The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 380]


TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTEENTH DAY

SATURDAY, 31st AUGUST, 1946

THE PRESIDENT: Article 24 (j) provides that each defendant
may make statement to the Tribunal. I therefore now call
upon the defendants who wish - whether they wish to make
statements. Defendant Hermann Wilhelm Goering.

DEFENDANT HERMANN WILHELM GOERING: The prosecution in its
final speeches have treated the defendants and their
testimony as completely worthless. Statements made under
oath by the defendants were accepted as absolutely true when
they could serve to support the Indictment, but were
characterized as perjury when they refuted the Indictment.
That is very elementary, but it is not a convincing basis
for demonstration of proof.

The prosecution uses the fact that I was the second man of
the State as proof that I must have known everything that
happened. But it does not present any documentary or other
convincing proof in cases where I have denied under oath
that I knew about certain things, or even desired them.
Therefore, it is only a conjectural query when the
prosecution says, "Who should have known that if not
Goering, who was the successor of the Fuehrer?"

But repeatedly we have heard here how the worst crimes were
veiled with the utmost secrecy. I wish to state expressly
that I condemn utterly these terrible mass murders and so
that there shall be no misunderstanding in this connection,
I wish to state emphatically and quite clearly once more
before the High Tribunal that I have never decreed the
murder of a single individual at any time nor decreed any
other atrocities nor tolerated them, while I had the power
and the knowledge to prevent them.

The new allegation presented by Mr. Dodd in his final speech
that I had ordered Heydrich to kill the Jews lacks any proof
and is not true. There is not a single order signed by me or
signed on my behalf that enemy airmen should be shot or
should be turned over to the SD. And not a single case has
been established where units of my Luftwaffe carried out
things like that.

The prosecution has repeatedly submitted documents which
contain alleged statements reported, and written down at
third and fourth hand, without my having seen these
statements previously, in order to correct erroneous ideas
or to preclude misunderstandings.

How easily completely distorted reports can arise from third-
hand notes is also proved by, among other things, the
stenographic transcript of the proceedings in this Court
which often needed correction when checked.

The prosecution brings forward individual statements made
over a period of twenty-five years, made under completely
different circumstances and without any consequences arising
from them at the time, and quotes them as proof of intent
and guilt. Such statements can easily be made in the
excitement of the moment in an atmosphere such as prevailed
at the time. There is probably not one leading personage on
the opposing side who did not speak or write similarly in
the course of a quarter of a century.

Out of all the happenings of these twenty-five years, from
conferences, speeches, laws, actions and decisions, the
prosecution proves that everything was desired and intended
from the beginning according to a deliberate sequence and an

                                                  [Page 381]

unbroken connection. This is an erroneous conception which
is entirely devoid of logic and which will be rectified some
day by history, after the proceedings here have proved the
incorrectness of these allegations.

Mr. Jackson in his final speech points out the fact that the
signatory States are still in a state of war with Germany
and that because of the unconditional surrender merely a
state of truce prevails now. Now, International Law is
uniform. The same must apply to both sides. Therefore, if
everything which is being done in Germany today on the part
of the occupying Powers is admissible under International
Law, then Germany was formerly in the same position, at
least as regards France, Holland, Belgium, Norway,
Yugoslavia and Greece. If today the Geneva Convention no
longer has any validity so far as Germans are concerned, if
today in all parts of Germany industry is being dismantled
and other great assets in all spheres can be carried away to
the other States, if today the property of millions of
Germans is being confiscated and many other serious
infringements on freedom and property are taking place, then
measures such as those taken by Germany in the countries
mentioned above cannot have been criminal according to
International Law, either.

Mr. Jackson stated further that you cannot accuse and punish
a State, but rather that you have to hold the leaders
responsible. It seems to be forgotten that Germany was a
sovereign State and that her legislation within the German
nation was not subject to the jurisdiction of foreign
countries. No State ever gave notice to the Reich at the
proper time, pointing out that the activity for National
Socialism would be made subject to punishment and
persecution. If individuals, and, first of all, we leaders,
are called to account and condemned, very well, but you
cannot punish the German people at the same time. The German
people placed their trust in the Fuehrer and, under his
authoritarian government, had no influence on events.
Without knowledge of the grave crimes which have become
known today, the people, loyal, self-sacrificing and
courageous, fought and suffered through the life-and-death
struggle which had broken out against their will. The German
people are free of guilt.

I did not want a war, nor did I bring it about. I did
everything to prevent it by negotiations. After it had
broken out, I did everything to assure victory. Since the
three greatest Powers on earth, together with many other
nations, were fighting against us, we finally succumbed to
their tremendous superiority.

I stand behind the things that I have done, but I deny most
emphatically that my actions were dictated by the desire to
subjugate foreign peoples by wars, to murder them, to rob
them, or to enslave them, or to commit atrocities or crimes.

The only motive which guided me was my ardent love for my
people, and my desire for their happiness and freedom. And
for this I call on the Almighty and my German people as
witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: I call on the defendant Rudolf Hess.

DEFENDANT RUDOLF HESS: First of all, I should like to make a
request to the High Tribunal that I may remain seated
because of my state of health.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.

DEFENDANT RUDOLF HESS: Some of my comrades here can confirm
the fact that at the beginning of the proceedings I
predicted the following:

  1. Witnesses would appear who, under oath, would make
  untrue statements and, at the same time, would be able to
  create an impression of absolute reliability, and would
  be highly thought of.
  
  2. It was to be reckoned with that the Tribunal would
  receive affidavits containing untrue statements.
  
  3. The defendants would be astonished and surprised by
  some German witnesses.

                                                  [Page 382]

  4. Some of the defendants would act rather strangely.
  They would make shameless utterances about the Fuehrer;
  they would incriminate their own people; they would
  partially incriminate each other, and wrongly. Perhaps
  they would even incriminate themselves, and also wrongly.

All of these predictions have come true, and as far as the
witnesses and affidavits are concerned, in dozens of cases;
cases in which statements under the unequivocal oath of the
defendants stand in opposition to statements formerly sworn
by them.

In this connection I shall only mention the name
Messersmith, Mr. Messersmith, who, for example, says that he
spoke to Grand Admiral Doenitz in Berlin at a time when the
latter was, to my knowledge, in the Pacific Ocean or the
Indian Ocean.

I made these predictions, however, not only here at the
beginning of the Trial, but had already made them months
before the beginning of the Trial, in England, to among
others, Dr. Johnston, the physician who was with me in
Abergavenny.

At the same time I put these statements down in writing, as
proof. I based my predictions on some events in countries
outside Germany. In this connection I should like, in
mentioning these incidents, to emphasize now that I have
been convinced from the beginning that the governments
concerned knew nothing about them. Therefore, I am not
raising any accusation against these governments.

In the years 1936 to 1938, political trials were taking
place in one of these countries. These were characterized by
the fact that the defendants accused themselves in an
astonishing way. For example, they cited great number of
crimes which they had committed or which they claimed to
have committed. At the end, when death sentences were passed
upon them, they clapped in frenzied approval, to the
astonishment of the world.

But some foreign correspondents reported that one had the
impression that these defendants, through some means
hitherto unknown, had been put into an abnormal state of
mind, as a result of which they acted in the way they did.

These incidents were recalled to my mind by a certain
happening in England. There it was not possible for me to
get the reports of the trial at that time, any more than
here. However, the corresponding years of the Volkischer
Beobachter were at my disposal there. While looking through
these numbers I came across in the number of 8th March,
1938, a report from Paris, dated 7th March, 1938, of
revelations made in the well-known Paris newspaper, Le Jour,
about the means which were apparently used in these trials.
These are rather mysterious means. I quote literally what
the Volkischer Beobachter printed from Le Jour:

  "These means make it possible for the selected victims to
  be made to act and speak according to the orders given
  them."

I emphasize and point out that this report in Le Jour not
only says: to make them "speak according to orders given
them," but also to make them "act according to orders given
them." The latter point is of tremendous importance in
connection with the actions, the hitherto inexplicable
actions of the personnel in the German concentration camps,
including the scientists and physicians who made these
frightful, atrocious experiments on the prisoners; actions
which normal human beings, especially physicians and
scientists, could not possibly carry out.

But this is also of equally great significance in connection
with the actions of the persons who undoubtedly gave the
orders and directions for the atrocities in the
concentration camps, and who gave the orders for shooting
prisoners of war, for lynch justice and other such things,
up to the Fuehrer himself.

I recall that the witness Field-Marshal Milch testified here
that he had the impression that the Fuehrer was not normal
mentally during the last years, and a number of my comrades
here have told me, independently of each other and without
having any knowledge of what I intended to say here now,
that during the last years the Fuehrer's eyes and facial
expression had something cruel in them and even had a
tendency towards madness. I can name the comrades in
question as witnesses.

                                                  [Page 383]

I said before that a certain happening in England caused me
to think of the reports of the earlier trials. This was that
the people around me during my imprisonment acted towards me
in a peculiar and incomprehensible way, in a way which led
me to conclude that these people somehow were acting in an
abnormal state of mind. Some of them - these persons and
people around me - were changed from time to time. Some of
the new ones who came to me in place of those who had been
changed had strange eyes. They were glassy and like eyes in
a dream. This symptom, however, lasted only a few days and
then they made a completely normal impression. They could no
longer be distinguished from normal human beings. I - not
only I alone noticed these strange eyes, but also the
physician who attended me at the time, Dr. Johnston, a
British Army doctor, a Scotsman.

In the spring of 1942 I had a visitor, a visitor who quite
obviously tried to provoke me and acted towards me in a
strange way. This visitor also had these strange eyes.
Afterwards, Dr. Johnston asked me what I thought of this
visitor. He told me - I told him I had the impression that
for some reason or other he was not completely normal
mentally, whereupon Dr. Johnston did not protest, as I had
expected, but agreed with me and asked me whether I had not
noticed those strange eyes, those eyes with a dreamy look.
Dr. Johnston did not suspect that he himself had exactly the
same eyes when he came to me.

The essential point, however, is that in one of the reports
of the time, which must still be in the Press files on the
proceedings - this was in Paris - about the Moscow trial -
it said that the defendants had had strange eyes. They had
had glazed and dreamy eyes! I have already said that I am
convinced that the governments here concerned knew nothing
of these happenings. Therefore, it would not be in the
interest of the British Government, either, if my statements
about what I experienced during my imprisonment were denied
publicity in any way, for that would give the impression
that something was actually supposed to be concealed here,
or - and that the British Government had actually had a
finger in the pie.

On the contrary, however, I am convinced that both the
Churchill Government and the present Government gave
instructions that I was to be treated fairly and according
to the rules of the Geneva Convention. I am conscious of the
fact that what I have to say about the treatment which I
received will at first glance appear incredible. Fortunately
for me, however, prison guards at a very much earlier time
had already treated their prisoners in a way which at first
appeared absolutely incredible when the first rumours about
it reached the outside world. These rumours were to the
effect that prisoners had been deliberately allowed to
starve to death; that ground glass, among other things, had
been put in the meagre food which had been given them, and
that the physicians who attended the prisoners who had been
made sick in this way had added harmful substances to their
medicine, which increased their sufferings. As a matter of
fact, all of these rumours afterwards proved to be true. It
is an historical fact that a monument was erected to 26,370
Boer women and children who died in British concentration
camps, and who, for the most part, died of hunger. Many
Englishmen at that time, among others Lloyd George,
protested strongly against these happenings in British
concentration camps, and likewise an English eyewitness,
Miss Emily Hopfords.

However, at that time the world was confronted with an
insoluble riddle, the same riddle which confronts it today
with regard to the happenings in the German concentration
camps.

Then the English people were confronted with an
incomprehensible riddle, the same riddle which today
confronts the German people with regard to the happenings in
the German concentration camps. Indeed, at that time the
British Government itself was confronted with a riddle
regarding the happenings in the South African concentration
camps, with the same riddle which today confronts

                                                  [Page 384]

the members of the late Reich Cabinet and the other
defendants, here and in other trials, regarding the
happenings in the German concentration camps.

Obviously it would have been of the utmost importance if I
had stated under oath what I have to say about the
happenings during my own imprisonment in England. However,
it was impossible for me to persuade my defence counsel to
declare himself willing to put the proper questions to me.
It was likewise impossible for me to get another defence
counsel to agree to put these questions to me. But it is of
the utmost importance that what I am saying be said under
oath. Therefore I now declare once more: I swear by God, the
Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth,
that I shall leave out nothing and add nothing. I ask the
High Tribunal, therefore, to consider everything which I
shall say from now on as under oath. Concerning my oath; I
should also like to say that I am not a churchgoer; I have
no spiritual relationship with the Churches, but I am a
deeply religious person. I am convinced that my belief in
God is stronger than that of most other people. I ask the
High Tribunal to give all the more weight to everything
which I declare under oath, expressly calling God as my
witness.

In the spring of 1942 -

THE PRESIDENT: I must draw the attention of the defendant
Hess to the fact that he has already spoken for twenty
minutes, and the Tribunal has indicated to the defendants
that it cannot allow them to continue to make statements of
great length at this stage of the proceedings.

We have to hear all the defendants. The Tribunal, therefore,
hopes that the defendant Hess will conclude his speech.


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