The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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In Norway the decree of 24th April, 1940, appointed Terboven as
Reichskommissar. This decree is signed by Hitler, Lammers and the
defendants Keitel and Frick. In Holland the decree of 18th May, 1940,
appointed the defendant Seyss-Inquart as Reichskommissar. This decree is
signed by the same persons as the preceding decree, and it bears in
addition the signatures of G“ring and Ribbentrop.

The decrees appointing the Reichskommissars also defined their functions
as well as the division of the functions between the civil commissar and
the military authorities. I am not submitting these two decrees as
documents since they are direct acts of German legislation. The decree
concerning Norway provides in its first article:

     "TheReichskommissar has the task of safeguarding the interests of
     the Reich, and of exercising supreme power in the civil domain."
The decree adds:

     "The Reichskommissar is directly under me and receives from me
     directives and instructions."

As far as the division of functions is concerned, I give the text of
Article 4:

     "The Commander of the German troops in Norway exercises the rights
     of military sovereignty. His orders are carried out in the civil
     doman by the Reichskommissar."

This decree was published in the Official Gazette of German Decrees for
1940, No. 1. The same instructions are given in a similar decree of 18th
May, 1940, concerning the Netherlands. The establishment of
Reichskommissaere was accompanied at the beginning by some pronouncement
intended to reassure the population. Terboven proclaimed that he
intended to limit as much as possible the inconveniences and costs of
the occupation. This is the proclamation of 5th April, 1940, which is in
the Official Gazette, Page 2.

Likewise, after his appointment, the defendant Seyss-Inquart addressed
an appeal to the Dutch people. This is to be found in the Official
Gazette for Holland for 1940, Page 2, and in it he expressed himself as
follows. He starts off with a categorical phrase:

     "I shall take all measures, including those of a legislative
     nature, which will be necessary for carrying out this mandate";

and he says also:

     "It is my will that the laws in force up to now shall remain in
     force, and that the Dutch authorities shall be associated with the
     carrying out of government affairs, and that the independence of
     justice be maintained."

But these promises were not kept. It is evident that the Reichskommissar
was to become in Norway and in Holland the principal instrument for the
usurpation of sovereignty. He was to act, however, in close relation
with a second instrument of usurpation, the National Socialist
organisation in the country. This collaboration of the local Nazi Party
with the German authority, represented by the Reichskommissar, took
perceptibly different forms in each of the two countries under
consideration. Thus, the exercise of power by the Reichskommissar
presents in itself differences between Norway and Holland which were
more apparent than real.

In both countries the local National Socialist Party existed before the
war. It grew and was inspired by the German Nazi Party and had its place
in the general plan of war preparations and the plan for Germanisation.
I should like to give some information concerning Norway.

                                                               [Page 27]

The National Socialist Party was called "Nasjonal Samling." It had as
leader the famous Quisling. It was a perfect imitation of the German
Nazi Party. I submit to the   Tribunal as Exhibit RF 920 the text of the
oath of fidelity subscribed to by members of this "Nasjonal Samling"
Party. I quote:

     "My promise of fidelity: I rpomise on my honour:
     (1) Unflinching fidelity and loyalty towards the National Socialist
     movement, its idea and its Fuehrer.
     (2) To work energetically and boldy for the cause. Always in my
     work to be worthy of confidence and to show discipline. To do all
     that I can to acquire the knowledge and aptitude which my activity
     in the movement requires.
     (3) As far as I am able, to live according to the National
     Socialist spirit, and towards all my companions in the struggle to
     show solidarity and understanding and be a good comrade to them.
     (4) To obey any administrative decision taken by the Fuehrer or by
     his trusted advisers, when the latter do not act against or in
     disagreement with the directions of the Fuehrer.
     (5) Never to reveal to others (to foreigners or to enemies) details
     of N.S. methods of work or anything whatsoever which might harm the
     (6) To make the utmost effort at all times to contribute to the
     progress of the movement, and to the achievement of its purpose,
     and to play the part in the fighting organisation which I have
     undertaken to do under promise of fidelity; quite conscious that I
     would be guilty of an unworthy and vile act if 1 broke this
     (7) If circumstances should make it impossible for me to continue
     as a member of the fighting organisation, I rpomise to withdraw in
     a loyal manner. I shall remain bound by the vow of secrecy which I
     made and I shall do nothing to harm the movement. Our purpose, the
     purpose of the Nasjonal Samling, is this: A New State, a Norwegian
     and Nordic Fellowship within the World Community, organically
     constructed on the basis of work, with strong and stable
     leadership. The union between the common good and private property
     and rights."

This Party therefore conforms completely to the Fuehrer principle, and
while it shows a Norwegian facade, it is nothing but a facade. In fact,
on the very day of the invasion the Nazis imposed the establishment of
an alleged Norwegian Government, presided over by Quisling. At that time
the Norwegian Supreme Court appointed a board of officials who were to
be invested, under the title of Administrative Council, with powers of
higher administration. This Administrative Council constituted
therefore, in the exceptional circumstances in which it was set up, a
qualified authority for representing the legitimate sovereignty -- at
least in a conservative way. It functioned only for a short time. By
September the Nazis found that it was not possible for them to obtain
the participation or even passive acceptance of the Administrative
Council and of the administrators. They themselves then appointed
thirteen Kommissaere, of whom ten were selected among the members of the
Quisling Party. Quisling himself did not exercise any nominal function,
but he remained the Fuehrer of his Party.

Finally, a third period began on 1st February, 1944. At that date
Quisling returned to power as Minister-President, and the Kommissaere
themselves assumed the title of Ministers. This situation lasted until
the liberation of Norway. Thus, except for a few months in 1940, the
Germans completely usurped all sovereignty in Norway. This sovereignty
was divided between their direct agent, the Reichskommissar, and their
indirect agent, first called

                                                               [Page 28]

State Councillor and then the Quisling Government, but always an
emanation of National Socialism.

There is no doubt whatever that the independence of these organisations
vis-a-vis the German authorities was absolutely nil. The fact that the
second organisation was called a Government did not mean a strengthening
of its autonomous authority. These were merely differences of form the
nature of which I shall point out to the Tribunal. I submit, in this
connection, two documents as Exhibits RF 921 and 922. By comparing these
two documents you will see that what I have just affirmed is correct.
Here are instructions addressed by the Reichskommissar to his offices
concerned with legislative procedure. I point out to the Tribunal that
the first in order of date has been numbered the second, so that first
of all I shall read part of Exhibit RF 922 and subsequently 921. The two
constitute a whole.

No. 922 is dated 10th October, 1940 -- that is, the very beginning of
the period of the State Councillors. I quote an extract from it:

     "All the decrees of the State Councillor must be submitted before
     their publication to the Reichskommissar."

This is to be found in the second paragraph. It is the only point which
I would like to bring out in this document. Therefore all the decrees of
the higher Norwegian administration were under the control of the

The second, 921, is dated 8th April, 1942. It relates to the period
shortly after the establishment of the second Quisling Government. I
start at the second sentence:

     "In view of the formation of the National Norwegian Government, the
     Reichskommissar has decided that from now on this form of agreement
     -- a prior agreement in writing -- is no longer required.
     Nevertheless, this modification of form of legislative procedure
     does not mean that the Norwegian Government may proclaim laws and
     decrees without the knowledge of the competent department of the
     Reichskommissar. His Excellency, the Reichskommissar, expects every
     department chief to acquaint himself, through close contacts with
     the competent Norwegian departments, with all legislative measures
     which are in preparation, and to find out in each case whether
     these measures concern German interests, and to assure himself, if
     necessary, that German interests will be taken into consideration."

Thus, in the one case, there is a formal control with written
authorisation. In the other case, there is a control by information
among the different departments, but the principle is the same. The
establishment of local authority under one form or another was merely a
means of finding out the best way of deceiving public opinion. When the
Germans put Quisling into the background, it was because they thought
the State Councillors, being less well known, might more easily deceive
the public. When they returned Quisling, it was because the first
manceuvre had obviously failed, and because they thought that perhaps
the official establishment of an authority qualified as governmental
would give the impression that the sovereignty of the country had not
been abolished. One might, however, wonder what was the reason for these
artifices and why the Nazis used them, instead of purely and simply
annexing the country. There is a very important reason for that. It
operates for Norway and it will operate for the Netherlands. The Nazis
always preferred to maintain the fiction of an independent State and to
gain a definite hold from within by using and developing the local
party. It is with this end in view that they granted the Party in Norway
advantages of prestige, and if they did not act in an identical manner
in Holland, their general conduct was, however, imbued with the same

                                                               [Page 29]

This policy of the Germans in Norway is perfectly illustrated by the
Norwegian law -- or so-called Norwegian law -- of 12th March, 1942
(Official Norwegian Gazette, 1942, Page 215, which I offer in evidence
as Exhibit RF 923). I quote:

     "Law concerning the Party and the State, 12th March, 1942, No. 2.
     Paragraph 1: In Norway the Nasjonal Samling is the fundamental
     Party of the State and closely linked with the State.
     Paragraph 2: The organisation of the Party, its activity, and the
     duties of its members are laid down by the Tribunal of the Nasjonal
     Samling. Oslo, 12th March, 1942, signed Quisling, President of the

On the other hand, the Nazis organised on a large scale the system of
the duplication of functions which existed among the higher authorities.
In fact, it is the transposition of the German system which shows a
constant parallelism between the State administration and the Party
organisations. Everywhere German Nazis were installed to second and
supervise the Norwegian Nazis who had been put in official positions.

As this point is interesting from the point of view of seizure of
sovereignty and of action taken in the administration, I think I may
submit two documents, which become Exhibits RF 924 and 925. These are
extracts of judicial interrogations by the Norwegian Court of two high
German officials of the Reichsleommissariat at Oslo. Exhibit 924 refers
to the interrogation of Georg Wilhelm Mueller, interrogation dated 5th
January, 1946. Wilhelm Mueller was the Chief of the Department for the
Enlightenment of the People and Propaganda. The information which he
gives concerns more particularly the functioning of the Propaganda
Service, but similar methods were used in a general way, as this
statement admits. I quote:

     "Question: In 1941 nobody in your country thought that there would
     be military difficulties. At that time they certainly tried to
     organise the Norwegian people along Nationalist Socialist lines?
     Reply: They did this until the very end.
     Question: What were the practical measures for achieving this
     National Socialist formation ?
     Reply: They supported the Nasjonal Samling as far as possible, and
     they did it, in the first place, by strengthening the structure
     very strongly from the organisational point of view."

I may point out that this translation into French is not first rate; it
is, however, comprehensible.

     "Question: In what way was it strengthened?
     Reply: In each fyIking, or province, they appointed National
     Socialists who had been specially selected to support the Norwegian
     National Socialists.
     Question: Were there other practical measures?
     Reply: That was done in all domains, even in the domain of
     propaganda; the Einsaustab put propagandists at their disposal.
     They also did this in Oslo at the central offices of the Nasjonal
     Question: How did these propagandists work?
     Reply: They worked closely with similar Norwegian propagandists and
     made suggestions to them. Grele did this by virtue of his double
     capacity as Chief of Propaganda in the Reichskommissariat and Chief
     of the Landesgruppe.
     Question: What was the practical method?
     Reply: These continued conferences were carried through to the very
     top of the hierarchy. There was a man who was specially appointed
                                                               [Page 30]
     this; first Wegeler, then Neuman, then Schnurbusch, who had the
     task of strengthening National Socialist ideas within the Nasjonal
     Question: In the Einsaustab there were experts from the different
     branches whose task it was to contact Norwegians and give them
     useful advice. In what domains?
     Reply: There were organisers, and especially consultants for the
     Hird, leaders of the S.A. and S.S. We had at the head a Press man,
     a propagandist, Herr Schnurbusch, until he himself became leader of
     the Einsatzstab, a financier, an expert on social welfare questions
     in the same way as in the N.S.V. in Germany."

The Tribunal will notice in this document the name of Schnurbusch as
being that of the leader of the Einsatzstab, and of the organism for
liaison with and penetration into the local party. I am now going to
quote an extract from the interrogation of Schnurbusch, which is found
in Exhibit RF 925.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you putting these documents in?

M. FAURE: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you say, for the purposes of the shorthand notes,
that you offer them in evidence?

M. FAURE: Will you excuse me? I should like to point out that I submit
as evidence Exhibit RF 925 as well as 924 of which I spoke just now.

This is from the interrogation of Heinrich Schnurbusch, leader of the
liaison service in the Reichskommissariat on 8th January, 1946, in Oslo:

     "Question: How did the German departments try to carry out this
     National Socialist transformation?"

I wish to point out to the Tribunal that I have passed over the first
three questions as they are not of much interest.

     "Reply: We sought to strengthen this movement by all the customary
     means for leading the masses, in the same way as we did in Germany.
     The Nasjonal Samling took advantage of the fact that they had all
     the means of transmission and propaganda at their disposal. But we
     soon saw that the object could not be achieved. After 25th
     September, 1940, the atmosphere in Norway changed from one day to
     the other, when some State Councillors were appointed as N.S. State
     Councillors, and that because the action of Quisling during April,
     1940, was considered a betrayal.
     Question: In what way did you assist, from the material point of
     view, the Nasjonal Sarnling in this propaganda? In what way did you
     give your advice to the Nasjonal Samling?
     Reply: During the time I was in office, when propaganda activity
     was to be carried out, it harmonised with the propaganda which was
     being given out in Germany.
     Question: Did you issue any directives for the Nasjonal Samling?
     Reply: No. In my time the Nasjonal Samling worked in an autonomous
     manner in this domain, and even in some ways contrary to our
     advice. The Nasjonal. Samling took the view that it understood the
     Norwegian mentality better, but it made many mistakes.
     Question: Were pecuniary means put at its disposal?
     Reply: Certainly, financial help was given, but I do not know the
     exact amount."

                    (A recess was taken.)

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