The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Frank said:

     "I have never founded extermination camps for Jews. I was never in
     favour of the existence of these camps, but if Adolf Hitler placed this
     terrible responsibility on the shoulders of his people, I, too, share in
     it; for we conducted a campaign against the Jews for years, we made all
     kinds of statements against them ......"

In his last few words, Frank condemns, along with himself, all those who
pursued the campaign of incitement against the Jews in Germany and
elsewhere. Let us remember Frank's answer to the question put to him by
his defence counsel as to the charges brought against him in the
Indictment. It is true of all the defendants and still more of those who
were closer to Hitler than he himself:

     "As to these charges, I have only this to say: I ask the Tribunal to
     determine the extent of my guilt at the end of these proceedings; but I
     should like to say on my own account that after all I have seen in the
     course of these five months of the trial, which have given me a general
     view of all the atrocities that have been committed, I myself feel
     thoroughly guilty."

Von Schirach for his part stated:

     "This is the crime for which I am answerable before God and the German
     people. I trained the youth of our country for the man who, for years
     and years, I considered the head of our country. I trained our youth to
     have the same regard for him that 1 had myself. My crime lies in the
     fact that I trained our youth for a man who was a murderer, who killed
     millions of people . . . Any German who, after Auschwitz, still adheres
     to the racial policy, is guilty ... I feel it my duty to say this."

Such cries of conscience were rare in the course of this trial and more
frequently, copying Gdring's quibbling vanity, the defendants tried to
extricate themselves by invoking a policy of neo-Machiavellism which
would free the leaders of the State of all personal responsibility. Let
us simply state that no such provisions exist in the laws of any
civilized country, and that, on the contrary, arbitrary and aggressive
acts aimed at personal liberty, at civic rights or at the Constitution,
are all the more severely punished in cases where they have been
committed by a public functionary or high-ranking Government official;
and that the most severe penalties are reserved for the Ministers
themselves (Articles 114 and 115 of the French Penal Code).

But let us limit ourselves on this point. We aim only at recalling that
each of the principal deeds charged against the defendants may be
considered by itself as violating the criminal laws or one or other of
the positive internal laws of every civilized country, or as violating
that common International Law which M. de

                                                                [Page 6]

Menthon has already interpreted and which has been submitted here as the
root of international custom, and that the punishment of each of these
deeds is therefore not without foundation; on the contrary, even if we
restrict ourselves to this preliminary analysis ' the heaviest penalties
have already been incurred.

We must, however, go farther; for while it does not omit any culpable
fact as such, the analysis of the defendants' guilt in the light of
internal law is only a first approximation which would enable us to
prosecute the.defendants merely as accomplices and not as principal
authors. And we are anxious to prove that they were in reality the
principal culprits.

We hope to succeed in this by developing the following three points:

1. The defendants' acts are elements in a criminal political plan.

2. The co-ordination of the various departments headed by these men
implies close co-operation between them for the realization of their
criminal policy.

3. They must be judged as functioning within the scope of this criminal

The acts of the defendants are the elements of a criminal political

The defendants have been active in widely differing spheres. As
politicians, diplomats, soldiers, sailors, economists, financiers,
jurists, or propagandists, they represent practically every form of
liberal activity. We recognize unhesitatingly, however, the tie that
binds them together. They have all put the best -- or the worst -- of
themselves at the service of the Hitlerite State. To a certain extent
they represent the brains of that State; but they themselves were not
the whole brain. Nevertheless, no one can doubt that they were an
important part of it. They conceived the policy of that State. They
wanted to transform their thoughts into action and all contributed in
almost the same degree toward its realization. This is true, no matter
whether it applies to Hess or Goering, professional politicians who
admit never having practised any other profession but that of agitator
or statesman; or to Ribbentrop, Neurath, Papen, the diplomats of the
regime; or to Keitel, Jodl, Doenitz or Raeder, the fighting men; to
Rosenberg, Streicher, Frank or Frick, the inventors -- if that term can
be applied to them -- of the ideology of the system; to Schacht and
Funk, the financiers without whom the system would have gone bankrupt
and collapsed in the resulting inflation before it could rearm; to
jurists like Frank , to publicists and propagandists like Fritzsche and
-- again -- Streicher, devoted to the dissemination of the common idea;
or to technicians like Speer or Sauckel, without whom the idea could
never have been translated into action as it has been; to policemen such
as Kaltenbrunner who destroyed morale by terror; to ordinary Gauleiter
like Seyss-Inquart, Schirach, or -- again -- Sauckel; to administrators
and high-ranking officials as well as politicians, who gave definite
shape to the common policy conceived by the whole State and Party

I know very well that the shadow of those who are absent looms over this
machine, and today's defendants are perpetually reminding us of them:

"Hitler wanted this, Himmler wanted this, Bormann wanted this." They

"I only obeyed," and their defence counsels outbid them. Hitler, the
monstrous tyrant, the fanatic visionary, imposing his will with an
irresistible magnetic power. This is too simple. This is too sweeping.
No man is entirely unreceptive to suggestion, insinuation, and
influence; and Hitler escaped that law no more than any other man. We
have had irrefutable proof of this in all the glimpses afforded us by
these proceedings of the struggle for influence which went on in the "
great man's " entourage. Malicious underhand calumnies were circulated,
there wdre intrigues which reminded us;t times, during the proceedings,
of the little courts of the Italian Renaissance. All the elements were
present, even to murder. Did not Goering, before he himself fell into
disgrace, rid himself of R6lim. and Ernst, who had plotted, not against
their master, but against him, as Gisevius told us. So much imagination,
such perseverance in evil, but also such efficiency, show us that Hitler
was not blind to the actions and intrigues of the men

                                                                [Page 7]

around him. What a pity that these intrigues did not work in the right
direction! But we have direct evidence of Hitler's responsiveness to
influences and it is given us by Schacht who, at the same time apart
from these men, raises the question of the German masses, whose good
sense they had contributed to warp and whose worst passions they roused.
Did not Schacht say of Hitler in Court:

     "I believe that at first his tendencies were not wholly evil; he
     undoubtedly believed that his intentions were only good, but little by
     little he became the victim of the charm he exerted over the masses; for
     he who begins by seducing the masses is in the end himself seduced by
     them, so that this relation between chief and disciple helped to lead
     him into the erroneous ways of mob instincts, which every political
     chief should strive to avoid."

What was then the great idea behind it all ?

It was indisputably that of the conquest of living-space by any and
every means, even the most criminal.

At a time when Germany was still disarmed and when discretion was still
necessary, Schacht, who was at Hitler's side, asked for colonies. We
remember Hirscheid's testimony. He dissembled, however, and in part
disguised the master conception of the State machine to which he
belonged, and we could not denounce this idea so easily were it not for
the disconcerting naivete of the "great man" who had laid his entire
plan of campaign open to the inspection of the whole world ten years

Indeed we read in Mein Kampf:

(Excerpt from Page 641.)

     "Thus the German nation could assure its own future only by being a
     world Power. For nearly two thousand years the defence of our national
     interests was a matter of world history, as can be seen from our more or
     less successful activities in the field of foreign politics. We
     ourselves have been' witnesses to this, seeing that the gigantic
     struggle that went on from 1914 to 1918 was only the struggle of the
     German people for their existence on this earth, and it was carried out
     in such a way that it has become known in history as the World War. When
     Germany entered this struggle it was presumed that she was a world
     Power. I say presumed, because in reality she was no such thing. In
     1914, if there had been a different proportion between the German
     population and its territorial area, Germany would have been really a
     world Power, and, if we leave other factors out of account, the war
     would have ended in our favour."

(Excerpt from Page 647.)

     "In regard to this point I should like to make the following statement:
     To demand that the 1914 frontiers should be restored is a glaring
     political absurdity that is fraught with such consequences as to make
     the claim itself appear criminal. The confines of the Reich as they
     existed in 1914 were thoroughly illogical, because they were not really
     complete, in view of the geographical exigencies of military defence.
     They were not the consequences of a political plan which had been well
     considered and carried out. They were temporary frontiers established in
     virtue of a political struggle that had not been brought to a finish;
     and indeed they were partly the chance result of circumstances."

(Excerpt from Page 649.)

     " For the future of the German nation the igi4 frontiers are of no
     significance. They did not serve to protect us in the past, nor do they
     offer any guarantee for our defence in the future. With these frontiers
     the German people cannot maintain themselves as a compact unit, nor can
     they be assured of their maintenance. From the military viewpoint these
     frontiers are not advantageous or even such as not to cause anxiety. And
     while we are bound to such will not be possible for us to
     improve our present positions

                                                                 [Page 8]

     in relation to the other world Powers, or rather in relation to the real
     world Powers."

(Excerpt from Page 650.)

     "Against this we National Socialists must stick firmly to the aim that
     we have set for our foreign policy; n~tinely, that the German people
     must be assured the territorial area which is necessary for it to exist
     on this earth. And only for such action as is unddrtaken to secure those
     ends can it be lawful in the eyes of God and our German posterity to
     allow the blood of our people to be shed once again before God, because
     we are sent into this world with the commission to struggle for our
     daily bread, as creatures to whom nothing is donated and who must be
     able to win and hold their position as lords of the earth only through
     their own intelligence and courage.

     And this justification must be established also before our German
     posterity on the grounds that for each one who has shed his blood the
     life of a thousand others will be guaranteed to posterity. The territory
     on which one day our German peasants will be able to bring forth and
     nourish their sturdy sons will justify the blood of the sons of the
     peasants that has to be shed today. And the statesmen who will have
     decreed this sacrifice may be persecuted by their contemporaries, but
     posterity will absolve them from all guilt for having demanded this
     offering from their people."

(Excerpt from Page 687.)

     "A State which, in an epoch of racial adulteration, devotes itself to
     the duty of preserving the best elements of its racial stock must one
     day become ruler of the earth."

(Excerpt from Page 135.)

     "A stronger race will oust that which has grown weak, for the vital
     urge, in its ultimate form, will burst asunder all the absurd chains of
     this so-called humane consideration for the individual and will replace
     it with the humanity of nature, which wipes out what is weak in order to
     give place to the strong."

And then the machinery of State and Party gathered force., The Army,
secretly reorganized, was soon strong enough to allow Germany to rearm
openly. Who, at that time, would have dared to interfere with the
monstrous growth of this biological materialism ? Hitler expounded his
theories to a small circle, and those who heard his words are by no
means all Nazis. Informed of their master's aims, they were still
willing to stay by his side, and that condemns them. Is this not the
case with Raeder ?

     "It is not a question of conquering populations but of conquering
     territories suitable for cultivation..."

Hitler, in conference with von Blomberg, von Fristch and Raeder, 5th
November, said:

     "Expansion cannot be achieved without smashing human lives and without
     taking risks...."

After the disgrace of von Fritsch and von Blomberg, Keitel and Jodl,
chosen for their servile attitude to the regime, had a solid weapon in
their hands. The rearmament went on. On the eve of the conflict Hitler
reiterated his ideas:

     "Circumstances must rather be adapted to aims. This is impossible
     without invasion of foreign States, or attacks on foreign property.

     Living-space, in.proportion to the magnitude of the State, is the basis
     of all power. One may refuse for a time to face the problem, but finally
     it is solved one way or the other. The choice is between advancement or
     decline. In fifteen or twenty years' time we shall be compelled to find
     a solution. No German statesman can evade the question longer than that.

     We are at present in a state of patriotic fervour, which is shared by
     two other nations: Italy and Japan.

                                                                 [Page 9]

     The period which lies behind us has indeed been put to good use. All
     measures have been taken in the correct sequence and in harmony with our

     After six years, the situation is today as follow:

     The national-political unity of the Germans has been achieved, apart
     from minor exceptions. Further successes cannot be attained without the
     shedding of blood.

     Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. It is a question of
     expanding our living-space in the East and of securing our food

     The population of non-German areas will perform no military service, and
     will be available as a source of labour.

     The Polish problem is inseparable from conflict with the West."

Extract from minutes of a conference held at the Reich Chancellery on
23rd May, 1939, in the presence of Hitler, Goering, Raeder, Keitel and
others. (Document L-79, Exhibit USA 27.)

And then came the war; and in a few months' time all Germany was led to
believe that her strength was irresistible and that she was on the way
to the conquest oftheworld. All that was implied by Hitler's cruel and
monstrous words:

     "We must keep firmly to the aim of our former policy: To. secure for the
     German people the territory to which it is entitled. And this act is the
     sole act which, before God and our German posterity, justifies bloodshed

All the cruel and monstrous implications of these words were elaborated

Speech by Hitler on the Eastern territories, 16.7.41:

     "We shall emphasize again that we were forced to occupy, administer and
     secure a certain area.... Nobody shall be able to recognize that it
     initiates a final settlement. This need not prevent us taking all
     necessary measures -- shooting, deportation... etc."


     "Partisan warfare will have one advantage for us; it enables us to
     eradicate all those who oppose us ......"

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