The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
Alfred Rosenberg
(Part 8 of 11)

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Rosenberg participated in the conspiracy to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in the areas of the Occupied East which he administered for over three years. This area included the Baltic States, White Ruthenia and the Ukraine, and the Eastern portion of Poland.

(The mass murder and mistreatment of the Eastern peoples, and the spoliation of their territories is discussed in Chapter X on Forced Labor, Chapter XIII on Germanization and Spoliation, Chapter XI on Concentration Camps, Chapter XII on Persecution of the Jews, Section 5 of Chapter XV on the SS, and Section 6 of Chapter XV on the Gestapo and SD.) Rosenberg bears personal responsibility for these crimes.

Rosenberg may contend that some of these crimes were committed against his wishes. There is, indeed, some evidence that he protested on occasion, not out of humanitarian reasons, but on the ground of political expediency. Rosenberg may also attempt to place the blame for these crimes on other agencies and other defendants. The documents prove, however, that he himself formulated the harsh policies in the execution of which the rimes were committed; that the crimes were committed for the most part by persons and agencies within his jurisdiction and control; that the other agencies which participated in the commission of these crimes were invited by him to cooperate in the administration of the East, although the brutal methods customarily employed by them were common knowledge; and that his Ministry lent full cooperation to their activities despite the criminal methods that were employed.

(1) Activities as "Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions Connected with the East European Region." Rosenberg was actively participating in the affairs of the East as early as 20 April 1941, two months prior to the German attack upon the Soviet Union. On that date he was designated by Hitler as "Commissioner for the Central Control of Questions connected with the East European Region" (865-PS). The initial preparations undertaken by Rosenberg for fulfillment of his new task indicate the extent to which he cooperated in promoting the military plans for aggression. They also show that he understood his task as requiring the assistance of a multitude of Reich agencies and that he invited their cooperation.

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Shortly after his appointment by Hitler, Rosenberg conducted a series of conferences with representatives of various Reich agencies (1039-PS). Cooperation of the following agencies in the administration of the Eastern Territories was contemplated and solicited by

Ministry of Economy
Commissioner for the Four Year Plan
Ministry of the Interior
Reich Youth Leadership
German Labor Front
Ministry of Labor
and the SA -- (as well as several others). (1039-PS)

These arrangements, it should be noted, were made by Rosenberg in his capacity as Commissioner on Eastern Questions before the attack on the Soviet Union, before Rosenberg was appointed Minister of the Occupied East, and before there was any Occupied Eastern Territory for Germany to administer.

(a) "Solution" of the Jewish Problem. Emphasis must be placed on Rosenberg's basic attitudes regarding his new task, and the directives he knew he would be expected to follow. On 29 April 1941 he stated:

"A general treatment is required for the Jewish problem for which a temporary solution will have to be determined (forced labor for the Jews, creation of Ghettos, etc.) " (1024-PS)

On 8 May 1941, instructions were prepared for all Reich Commissars in the Occupied Eastern Territories (1030-PS). The last paragraph of these instructions reads as follows:

"From the point of view of cultural policy, the German Reich is in a position to promote and direct national culture and science in many fields. It will be necessary that in some territories an uprooting and resettlement of various racial stocks [Voelkerschaften] will have to be effected." (1030-PS)

In his "Instructions for a Reich Commissar in the Baltic Countries and White Russia" (officially referred to together as the "Ostland" Rosenberg directs that the Ostland be transformed into a part of the Greater German Reich by Germanizing racially possible elements, colonizing Germanic races, and banishing undesirable elements. (1029-PS)

In a speech delivered by Rosenberg on 20 June 1941 he stated

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that the job of feeding Germans was the top of Germany's claim on the East; that there was no obligation to feed also the Russian peoples; that this was a harsh necessity bare of any feeling; that a very extensive evacuation would be necessary; and that the future would hold many hard years in store for the Russians. (1058-PS)

On 22 June 1941 the German armies invaded the U.S.S.R.

(b) Deportation of Prisoners of War for Labor in the Reich. On 4 July 1941 a representative of the Rosenberg Bureau attended a conference on the subject of mobilization of labor and utilization of Soviet prisoners of war. A memorandum of this conference (1199-PS) states that among the participants were representatives of the Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan, of the Reich Labor Ministry, of the Reich Food Ministry, and of the Rosenberg Bureau. The conference proceeded as follows:

"After an introduction by Lt. Col. Dr. Krull, Lt. Col. Breyer of the P.W. department explained that actually there was in effect a prohibition by the Fuehrer against bringing Russian P.W.'s into the Reich for mobilization of labor [Arbeitseinsatz]; but that one might count on this prohibition being relaxed a little."


"The chairman summarized the results of the discussion as indicating that all the interested bureaus unqualifiedly advocated and supported the demand for utilization of P.W.'s because of manpower needs [Arbeitseinsatz] in the Reich. The War Economy and Armament office will approach the Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan with a request for relaxation of the restrictive regulations and express to the Chief of Operational Staff of the Armed Forces its point of view, accordingly." (1199-PS)

(c) Germanization. On 16 July 1941, the day before Rosenberg's appointment as Minister of the Occupied East, he attended a conference at the Fuehrer's Headquarters. At that time Hitler stated that

"The Crimea has to be evacuated by all foreigners and to be settled by Germans alone." (L-221)

Hitler further stated that Germany's objectives in the East were three-fold, first, to dominate it; second, to administer it; third, to exploit it. (L-221)

Thus, the character of the administration contemplated for the Occupied East was well established before Rosenberg took office as Minister of the Occupied East. He knew of these plans and was in accord with them. Persecution of the Jews, forced labor

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of prisoners of war, Germanization and exploitation were basic points of policy at the time he assumed office.

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