The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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When the first draft was drawn, the drawer added extension drafts so
calculated that the last fell due in January or March, 1942. When we
look back, the full significance of the date chosen becomes evident. The
year 1942 was the date fixed by Schacht for the full extent of his
fraudulent enterprise, in the hope that by that time the war would have
solved the problem for him. The original draft was discounted by the
Reichsbank. Bills were not subject to fiscal taxes, so as to prevent any
evaluation of the amount in circulation by means of a control in the
yield of the taxes. Operations were conducted with the utmost secrecy.
Even as early as 1935, all available Reichsmark credits were utilized by
the Reichsbank for these armament drafts. At the end of 1938 there were
six milliards of MEFO drafts in the assets of the Reichsbank and six
milliards to discount, of which three milliards were short-dated. When
the drafts fell due, Schacht could not but but be aware that there were
only three possible solutions:

1. Consolidation of the debt by foreign loans, which would not be
extended to Nazi Germany, already armed to excess.

2. An inflation comparable to that of 1923, which would mean the end of
the regime.

3. War.

The scope of the rearmament operations financed by Schacht up to 31st
December, 1938, is revealed by calculations made by M. Gerthofer of our
Delegatior (we attach his report hereto). Let us not forget that Hitler,
in his letter to Schacht dated 19th January, 1939, wrote: "Your name
will be connected above all and for all time with the first period of
national rearmament." We may take note of that. From April, 1935, to
31st December, 1938, there were spent 345,415,000,000 francs on the
rearming of Germany. During the same period France spent only thirty-
five milliard nine hundred and sixty-four million francs. Such a
discrepancy shows quite clearly what Schacht's aim was. This was
Schacht's doing
and his alone. On the battlefields of France in 1940 we find again the
same ratio of ten German armoured divisions to one French division.

Schacht's retirement from the Reichsbank and the Ministry of Economics
can in no way speak in his favour. Difficulties arose between Goering
and himself in regard to the realization of the Four-Year Plan. Schacht
would not admit Goering as his superior. He resigned from the Ministry
of Economics on 26th November, 1937, but remained President of the
Reichsbank and Minister without Portfolio. On 7th January, 1939, he
handed Hitler a memorandum pointing out that the volume of the MEFO
drafts in circulation through his own fault was threatening the
stability of the currency. Technically speaking, his position at the
Reichsbank had become untenable. His retirement, therefore, was due to
questions of economic organization and not to political reasons. In any
case, he retained the functions of Minister without Portfolio, and did
not give up this post until January, 1943, at the time of the Stalingrad
defeat, when both the Party-State machine and the Reich were beginning
to break down. Obviously he no longer served any useful purpose, but it
is equally obvious that he might have again done so at some later date,
in the capacity of negotiator of a peace compromise.

Are his further political troubles due to the intrigue by Hitler's
advisers which we can now well imagine, or were they due to
Machiavellism on his art, or to sheer bad fortune? What is the
significance of the part played by this ill-starred man who succeeded in
gathering round him the whole of the great financiers and industrialists
with pan-Germanic leanings, who helped Hitler to power, whose presence
inspired confidence in Nazi Germany, whose financial wizardry provided
Germany with the most powerful war machine of the age, and who did all
this to enable the Party-State machine to hurl itself forward to the
conquest of living-space ? This man was among those mainly responsible
for the criminal activities of the Party-State machine. His financial
genius was that of the Nazi State; and there is no doubt of his
participation in its crimes. It is of fundamental importance. The
measure of his guilt is full, his responsibility complete.

                                                               [Page 22]

As for the last of Hitler's confidants, Bormann, we know that he was
responsible for the mass extermination of the Jews. There is no need to
say more.

I have now reached the end of my demonstration of the guilt of each
individual defendant. Not that the subject is exhausted, but the time
allowed by the Tribunal for each representative of the prosecution to
address the Tribunal only permits us to sketch the outline of a
presentation which deserves more systematic treatment. A multiplicity of
examples could be found to illustrate our presentation. All the facts
submitted during the last nine months by all four Delegations fit of
their own accord into our plan; and this in itself is sufficient to
prove that our logic is unimpeachable and that our conclusions are in
strict accordance with the truth.

We consider, therefore, that proof has been furnished that all these men
have been parties to the crimes of the German State, that all these men
were in fact united in pursuit of the same political aim and that all of
them have in one way or another participated in the greatest crime of
all, genocide, the extermination of the races or peoples at whose
expense they intended to conquer the living-space they held necessary
for the so-called Germanic race.

We have all heard the objections raised by the counsel for the defence.
It is Dr. Seidl who stated them most forcibly (Page 25 of his speech for

     " The law in force," he said, " is based on the fundamental
     principle that International Law deals solely with the sovereign
     State and not with the isolated individual ......"

In conclusion he denies the right to sentence these men. First let us
say that not one of the defendants was an "isolated individual" of whom
Dr. Seidl speaks. We think that we have demonstrated their co-operation
and solidarity, strengthened by the Party system beyond the usual
intercourse between the ministers and principal administrators of any
democratic country.

We may observe in addition that it seems intolerable to every sensitive
human being that men, who put their intelligence and their good will at
the disposition of the "State" entity in order to make use of the power
and the material resources of this entity to slaughter, as they have
done, millions of human beings in the execution of a criminal policy
long since determined, should be assured of immunity. The principle of
State sovereignty which might protect these men is only a mask. This
mask removed, the men's responsibility reappears! Dr. Seidl knows that
as well as we do. But he says: "Such is the International Law in force."
What respect on his part for the law in force, but how surprising in his
mouth the words which follow! A few moments later, examining the Hague
Conventions of 1907, which, we must remember, have not been denounced by
any of the signatories, not even by Germany, he complacently points out
that they were inspired by the experiences made during the wars of the
nineteenth century, and are no longer valid in the twentieth. Modern
wars were no longer subject to the restrictions of the
Hague.Conventions. He states further:

     "One cannot make use of the prescriptions of the Hague Convention
     with regard to land warfare -- even if interpreted in the widest
     sense and adapted in a suitable manner to base personal penal
     responsibility thercon."

Dr. Seidl therefore considers International Law as static when he
believes that this will enable him to draw favourable conclusions
therefrom; but when this condemns his client, it must be considered as
still in process of evolution.

Dialectics of this kind, which make use of paralogism, are specious. Dr.
Seidl is well versed in the art of sophism, but he convinces no one.

The immunity of the Chiefs of State and their associates was hardly
conceivable when they allowed war to be subject to the rules and
restrictions of custom, convention and International Law.

This immunity became intolerable from the moment that they freed
themselves from every rule, and pressure from the universal conscience
gave rise to new developments in international custom in order to oppose
it. I have already shown this at the end of my statement last February;
I shall not revert to that point. It

                                                               [Page 23]

should suffice to add that the Charter Of 7th August, 1945, taking in
consideration the work of the various War Crimes Commissions from 1940
up to the capitulation, upheld the conclusions drawn by a Frenchman, M.
de Lapradelle, at the War Guilt Commission, 1919. The defendants are
arraigned before you on account of the acts they committed on behalf of
the German State, and if it is necessary that law should reinforce the
authority of custom, the Statute of London, drawn up on the basis of
Common Law in course of formation, still justifies our study of the
defendants' responsibility in regard to the crimes of the German State.
In fact, Article 6 of the Statute deals only with crimes committed on
account of the State.

The impression we draw from the final pleadings is that most of the
defence counsel put all their hopes in a concise juridical or pseudo-
juridical process of reasoning.

Many questions were debated. Are there just and unjust wars, defensive
wars and wars of aggression, is there a world-wide juridical conscience
? Are there unequivocal criteria of aggression? This is what worries the
defence; and not the question of the extent to which those who have
collaborated in the work of extermination should be punished.

When the defence counsel speak of "law in force," they do so for the
purpose of denying this Tribunal the right to condemn, and Dr. Jahrreiss
denied all authority to the law "such as it should be conceived" in the
light of morality and progress. All of them forget that the law in force
is not only the law of the past, the only one to which they themselves
appeal, but that the law in force is also that which the judges invoke
in a concrete manner from the bench. All of them forget that
jurisprudence is subject to the laws of evolution. Where no written law
exists one can only speak of the former tendencies and ascertain whether
they are still valid and can be invoked.

But let us stop here. We would ourselves confuse the issue.

The unique fact of this trial, the fact that stands out above all
others, the methodical, systematic extermination of all those who
occupied the space coveted by Germany.

Other crimes have certainly been committed, but only as means are
tempted to describe them as secondary and accessory overwhelming is the
atrocity of the latter.

We must realize the full magnitude of these atrocious the danger to
humanity which is constituted adequate punishment.

            Atrocity of the State-committed Crime
We have already shown that the crime committed by these men is not a
simple crime. The common criminal knows his victim; he sees him with his
own eyes. He himself strikes and knows the effect of his blow. Even if
he is only an accomplice, he is never sufficiently dissociated, morally
and psychologically speaking, from the chief perpetrator, not to share
to a certain extent his apprehensions and reactions when the blow is
delivered and the victim falls.

Genocide, murder or any other crime becomes anonymous when it is
committed by the State. Nobody bears the chief responsibility. Everybody
shares it: those who by their presence maintain and support the
administration, those who conceived the crime and those who ordained it,
as well as he who issued the order. As for the executioner, he says to
himself: "Befehl ist Befehl" : "An order is an order," and carries out
his hangman's task.

Those who make the decision do so without shuddering. It is possible
that they have no accurate and concrete picture in their minds of the
consequences of their orders. The stupefaction of some of the accused
immediately after the showing of the film about the camps is
understandable in the light of this reflection. As for those who promote
the execution of the crime by their general co-operation

                                                               [Page 24]

in the work of Party and State, they feel that they are passive
spectators of a scene which does not concern them. They have, in any
case, no punishment to fear. In the German sphere the Stale and the
Party are stron 1 g, and determined to remain so for a thousand years.
They have destroyed justice. In the international sphere, the prevailing
code ensures -- or, at least, is believed to ensure -- immunity.
Moreover, there is no permanent international jurisdiction capable of
opposing the gangster States. The possibility of a military defeat is
not taken into consideration, since the precautions takeff are
apparently so thorough. It is a remarkable fact that, allowance made for
the delay necessary for the installation of gas chambers, the peak of
the murders coincides with the period in which the State and the regime
believe in certain victory, or have not yet taken seriously the omens of
defeat. It is really the perfect anonymous crime imagined by the French
moralist when he propounded the case of the mandarin as a test of moral
conscience. And all the conditions favour the absence of a reaction. The
facts have demonstrated that none of those men has experienced the
decisive revulsion in those circumstances.

Most of them did feel that they had played a part in the tragedy. They
have, I think, been more intent on relieving their consciences than on
attempting to deceive their judges by shelving guilt on to their
neighbours. Few of them have had the courage to acknowledge, as did
Schirach and Frank, that they were component parts of the whole system,
and as such could not evade responsibility. The others deny it at the
risk of letting the guilt fall upon the German people who were incapable
of throwing off the yoke of their evil masters. They attempt, in the
exposition of their case, to minimize their responsibility in the hope
of conjuring it away, but since Severing's statement and those made
previously by the Mayor of Oranienburg and the Mayor of Buchenwald and
confirmed by Frank are true, viz., that there were rumours all over
Germany that people died in these camps, as everybody now knows, do they
expect to make us believe that they alone were in ignorance thereof?

The less guilty among them, if one can establish different categories of
" major criminals," did not dare to object, but their criminal cowardice
had such appalling consequences that they cannot possibly justify any
lessening of the penalty.

As we now see, crime committed by the State in a regime in which State
and Party are one, and in which popular control is prevented by the
absence of freedom of thought, freedom of expression and free elections,
is, from the point of view of the criminal, the easiest to commit.
Moreover, technical progress all over the world has harnessed almost
every natural force in the service of mankind. His capacity to work evil
has been considerably increased thereby.

Moral restraint has at the same time been relaxed by the pursuit of
materialistic gratification which is also the corrupt fruit of material
progress not controlled by intellect.

Generally speaking, crime seems to be on the increase in every State, in
spite of highly improved methods of repression. In the international
scheme of things, the process is similar. The only difference is that it
is on a larger scale, because as yet there is no international means of
repression. The industrial revolution and the development of natural
sciences have multiplied the virtual power of States. If the State keeps
in its own hands natural wealth and its exploitation, accentuates its
grip on credit by monetary operations, increase in taxation, the levying
of additional loans, whether voluntary or forced, by binding its people
even more firmly to it by developing public welfare institutions,
influencing their mental life by means of radio propaganda; by
employing, with this end in view, eloquent propagandists capable of
arousing the blind passions of the mob within men most peacefully
disposed and most widely scattered -- if this State at the same time
takes away from its opponents every possibility of expressing their
views, prevents any control by the people and every form even of private
criticism, it becomes an

                                                               [Page 25]

absolute ruler possessed of tremendous means of action for better or
worse. Every criminal technique is within its reach, and it can make
unrestrained use of them unless, gentlemen, you introduce the element of
sanctions in International Law. It must be possible henceforth to put an
end to the criminal activities of a gangster State through the power of
a super-State organization directed by a legal institution of the same
kind, otherwise the freedom of nations is doomed. The weapons of revolt
fell from their hands as soon as States -- and States alone -- could
possess methods of destruction against which the courage of individual
citizens was unavailing. Operated by a small number of men devoted to
the criminal regime, those arms, which are the property of the State,
can drown in blood the slightest attempts at resistance, and although
revolt against tyranny is still the most sacred of duties, such revolt
is now hopeless. This is the danger, and Germany succumbed to it. It is
true that every favourable condition was present at the same time. Under
the impulse of the industrial revolution, which from 1850 onwards was
more violent in this country than in any other, social standards have
changed enormously; and at the same time the population itself has
changed from rural and agricultural to urban and industrial. This has
resulted in a lowering of its mental level which has brought with it
disastrous consequences, since the bourgeoisie had received no political
education under the Empire.

Deliberately kept at a distance from public affairs by their former
rulers, the German masses were interested, as regard the industrialist
upper class and proletariat, only in the economic development of the
Reich, and, as regards the middle class, only in the Army and the future
Reich. When, after the First World War, the Germans had to endure the
disappointment of defeat; when to shabby and commonplace surroundings
were added all the rancour and resentment described by the defendant
Goering at the beginning of his testimony, in addition to the bitter
consciousness of social and material downfall; when youth in particular
strove to make its hopes a concrete reality, Pan-Germanism awoke, was
disseminated and brought down to the level of the mob and then came
within reach of all the discontented elements. At the same time, the old
antithesis between vital force and intellectualism, culture and
civilization, healthy eagerness and decadent lassitude, the cult of life
and the cult of intellect was brought to life and given definite shSpe
for the use of simple and puerile minds in the form of the dynamic
antithesis between the Nordic Aryan and the Semitic Jew.

With the help of appropriate education this biological materialism was
easily imposed. The ground had long been prepared. The German is
particularly attracted by inculcated doctrine because it alone can
supply the lack of personal, independent discipline which is
characteristic of him on the intellectual and moral plane. He loves
anything that can be recited as a universally acknowledged creed, a
stereotyped phrase suitable for use on all occasions. For this reason,
young Germans learned for their Abitur examination the six races
admitted by Guenther just as they learned grammar, and no more dreamed
of doubting the former than they doubted the latter. And when the German
mentality accused nations as much alive and as strongly attached to
their land, their traditions and their flexible and varied human
culture, as England and France, of being content to possess only a puny
and artificial intellectual life, when it accused them with the crime
against life -- and Dr. Stahmer echoed this -- the German mind created
for itself, by reason of the coarse and facile creed which it claimed to
impose upon all alike, an intellectualism differing from ours in its
danger and its artificiality. The result of these so-called ethics of
life was a practice and a doctrine of pure opportunism -- collective or
social, pseudo-scientific, biological-materialistic -- which resulted in
the sterilization, the physiological observations made in the camps, and
13,000,000 dead. The reflection of the old French philosopher comes
irresistibly to our minds when we are confronted with this result:
"Science without conscience is but ruin of the soul." A neo-
Machiavellism, an example of which was afforded us by Gdring in his
statement, took root....

                                                               [Page 26]

I read lately somewhere in a final pleading that right in itself does
not exist, and that efforts to establish a dividing line between right
and wrong are guided by historical and national standards (Dr. Nelte).
Hitler had already said: " Right is what is profitable to the nation,"
and, according to his defence counsel, Frank paraphrased this statement
as follows: " What is profitable for the people is right. Collective
interests take precedence over individual interests." On reading this, I
thought of the answer which would have been given by the absolutist,
Bossuet, who knew how to determine human standards. The defence counsel
compared French absolutism with Nazism. Here is my answer:

     "Politics sacrifice the individual to the common good, and this is
     right to a certain extent: It is good that one man should die for
     the people. By that, Caiphas understood that an innocent person
     could be sentenced to the supreme penalty for the sake of the
     common good, which is never allowed, for, on the contrary, innocent
     blood cries for vengeance against those who shed it."

We know what consequences the Nazi precepts could produce. The witness
Roser reported the words of this young German soldier who, after
describing a massacre in a ghetto, concluded: " Ah, my dear friend, it
was horrible, but ... an order is an order." The Tribunal will find
Kramer's terrible words at the end of Document F 655, which is in one of
the document books submitted by the French Delegation. Before he was
made Commandant of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Kramer
commanded the Natzweiler camp in Alsace, where he himself asphyxiated
eighty persons by gas. This has been proved. In answer to the question:
" What would you have done if they had not all been dead ? ' he said: "
1 should again have tried to asphyxiate them by letting a second dose of
gas into the room. 1 did not feel any emotion while carrying out these
acts, for I had received orders to execute the eighty internees in the
way 1 told you. After all, I have been trained in that way." What a
terrible charge against the system ! Before becoming a murderer by
order, this man had been a bookkeeper in Augsburg. How many peaceful
bookkeepers so trained are still in Germany today ? And now " innocent
blood cries for vengeance."


You know the crime. You know why and by what means it was perpetrated!
This heinous and unprecedented crime is that of the National Socialist
"Party-State," but the defendants, in their capacity of chiefs of the
National Socialist Party and high State officials, have all accepted
major responsibility in the conception and perpetration of this crime.
Their participation in the crime of the "Party-State" is their own
personal fault and brings with it no claim whatsoever to immunity! Proof
has now been brought against them!

They must be punished; you know also the dangers to which the world is
exposed by their crime and the misery and misfortune it has brought to

You must hit hard without pity. It is enough that the verdict be just!
To be sure, there are degrees in their guilt. Does it follow that there
must be degrees in the penalties themselves, when those whom we consider
the least guilty merit the death penalty! Tomorrow, this international
trial at an end and the principal war criminals sentenced, we shall go
back to our own countries where we may have to prosecute before our own
tribunals those who merely carried out the orders of the National
Socialist State, who only played the part of hangman.

How could we demand the death penalty for another Kramer, or another
Hoess, or for the camp commandants who have on their conscience the
deaths of millions of human creatures whom they killed by order, if we
hesitated today to demand the supreme penalty for those who were the
driving force of the.criminal State which gave the orders ?

                                                               [Page 27]

The fate of these men lies entirely with your conscience ! It is now out
of our hands, our task is finished. Now it is for you in the silence of
your deliberations to heed the voice of innocent blood crying for

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

                    (A recess was taken.)

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