The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2001/03/02

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Erich Raeder.

DEFENDANT RAEDER: This Trial, now that the evidence has been
concluded, has had a beneficial result for the German
nation, but an unexpected one for the prosecution.
Unimpeachable testimony has cleared the German people - and
with them all the persons in the same situation as myself -
of the most serious charge, the charge that they had known
of the killing of millions of Jews and other people, even if
they had not actually participated in it. The attempt of the
prosecution, who through earlier interrogations had known
the truth for a long time, and who nevertheless continued
and repeated its accusations - with the raised finger of the
preacher of morals - in the Trial Brief and during cross-
examinations, this attempt to defame the entire people has
collapsed.

The second result of this Trial, which is general and
therefore of interest for me also, is the fact that on the
basis of the evidence the German Navy's cleanness and
decency in battle were fundamentally confirmed. The German
Navy stands before this Court and before the world with a
clean shield and an unstained flag.

With a clear conscience we can most emphatically refute
Shawcross's attempts in his final speech to place the
submarine warfare on the same level as atrocities, because
according to the clear results of the evidence they are
untenable. In particular, the charge that the German Navy
"never had the intention to observe the laws of naval
warfare," as Shawcross said, has been completely
invalidated. It has likewise been proved that the naval
command staff and its chief never showed "contempt for
International Law" (Dubost's final speech), but on the
contrary made an honest endeavour from the first to the very
last moment to bring the conduct of modern naval warfare
into harmony with the requirements of International Law and
humanity - on the same basis as our opponents.

I regret that the prosecution tried again and again to
defame the German Navy and myself, as was shown by the
submission of its second, altered Trial Brief, which only
differs from the first version in that the number and
severity of insulting statements have been increased. This
fact shows that the Prosecutors themselves felt that the
factual accusations were too weak. But it is also my
conviction that the British and American prosecution have
rendered ill service to their own navies by morally
depreciating and characterizing as inferior the opponent
against whom the Allied naval forces waged a years-long,
serious and honourable naval war. I am convinced that the
admiralties of the Allied Powers understand me and that
they know that they have not fought against a criminal.

The only way I can explain to myself this attitude adopted
by the prosecution is by assuming that its representatives,
as I necessarily perceived again and again, revealed only
very little judgment regarding the principles of truly
soldier-like conduct and military leadership and that,
therefore, they hardly seem qualified to judge soldierly
honour.

To sum up: I have done my duty as an officer because it was
my conviction that this was the best way for me to serve the
German people and fatherland, for which I have lived and for
which I am prepared to die at any moment. If I have incurred
guilt in any way, then this was chiefly in the sense that,
in spite of my purely naval position, I should perhaps have
been not only an officer, but also up to a certain point
even a politician, which, however, was in contradiction to
my entire career and the tradition of the German armed
forces. This would have been a guilt, a moral guilt, towards
the German people but could never at any time brand me as a
war criminal. It would not have been guilt before a human
criminal court, but rather guilt before God.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon the defendant Baldur von
Schirach.

                                                  [Page 398]

DEFENDANT VON SCHIRACH: On the 24th of May I made a
statement here for which I answer before God and my
conscience and which I fully stand by ever today at the end
of the Trial, because it is in accordance with my honest,
innermost conviction.

In his final speech the British Prosecutor made the
following statement:
  
  "Schirach corrupted millions of German children so that
  they became what they really are today, the blind
  instruments of that policy of murder and domination which
  these men have carried out."

If this charge were justified I would not say a word in my
defence. However, it is not justified; it is untrue. Whoever
in any way takes into consideration the results of the
evidence in this Trial and honestly appraises it can never
under any circumstances raise the accusation against me that
I "had corrupted the youth ands poisoned their souls through
my educational work." The principles and aims which I set
for the youth and which were binding on the community which
our youth built up with their own strength under my
leadership were the following: Self-sacrificing love of
fatherland, the overcoming of social snobbery and class
hatred, planned health supervision, physical training by
means of hiking, games and sports, promotion of professional
education, and, particularly, comradely understanding with
the youth of other countries. Ever since my own youth I have
kept these principles and aims before my eyes as the ideals
of a national German education. These principles and aims
were not dictated to me by the Party or by the State, and if
Hitler were present here this would be completely
unimportant for my defence, because as German Youth Leader I
do not appeal to his authority but to my own.

These educational principles, however, which were
demonstrated a thousand times in all my speeches, writings
and directives, and to which as Reich Lead I have always
remained faithful, are, according to my firm conviction, the
principles of every leader of youth who is conscious of his
duty toward his people and its youth. The achievements of
our youth and its moral attitude have proved me right and
prove that it was never corrupt and that it was not
corrupted by me, either. German youth was and is industrious
and decent, honest and idealistic. In peace it contributed
honourably toward its higher education, and in war it
bravely did its duty towards our nation, and our German
fatherland, to the utmost.

In this hour when I can speak for the last time to the
Military Tribunal of the four victorious Powers I should
like, with a clear conscience, to confirm the following on
behalf of our German youth: that it is completely innocent
of the abuses and degeneration of the Hitler regime which
were established during this Trial, that it never wanted
this war, and that neither in peace nor in war did it
participate in any crimes. As the leader of German youth for
many years, I know the development, the opinions and the
conduct of our younger generation. Who could know it better
than I? I always had my friends amongst this youth; in their
midst I was always happy and at all times I have been proud
of them.

I knew that in all the years when I was German Youth Leader,
in spite of the fact that its membership counted millions,
the youth, as a matter of principle and without exception,
kept itself apart from any actions of which it would have to
be ashamed today. It knew nothing of the innumerable
atrocities which were committed by Germans, and just as it
knew of no wrongs, it did not wish any wrong. It can and
should not be overlooked that even during the greatest
embitterment of the period following the war, nobody could
consider indicting the organization of German youth and its
leaders as criminal. Unselfish comradeship in a youth
movement which showed the greatest love for the poorest
children of the people, loyalty to the homeland, pleasure in
sport and honest understanding with the youth of other
nations, that was the aim of our youth and the content of
its training from the first to the last day of my term as
Reich Youth Leader. This youth has not deserved the hard
fate which has come upon it.

                                                  [Page 399]
                                                            
My personal fate is of secondary importance, but the youth
is the hope of our nation. And if I may express a wish in
this last moment, then it is this:

Will you, as judges, help to remove the distorted picture of
German youth which the world still has today in many, places
and which cannot stand up under historical investigation?
Tell the world in your judgment that the libellous writings
of a Gregor Ziemer, used by the prosecution, contain nothing
but the evil slanders of a man who has transferred his
hatred against everything German to the German youth also.
Will you, as judges, also help so that the youth
organizations of your nations will once more resume their co-
operation with the German youth at the point where, through
no fault of the younger generation, it was interrupted in
1939?

With a grateful heart our youth has listened to the words of
Lord Beveridge who has advocated, with farsightedness and
passion, that German youth be declared free of guilt.
Joyfully it will grasp the hand which is stretched out to it
across the ruins and debris.

Will you, gentlemen of the Tribunal, contribute through your
judgment towards creating an atmosphere of mutual respect
among the younger generation, an atmosphere which is free of
hatred and revenge?

That is my last request, a heartfelt request on behalf of
our German youth!

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has today received a further
application from Dr. Seidl for a further examination of the
condition of the defendant Hess. As the Tribunal announced
on the 20th of August, the Tribunal had received and
considered the report of Captain G. M. Gilbert, dated the
17th of August, on the defendant Hess; and it then
considered it was unnecessary to have any further report.
The Tribunal remains of that opinion but will, of course,
consider all the matters contained in Dr. Seidl's
application, including the medical reports and the statement
made by the defendant Hess today.

I now call upon the defendant -

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, we have been informed that the
High Tribunal considers this time suitable for submitting
evidence which has not yet been formally introduced. In the
session of 22nd August, 1946 -

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, yes. The interrogatories which
have come to hand, you mean?

DR. NELTE: Or affidavits which have been approved. In the
session of 22nd August, I was given permission to submit two
affidavits by the defendant Keitel and General Reinecke as
soon as the translations were ready. In the meantime these
translations have been made, and after discussing this
matter, and with the agreement of the prosecution, which has
raised no objections and which specifically expressed its
approval through Sir David Maxwell Fyfe in the session of
22nd August, I shall submit two documents, K-26 and K-27,
without reading them; and I ask the Tribunal to accept these
two documents in evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, they will be considered.

DR. SERVATIUS (for the defendant Sauckel): Mr. President, I
have one more document to submit which has been granted me
for the Political Leaders. It is an affidavit by Sauckel, PL-
69. Then I also have an excerpt from the book entitled Party
Statistics, which is involved in the estimate on the number
of members, which I submitted to the Tribunal in a letter of
17th August. I have discussed this matter with the British
prosecution, and I ask permission to submit this page from
that book also.

                                                  [Page 400]

DR. KUBUSCHOK (for the defendant von Papen): In the case of
von Papen, I have my answer to the interrogatories sent to
the Dutch Ambassador Visser. It concerns Papen's efforts on
behalf of peace in 1939, which the witness confirms. I
should like to submit the answer as Exhibit No. 107.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Kubuschok.

DR. STEINBAUER (for the defendant Seyss-Inquart): Mr.
President, a No. 115 I am submitting the sworn questions and
answers which were admitted by the Tribunal, as well as the
cross-examination of Dr. Alfred Bolle, the harbour
construction engineer of Hamburg. I am submitting this in
German and in a certified English translation, and with
respect to the accusation that Seyss-Inquart was responsible
for the catastrophic famine in September, 1944, I quote
merely one sentence on Page 3 of the transcript:
  
  "Practically speaking, therefore, as soon as the strike
  commenced, all inland shipping in Holland was taken over
  by the army and was thereby withdrawn from the influence
  of the administration and the Reich Trans Ministry."

Furthermore, under No. 116 I submit the affidavit of the
defendant Seyss-Inquart which was granted me yesterday, and
I should like to ask that the entire contents be accepted as
evidence.

I have only one correction to make: Documents 3640-PS and
3645-PS, which we had not been able to submit to Seyss-
Inquart, according to the affidavit, were immediately placed
at my disposal in photostat form upon my return by the
French Delegation in their usual considerate manner, and the
French prosecution is ready to submit both of these
documents in the original, as desired by the Tribunal.

DR. FLAESCHNER (counsel for the defendant Speer): Mr.
President, the interrogatories which were granted me in the
spring of this year I have eventually received three more
answers, which I should like to submit now as Speer Exhibits
41, 48, and 49. These are the interrogatories of the
witnesses von Poser, Melzacher, and Baumbach.

THE PRESIDENT: Then I call upon the defendant Sauckel.

DEFENDANT FRITZ SAUCKEL: Gentlemen of the Tribunal:

I have been shaken to the very depths of my soul by the
atrocities revealed in this Trial. In all humility and
reverence, bowing before the victims and the fallen of all
nations and before the misfortune and suffering of my own
people, I make the following statement.

I originate from a social level of a completely different
nature from that of my comrades accused with me. In my
nature and thinking I remained a sailor and a worker.

After the First World War, the course of my life was
determined through my own experience of the sorrows and
needs of the masses of my people who were struggling for
their existence. Inner conflicts forced me into politics. I
could be nothing else but a Socialist. But I could not
embrace the Communist manifesto. I was never anti-religious
or even irreligious, but quite the contrary. I fought a hard
struggle with myself before I turned to politics.

And so I finally dedicated myself to Socialism to obtain
justice for those whose only wealth is their labour and, at
the same time, to the service of my nation. I in this saw
the only possible connection between Socialistic thinking
and a true love of country. This belief alone determined my
life and my actions.

I saw here no contradiction to the laws of humanity. I
recognized no arbitrary dictatorship or tyranny in the
principle of leaders and loyal followers. My error was
perhaps the excess of my feelings and my confidence, as well
as my great veneration of Hitler. I knew him only as the
champion of the German people's

                                                  [Page 401]

right to existence and saw him as the man who was kind to
workers, women, and children and who promoted the vital
interests of Germany.

The Hitler of this Trial I could not recognize. Perhaps my
loneliness and submersion in the world of my imagination and
my work was a further defect.

I seldom had social contact with the occupants of high
positions in the Reich; the little spare time I had belonged
to my family. I was and am happy that my wife is the
daughter of a worker, who himself was and remained a Social
Democrat.

In these, my last words, I solemnly assure you that I was
completely surprised by all foreign political events and the
beginning of all military actions. Under no circumstances
would I have co-operated as a German worker - and for German
workers - to help in, the mad plan of unleashing a war of
aggression.

I only became a National Socialist because I condemned class
struggle, expropriation and civil war, and firmly believed
in Hitler's absolute desire for peace and an understanding
with the rest of the world and in his work of
reconstruction. Because I was a worker, I always did
everything possible in my own field of activity to prevent
excesses, arbitrary acts and brutality of any kind. I was
sufficiently naive, against the opposition of Himmler and
Goebbels, to put through my manifesto and many other decrees
for the utilization of labour, which prescribed humane and
correct treatment of foreign workers as compulsory for all
offices. I never would have been able to bear the knowledge
of these terrible secrets and crimes without protest; nor,
with such knowledge, would I have been able to face my
people or my ten innocent children.

I had no part in any conspiracy against peace or against
humanity, nor did I tolerate murders or mistreatment. During
the war itself I had to do my duty. I received the position
of Plenipotentiary-General for the Utilization of Labour in
1942, at a time of a grave military crisis, and it came as a
complete surprise to me. I was bound by the existing labour
laws, the orders of the Fuehrer, and the decrees of the
Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich. I do not
know why it was just I who received this task. In my own Gau
I had particularly gained the confidence of the workers,
farmers and artisans, and even before 1933, that is, before
Hitler assumed power, I had been elected by a large majority
in free parliamentary elections as the Chief of the State
Government there.

I believe that providence endowed me with a good talent for
organization and practical work, as well as a capacity for
enthusiasm. Perhaps that was the reason why I received my
task. It was a heavy burden for me. The soil of Berlin was
completely alien to me. Because I am a worker, I newer
thought of making slaves of foreign human beings. My
requirement that people be managed economically did not in
any way mean their inhuman exploitation, but rather their
economic, rational, and correct employment.


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