The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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

[Page 613]

(b) Rosenberg's Use of His Authority and Power for Criminal Purposes. The manner in which Rosenberg's authority and power were wielded is illustrated in other sections of this volume, which show that in the Eastern Territories millions of Jews were exterminated; that millions of slave laborers were pressed into service under indescribable conditions; that the populace was degraded, starved, beaten, and murdered; and that the country was stripped of its resources. However, in order to illustrate the manner in which Rosenberg participated in the criminal activities conducted within his jurisdiction, four examples may be mentioned.

1. Seizure of Jewish Property. The first illustration is contained in the decree signed by Lohse, Reichscommissar for the Ostland, which is published in the Verordnungsblatt of

[Page 614]

the Reichscommissar for the Ostland, 1942, No. 38, pages 158 and 159. This decree provides for the seizure of the entire property of the Jewish population in the Ostland, including the claims of Jews against third parties. The seizure was made retroactive to the day of the occupation of the territory by the German troops. This sweeping decree was issued and published by Rosenberg's immediate subordinate, and it must be assumed that Rosenberg knew of it and acquiesced in it. The power to enact such a decree, as previously outlined, arose by virtue of delegation of that power by Rosenberg to the Reichscommissar.

2. Extermination of Jews. The second illustration is the report of the prison warden of Minsk that 516 German and Russian Jews had been killed. The warden called attention to the fact that valuable gold had been lost due to the failure to knock out the tooth- fillings of the victims before they were done away with (R-135).

3. Deportations for Forced Labor. The third illustration is a letter which Rosenberg wrote to Sauckel on 21 December 1942 in the following terms:

"I thank you very much for your report on the execution of the great task given to you, and I am glad to hear that in carrying out your mission you have always found the necessary support, even on the part of the civilian authorities in the occupied Eastern territories. For myself and the officials under my command this collaboration was and is self-evident, especially since both you and I have, with regard to the solution of the labor problem in the East, represented the same view- points from the beginning." (018-PS)

As late as 11 July 1944 the Rosenberg Ministry was actively concerned with the continuation of the forced labor program in spite of the retreat from the East. A letter from Alfred Meyer, Rosenberg's deputy, addressed to Sauckel, dated 11 July 1944 shows that this time it is Rosenberg's Ministry that is urging action:

"1. *** The war employment command [Kriegseinsatzkommando] formerly stationed in Minsk must continue under all circumstances the calling in of your white Ruthenian and Russian manpower for military employment in the Reich. In addition, the command has the mission to bring young boys of 10-14 years of age to the Reich." (199-PS)

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4. Economic Exploitation. The final illustration of Rosenberg's criminal responsibility is contained in a secret letter from Rosenberg to Bormann dated 17 October 1944 (327-PS). It furnishes a graphic account of Rosenberg's activities in the economic exploitation of the Occupied East. The first paragraph reads:

"In order not to delay the liquidation of companies under my supervision, I beg to point out that the companies concerned are not private firms but business enterprises of the Reich, so that also actions with regard to them, just as with regard to government offices, are reserved to the highest authorities of the Reich. I supervise the following companies ***." (327-PS)

There follows a list of nine companies -- a trading company, an agricultural development company, a supply company, a pharmaceutical company, and five banking concerns. The mission of the trading company is stated to be:

"Collection of all agricultural products as well as commercial marketing and transportation thereof. (Delivery to armed forces and the Reich.) " (327-PS)

The letter continues as follows:

"During this period, the Z.O. (Central Trading Corporation), together with its subsidiaries, has collected:
          Grain                  9,200,000 tons
          Meat and meat            622,000 tons
          Linseed                  950,000 tons
          Butter                   208,000 tons
          Sugar                    400,000 tons
          Fodder                 2,500,000 tons
          Potatoes               3,200,000 tons
          Seeds                    141,000 tons
          Other                  1,200,000 tons
          and                     1,075,000,000 eggs
"The following was required for transportation:

"1,418,000 railroad box cars and 472,000 tons of boat shipping space." (327-PS)

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