The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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On the witness-stand I said that a thousand years would not
suffice to erase the guilt brought upon our people because
of Hitler's conduct in this war. Every possible guilt
incurred by our nation has already been completely wiped out
today, not only by the conduct of our war-time enemies
towards our nation and its soldiers, which has been
carefully kept out of this Trial, but also by the tremendous
mass crimes of the most frightful sort, which - as I have
now learned - have been and

                                                  [Page 393]

still are being committed against Germans by Russians, Poles
and Czechs, especially in East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania
and Sudetenland. Who shall ever judge these crimes against
the German people?

I end my final statement in the sure hope that from all the
horrors of the war and all the threatening developments
which are already appearing everywhere, a peace may perhaps
still arise in whose blessings even our nation may be able
to participate.

But it is God's eternal justice in which I hope our people
will be secure and to which alone I trustfully submit.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Wilhelm Frick.

DEFENDANT WILHELM FRICK: I have a clear conscience with
respect to the Indictment. My entire life was spent in the
service of my people and my fatherland. To them I have
devoted the best of my strength in the loyal fulfillment of
my duty.

I am convinced that no patriotic American or citizen of any
other country would have acted differently in my place, if
his country had been in the same position. For to have acted
differently would have been a breach of my oath of
allegiance, and high treason.

In fulfilling my legal and moral duties, I believe that I
have deserved punishment no more than have the tens of
thousands of faithful German officials and employees in the
public service who have already been detained in camps for
over a year merely because they did their duty. It is my
especially honourable duty, as a former public minister of
long-standing, to remember them here in gratitude.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Julius Streicher.

DEFENDANT JULIUS STREICHER: Your Honours. At the beginning
of this Trial I was asked by the President whether I pleaded
guilty in the sense of the Indictment. I answered that
question in the negative.

The completed proceedings and the evidence presented have
confirmed the correctness of the statement I gave at that

It has been established that:

1. Mass killings were carried out exclusively upon orders by
the head of the State, Adolf Hitler, without other

2. The mass killings were carried out without the knowledge
of the German people and in complete secrecy, by the
Reichsfuehrer SS, Heinrich Himmler.

The prosecution has asserted that mass killings would not
have been possible without Streicher and his Der Sturmer.
The prosecution neither offered nor submitted any proof of
this assertion.

It is clearly established that on the occasion of the Anti-
Jewish Boycott Day in the 1933, which I was ordered to lead,
and on the occasion of the demonstration of 1938 ordered by
Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels, I, in my capacity as Gauleiter,
neither ordered, demanded, nor participated in any acts of
violence against Jews.

It is further established that in many articles in my weekly
paper, "Der Sturmer," I advocated the Zionist demand for the
creation of a Jewish State as the natural solution of the
Jewish problem.

These facts prove that I did not want the Jewish problem to
be solved by violence.

If I or other authors mentioned a destruction or
extermination of Jewry in some articles of my weekly paper,
Der Sturmer, then these were strong statements in reply to
provoking expressions of opinion by Jewish, authors in which
the extermination of the German people was demanded.
According to his last testament, the mass killings ordered
by the leader of the State, Adolf Hitler, were supposed to
be a reprisal which was only brought about by the course of
the war, then recognized as becoming unfavourable.

These actions of the leader of the State against the Jews
can be explained by his attitude towards the Jewish
question, which was thoroughly different from mine.

                                                  [Page 394]

Hitler wanted to punish the Jews because he held them
responsible for unleashing the war and for the bombing of
the German civilian population.

It is deeply regrettable that the mass killings, which can
be traced back to the personal decision of the leader of the
State, Adolf Hitler, have led to a treatment of the German
people which must also be considered as not humane. I
repudiate the mass killings which were carried out, in the
same way as they are repudiated by every decent German.

Neither in my capacity as Gauleiter nor as political author
have I committed a crime, and I therefore look forward to
your judgment with a good conscience.

I have no request to make for myself. I have one for the
German people from whom I come. Fate has given you the power
to pronounce any judgment. Do not pronounce a judgment, your
Honours, which would imprint the stamp of dishonour upon the
forehead of an entire nation.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Walter Funk.

DEFENDANT WALTER FUNK: In the days of my nation's greatest
need I joined a political movement, the aim of which was the
struggle for the freedom and honour of my fatherland and for
a true social community of the people.

This movement received the leadership of the State in a
legal way. I served this State by virtue of my duty as an
official engaged in the execution of the German laws. I felt
myself to a high degree bound to perform this duty at a time
when there was a danger of war and during the war itself,
when the existence of the fatherland was threatened in the

But in war the State is absolutely dependent on the loyalty
and faithfulness of its officials.

Now, horrible crimes have become revealed here in which the
offices under my direction were partly involved.

I learned this here in Court for the first time. I did not
know of these crimes and I could not have known them.

These criminal deeds fill me, as every German, with deep
shame. I have
examined my conscience and memory with the utmost care, and
I have told the Tribunal frankly and honestly everything
that I knew, and I have concealed nothing. As far as the
deposits of the SS in the Reichsbank are concerned, I only
acted in performance of the official duties incumbent on me
as President of the Reichsbank. According to law, the
acceptance of gold and foreign currency was one of the
business tasks of the Reichsbank. The fact that the
confiscation of these assets was taking place through the SS
agencies subordinate to Himmler could not arouse any
suspicion in me. The entire police system, the frontier
control, and especially the search for foreign currency in
the Reich and in all occupied areas, were under Himmler. I
was completely deceived and imposed upon by Himmler.

Until the time of this Trial, I did not know and did not
suspect that among the assets delivered to the Reichsbank
there were enormous quantities of pearls, precious stones,
jewelry, gold objects and even spectacle frames, and -
horrible to say - gold teeth. That was never reported to me
and I never noticed it, either. I never saw these things.
But until this trial I also knew nothing of the fact that
millions of Jews were murdered in concentration camps or by
the Einsatzkommandos in the East. Never did a single person
say even one word to me about these things.

The existence of extermination camps of this kind was
totally unknown to me. I did not know a single one of their
names. I have never set foot in a concentration camp either.

I assumed that some of the gold and foreign currency which
was deposited in the Reichsbank came from concentration
camps, and I frankly stated this fact from the beginning in
all of my interrogations. But, according to German law,
everyone was obliged to deliver these assets.

                                                  [Page 395]

Apart from that, the kind and quantity of these shipments
from the SS were never made known to me. But how was I even
to suspect that the SS had acquired these assets by
desecrating corpses?

If I had known of these horrible circumstances, my
Reichsbank would never have accepted these assets for
storage and conversion into money. I would have refused,
even risking the danger of losing my head. If I had known of
these crimes, your Honours, I would not be sitting in the
defendants' dock today, you may be convinced of that. In
that case, the grave would have been better for me than this
tormented life, this life full of suspicions, slanders and
vulgar accusations.

Not a single human being has ever lost his life because of
any measures decreed by me. I have always respected the
property of others. I have always tried to help people in
need and, as far as it lay within my power, to bring
happiness and joy into their lives. And for that, many will
be grateful to me and remain grateful.

Human life consists of error and guilt.

I, too, have made many mistakes and let myself be deceived
in many things. I frankly acknowledge, I admit, that I have
let myself be deceived all too easily and in many ways have
been too unconcerned and too gullible. Therein I see my
guilt, but I consider myself free from any criminal guilt
which I am supposed to have incurred by discharging my
official duties. In that respect, my conscience is just as
clear today as on the day when I entered this courtroom ten
months ago for the first time.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Hjalmar Schacht.

DEFENDANT HJALMAR SCHACHT: My sense of justice was deeply
wounded by the fact that the final speeches of the
prosecution completely by-passed the evidence resulting from
this Trial. The only accusation raised against me under the
Charter is that I wanted war. The overwhelming evidence in
my case has shown, however, that I was a fanatical opponent
of war and tried actively and passively, by protests,
sabotage, cunning and force, to prevent the war.

How, then, can the prosecution assert that I favoured war?
How can the Russian Prosecutor assert that I did not turn
from Hitler until 1943, when my first attempt at a coup
d'etat had already been undertaken in the autumn of 1938?

And now Justice Jackson has raised a new accusation against
me in his final speech, which has not been discussed at all
in the Trial until now. I am said to have planned to release
Jews from Germany in exchange for a ransom in foreign
currency. This, too, is untrue. Disgusted by the Jewish
pogrom of November, 1938, I managed to obtain Hitler's
approval to a plan which was to facilitate emigration for
the Jews. I intended to place 1,500 million Reichsmarks
taken from confiscated Jewish property under the
administration of an international committee, and Germany
was to undertake the obligation to repay this amount to the
committee in twenty yearly installments, and in foreign
currency, which is the exact opposite of what Justice
Jackson asserted here.

I discussed this plan in December, 1938, in London, with
Lord Bearsted, with Lord Winterton, and with the American
representative, Mr. Rublee. They were all sympathetically
disposed towards the plan. But since I was removed from the
Reichsbank shortly afterwards by Hitler, the matter was
dropped. Had it been carried through, not a single German
Jew would have lost his life.

My opposition to Hitler's policies was known at home and
abroad, and was so clear that even in 1940 the United States
Charge d'Affaires, Mr. Kirk, sent me his regards before
leaving his Berlin post, adding that after the war I could
be counted on as a man free from guilt. This is reported in
detail by the witness Huelse in his affidavit (37-B in my
document book).

Instead of that, however, the prosecution has branded me
during a whole year in the world Press as a robber,
murderer, and betrayer. It is this accusation alone which I
have to thank for the fact that in the evening of my life I
am without means of subsistence and without a home. But the
prosecution is mistaken if it believes,

                                                  [Page 396]

as was suggested in one of the first speeches of prosecuting
counsel, that it can count me amongst the pitiful and broken

To be sure, I erred politically. I never claimed to be a
politician, but my economic and financial policy of creating
work by assisting credit has justified itself brilliantly.
The figure of unemployment dropped from 7,000,000 to zero.
In the year 1938 the State revenues had risen to such an
extent that the of repayment the Reichsbank credits was
fully guaranteed. The fact that Hitler refused this
repayment, which he had solemnly guaranteed, was a
tremendous betrayal which I could not foresee. My political
mistake was that I did not realize the extent of Hitler's
criminal nature at an early enough time. But I did not stain
my hands with one single illegal or immoral act. The
terrorism of the Gestapo did not frighten me. For terrorism
must always fail before the appeal to conscience. In this
lies the great source of strength which religion gives us.

In spite of that, Justice Jackson considered it proper to
accuse me of opportunism and cowardice. And this when the
end of the war found me in the Flossenberg extermination
camp, where I had been imprisoned for ten months, and where
I escaped Hitler's order of murder only by a merciful fate.
At the conclusion of this Trial I stand shaken to the very
depths of my soul by the unspeakable suffering, which I
tried to prevent with all my personal efforts and with all
attainable means, but which in the end I failed to prevent,
not through my fault.

Therefore, my head is upright and I am unshaken in the
belief that the world will recover, not through the power of
violence, but only through the strength of the spirit and
moral actions.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Karl Donitz.

DEFENDANT DONITZ: I should like to say three things.

Firstly, you may judge the legality of German submarine
warfare as your conscience dictates. I consider this form of
warfare justified and have acted according to my conscience.
I would have to do exactly the same all over again. My
subordinates, however, who carried out my orders, acted with
complete confidence in me and without there being a shadow
of a doubt about the necessity and legality of these orders.
In my eyes, no subsequent judgment can deprive them of their
belief in the honourable character of a struggle for which
they voluntarily made sacrifice after sacrifice up to the
last hour.

Secondly, there has been much talk here about a conspiracy
which is alleged to have existed among the defendants. I
consider this allegation a political dogma. As such it
cannot be proved, but can only be believed or rejected.
Considerable numbers of the German people will never
believe, however, that such a conspiracy could have been the
cause of their misfortune. Let politicians and jurists argue
about it; they will only make it harder for the German
people to draw a lesson from this Trial, which is of
decisive importance for their attitude toward the past and
the shaping of their future, and the acknowledgement that
the Fuehrer principle as apolitical principle is wrong. In
the military leadership of all armies in this world, the
Fuehrer principle has proved itself in the best possible
way. On the strength of this experience, I considered it
also right with regard to political leadership, particularly
in the case of a nation in the hopeless position in which
the German people found itself in 1932. The great successes
of the new government, and a feeling of happiness such as
the entire nation had never known before, seemed to prove it
right. But if, in spite of all the idealism, all the
decency, and all the devotion of the great majority of the
German people, no other result has been achieved through the
Fuehrer principle in the last analysis than the misfortune
of this people, then this principle as such must be wrong,
wrong because apparently human nature is not in a position
to use the power of this principle for good without falling
victim to its temptations.

Thirdly, my life was devoted to my profession and thereby to
the service of the German people. As the last Commander-in-
Chief of the German Navy and

                                                  [Page 397]

the last head of the State, I feel myself responsible to the
German people for everything which I have done or left

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