The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Joachim von Ribbentrop
(Part 10 of 10)


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(2) The Destruction of the Peoples in Europe. With regard to Poland, the affidavit of Lahousen reports Ribbentrop participation in a discussion on 12 September 1939 on the Fuehrer's train concerning the extermination of Poles and Jews (Affidavit A).

With regard to Bohemia and Moravia, on 16 March 1939 there was promulgated the decree of the Fuehrer and Reichschancellor, signed by Ribbentrop, establishing the protectorate (T-51). The effect of that decree was to place the Reich Protector in a position of supreme power over Bohemia and Moravia, subordinate only to the Fuehrer. Article 5 of that decree provides:

" 2. The Reich Protector, as representative of the Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich, and as commissioner of the Reich Government, is charged with the duty of seeing to the observance of the political principles laid down by the Fuehrer and Chancellor of the Reich.

"3. The members of the government of the Protectorate shall be confirmed by the Reich Protector. The confirmation may be

"4. The Reich Protector is entitled to inform himself of all measures taken by the government of the Protectorate and to give advice. He can object to measures calculated-to harm the Reich, and, in case of danger, issue ordinances required for the common interest."

It is further provided that the promulgation of laws and the execution of certain judgments shall- be annulled if the Reich Protector enters an objection (TC-51).

In part as a result of the sweeping terms of this law, the two Reich Protectors of Bohemia and Moravia and their various deputies were able to commit numerous violations of the laws of war, and crimes against humanity. (Discussion of these matters was assumed as the responsibility of the Soviet prosecuting staff.)

Similarly, with regard to the Netherlands, on 18 May 1940 a decree of the Fuehrer concerning the exercise of governmental authority in the Netherlands was signed by Ribbentrop. Section 1 of that-decree provided (D-639):

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"The occupied Netherlands territories shall be administered by the Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Netherlands territories *** the Reich Commissioner is guardian of the interests of the Reich and vested with supreme civil authority.

"Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart is hereby appointed Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Netherlands Territories." (D-639 )

On the basis of this decree, the Reich Commissioner, Seyss- Inquart, promulgated such orders as that of 4 July 1940, confiscating the property of those who had, or might have, furthered activities hostile to the German Reich (2921-PS). Tentative arrangements were also made for the resettlement of the Dutch population (1520-PS). (This part of the proof was assumed as the responsibility of the French prosecuting staff.)

With regard to Bohemia and the Netherlands, the charge against Ribbentrop is laying the basis and erecting the governmental structure under which the war crimes and crimes against humanity were directed-and facilitated.

(3) Persecution of the Jews. In December 1938 Ribbentrop, in a conversation with M. Bonnet, who was then Foreign Minister of France, expressed his opinion of the Jews. That was reported by the United States Ambassador, Mr. Kennedy, to the State Department as follows (L-205):

"During the day we had a telephone call from Berenger's office in Paris. We were told that the matter of refugees had been raised by Bonnet in his conversation with von Ribbentrop. The result was very bad. Ribbentrop, when pressed, had said to Bonnet that the Jews in Germany without except ion were pickpockets, murderers and thieves. The property they possessed had been acquired illegally. The German Government had therefore decided to assimilate them with the criminal elements of the population. The property which they had acquired illegally would be taken from them. They would be forced to live in districts frequented by the criminal classes. They would be under police observation like other criminals. They would be forced to report to the police as other criminals were obliged to do. The German Government could not help it if some of these criminals escaped to other countries which seemed so anxious to have them. It was not, however, willing for them to take the property which had resulted from their illegal operations with them. There was in fact nothing that it could or would do." (L-205)

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That succinct statement of Ribbentrop's views on Jews is elaborated in a long document which he had sent out by the Foreign Office (3358-PS). This document, entitled "The Jewish Question As A Factor In German Foreign Policy in the year 1938" contains the following:

"It is certainly no coincidence that the fateful year 1938 has brought nearer the solution of the Jewish question simultaneously with the realization of the 'idea of Greater Germany', since the Jewish policy was both the basis and consequence of the events of the year

*******

"The final goal of German Jewish policy is the emigration of all Jews living in Reich territory."

*******

"These examples from reports from authorities abroad can, if desired, be amplified. They confirm the correctness of the expectation that criticism of the measures for excluding Jews from German lebensraum, which were misunderstood in many countries for lack of evidence, would only be temporary and would wing in the other direction the moment the population saw with its own eyes and thus learned what the Jewish danger was to them. The poorer and therefore the more burdensome the immigrant Jew to the country absorbing him, the stronger this country will react and the more desirable is this effect in the interest of German propaganda. The object of this German action is to be the future international solution of the Jewish question, dictated not by false compassion for the 'United Religious Jewish minority' but by the full consciousness of all peoples of the danger which it represents to the racial composition of the nations." (3358-PS)

This document was widely circulated by Ribbentrop's ministry, to all senior Reich authorities and to numerous other people on 25 January 1939, just after the statement to M. Bonnet. Apparently Ribbentrop's anti-Semitic incitements grew stronger, for in June 1944 Rosenberg made arrangements for an international anti-Jewish Congress to be held in Krakow on 11 July 1944. The honorary members were to be Ribbentrop, Himmler, Goebbels, and Frank. The Foreign Office was to take over the mission of inviting prominent foreigners from Italy, France, Hungary, Holland, Arabia, Iraq, Norway etc. in order to give an international aspect to the Congress. However, the military events of June 1944 prompted Hitler to call off the Congress, which had lost its

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significance by virtue of the Allied landing in Normandy (1752-PS).

It is clear that Ribbentrop supported and encouraged the Nazi program against the Jews, which resulted in their transportation to concentration camps, where things went on which he, as a minister in special touch with the head of the government must have known about. As one who preached this doctrine and was a position of authority, Ribbentrop cannot suggest that he was ignorant of how the policy was carried out.

D. CONCLUSION

Hitler summed up Ribbentrop's contribution to the Nazi conspiracy for aggression, as follows:

"In the historic year of 1938 the Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, was of great help to me in view of his accurate and audacious Judgment and the exceptionally clever treatment of all problems of foreign

During the course of the war, Ribbentrop was in close liaison with the other Nazi conspirators. He advised them and made available to them, through his foreign embassies and legations abroad, information which was required. He at times participated in the planning of war crime and crimes against humanity. His guilt is clear.


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