The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Third Day: Thursday, 22st November, 1945
(Part 1 of 8)

THE PRESIDENT: Before the Chief Prosecutor for the United States proceeds to present the evidence on Count 1, the Tribunal wishes me to announce the decision on the application made on behalf of the defendant Julius Streicher by his counsel that his condition be examined. It has been examined by three medical experts on behalf of the Tribunal and their report has been submitted to and considered by the Tribunal; and it is as follows:
"1. The defendant Julius Streicher is sane.
2. The defendant Julius Streicher is fit to appear before the Tribunal, and to present his defence.
3. It being the unanimous conclusion of the examiners that Julius Streicher is sane, he is for that reason capable of understanding the nature and policy of his acts during the period of time covered by the indictment."
The Tribunal accepts the report of the medical experts and the trial against Julius Streicher will, therefore, proceed.

The other matter to which I have to refer is a motion on behalf of counsel for Bormann, whom the Tribunal have decided to try in his absence in pursuance of Article 12 of the Charter. Counsel for Bormann has made a motion that the trial against him should be postponed, but, in view of the fact that the provisions of the Charter and the Tribunal's rules of procedure have been strictly carried out in the notices which have been given, and the fact that counsel for Bormann will have ample time before he is called upon to present defence on his behalf, the motion is denied.

I will now call upon counsel for the United States to present the evidence on Count 1.

COLONEL STOREY: May it please the Tribunal: As the first order of business concerning the evidence, it shall be my purpose to outline the method of assembling, processing and authenticating documents to be presented in evidence by the United States. I shall also describe and illustrate the plan of presenting documents and briefs relating to the United States Case in Chief.

As the United States Army advanced into German territory, there were attached to each Army and subordinate Organisation specialised military personnel, whose duties were to capture and preserve enemy information in the form of documents, records, reports and other files. The Germans kept accurate and voluminous records. They were found in Army headquarters, government buildings and elsewhere. During the later stages of the war, particularly, such documents were found in salt mines, buried in the ground, behind false walls and many other places believed secure by the Germans. For example, the personal correspondence and diaries of defendant Rosenberg, including his Nazi Party correspondence, were found behind a false wall in an old castle in Eastern Bavaria. The records of the OKL, or Luftwaffe, of which the defendant Goering was Commander-in- Chief - equivalent to the records of the Headquarters of the Air Staff of our Army Air Forces of the United States, were found in various places in the Bavarian Alps. Most of such Luftwaffe records were assembled and processed by the Army at Berchtesgaden.

When the Army first captured documents and records, they immediately placed the materials under guard and later assembled them in temporary document centres. Many times the records were so voluminous that they were hauled by fleets of Army trucks to document centres. Finally, as the territory seized was [Page 88] made secure, Army zones were established and each Army established a fixed document centre to which were transported the assembled documents and records. Later this material was indexed and catalogued, which was a slow process.

Beginning last June, Mr. Justice Jackson requested me to direct the assembling of documentary evidence on the continent for the U.S. Case. Field teams from our office were organised under the direction of Major William H. Coogan, who established U.S. liaison officers at the main Army document centres. Such officers were directed to screen and analyse the mass of captured documents, and select those having evidentiary value for our case. Literally hundreds of tons of enemy documents and records were screened and examined, and those selected were forwarded to Nuremberg for processing. I now offer in evidence an affidavit by Major Coogan, dated 19th November, 1945, attached hereto, describing the method of procedure, capture, screening and delivery of such documents to Nuremberg.

At this time, if your Honour pleases, and in order to present this matter to the Tribunal, I believe it wise to read at least substantial portions of this affidavit. It is dated 19th November, 1945.

I, MAJOR WILLIAM H. COOGAN, 0-4558I4, Q.M.C., a commissioned officer of the Army of the United States of America, do hereby certify as follows

(1) The United States Chief of Counsel in July, 1945, charged the Field Branch of the Documentation Division with the responsibility of collecting, evaluating and assembling documentary evidence in the European Theatre for use in the prosecution of the major Axis War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal. I was appointed Chief of the Field Branch on 20th July, 1945. I am now the Chief of the Documentation Division, Office of United States Chief of Counsel.

(2) I have served in the United States Army for more than four years and am a practising attorney by profession. Based upon my experience as an attorney and as a United States Army officer, I am familiar with the operation of the United States Army in connection with seizing and processing captured enemy documents. In my capacity as Chief of the Documentation Division, Office of the United States Chief of Counsel, I am familiar with and have supervised the processing, filing, translating and photostating of all documentary evidence for the United States Chief of Counsel."

I skip to paragraph 4.

"(4) The Field Branch of the Documentation Division was staffed by personnel thoroughly conversant with the German language. Their task was to search for and select captured enemy documents in the European theatre which disclosed information relating to the prosecution of the major Axis War Criminals. Officers under my command were placed on duty at various document centres and also dispatched on individual missions to obtain original documents. When the documents were located, my representatives made a record of the circumstances under which they were found, and all information available concerning their authenticity was recorded. Such documents were further identified by Field Branch pre-trial serial numbers, assigned by my representatives who would then periodically dispatch the original documents by courier to the Office of the United States Chief of Counsel.

(5) Upon receipt of these documents they were duly recorded and indexed. After this operation, they were delivered to the Screening and Analysis Branch of the Documentation Division of the Office of United States Chief of Counsel, which Branch re-examined the documents in order to finally determine whether or not they should be retained as evidence for the prosecutors. This final screening was done by German- speaking analysts on the staff of the United States Chief of Counsel. When the document passed the screeners, it was then transmitted to the document room of the Office of United States Chief of Counsel, with a covering sheet prepared by the screeners showing the title or nature of the document, the personalities involved, and its importance. In the document room, a trial

[Page 89]

identification number was given to each document or to each group of documents in cases where it was desirable for the sake of clarity to file several documents together.

(6) United States documents were given trial identification numbers in one of five series designated by the letters: "PS", "L", "R", "C", and "EC," indicating the means of acquisition of the documents. Within each series documents were listed numerically.

(7) After a document was so numbered, it was then sent to a German-speaking analyst, who prepared a summary of it with appropriate references to personalities involved, index headings, information as to the source of the document as indicated by the Field Branch, and the importance of the document to a particular phase of the case. Next, the original document was returned to the document room and then checked out to the photostating department, where photostatic copies were made. Upon return from photostating, it was placed in an envelope in one of the several fireproof safes in the rear of the document room. One of the photostatic copies of the document was sent to the translators, thereafter leaving the original itself in the safe. A commissioned officer has been, and is, responsible for the documents in the safe. At all times when he is not present the safe is locked and a military guard is on duty outside the only door. If the officers preparing the certified translation, or one of the officers working on the briefs, found it necessary to examine the original document, this was done within the document room in the section set aside for that purpose. The only exception to this strict rule has been where it has been occasionally necessary to present the original document to the defence counsel for examination. In this case, the document as entrusted to a responsible officer of the prosecution staff.

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