had stated that, surely that would have been

MR. BRUDNO: Very well, your Honour.

I will proceed from that point, then, to merely point out
that the economic exploitation of the territory was
undertaken in the fullest co-operation with the Commissioner
of the Four Year Plan, as shown by paragraph 2 of Page 7 of
the translation. It is stated there that the economic
inspectorates of the Commissioner of the Four Year Plan will
be substantially absorbed in the agencies of the civil
administration, after its establishment.

I also wish to call your Honour's attention to the first
paragraph on Page 6, which reads as follows:

   "The various commissars," it says, "are, aside from the
   military agencies, the only Reich authorities in the
   Occupied Eastern Territories. Other Reich authorities
   may not be established alongside them. They handle all
   questions of administration of the area which is
   subordinate to their sovereignty, and all affairs which
   concern the organisation and activity of the
   administration, including those of the police, in the
   supervision of the native agencies and organisation and
   of the population."

I now turn briefly to the second section of the document
which is entitled, "Working Directives for the Civil
Administration." The first two paragraphs on Page 9 have
been read into the record as part of Document EC-347,
Exhibit USA 320. I call particular attention to the
statement that the " Hague Rules of Land Warfare, which deal
with the administration of a country occupied by a foreign
armed power, are not valid."

I continue quoting at, the last paragraph on Page 9:

   "The handling of cases of sabotage is a concern of the
   Senior S.S. and Police Leader, or of the Police Leaders
   of the lower echelon. In so far as collective measures
   against the population appear appropriate, the decision
   about them rests with the competent commissar.
   To inflict penalties in cash or kind, as well as to
   order the seizure of hostages and the shooting of
   inhabitants of the territory in which the acts of
   sabotage have taken place, rests only with the General
   Commissar, unless the Reich Commissar himself

I finish with this document by quoting the first sentence at
the top of Page 13:

   "The District Commissars are responsible for the
   supervision of all prisons, unless the Reich Commissars

I will not take the time of the Tribunal, nor burden the
record, with a detailed account of the manner in which
Rosenberg's plenary authority and power were wielded. There
is evidence in the record, and there will be additional
evidence presented by the Soviet prosecutor, as to the
magnitude of the War Crimes

                                                  [Page 133]

and the Crimes against Humanity perpetrated against the
peoples of the Occupied East.

However, merely to illustrate the manner in which Rosenberg
participated in the criminal activities conducted within his
jurisdiction, I would like to refer briefly to a few

I call your attention to the document numbered R-135, which
was previously introduced as Exhibit USA 289. In this
document the prison warden of Minsk reports that 516 German
and Russian Jews had been killed, and called attention to
the fact that valuable gold had been lost due to the failure
to knock out the fillings of the victims' teeth before they
were done away with.

These activities took place in the prison at Minsk, a prison
which, your Honour will recall from Document 1056, was
directly under the supervision of the Ministry for the
Occupied East.

For my next illustration I wish to offer Document 018-PS.
This has already been introduced as Exhibit USA 186. I would
like to read to the Tribunal the first paragraph of Document
018-PS, which has not yet been read into the record. The
document reveals that Rosenberg wrote to Sauckel on 21st
November, 1942, in the following terms:

   "I thank you very much for your report on the execution
   of the great task given you, and I am glad to hear that
   in carrying out your mission you have always found the
   necessary support, even from the civilian authorities,
   in the Occupied Eastern Territories. For myself and the
   officials under my command, this collaboration was and
   is self-evident, especially since both you and I have,
   with regard to the solution of the labour problem in the
   East, represented the same points of view from the

As late as 11th July, 1944, the Rosenberg Ministry was
actively concerned with the continuation of the forced
labour programme, in spite of the retreat from the East.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): After making this generality,
Rosenberg goes on to object, at the last here, to the
methods used. You have not mentioned that.

MR. BRUDNO: Quite right, your Honour. Those objections are
already in the record, Sir, and I was merely referring to
this document to show that Rosenberg favoured recruitment
from the East, and that his civilian administrators co-
operated with the recruitment in spite of the methods used,
the methods which were known to Rosenberg, as he reports in
the letter himself.

DR. ALFRED THOMA (Counsel for the defendant Rosenberg): High
Tribunal. I must, in this connection, protest that the
prosecution did not finish reading paragraph I just quoted.
For it is declared in the following sentence that an
agreement existed between Sauckel and Rosenberg regarding

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you can have heard, that the
United States member of the Tribunal has just made this very
point which you are now making to counsel for the United
States, and has pointed out to him that he ought to have
read there, or drawn attention, at any rate, to the other
paragraphs in this document which showed that Rosenberg was
objecting to the methods used.

DR. THOMA: High Tribunal. I would like to point to the fact
that the prosecution quoted just the first two sentences of
a paragraph - the same paragraph continues, however, stating
that there was an agreement between him and Sauckel
according to which workers were to be treated well in
Germany, and for this purpose welfare organisations were to
be created. The presentation of the prosecution creates the
impression that the defendants Sauckel and Rosenberg had
agreed on the use of forced labour without restraint, and on
the deportation of the workers from the East.

                                                  [Page 134]

THE PRESIDENT: As counsel for the United States pointed out,
the other passages in the document have already been read.
And, naturally, the whole document will be treated as being
in evidence.

The Tribunal fully realises the point you are making, that
it is not fair to read one passage of a document when there
are other passages in the document which show that the
passage read is not a full or proper statement of the

MR. BRUDNO: If your Honour please, I was not attempting to
delude the Tribunal; it was merely in the interest of time
that I did not read the balance. The rest is in the record.

THE PRESIDENT: I realise that.

We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10th January, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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